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Hotel Draw: Playing music for the sake of playing music

Making music is fun. At least it is for members of local band Hotel Draw. While they don’t perform with the regularity as other local bands, they’ve been one of the sleeper bands at the last two KDUR Cover Nights, banging out a couple of songs while making people wonder who they are and where they can catch them again.

Hotel Draw, who are Erik Skaggs on vocals and guitar, Marc Bourdon on bass, Brendan Trimboli on drums and Peter Marshall on keyboards, will perform a full set Saturday at the Mancos Burro Fest, the street festival celebrating all things burro.

If you go

WHAT: Mancos Burro Fest featuring music by Hotel Draw, Alex Graf’s Bluegrass Superpac.

WHEN: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

WHERE: Grand Avenue, Mancos.

TICKETS: Free admission, donations accepted.

MORE INFORMATION: Visit www.burrofest.com.

It was a simple start. Bourdon and Skaggs knew each other from college in New Mexico, both ended up in Durango and casually started playing music together. Until then Skaggs had just been playing music solo.

“Marc walked into my apartment one day with a vintage piano amp and a Telecaster with a rooster sticker on it and he was like, ‘Skaggs, I want you to play these.’ So, I did, and I was like ‘this is a cool sound.’ I vaguely have a recollection of the first time three of us, Brendan, Marc and myself, were playing in my downstairs room in Hermosa. And it was awesome,” Skaggs said. “It was the first time I played with a bass and a drummer, and it was so cool. I think right from the get-go the dynamic of three of us is awesome, because everyone works so well with everybody else. I can’t think of a time we’ve had any drama.”

Soon after, they added keyboard player Marshall to round out the band, a band that juggles making music while managing careers and raising kids. Throw playing in a band into the mix, and it turns out you’ll remain pretty busy.

“I learned a long time ago, being in a band is one of the hardest things you can do. There’s four or five personalities, there’s skill sets, there’s musical taste, work ethics, someone has to be creative, someone has to be the arranger and someone has to be the band dad, like find the practice space, book the shows, put posters up and get paid,” Bourdon said. “It’s a lot of skill sets that come together in one thing that is subjective, and a crazy, nebulous thing that comes out of the ethers that everyone can identify with. It’s one of the most complex and interesting concepts out there.”

Bands like Dawes and Dr. Dog, Wilco and The Band are influential on Hotel Draws sound, which is a glorious, rough around the edges vibe that can hint at country and garage rock, but at the end of the day, you’ll file them under straight up rock ’n roll.

“I love just leaving it at that,” Bourdon said. “Because everyone can identify with that.”

Hotel Draw is a band playing music for the sake of playing music. They’re not driven by the dollar or a career in the unpredictable music business; they’re driven by making cool sounds. It’s unpretentious and honest music made by friends who just want to play rock songs, and the occasional show. Dropping the business out of it may be the success to theirs, or any band.

“The lack of ego in the band is the most enjoyable thing,” Skaggs said. “I think we all really look forward to playing music together because we don’t do it super regularly. It’s an awesome release and it’s fun.”

“It’s that two hours a week that’s really important to everyone’s sanity,” Bourdon said. “I love watching the guys come in after a long day or long week, and everyone is super pumped when you leave because you’ve had that cathartic release.”

Bryant Liggett is a freelance writer and KDUR station manager. Reach him at liggett_b@fortlewis.edu.