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A random conversation between two colleagues led to an impromptu jam session for Gabe Hampton and Mark Lees. Hampton a former aspiring Broadway performer took on the vocals as Lees played the guitar part for the Pearl Jam song "Yellow Ledbetter." By the end of the song, the pair could not deny the spark. Three months later, in October 2016, the duo had grown their collaboration to five and began performing shows around Utah as Vintage Overdrive.
The Salt Lake-based band, which performs Saturday at Pat's BBQ in South Salt Lake, prides itself on creating a bluesy rock sound that surprises listeners. Hampton and Lees attribute their sonic appeal to the fact that each band member has such different taste in music, from metal to old-school punk to folk.
Lees said the result is magic.
"The five of us reach in and touch at this one point musically," he said in a phone interview with The Tribune. "That's the magic part of the Vintage Overdrive sound. It's all these different genres like a Venn diagram and there's this one point where they overlap that's our sound."
Vintage Overdrive have seen an astonishing amount of musical success in a relatively short time. They have played several gigs around the state and headlined music festivals, allowing the opportunity to present their music to thousands of people.
"We play because we love that passion," Lees said. "I always feel like somebody out there needs this musical release maybe it's one of us in the band."
In between working full time and playing gigs, Vintage Overdrive wrote an acoustic song, "I'll Stay," for a global disaster-relief charity that approached the band about contributing music to part of a campaign.
"We wrote 'I'll Stay' in a weekend," Lees said. "It was really inspiration that allowed us to do that. We recorded, mixed and mastered the song in four days it was remarkable."
Vintage Overdrive have also spent the past six months creating content for their first EP, due out later this year. In between writing and performing, the group was faced with the challenge of possibly finding a new lead singer when Hampton decided he needed to leave the band. After temporarily breaking up with the band, Hampton said realizing he belonged behind the microphone inspired a fierce motivation to keep the band going.
"At one point in November, I sent a text out to the band that said. 'I can't do this,' " he said. "Once I sent that text, I felt like a piece of my soul was ripped out."
Another magical jam session later and he was back in for the long haul.
"It was definitely more intense and dramatic than it sounds," Lees said. "I was really worried for Gabe's well-being. That also drives the passion for our sound and our lyrics. We made it through. Once we got through that, it's been skyrocketing."
Hampton said the experience prompted his favorite Vintage Overdrive song to date, "I'll Never Go."
"It's a song about overcoming addiction or depression and helping someone overcome," he said, adding that the life experiences of the band members add depth to the content they create. "We are people who have experienced a lot of life. Our music is mostly music full of hope about overcoming. We don't write about campy stuff. We write about real life, things that make us passionate."
That keeps them focused on the ultimate goal: to give people hope.
"We want our music to be heard by people around the world who need to feel better and be healed by music," Lees said.
As Vintage Overdrive look to an exciting year ahead, they acknowledge Salt Lake's music scene for propelling them into a whirlwind of early success.
"There is a genuine love and thirst for good music new music in the Salt Lake music scene," Lees said. "We've benefited from a great sense of camaraderie with other local bands, singer/songwriters and recording studios. There is really this common feeling that when one band succeeds, all bands succeed. Vintage Overdrive is happy to be a part of that."
When • Saturday, 7 p.m.
Where • Pat's BBQ, 155 W. Commonwealth Ave., South Salt Lake
When • Saturday, May 6
Where • The Ice Haus, 7 E. 4800 South, Murray