When The Venditos roll into a venue, they do it big.
The humble rock band hailing from Oklahoma City doesn’t have a record deal or any sort of other financial backing, but it does enjoy a full-on tour bus, an old Greyhound that looks like the full shebang from the outside.
Inside? Well, that’s a different story. “It’s a crack house on wheels,” bassist Gabe Barham said.
Added lead singer Chris Sanders, “It’s not real nice, but it’s not that bad. We just roll with it.”
The Venditos put 60,000 miles on their old school bus — purchased for $500 — before the upgrade. They loaded cots into the new vehicle to make runs across the region and form lasting memories involving naked skateboarding, covers of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and lots of Braum’s bacon cheeseburgers.
It’s certainly made for some of the guys’ fondest moments in their respective lives, which is funny, because touring — even concerts, period — wasn’t in the cards in the beginning. Sanders — the lone original member — intended nothing of the sort when he founded the group seven years ago.
“We were going to be a band that only recorded and never played live,” he said. “That pretty much flopped.”
Much of the rest of the tenets of a project band, however, remain. Up until six months ago, The Venditos’ lineup was a revolving door with almost too many drummers to name — “We’ve got that Spinal Tap luck,” Barham said. The musical style had been similarly irregular, with music that can potentially recall anything from Queens of the Stone Age to Primus to NOFX.
“We’re not a punk band. We’re not a rock band,” Sanders said. “It’s whatever the hell we want to do.”
The shifty songs creates an odd dynamic at shows with metalheads, funk fans and mosh-pitters engaging in a strange tango to the front of the stage as each of their respective favorite songs starts to crank over the speakers. That admit tedly disjointed nature made its way onto the band’s first album, “Version 4.0.”
A yearning for consistency guided its new EP, “Secrets,” resulting in the most cohesive set of material the band has produced so far. The guys described the vibe as Sonic Youth meets Meat Puppets. Apparently, they do it well, because former Chainsaw Kitten Trent Bell — who recorded and produced the effort — was convinced this was the sound for them. The Venditos seem less so.
“Trent was kind of nudging us to keep doing this sort stuff all the time ... but we can’t get stuck in it,” Sanders said. “It was a totally different direction on this, and the next one, we’ll probably take a totally different direction again. We are trying to build a sound, but at the same time, we don’t want to be cornered.”