To get together and do it like it’s your last day to do it.” This is how one should “Chuch it up,” describes Matt Hayes, who plays pedal steel, lap steel and dobro and sings for the Burlington, Vermont-based band Chuch. Hayes, along with the rest of Chuch – Chad Haymaker (electric and acoustic guitars and vocals) and brothers Justin (percussion and vocals) and Noah Crowther (bass and vocals) – point out that their sound is actually a wide range of their influences, but give it the label “pure-bred denim driven speed western” when asked to classify their sound.
Chuch came together when Hayes and Haymaker-who have known each other as long as they can remember-and the Crowther brothers started hanging out together in high school in Port Trevorton, a small town in central Pennsylvania. By this time, they each had been playing their respective instruments for a few years, and had started to make music together in the Crowther garage, which they dubbed “The Cave.” Following graduation from high school, they took off separately, as Hayes explains, to “do our own things in different areas of the country. After about five years, we eventually started to play open mics at bars and coffeehouses.” The four reunited after about three years, regrouped and have been doing the Chuch thing for the last two years.
Influenced by everyone from Black Sabbath and Little Feat, to Muddy Waters and Mahavishnu Orchestra, the band’s sound and style is a blast of country, punk, heavy metal and rock and roll. This sound is quite evident in the songs that grace their four-song demo, filled with energetic, hook-laden melodies, and excellent vocal harmonies.
The band’s original material, which is written by everyone in the band, mainly focuses on the things currently going on in their lives, or on things that have happened to them in the past, such as celebrating a birthday at a rest stop, which inspired “Shiffy Man,” a track on the band’s demo. Hayes elaborates, “If one of our buddies falls down drunk, knocks out his two front teeth while I’m eating a slice of pizza, it’s probably going to end up in a song.”
The band released their debut album Four Tall, on October 8th, with a hometown CD release party at Nectar’s. Hayes says it’s “a great representation of where we were then and now.” He also states that the hardest thing about the whole process was choosing which songs to put on the record.
But while the recording of Four Tall was an amazing experience for them, Chuch would prefer to bring their message to a live audience. “When we’re playing live, you never know what will happen or what happened for that matter,” says Hayes. We’ve left places thinking that was the worst show we’ve ever played, and somewhere down the road we hear a recording of that night and really enjoy some things that we thought were disasters before. If we have to pick one or the other, playing live is what it’s all about.”
Chuch has been hitting the road, bringing their repertoire of about 40 songs-which include some covers ranging from Willie Nelson and Gram Parsons, to the Meat Puppets and the Ramones-to clubs and colleges across Massachusetts, New York and Vermont, sharing the stage with acts like Southern Culture on the Skids. The band also played on the side stage at this summer’s Gathering of the Vibes festival, where their early Sunday afternoon set turned many listeners’=mine included-heads!
With that intent, the band’s focus is currently on the release of the album. The band will be working to get the record into stores across the Northeast as well as shopping it to labels, but will also be focusing on expanding their touring schedule.
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