The new God Street Wine album "Red" wasn't intended to be an album, said vocalist/guitarist Aaron Maxwell.
"We had just converted our house into a studio to play and rehearse in a comfortable situation," said Maxwell during a phone call from his hotel in Atlanta, Ga. "We recorded a lot of tunes to see how it would go. . . . As we kept playing, all of a sudden, the songs melded into an album."God Street Wine will play for two nights at the Zephyr, 301 S. West Temple, Thursday and Friday, May 23-24. Doors open at 7 p.m.
Like its the new record, God Street Wine's recording career came together without a conscious effort.
"We started playing together four years ago just to play," remembered Maxwell. "At first we did try to get a recording contract, but when that didn't happen, we just decided to gig around."
As the nights went on, the band realized the music was becoming a livelihood. And soon, God Street Wine was playing the hottest music spots in New York City. After three albums, the band eventually earned the title "best unsigned band in the country" and appeared in Pollstar, Billboard and Rolling Stone magazines.
Geffen records became the first big label to sign the band after hearing audio clips on the Internet Underground Music Archive.
The music of God Street Wine isn't as abrasive as Hole and Veruca Salt. In fact, there are so many different angles to its music, no one can really pigeonhole God Street Wine.
"We all have different influences," said Maxwell, whose father was a jazz trumpet player and mother a singer/music teacher. "Those influences are fun to apply and try. When we do this, our job doesn't get boring.
"I grew up in a musical household and thought it was normal playing music," Maxwell continued. "I was taught to push myself musically and that is exactly what the band is doing now."
After the deal with Geffen dropped off, Mercury Records picked up God Street Wine and gave the band the creative freedom it needed to complete "Red."
"Red" is a collage of styles ranging from the Cajun slide of "Chop!" - a song recorded the first time the band played it - the reggae of "When the Sun Turns to Red" and the funky "RU4Real?" - which Maxwell wrote in the front seat of the touring van.