Demi Demitro and Baby Pottersmith, singer-guitarist and co-drummer in the local rock trio the Velveteers, have been mostly inseparable since bonding over a reggae show at the Fox Theatre they both attended (and hated) during high school. Within a few months, the two Boulder natives were making music together and engaging in shenanigans like trying to recreate the creepy cover of Black Sabbath’s self-titled 1970 debut.
“We literally spend every day together,” Demitro says. “When I first met Baby at that show at the Fox, I just had an instant knowing that they were going to be someone incredibly important in my life. I think having a creative relationship and a creative partnership, finding someone that you actually have that chemistry with, it can be a once-in-a-lifetime thing. I’ve always cherished being able to work with Baby, and we’re also just best friends.”
“I try to never take it for granted,” adds Pottersmith. “I’ve just never met someone like Demi, who I feel so connected to, and we always have something to talk about.”
Along with co-drummer Jonny Fig, Pottersmith and Demitro have been touring the U.S. and Europe incessantly in recent years, pausing only during the lockdown of 2020, when things actually kicked into high gear for the band. That’s when the trio was discovered by Dan Auerbach (the Black Keys), who signed the outfit to his Easy Eye Sound label and produced its debut album, Nightmare Daydream.
Although the group is known for its explosive live shows, which often feature band members crowd-surfing with their instruments, Pottersmith says the focus is always on the music.
“Everything that we do at our live show is always to bring it back to Demi’s songwriting and the song,” he says. “Whether it’s us bringing our instruments into the crowd, or any gimmick that we do — even the double-drum thing as a whole — it’s always to bring the attention back to the heart of it all, which is the song. Because that’s what it’s about for us, and that’s what to me makes the band ultimately special … Demi’s songwriting.”
After touring as openers recently for bigger acts like the Smashing Pumpkins, the Black Keys and Greta Van Fleet, a homecoming of sorts will take place for the Velveteers at the Fox Theatre on Saturday, Jan. 21.
“I remember our first time ever playing at the Fox,” Demitro says. “We had just started the band, and we were playing this battle of the bands, and the audition was at the Fox Theatre. We were so nervous, and it kind of came full-circle, because that’s where we met. Even just doing that first little thing at the Fox was a big deal to us, and several years later actually being able to headline the Fox, it definitely feels cool. We’ve seen so many cool bands there that we grew up listening to.”
Demitro, whose brother and sister (John and Lulu) front the fierce Boulder hard-rock band Pink Fuzz, says she and Pottersmith bonded over the local rock as teenagers and “grew up in families that were very into rock ‘n’ roll.”
“Baby’s dad would literally follow the Who around on tour,” she says. “We both kinda grew up with it, and everyone in my family is a musician and got me super into rock music — and back in the early 2000s, there was a decent rock scene in Boulder. I think just getting to see bands like Rose Hill Drive really inspired us.”
Nightmare Daydream finds producer Auerbach attempting to capture not only the high energy of the Velveteers on record but also Demitro’s gigantic guitar sound, which is almost a band unto itself. Demitro, for her part, is modest when asked how she created such a wall of sound with one instrument.
“I’m still trying to figure out my guitar tone, if I’m being honest. When we first started the band, I knew I wanted it to be a two-piece, so I kind of went for playing a baritone guitar, just [to] get a bass-y sound. When I started playing guitar I just really liked being loud, playing through fuzz pedals and just getting something really heavy,” she says. “I’ve played through bass amps and I’ve played through both a guitar amp and a bass amp, and now I’m back to just playing through two amps. I really like playing in a way that incorporates a lot of rhythm-guitar playing and then also some lead stuff, so for me that involves a lot of octave pedals to get all those layers.”
Nightmare Daydream, and the Velveteers’ bombastic live shows, might convince listeners that the trio is cemented in a goal to rock hard and take no prisoners, but Demitro says more elegant tunes, such as “Brightest Light,” might be in its future.
“I have a lot of songs in that type of vein,” she says, but explains that what’s most exciting is seeing what unfolds organically as the Velveteers’ sound evolves, instead of worrying about the sophomore curse.
“I’m excited to record our second album and we’re just in the beginning stages of writing and doing demos. I think anything that we do, just because it’s the three of us, is gonna sound like the Velveteers. I think within that there’s kind of endless possibilities to create and do something different.”
ON STAGE: The Velveteers with Shady Oaks and The Nova Kicks. 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 21, The Fox Theatre, 1135 13th St., Boulder. $25