Trampled By Turtles returning to North Tahoe Saturday for CBC show
If you go
What: Trampled By Turtles
When: 9 p.m. Saturday, June 25
Where: Crystal Bay Casino Crown Room
CRYSTAL BAY, Nev. — For nearly a decade, Trampled By Turtles, a chart-topping bluegrass band from Duluth, Minn., has been migrating west to play shows at North Lake Tahoe’s Crystal Bay Casino.
“We’ve had a lot of good memories at that place,” Ryan Young, fiddle player of the five-piece outfit, said during a phone interview Tuesday.
Pausing, Young tacks on through laughter: “Well, they’ve all been positive memories except for one.”
It was roughly eight years ago, and Trampled By Turtles — not yet the internationally known festival-headliners they are today — had just finished playing a show inside the CBC’s Red Room.
It was then, while standing outside the tour bus, when the band — composed of Young, Dave Simonett (lead vocals, guitar), Tim Saxhaug (bass), Dave Carroll (banjo) and Erik Berry (mandolin) — was jarred with more post-show excitement than they bargained for.
“All of a sudden this guy that we don’t know busts out of his (hotel) door with a gun and is pointing it at us,” said Young. “And he’s saying, ‘If you (expletive) touch my door one more time, I’m going to (expletive) kill you!’
“We were like, ‘Whoa, buddy, whoa! That’s not us!’”
EXCITED TO BE BACK IN TAHOE
Fast-forward half an hour earlier: Trampled By Turtles’ tour manager found an inebriated drifter sleeping inside one of the bunks on their tour bus. After the drifter was swiftly kicked off the bus, he went on a shelter-seeking, door-knocking spree, Young said.
“What happened was the dude we kicked off the bus went around knocking on everybody’s door,” Young said. “It was late at night, so he’s waking people up and doing it over and over again, knocking on doors and windows and stuff. And this one guy had had enough and pulled out his gun and thought it was us for some reason.
“That was crazy,” he added, chuckling. “It makes for a good story.”
Needless to say, when Trampled By Turtles return to the North Shore this weekend, Young and his bandmates are looking forward to adding to their pile of positive memories at Crystal Bay Casino.
On Saturday, the Minnesota-based bluegrass group will bring its boot-stomping sound to the newly-expanded CBC Crown Room.
“Tahoe is a beautiful part of the country; we’re excited to be back there,” Young said. “We’ve always had really good shows there, going way back to the first times we played there. Some of those people — most of those people — didn’t know who we were, but they seemed to really like it and have a good time, and maybe they would tell their friends and the next time there would be even more people.”
CHANGING IT UP
Now, Trampled By Turtles are much more than just well known in the Tahoe region.
With seven studio albums and one live record, Trampled By Turtles, which formed in 2003, have grown into arguably the biggest folk/bluegrass band in the country. In fact, three of the band’s albums — “Palomino” (2010), “Stars and Satellites” (2012) and “Wild Animals” (2014) — have reached No. 1 spots on US Billboard charts.
Young, however, said he likes to think of Trampled By Turtles as a “rock and roll band that plays bluegrass instruments,” citing everyone from Bob Dylan — fun fact: Dylan also hails from Duluth, Minn. — to Nirvana as heavy influences.
“We got a little bit of a folk, bluegrass sound, but really the songs themselves are closer to rock and roll songs,” Young said. “Our shows tend to be high-energy and there’s a good number of fast and loud songs — dancing songs.”
Songs like the banjo-and-fiddle-driven ditties “Wait So Long,” “Victory,” and “Codeine,” among others.
“We have a bunch of slow tunes and medium speed tunes, but usually the first thing people might like about us are our fast tunes,” Young said.
The group also has a wide range of covers to pluck from, such as an acoustic rendition of “Where Is My Mind?” by the Pixies, which appears on TBT’s “Live at First Avenue” LP (2013).
“We do a different set every day,” Young said. “There will be shows where we skip an album or two, but we do play songs off of all our albums. It’s a matter of luck whether you hear the song you were hoping to hear.”
Read more about Trampled By Turtles at trampledbyturtles.com.