Meet Colfax Speed Queen – Sin, Debauchery, and Punked-Out Energy

If we’re talking pedigree of sound here, Denver’s Colfax Speed Queen is a mongrel. Their mixed bag of sinister riff-heavy, fuzzy, organ buzzy, surf, punked-out rock and roll can’t be defined but just needs to be accepted for what it is: wicked!

What’s In a Name?

CSQ take part of their name from the famed Colfax Avenue in historic Denver, a street once called  “the longest, wickedest street in America” by Playboy magazine and mentioned in Kerouac’s “On the Road”. It is known for a colorful history of sin and debauchery, and the 26 mile avenue is said to have a special energy about it. So the name fits because sin, debauchery, and especially energy are part of the CSQ ethos.

I first heard CSQ when “Not A Monkey” found its way onto a recommended Spotify playlist. The insanely hooky TV On The Radio pulse with Cramps-like trash and roll, and Stooges energy all brought together with a swirling psychedelic organ knocked me out. I immediately listened to both 2013’s Satisfaction Intended, and 2016’s Talk to Your Doctor (Heavy Dose Records) and then reached out to learn more.

CSQ recently released two smoking new tracks on a split with fellow Denver pals Ned Garthe Explosion (another band we need to check out).

Matthew Loui (guitar and vocals)
Ryan Halgren (bass)
Rob Halgren (keys)
Casey Coomer (drums)

Colfax Speed Queen has been around for a few years, give us the short version of the bands’ history.

Started as a school project years back, that’s where we met the bands first drummer. We’re on drummer number 4 now. Lot’s of ups and downs, we have come such a long way we would have never expected us to still be a band, but it totally paid off. Hear that kiddies? Quitting isn’t cool.

Tell us about your hometown scene and how CSQ fits into the scene…

Denver’s scene is full of radical homies! It’s easier to say we’ve become a staple in the local scene, but only because of all the friendly musicians. It feels rare to have such a close community of people who all play in bands.
New projects are starting all the time too, new bands moving to Denver just for music. It feels things here are gaining momentum. Keep it up Denver, let’s do this!

Tell us about your gear….
– Matt switches off between a Gibson firebird V, Fender pawn shop tele, and an Eastwood Airline. Hot Rod Deluxe amp.
– Ryan plays a KUSTOM bass amp, it is all about our vintage Kustom bass cab.
– Rob plays a Yamaha DX21, with a Yamaha B100-115 III Bass Combo Amp
– Casey has a half custom built/ half Vistalite drum kit

Describe your sound as a cocktail – what would it be called and what would be in it?

Two parts Heavy rhythm
One part eerie Garage Rock Organ
One part Shredded Fuzz guitar, that licks you just right
One part vocals, with so much style even Steve McQueen did a second take.
Five parts pure energy

If you could pick any time and place to travel back to for music, where would you go and what year would it be….?

Any time before the DEA was established.. but after amphetamines became a thing.

If you could tour with any band/artist right now, who would that be and why?

Sweet Spirit we just found out about them, which is silly because we’re huge ‘A Giant Dog’ fans. Their new album St. Mojo is so good, we can’t stop listening to Pamela.

Give us your 10 song playlist for the tour van/bus/plane?
We scored some sweet tapes this past tour:
– Los Saicos
– Yaz
– Ty Segall
– Goat
– The Crystals
– Temptations
– Hasil Adkins
– Whitney Houston
– Dazz Band
– Natural Born Killers Soundtrack

When you’re not playing and have some time off, where could we find you…

Working.. reality bites. We also DJ, we love to dance. Dancing is a huge stress reliever.

What’s up for the rest of 2017?

We’re really excited about Project Pabst (note: this show was on May 20th and I’m really late posting this). We get to play after Ice Cube! After that, the Underground Music Showcase, and summer time focusing on writing and recording a new album.

CSQ – Bandcamp

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Domestic now, but spent early to late 80s playing drums in a hair metal band in Toronto. Since then I've lost the hair and have found new ways to scratch the rock and roll itch.

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