Interview: True Flavor Blues Band

Five members of the blues band True Flavor Blues perform at Copper Star Coffee.

True Flavor Blues performs at Copper Star.

Our “resident” band True Flavor Blues jams at Copper Star Coffee every Sunday from 12 to 2 pm-ish. Check out our interview with guitarist James Robertson, on behalf of the band.

Who are the members of your band?
Scotty Spenner – vocals and guitar
Charles Smith – keyboard
Vince Curtis – drums
Curt Arndt – bass
James Robertson – guitars
How long have you played at Copper Star Coffee?
With the current lineup, a bit over two years. In one capacity or another, Scotty Spenner has been performing at Copper Star for about ten years, first as a solo act, then with a trio called, “Dirt Music Express.”
How would you describe your music?
Generally speaking, we are a blues band, but have a different thing going on than most blues bands. We have some jazz influence and a lot of traditional 50’s and 60’s blues roots, but the one thing that sets us apart is our “penchant” for playing at a lower volume. So, we can hear each other clearly and pickup what the others are doing and reinforce that, play off it, and contract it musically.
Do you play original music, covers, or both?
We’ve all played original music but this band is almost entirely cover material. Moreover, the covers we play [are] a genre of music where even the “hits” are songs, and most audiences, unless they’re blues fans, have only rarely heard or may not have ever heard.
We play some songs like Flash Terry’s, “On My Way Back Home,” that are genuinely obscure by genre standards. The jazz material we do is probably more recognizable.
Does the name of your band originate from performing at Copper Star Coffee’s or is that just a coincidence?
Disappointingly, perhaps the name of the band has absolutely nothing to do with Copper Star. It’s a long journey back to a distant time called the 1990’s. Scotty Spenner and George Bowman had a band called “Two Flavor Blues.” That band broke up and they each did their own thing for many years. Scotty and George reformed the band to play at Copper Star again, Scotty left, leaving George as bandleader. That’s when Charlie came aboard. We couldn’t keep calling it “two” so in a classic malapropism George announced “True Flavor Blues.” Then George left the band and Scotty came back. It’s a convoluted history for sure.
What are your rehearsals like? Do you get together at each other’s houses and jam?
In short, we very rarely rehearse. One of the things that is so fun about playing at Copper Star is that it is quite informal and loosely structured. So we’re jamming quite a bit and sometimes are working out arrangements, figuring out what parts or figures, etc. Mentally, it’s a different mindset than doing a festival gig or a nightclub stage. We go to interesting musical “places” that just wouldn’t be appropriate in another venue.
Are members of the band full time musicians or perhaps working in the music biz in some form?
Charlie is a full time musician and plays in several projects. Scotty plays solo gigs, teaches guitar and plays in [an] Irish rock band. Vince plays in a couple of other bands. Curt is retired from 9 to 5, so music is now the default profession. I (James) play in a rockabilly band as well, but primarily, am the owner of Precision Guitar, a service and repair shop located just a few blocks up the street from Copper Star, at 7th Ave. and Campbell.
Get news and updates from True Flavor Blues here. Their new CD is available for purchase at each Sunday Session. 
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