Winter Park / Live Music: U.S. Pipe – The band behind the curtain
September 26, 2008
Colorado band U.S. Pipe makes its debut appearance in Grand County tonight, bringing its positive energy and universal sound to the Winter Park Pub with some “good ol’ funky music.”
Described as “a real diverse set of colorful characters whose combined energies make for a live performance unlike any other,” band members are Chris “Citrus” Sauthoff, Kurt Rosenbecker, Chris Murphy, Mike Chiesa, Missy “bubbles Johnson” Gutreter, Sherryce Emery, and Azma Holiday.
Sauthoff plays lead guitar for the band and sings lead vocals, falling in love with the instrument at such a young age, the guitars were taller than he was (the first guitar he bought (later) was a ’72 blonde Stratocaster he named Isabella after a Jimi Hendrix song and a girl he met in Malaga, Spain). Johnny Cash and Doug Kershaw drew him in (to guitar and fiddle respectively) and a makeshift family band helped him pursue his dream.
His skill set also includes a one-year study of the sitar in India, violin, mandolin, and “a wee bit o’ keys and banjo.” Rosenbecker plays bass, Murphy is the drummer, Chiesa plays sax, and Gutreuter and Emery lend vocals ” as does Holiday who also serves as emcee.
The band’s connection began when founder Sauthoff auditioned for a Denver-area band in 2005. Upon hearing that he was the stage manager and guitarist with George Clinton and the P-Funk Allstars 1995-1997 (and returning in 2000, officially resigning in 2007), the band “shifted focus and the Pipe project began.”
In the following months their collective vision took shape. The name United or Universal Sound Pipe reflects Sauthoff’s idea that “we are opening ourselves up to let the music play us. … we just open up a worm hole and let the vibe flow through.”
U.S. Pipe headlined at Herman’s Hideaway for its debut show Sept. 1 of that year and just under three years later, as part of the annual Film on the Rocks series Aug. 8, the band performed before the screening of “Purple Rain” at Red Rocks Amphitheatre. The opportunity, which Murphy says was “a beautiful thang,” earned U.S. Pipe a Westword nomination as Denver’s Best Funk Band for a second year in a row.
Holiday, “the cat that reveals the smokescreen,” said everything changed for him with music.
“I believe that I was always supposed to either play music, or be involved in it some way,” he said. “It only takes one person to spark the fire for positive change.”
Murphy speaks for the whole band when he says it wants to leave something behind that people will always remember.
“I want to help people feel good, help heal ’em, leave all the bad things out there behind for a while,” he said.