The Aerolites are poised for takeoff

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The Aerolites are poised for takeoff

Anna Maria Liccione

The Aerolites rocked Moog’s in February

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“Undeniably classifiable.” That’s exactly how I would describe The Aerolites’ unique blend of Americana, rock and roll, funk, surf and soul after an energetic show at Moog’s Place in Morrisville in February.

The Aerolites is a new band that is preparing to take the world by storm. This band is comprised of five members, whose combined musical experience totals over 100 years.

Jeremy Harple performs lead vocals, guitar and harmonica. Victor Veve also sings lead vocals and plays keyboards/piano. JSC grad Ian Wade is on backup vocals and bass guitar. Micah Sanguedolce sings backup vocals and plays guitar, and Dannis Hackney does backup vocals and is on drums and percussion.

“Music is music and we play good danceable music,” said Sanguedolce at a recent band rehearsal.

He is absolutely correct. Foot-tapping, bootie-shaking beats pervade the numerous songs that the band throws down.

Harple has been writing and performing his songs for nearly two decades. With a repertoire of over 300 original compositions, he continues to draw in new fans nationwide.

Harple’s material includes folk rock, funk, bluegrass and reggae, making them readily accessible to everyone.  A songsmith to the core, Harple’s lead vocals, guitar-playing and songwriting are all key elements of this band.

Veve was classically trained and graduated from Berklee School of Music in 2000. He has been in many notable bands, including Lambsbread, River Factory, the Mason Jars and Speakeasy.

Veve has toured extensively for the past 10 years, and does not plan on stopping anytime soon. Behind the keys he is a master of funk/fusion, as well as the sweet sounds that back the more gentle ballads that The Aerolites perform.

Last year Harple and Veve, who have performed together for nearly 20 years, were on a road trip to a show in upstate NY, and Veve asked Harple if he wanted to record an album with Oteil Burbridge.

Veve and Burbridge had met previously at a recording session.

Bass-player Burbridge is a member of the current (since 1997) resurgence of the Allman Brothers band, and recently became a Grammy-winner.

There are also many other well-known projects in which he’s involved, including Oteil and the Peacemakers, Paige McConnell’s Vida Blue, Aquarium Rescue Unit, Tedeschi Trucks Band and Gov’t Mule.

After deciding to put the album together with Burbridge on bass, Martin Guigui connected them with drummer Kenny Aronoff, whose studio credits are too numerous to mention. He has played on over 30 Grammy-nominated recordings.

Veve and Guigui met many years ago while Guigui lived in Vermont, and the two had stayed in touch.

While in Los Angeles recording, Guigui, who was also working on Dennis Quaid’s 2011 thriller “Beneath the Darkness,” challenged them to write a song called “Electric Cigarette.”

While Harple was working on vocals for their album, Veve penned the lyrics. Back at the hotel that evening, they worked out the rest. Guigui loved it.

“Electric Cigarette” can now be found on iTunes on the soundtrack of “Beneath the Darkness.”

Other musicians on the soundtrack include Warren Haynes, Bret Michaels, Allison Kraus and Johnny Winter. The Aerolites’ self-titled debut album is due out this spring.

Once this album was recorded, the fledgling band needed the rest of the members, and this is where Hackney, Sanguedolce and Wade join the duo to form The Aerolites. The name came after the the band was formed.

Drummer Dannis Hackney continues to push the envelope of original music, blending years of beat-making magic into new avenues of sound.

Hackney co-founded the original Vermont reggae band, Lambsbread, and the famed punk pioneers Death.

Hackney is as vital today as he was in the mid-70’s during the Death/United Sounds of Detroit years. He is the backbone of The Aerolites’ new original sound. Hackney has made a name for himself as one of the tightest drummers in New England as well as in national reggae circles.

Many in those same circles are now finding out that Hackney is also one of the tightest rock ‘n’ roll drummers to come out of Detroit.

Micah Sanguedolce is a world-traveling artist who has been playing music in bands since age 12. He studied music and holds a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from St. Michael’s College in Winooski.

Last year Sanguedolce competed at the Burlington Guitar Summit and placed in the top three. He has performed at venues all over Vermont, Italy, and Nepal.

Ian Wade received his B.F.A. in jazz performance from Johnson State in 2010. He has been seen around many venues in Vermont and New York, in acts such as Canyonero, Blues for Breakfast, 3 Amigos, Dead Sessions and Wade/Yacavone/Wade.

When asked how his music education at JSC affected his career, Wade said, “The teachers I had here were really reputable and awesome, especially around the Burlington music scene. I had Stacy Starkweather as my first bass teacher, and using Starkweather’s name around Burlington has helped me land some gigs. Steve Blair has taught me most of what I know about music and how I understand it now which is priceless.”

Currently the band is getting ready to travel to Sun Valley, Idaho, to play the opening party for the Sun Valley Film Festival with DJ Logic.

Harple and Veve have contributed extensively to the music for “Winter’s Wind,” premiering at the festival. This film is a full-length theatrical feature and ski action epic, the story of one man’s journey from protege to guru, mentor and legend, and played by the real legends of skiing – past, present and future.

The Aerolites had hired Green River Pictures and Derek Hallquist to film a Nectar’s gig that also featured Oteil Burbridge and his brother Kofi, as well as JJ Johnson and Maurice Brown, other members of Tedeschi Trucks Band.

Hallquist was working on Matt Herriger’s “Winter’s Wind” project. Soon after being introduced, Harple gave him a bunch of solo material from prior years, and

Veve contributed solo instrumental work.

Upcoming gigs include the March 15 Sun Valley show with DJ Logic. An acoustic gig at Radio Bean in Burlington follows on April 3, at 8 p.m.

April 7 is the Pioneer Day Camp fundraiser at Parker Pie. May 10-12, they will be doing a mini-tour in Connecticut. Times and locations are to be announced.

On May 26 from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. they will be playing North End Studios in Burlington. Another Nectar’s gig is scheduled for 9:30 p.m. on June 30.

They will also be playing Johnson’s own Tuesday Night Live on August 7 from 6 to 8:30 p.m.

So far, The Aerolites have two festival gigs lined up for this summer. The 2nd Annual Cambridge Music Festival at Boyden Farm is scheduled for July 21, and the Lake Champlain Maritime Festival August 10-12.

The Aerolites are sponsored by Burlington’s Farm Fresh Radio 102.9. Demo music, videos, and up-to-date show schedules can be found at www.theaerolites.com.

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