Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Itís hip to be square

The Satin Chaps bring forward the memories

Express Staff Writer

It’s a dance party 1960s-style at Whiskeys.
© 2012 andy batt - - all rights reserved

    When I listened to my first song by The Satin Chaps, in my mind’s eye, I was in a dazzling paisley polyester micro-mini with knee-high, crinkly red boots, my beehive pinned with a faux-sapphire broach, my hoop earrings flashing faster than my hips can keep up.
    If your good time is defined by sweat and booty shaking, these boys from Portland, Ore., and their European-style, go-go sound will fill those needs and then some.
    The group’s record “Might I Suggest The Satin Chaps” is an homage to the likes of Booker T and the MGs and Herb Albert’s Tijuana Brass.
    Aided by a howling three-piece horn section, the whiz-bang of their Hammond organ and the percussion to bring it all together, this is not your grandpa’s groovy. It’s way better.
    The band—founded by drummer Luke Strahota—will play at Whiskey Jacques’ in Ketchum at 9 p.m. Saturday, June 1. Tickets cost $5.
    Strahota let me into the playground of his mind for a few minutes last week.

IME: So, Annette Funicello, major influence?
Strahota: Not so much. Although, she was a prime mix of kitsch-keteer and surfboard-groovy, so it’s an honor to find out you think she might be an influence.

IME: People listening to your music are likely to be
A) In their convertible.
B) Shopping for appliances at Sears.
C) Watching “Mad Men.”
D) Showing off their vinyl collection.
E) On the dance floor.
Strahota: All except C. If you’re lucky enough to have a convertible, let me know when you’re playing the album. I’ve listened to the album while buying drywall at Lowe’s—it can happen in a music mix. Realistically, you’re probably not going to listen to music at the same instance as watching “Mad Men.” There’s probably a listening party going on right now where someone is doing D. And, yeah, of course we want people to frug to our tunes.

IME: Satin is to chaps as:
Strahota: “Up is to tight.”

IME: Do y’all wear your neckerchiefs outside of work, or do you prefer to keep your stage persona for performances?
Strahota: The neckerchiefs are a rite of passage for the musicians in the band. Once you get the neckerchief, you’re officially in the club. And part of being in the club is that you have to wear the neckerchief at all times. Needless to say, we’ve gone through a lot of musicians.

IME: How much do you let your music dictate your lifestyle?
Strahota: I live music. I have a wide range of music influences and my wife is always making me listen to weird stuff—like Darius Milhaud—which exposes me to new ways to feeling music. In some ways, yeah, my music dictates my lifestyle in that I am a smooth kind of guy, but I wouldn’t want to be limited only to my music and only to my perceived “reality” or preferred way to live. I’m always open to making new friends, trying new foods, understanding things I didn’t know before. I’ll tell you one secret, though, I will always wear black undies.
IME: Favorite vintage shop?
Strahota: That would be Magpie. It’s a vintage shop in downtown Portland. I can always find Beatle boots and fitted black trousers.

IME: Could this ensemble have percolated in say, Arco, Idaho, or was Portland a key component in your chemistry?
Strahota: I have to say that Portland was key because this is where we are. Early on, I thought maybe I could form the band in another state. I thought maybe I’d have better luck finding like-minded musicians in New Orleans or Chicago, but it came together right here. I didn’t have to go anywhere. I just had to keep true to my vision. I suppose it would have happened anywhere, but maybe it wouldn’t sound quite the same. I couldn’t be more proud of the guys in the band. I’m continually amazed at their talent, dedication and good looks.

IME: If I were calling your mother to ask her if she saw this destiny calling when you were young, where would she say it began and what would it look like?
Strahota: Oh boy! I love this question. She would say it began at the age of 4 when I was kicked in the head by a horse. That horse did me a big favor. I’m grateful to be alive, and I got a free re-wiring. My father would
probably say I got it all from him seeing as he played upright bass in a band called The Chicken Choker String Band.

IME: Who should come to your show at Whiskey’s and why?
Strahota: I’d say anyone who wants to dance to music that is really easy to dance to. Our crowds in Portland range from 20-something hipsters to 60-something hipsters. Our music is completely, 100 percent made for anyone to enjoy.  It’s not exclusionary in any way.  Come on in, the water’s fine.
    I will tell you though, we’ve noticed our music is great for people who are looking to hook up because it works like this: We play dance music. Women like to dance. So, if anybody is looking for good time gals that like to dance, chances are you’ll find them at our shows.
    Also: 1. Those who appreciate good music, 2. Hip-mod shakers who are ready to cut the rug. 3. Groovy soul lovers. 4. Couples on a romantic night out.

IME: What should they wear?
Strahota:You can play it two ways: Dress down and be casual, or if you need inspiration, you can watch “Goldfinger” or ”Goldmember.” Either one works.

Shine the vinyl
Where: Whiskey Jacques’, in Ketchum.
When: Saturday, June 1, at 9 p.m.
Cost: $5.


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