For our second edition of Flatiron Rock (see part one here and the introduction here), we have West Water Outlaws, a band formed by CU students a couple years ago. This band's particular flavor of rock is of the ’70s throwback variety — unfiltered rock ’n’ roll, the churning, bluesy variety that brims with adrenaline-soaked riffs and furious energy. Check out the band's latest video below.
Members Will Buck, guitar; Blake Rooker, vocals and rhythm guitar; Vincent Ellwood, bass; and Andrew Oakley, drummer; have just started the long, tortuous slog that is forming a rock band. The band has roots to a dorm room jam session between Buck and Rooker. Buck, now 23 years old, recalls playing Tom Petty's "Mary Jane's Last Dance" on guitar while Rooker sang, and he was impressed with his voice.
He didn't see Rooker, now 22, for a few years until he was sitting in statistics class, mulling over people he could recruit to start a blues-rock band. The powerful voice he once sang with in the dorms as a freshman came to mind, and low and behold, in walks Rooker, who had stumbled into the wrong class on the first day.
The two caught up after class and arranged a jam session for that night. Ellwood and Oakley joined, and the band has been writing and gigging ever since.
The band's sound contains shades of some elder fathers of the Boulder rock scene, Rose Hill Drive. The 21-year-old Oakley, especially, at times sounds a lot like RHD drummer Nate Barnes. It makes sense, too, as Oakley and Ellwood used to play in a band called Von Skinny with Ben Sproul, the little brother of Rose Hill Drive founders, Jacob and Daniel.
So what does Buck think about the Boulder rock scene? Does it exist? Is it hard to find work as a musician in this town?
“To be honest, I don’t think there’s much of one," Buck says. "But I know that people love the music, because every time we have a show people come up and say it’s so refreshing to hear a good rock band. Everyone listens to classic rock and the Black Keys and Queens of The Stone Age, but there’s not much of a scene for it.”
As is sadly typical for local bands, West Water doesn't have any Boulder gigs coming up soon, but you can catch WWO when they open for Cody Canada and The Departed at the Aggie in Fort Collins on Jan. 12.
UPDATE: West Water Outlaws are opening for Technicolor Tone Factory at the Fox Theatre on Jan. 20. Tickets are $10, plus $2 for being under 21. Two solid local acts, there. Check them out.