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VPR's coverage of arts and culture in the region.

Through Community Involvement On The Road, This 'Gang Of Thieves' Gives Back

Julia Luckett Photography
Gang Of Thieves band members Nate Reit (trombone), Tobin Salas (bass guitar), Michael Reit (lead vocals / electric violin), Taylor Whipple (drums), Nick Wood (guitar). Their 'Work Together Tour' included volunteering in communities along their route.

"When you're in a band and especially when you're touring, it's like being in a big marriage." That's the take from guitarist Nick Wood, with the Burlington-based funk-rock band, Gang of Thieves.

Wood and band-mate Tobin Salas, who plays bass guitar, recently sat down with VPR, fresh off the group's Work Together tour.

The two musicians talked about how the connection they share onstage through musicianship translates to offstage and downtime, too. And they proved that during the Work Together tour, when each member of the Gang Of Thieves volunteered their time at various community projects in the towns and cities they stopped in to play.

Salas said his inspiration for being a band that gives back comes from the gigantic benefit concerts he remembers seeing when he was younger. "... I was always inspired as a kid seeing these bands playing these huge benefit shows and just giving away everything to some charity ... it's cool for me to be in a band ... where what we do can make a difference."

Salas said that coming from Vermont where he feels a strong sense of community, he and the band wanted to foster that spirit in the places they visited, where sometimes it felt it was lacking.

He said, "... traveling through all these different cities throughout the country, we just see so much negativity that we wanted to help be a positive force, to help inspire people in their own communities to help each other out. We try to do that through our music anyway ... this was a way to expand on that," Salas said.

Though the Work Together tour is officially over, the band is keeping the giving-back spirit alive by continuing its mission and encouraging others to take on volunteer projects in their own communities.

Wood and Salas said the band has recently been back in the studio recording and writing new material. Fans can expect new singles and an EP later this fall.

Gang Of Thieves will debut new music on July 28 at the Tumbledown Afterparty at Metronome in Burlington with Backup Planet from Nashville. Doors at 11 p.m.

Mary Williams Engisch is a local host on All Things Considered.
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