Waylon Speed at Heavyfest

Waylon Speed Words by Ben Fox. Photo courtesy Waylon Speed.

Waylon Speed is a band that lives up to the awesomeness of their name, and they have been making a big name for themselves locally as well as up and down the east coast these last few years. They have been on tour in support of their latest album, 'Valance,' rockin’ all over the place from tiny West Glover, Vermont to the big cities of Cleveland and Chicago. Named for guitarist Reverend Chad Hammaker’s son (who was given his name in honor of Waylon Jennings and personally chose the nickname “Speed” after seeing the movie Speed Racer when he was 3), these makers of “Underground Outlaw Dirt Rock” include the aforementioned Hammaker on guitar and vocals, Justin Crowther on drums and vocals, Noah Crowther on bass and vocals, and Kelly Ravin on guitars and vocals. Their style is varied and eclectic, none of the members wanting to put a label on their music.

The four make music together because they love it, and they love the interaction they get with fans and critics alike. “One of the most important things we try to convey is that we are just four guys with families and friends that support us in so many ways and a burning desire to play music,” Hammaker says. “(We’re) not a bunch of jerks who don’t want to listen to what other people say…We want the opposite; to listen to them. Without them, we sink!”

Not that they need to deal with a lot of criticism. On the contrary, Waylon Speed picks up new fans everywhere they play. “The last few months have been going really well,” Hammaker says. “Afterwards people come up and want to talk and usually want to buy some merch.”

WS also gives back to their local community, recently celebrating Record Store Day by selling all of their releases for just $6, with the proceeds going to benefit Pure Pop Records in Burlington. You can catch them at Heavyfest, the Big Heavy World benefit show, on May 18 at Magic Hat Brewery, as they finish up their recent tour with a few select shows this summer. You can visit them online at http://waylonspeed.blogspot.com/p/the-band.html, as well as follow them at all of the social network sites.