Adventures with Vultures wishes he could thank Freddie Mercury.
The Plymouth indie folk-rock singer-songwriter credits the late Queen frontman with inspiring his new single, “Youth & Danger,” which blows past the traditional 3.5-minute mark.
“I recently watched the ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ movie, and they were telling Freddie Mercury how the song, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody,’ was way too long to be a single,” said Matt Sauter, aka Adventures with Vultures. “He’s like, ‘Fuck you, if I want a 15-minute single, then I’m going to put a 15-minute single out.’ Then, I was thinking about ‘Youth & Danger,’ and I said I’m just going to make it one long song.”
Adventures with Vultures’ latest single, the alt rock, indie folk-tinged “Youth & Danger,” clocks in at 7.5 minutes and originally started as two separate songs. During live shows, Sauter and his bandmates brother Dan Sauter (bass), Jon Staten (drums) and Jimmy Showers (guitar) would merge both songs since they’re in the same key.
“The first part of the song, ‘Youth,’ is about my grandma. I wrote that song about a week after she passed away, and it was one of those songs that took me not even 30 minutes to write,” Sauter said. “I also decided to write a song, ‘Danger,’ about how I was growing up with drinking, smoking, partying and girls. My brother is in the band, and he was like, ‘Blend the two together, man,’ and the name stuck.”
A gorgeous track, “Youth & Danger” opens with a quiet acoustic guitar solo while a slide guitar echoes in the background. This complementary guitar work sets the stage for a quiet, reflective tune as Sauter sings in a raspy voice, “Well, heaven’s gates won’t let me in/When I die I’ll guarantee they’ll sing so they can come down.”
A set of quiet, delicate cymbals crash in response to Sauter’s solemn tone – “They married young and they raised their kin/They had two young daughters and my mother Kim/And a son named Joseph/But oh I cry every time I sing this song.”
About halfway through the song, Sauter seamlessly blends “Youth” with “Danger” as foot-stomping basslines, pulsating drums and vibrant guitars sonically bring a ray of hope. In a sense, Sauter’s grandma has passed the proverbial musical torch to her grandson.
“My mom’s side has been super emotional about the song, especially the ‘Youth’ part,” said Sauter, whose grandma passed away in late 2017. “The second half of the song, ‘Danger,’ reminds my friends of a Vance Joy record and how the drums are constant the whole time.”
Meanwhile, Sauter embraces his younger, dangerous side on the second half of the track and sings, “Endless summer/Junkyard fights/And girls with blond hair kept me up all night/I know a thing or two/And it’s never kiss and tell.” Lyrically, the song is reminiscent of a Kings of Leon track while the arrangements draw influence from Mumford & Sons’ recent alt rock transformation.
“Youth & Danger” also serves as Adventures with Vultures follow-up single to “Back to Normal,” which dropped in March. Sauter worked with Jake Rye of Social Recording Company in Adrian to produce and mix both tracks.
“We’re going to keep releasing singles every two to three months, and we’re going to do five or six singles,” Sauter said. “Then, we’ll go back into the studio and record four more songs that no one has heard and then release all 10 of the songs on vinyl.”
Originally, Adventures with Vultures started as an emerging indie folk-rock solo act for Sauter, who released his brilliant, introspective four-song debut EP, “Junction,” in 2017.
Sauter expanded the project into a full band after playing a growing roster of live dates in Michigan and going on his first national headlining tour last year.
Adventures with Vultures will perform a series of upcoming live shows this month, including a July 30 set at The Blind Pig in Ann Arbor with Michigan Rattlers and Brother Elsey.
“We’re the band that people are just now starting to really hear about, and we’re getting on their radar,” Sauter said. “We have shows popping up right now, but we’re also trying to focus on recording as much as we can.”