Nearly a decade ago, in a basement in Boulder, you might have found Demi Demitro strumming away on a plastic guitar with bright-colored buttons instead of strings and frets. It was Guitar Hero 5—a video game that Demi, along with her two older siblings, John Demitro and Lulu Demitro, got pretty good at. But a few years later John and Lulu formed the band Bandits, and a thirteen-year-old Demi soon found herself watching her older siblings rock real stages.
Apparently, Demi wanted in the action.
At age 17, Demi and her brother started a bluesy, heavy-rock band: the Velveteers. Demi tackles lead-vocals and guitar while John plays the drums, and since 2014, this brother-sister duo has brought high-powered performances to stages in Boulder, Denver, and even the United Kingdom. This summer, the Velveteers are a hot ticket for festivals in the Mile High City. The band is playing the Denver Deluxe festival, the Westword Music Showcase, and the Underground Music Showcase.
On top of that, Demi says they will release a new track sometime in the next few weeks in between those performances. Most exciting, though, the band will release its first EP (name pending), which will be produced at Boulder’s Coop Studios.
All of this—booking shows, recording studio time, setting up multiple vinyl releases, and more—has been made easier thanks to John and Lulu’s experience in the music industry.
“When I started I barely knew how to play guitar, let alone how to go about promoting our music in the industry,” Demi says. “So it’s been great to have the advice from people who have been here before. Not to mention, John is amazing at pretty much any instrument he touches.”
Their sound has a rough, unrefined aesthetic—think: distorted guitar riffs, lo-fi vocals, and a raucous percussion section—and after watching them perform live, it was no surprise to hear that Demi and John spend much of their time listening to bands such as Queens of the Stone Age, Thee Oh Sees, The Kills, and Boulder’s Rose Hill Drive. In fact, Demi’s love for Rose Hill Drive is something that goes back to her Guitar Hero days, back in the basement of her family’s home. At that time, she could play her favorite track, Rose Hill Drive’s “Sneak Out,” on the hardest difficulty.
Now she shreds on an actual guitar. And the real guitarist from Rose Hill Drive, Daniel Sproul, is producing her first EP. Keep your eyes peeled for this one.