Melted Vinyl is a collaboration of 4 young musicians. Based out of Southern California, the band is Sam Kritzer, Wolfgang King, Juan T. Lopez and Alex Bender. The band makes retro rock music; think something along the lines of JET from back in the 2000’s – they play music like they were raised in the 70’s. So far, they are doing extremely well for themselves in L.A. They’ve sold out The Troubadour, The Whiskey, and The House of Blues. They’ve also got to open for some of their heroes – opening for Vince Neil, Jefferson Starship, and Slash several times. The band just released their debut LP, Lights We Chase and so far, it’s getting a great reaction. Alternative Addiction talked with Melted Vinyl guitarist Alex Bender about their new album, opening for some of those classic rock acts, recording guitar, and how he came to play in the band.
“I’m a bit of a classic rock guy myself,” explained Bender when we asked him how he came into the fold of Melted Vinyl. “That’s what my folks brought me up on. So, I saw a guitar position in an up and coming rock band, and I responded to it. I checked out their first EP and I thought what they were doing was cool. That first EP is what attracted me to the music. It was in the same vein of the sort of stuff I listened to growing up and the stuff I practiced as a guitarist.”
In April, Melted Vinyl released Lights We Chase, their debut LP and their second release. For Bender, it was his first release with the band.
“This album feels like a long time coming. We started writing it as soon as I joined the band,” said the guitarist. “’Queen of My Soul’ is one of the first songs all of us wrote together. We kept writing songs after that but that one really got us started. When we got enough, we started looking for a producer, someone who could take our music to the next level. That’s when we found Joel Hamilton, he’s been nominated for six Grammys, he’s worked with The Black Keys. He works out of Brooklyn in Studio G. We connected with him and he thought that we could make things work. In April of 2018 all of us went out to Brooklyn and we recorded the EP over about five days. It took us a while to get it mixed and mastered and getting everything ready to go, but it’s been crazy. The album is amazing, it’s been getting some good attention, and overall, we think it was worth the wait for us for sure.”
Part of what makes this Melted Vinyl record so good is the guitar work of Bender. It’s got a vibe to it that’s very retro, it makes sense knowing the influences of Melted Vinyl, but it makes even more sense when Bender chats about how he and Hamilton worked together in the studio.
“Working with Joel, he picked up quickly from the guitars that I brought and the style of our songs that I was into playing like Jimmy Page. Everyone’s heard those stories of the first Zeppelin album when they used the small Telecaster, they’d just crank the super with fuzz. They got the sounds for the first album from that. That’s the method that Joel used too. He had one of those smaller telecasters like that and he plugged it in when we were tracking and cranked it and sent it through a pedal. It was cool because when I was tracking solos it came together perfectly. That really speaks to Joel’s ability as a producer.”
The band’s influenced by Led Zeppelin and a host of other classic rock acts but that’s not where their connections to those artists end. In the music scene in L.A., Melted Vinyl has been spoiled by a number of opportunities to open up for some incredible acts.
“You grow up and you listen to these bands and then you’re on the same bill as them and it’s incredible,” explained Bender. “We’ve opened for Jefferson Starship a few times now. They’re the coolest people in the world. They chat with us, and we’ve received some shoutouts from them on stage, and that’s incredible. We’ve opened for Vince Neil from Mötley Crüe a couple of times now too, and that was special too. After you get to do something like that, you get home and you pinch yourself like ‘did that just happen?’ It’s beyond incredible because these opportunities are so hard to come by and we’ve gotten a lot of them.”-aa