Steamboat local returns to town with The Funkytunk Heroes
June 14, 2012
Steamboat Springs — Four years out of high school, Derek Blake lives more than 150 miles from Steamboat Springs, the town where he was born and raised.
But there are a few things that haven't changed. He lives with three of his best friends from Steamboat Springs High School, and they all play music together just like they did in their teens.
"It's cool because we all know each other so well," Blake said. "We know what we like and what we don't like from each other. We've got past some of the learning experiences as a band. We play together, we live together and it allows us to write music all the time."
Blake returns to Steamboat this weekend to reconnect with his hometown and his family as well as play a concert in North Routt with the band The Funkytunk Heroes.
The Heroes, as they refer to themselves, comprise Blake on guitar and vocals, Colin Boyle on guitar, Logan Lightfoot on bass and Dane Mark on drums. The band plays a free show at 9 p.m. Saturday at Hahn's Peak Roadhouse.
Blake said although he grew up in Steamboat, North Routt holds a special place in his heart as his musical stomping grounds.
He has played Madness on the Mountain, a Hahn's Peak festival, with Magnum XL and played several shows at Hahn's Peak Cafe with Lumberjack Jim.
"It's a lot of family up there and a lot of friends, and it's always cool to go play up there," he said. "Everyone up there has kind of gotten to watch us grow as musicians. Every time we go up there, it's genuine feedback."
But it was an open mic night at Mahogany Ridge Brewery and Grill that catapulted his hobby of singing and songwriting into the lust for a career in music.
He was 16 years old, and he had been playing around with Augustine, the guitar his great-grandmother gave him, for a while. He had prepared a few songs to sing but wasn't prepared for the rush of performing.
"I was so freaking nervous," he said. "I got up and played. … And I played better than I had ever played — or so it seemed. I was so ecstatic. I was like, 'This is the best thing ever; I want to do this forever.' It just kind of compounded from there."
The Heroes played their first real show together in November 2011 at Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant in Steamboat Springs, and although the word "funk" is in their name, Blake said their style has evolved into an eclectic fusion of musical genres.
"There's definitely a funk thing, but more lately, we've been more about blood-sweat-and-tears rock 'n' roll," he said. "We want to make super high-energy music that people can't help but move to.
"A lot of our stuff more recently has been considerably more aggressive. We're having fun with it; we're having fun with rocking as hard as we physically can and trying to shock audiences. We're hoping it's somewhat of a fresh breath of air."
While he said the big city is his home now, he's looking forward to playing a hometown show this weekend.
"I love Fort Collins, I do, but I do miss Steamboat," he said. "I miss my Steamboat people sometimes, that's why I'm stoked to be back."
To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@ExploreSteamboat.com