Chris Vos of The Record Company Talks Influences, Tour Experiences and Gear

Words by Nick Hodgins
Photo by John Cizmas

The blues isn’t simply a musical genre, but a way of life, and Los Angeles indie rockers The Record Company are living that life right now. With a new EP, Feels So Good, currently out and a rapidly growing fan base, the trio has burst onto the scene in a short amount of time. It’s not their discography that’s propelling them though, but rather their killer live show. Having played alongside greats such as B.B. King and Buddy Guy, these dudes bring a high level of energy and sincerity to every note they play. Chris Vos, vocalist and guitar player for The Record Company also packs quite a few more weapons in his arsenal, from harmonica to lap steel. On the heels of the trio’s New Year’s Eve bash at The Mint in LA, Vos talks with us about influences, tour experiences and gear.

So what first got you into the blues?

Chris Vos: My mother gave me the record “Hard Again” by Muddy Waters when I was a kid. I was getting interested in listening to all different kinds of music and she wanted me to hear some new stuff. I will never forget the moment I heard “I Can’t Be Satisfied”. It was the first time I heard a Dobro and my life was changed immediately.

Who are some of your biggest influences?

CV: Jimmy Reed, John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, The Rolling Stones, The Grateful Dead, The Stooges, Hendrix, The Kinks, Ray Charles, The Who, this list could go on and on.

Speaking of influences, you’ve toured with and opened for some pretty legendary names in history, including BB King and Buddy Guy. What was that like?

CV: It’s an experience that is both humbling and exciting as the same time, we are very grateful for it. When we played with Buddy Guy, I couldn’t help but be swept away by the idea of what he had done in his career and that he has been such a profound influence on so many legendary artists. His show kicked ass by the way. There is wisdom and a purity that just flies out when he performs. We are about to play with BB King, and we are all very excited and I know it will be inspiring.

Any particular shows stick out since you’ve been touring?

CV: We played before Charles Bradley in New Brunswick Canada at Harvest Blues Festival in 2012 and that was tremendous. We went back to Harvest this year and closed our show with a full choir singing with us on “Will the Circle Be Unbroken”, that I will never forget. Of course playing with Buddy Guy was a highlight, and our tour this summer was something I will always remember.

For a genre that requires playing with so much feeling and emotion, can you describe what it’s like to jam out in front of an audience and how you feel while playing?

CV: For me, I feel all the normal emotions I experience every day except that they are amplified to a much higher level because of that environment. Personally, I try not to hide what I am feeling when performing, I would never want to be dishonest with an audience. All emotions have their rightful place on stage and we, as a band, just try to be honest with whatever we are feeling on any given night.

How do you get your tone? What kind of axe are you playing and what are you playing it out of? Do you try to model your sound after any one player in particular?

CV: Live I have a 1959 Silvertone Tuxedo that has become my main squeeze, and then an
old Guild and ancient Gibson Acoustic for slide work. In the studio, we have a Teisco Del Ray that a buddy gave me after he rescued it out of a trashcan a few years back. It is honestly the best guitar I have ever used for recording and it suits our sound perfectly.

Lastly, is there any significance behind the name “The Record Company?”

CV: It has a lot of significance to us as a group, but as far as its overall meaning, I am gonna leave that one open to interpretation.