Spotlight: Amplified Heat
Time weighs heavy on the Ortiz brothers – Gian, Chris, and Jim – of Amplified Heat. Informed by the classic rock radio they grew up with, their searing electric boogie is an honest and un-self-conscious callback to the classic power trios: Cream, Hendrix, Blue Cheer. Everything about these locals is old school, from their hip yet understated style of dress to their preference for vinyl and tape reels. It's not nostalgia. It's who they are.
"The term 'retro' means you're trying to be like something in the past," explains bassist Gian. "I believe that we're just doing what we do. It's the only way we know how to sound. That's the way we like to sound."
Someone born the year Hendrix died is now old enough to have kids in college, and Amplified Heat is three albums into a career that has yet to measure up to its sheer talent and blistering live shows. The band is excited about writing the follow-up to 2007's How Do You Like the Sound of That, drummer Chris insisting that the siblings' musicianship is stronger than it's ever been. He contrasts the rush of the threesome's early days with its current, more pragmatic attitude.
"Everything's like brand new, and you're out to prove yourself, but at the same time, you've done it. Playing has become automatic."
"Back in the Sixties, being in a band was like having a job; you find jobs here and there, you got paid," points out Gian. "Now it's what everybody wants to be, and anybody will play for free. And it makes it hard for us, because we want to make a living off of it."
He's got a point. Rock & roll this great is worth paying for.