Arc Angels, the Austin, Texas-based all-star group formed in the wake of Stevie Ray Vaughn’s death, are ready to take full flight again.
After playing together periodically during the past seven years, the band plans to release a DVD this year, tour extensively — including two appearances during this month’s South By Southwest music festival and a May run with Eric Clapton in England — and start work in its first album in 17 years.
“We feel like we have unfinished business here, and it always feels right when we’re together,” guitarist Doyle Bramhall II tells Billboard.com. “The chemistry is sort of undeniable when we get together. We really enjoy playing with one another.”
Arc Angels formed during the early ’90s, following fellow Texas hero Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Aug. 27, 1990 death a helicopter crash in East Troy, Wisc. Vaughan’s Double Trouble Rhythm Section — drummer Chris Layton and bassist Tommy Shannon — joined forces with Bramhall and Charlie Sexton at the Austin Rehearsal Center (ARC), which gave the group its name. But after one well-received album, 1992’s “Arc Angels,” the group broke up in 1994 — partly, Bramhall acknowledges, due to his heroin addiction.
Bramhall says the DVD, which includes concert footage shot in 2005 during concerts at Stubb’s and Antone’s in Austin as well as a documentary, will offer a frank look at Arc Angels rise, fall and rebirth. “It just sort of blew up very quickly,” he explains. “We were having a lot of success rapidly, and there was a lot of stress created by that. And I was at the time very into self-sabotage, so it was sort of doomed from the beginning, unfortunately.”
Bramhall will be stepping away from his current employer, Eric Clapton, to play with Arc Angels this spring and summer. The group is also recording a pair of new songs for the DVD, and it plans to return to the studio in the fall.
“We’re going to write as much as we can…over the next four, five months and see what we have at the end of the summer,” Bramhall says. “We’re all really happy. There’s not that many opportunities in bands to get that kind of second chance to actually see it through, ’cause most people don’t get along by this point. We’ve all become really great friends and just want to go out and tour and see where we can take this.”