Hailing from NW 4th Street down in Gainesville, Florida, The Takers have one of the few old school country western sounds coming out of a new band these days. There aren't a lot of bands out there doing what these fellas are doing and executing it so well. Not only does their frontman, Devon Vlasin write killer songs, but the six man band ties their sound together delivering a complete package of shit hot southern outlaw rock. Their griddy and smokey songs are drinking anthems for the working folk. It's a bold honky tonk sound that gets your boots tapping and liver salivating for some more whiskey. It's like Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson drank a bunch of whiskey together, smoked every hobo cigarette in sight, and gave birth to a fat Southern rock 'n roll baby. I just cannot get enough of these guys and can easily say that I am just as stoked on these dudes as I was when I first heard Drag the River. Hook. Line. And sinker.
We are really excited to be interviewing The Takers frontman, Devon Vlasin for Issue No. 3 of Lubricated. Devon is one of those few people you come across in life when your paths cross you hit the ground running and just know that you're going to be buddies for life... especially boozin' buddies. Devon was kind enough to answer a few questions for me as a teaser as to what's to come in our interview together in Issue No. 3 of Lubricated.
Lubricated Zine: How did The Takers form?
Devon Vlasin: I was playing around town singer/songwriter style and found myself with the opportunity to open up for Willie Heath Neal, a kick ass outlaw country/western swing guy, in October of 2007. I was living with Chad at the time and asked him if he was interested in accompanying me on guitar since he was familiar with my songs and overall what I was about. He suggested that we call up a bass player and a drummer. Our first call was to Jon and he was busy with his other band, Towers of Hanoi, that night. I reached back to recall some late night after parties I spent shooting the breeze with Ronnie about country music, whiskey and women and mentioned in passing that he and I should work on some tunes, so we called him up and he was down. He brought it to our attention that Jerome had started playing bass for Savage Brewtality, and since at the time our only requirement was to have your own gear, we called up our hardcore bassist friend and asked him to play country music. Jake Crown, drummer for Rehasher and Savage Brewtality, said he was into it, so we all headed out to Chad's warehouse and, with Chad's help arranging, I taught them three of my songs and three covers. This was all a day before the show. Later on, but before we had a name, Jake and Jon swapped places. Our dear friend Mike Collins bought a pedal steel and asked if he could sit in with us at practice to get a feel for his new instrument and gradually became a member. It just so happened that we all lived on NW 4th Avenue here in Gainesville. So, I guess you could say we evolved out of convenience, or whoever answered the phone first.
LZ: What's the meaning behind the name, The Takers?
D: I'm not to sure of what other names we were milling around. I think we kicked around quite a few names actually. 'The Taker' is a song written by Kris Kristofferson, but made popular by Waylon Jennings. If you know me at all, you'd know that I'm probably one the biggest Waylon fans around. He is the Godfather of the outlaw movement, and people tend to say that our music lends itself to that genre. As far as music in Gainesville goes, we definitely push against the grain a little. All that being said, it's only fitting. My dad asked me what we are taking, and I said, anything we can get. That might explain the name somewhat too.
Releases: Taker Easy, Curse of A Drunk 7", Austin Lucas with The Takers 7"
Listening Recommendations: throw on this record when you're throwing 'em back all night into the wee morning hours. PBR and Jameson in the night time, and in the morning when ya come to, a man-mosa of PBR and Orange Juice. Get down.
In the words of our dear buddy, Devon...
all photos by Jana Miller