Stepping beyond the stereo

Some bands will travel fine on a CD. They come across well, more or less the way they intended. After all, recording is an art in and of itself.

Some bands will travel fine on a CD. They come across well, more or less the way they intended. After all, recording is an art in and of itself. However, every now and then comes along a band that requires the listener to take the next step to get the full experience of the group, beyond what spins in your stereo.

Tango Alpha Tango is one of those bands.

Nathan Trueb, along with his brother Aaron Trueb, his wife Mirabai Carter-Trueb and Walker Beckman, has structured the music of Tango Alpha Tango as a mix of rock, with both a modern and classic feel.

The Vanguard was recently able to grab Nathan Trueb and get the low down on the band.

Richard D. Oxley: When did the band start up, and how?
Nathan Trueb: The band started sometime in early 2007. I started the band after The Carolines broke up. Literally that night, I started writing songs, which became the material for Rebel Sons of Cowboys.

RO: Where did the name Tango Alpha Tango come from?

NT: The name we had originally chosen was Thick As Thieves, but that happened to be a lot of bands’ names. We decided to use the NATO phonetic alphabet to represent that name.

RO: What is a show like for the band? Is there an environment you like to set, or do you just let it happen?

NT: Playing live is one of our favorite parts about being in a band. The songs and musicianship seem to be what become entertaining to our audience. We make music that we love, and it shows when we play, whether it be the guitar solos, the improvised jams or the songs straight off the record.

We never know what is going to happen, really. Some nights we play through a set as planned, and then other nights I end up playing my guitar on the floor or break it altogether.

RO: What is your method of songwriting? Is it a band effort, or is someone the main songwriter?
NT: I write all of the music and lyrics, primarily, then I take them to the band, and everyone adds their personality to the parts. This is the process we have used, and it works so well we haven’t tried any other way.

I may write a song one night, the next we’re playing it in practice, and then that weekend we are playing it live. It’s that simple.

RO: You have one album out from last year, are there any other plans to record further?
NT: We are in the studio right now making our second record. I don’t see us being a band that takes long breaks from recording. At the rate that I am writing, I think we will be recording endlessly.

RO: What was recording Rebel Sons of Cowboys like? Were there high or low points, or aspects that were harder than you expected?

NT: Recording Rebel Sons was a painless process. We picked the songs we were going to record as we were in the studio, and it was the easiest record that I’ve been a part of making. The band was brand-new, we had never played a live show yet, and had a batch of songs and a studio, and that’s how that record came to be.

RO: You used to be in The Carolines before starting up Tango Alpha Tango, how are the bands different (aside from style)? How does the experience in both bands compare?
NT: Aaron was also in The Carolines, and in that band he sang lead. Now we’ve switched roles, whereas I sing lead in Tango Alpha Tango and Aaron plays keys/backup/percussion. I sometimes miss being just the lead guitarist, and I’m sure there are times when Aaron misses singing lead.

I think he is great at both roles, but with me writing the music, it only felt right for me to sing these songs. The sound since The Carolines has changed due to me writing the songs, they are more guitar-driven and the lyrics are more personal.

RO: If there were a sandwich made in honor of Tango Alpha Tango, what would it be called and what would it be made out of?
NT: I think it would be named after our song, “Number One Rival,” and you would get your picture on the wall if you finished it because it had something ridiculous in it, like three pounds of meat.