Photo by John F. Russell
Guitarist Ryan Magner and drummer Mike Argeroplos combine their talents to form the Mountain Devils. The blues duo will take the stage at Old Town Pub on Monday evening.
If you go
What: Mountain Devils
When: 10 p.m. Monday
Where: Old Town Pub, 600 Lincoln Ave.
Steamboat Springs Mike Argeroplos and Ryan Magner have to play music. Even if it means cutting their snowboarding days short to save some energy to play after work.
“If I don’t play music, I feel like I’m doing nothing with my life,” said Magner, who, like Argeroplos, leads the quintessential mountain lifestyle typical of a 22-year-old in Steamboat Springs.
But the two have a work ethic that extends beyond their restaurant and landscaping jobs.
With Argeroplos on drums and Magner on the electric guitar, the pair takes to its tapestry-adorned basement practice room every night to play as the Mountain Devils.
They’ve played together since their high school years in Dayton, Ohio, and continued the band after they moved to Steamboat several winters ago.
Through their local connections, they started hitting local venues this winter and will return to the Old Town Pub for a special Monday night show. The Mountain Devils go on at about 10 p.m. as part of a birthday celebration for Argeroplos. The show is free.
Although they’re young, they stick to a traditional camp of swampy delta blues, in the vein of Cedric Burnside and Lightnin’ Malcolm and Junior Kimbrough.
Magner’s heavy guitar tone explores the rock influences of the Black Keys, who, as Argeroplos and Magner are quick to point out, are also a blues-rock duo from Ohio.
“It’s my favorite type of music,” Argeroplos said. “It’s raw-sounding. It’s that music that when you’re listening to it you’re nodding your head, like, ‘Unnnh.’
“I couldn’t even tell you what I’m feeling when I’m playing. I’m in the moment, and it just feels right.”
For Magner, the blues is an avenue for personal expression.
“It’s a heavy feeling of some kind,” he said about playing. “I can’t describe it.”
Magner started playing guitar when he was 10, but Argeroplos said he didn’t get a drum set until the day freshman year of high school when he first started playing with Magner.
“When I first started, it was just for fun, I sucked,” he said with a laugh.
The pair played a few gigs in Ohio, hitting the pavement with hand-drawn flyers. They also were part of Ohio band Dinosaur Blues.
Now, in Steamboat, the bandmates said they’re not necessarily trying to bring a new kind of music to the local scene; they’re just playing what they know and love.
They say it’s not easy getting gigs in a small town, but they hope they can play their music wherever anyone will let them.
And so far, they said the response has been positive.
“We’re going to keep playing whether people respond or not,” Magner said.
To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@SteamboatToday.com