Amplified Heat
Gig Seeker Pro

Amplified Heat

Austin, Texas, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2004 | SELF

Austin, Texas, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2004
Band Rock Blues Rock


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Fricke's Picks: Chris Whitley, Tall Firs and Amplified Heat"

Whitley's low-to-the-ground growl and the bittersweet whine of his National steel guitar resonate with the hardened wisdom and fighting optimism of a man who lived the blues too well but also lived to tell about it. "Where can the heretic call home?" Whitley asks with blunt exhaustion in his title song, then answers the question with stark, moving gratitude in a Delta-funk spin on Prince's "Forever in My Life." Lang sings and tangles on slide with Whitley like a blood relative, but this record is Whitley's triumph -- a gritty lesson in how to make the most of each day and breath you have left.

A gently uplifting highlight of my recent South by Southwest weekend in Austin, Texas, was an afternoon set at the record store End of an Ear by Tall Firs -- singer-guitarists Dave Mies and Aaron Mullan and drummer Ryan Sawyer. The music was a welcome, restorative peace amid the big rock and nonstop promo: a psychedelic-folk tangle of spider-leg-guitar arpeggios and hazy, bong-room singalong harmonies. The Brooklyn trio's debut album, Tall Firs (Ecstatic Peace), is even more of a whisper, like Sonic Youth's Daydream Nation reduced to nothing but daydream. There are flashes of Pavement's ragged acid romanticism in bare-minimum space-outs like "Go Whiskey," "The Breeze" and "Soldier On," but also plenty of the genuine San Francisco article, particularly the '67 levitation of Jefferson Airplane's "Comin' Back to Me" and the compact sparkle of the Grateful Dead's original seven-inch version of "Dark Star."

Another trio that knocked me out at SXSW, with more extreme prejudice, was Amplified Heat -- Hispanic-American brothers Jim, Gian and Chris Ortiz on guitar and vocals, bass and vocals, and drums, respectively -- who destroyed a smaller crowd than they deserved with a boogie-war vengeance. Rock dreams that quickly came to mind: Stevie Ray Vaughan fronting the Groundhogs; ZZ Top with Blue Cheer running in their veins. Recommended until Amplified Heat release a new full-length album this year: their 2003 EP Amplified Heat (Arclight), recently reissued with a new mix and sounding a lot like what blew me back that night. - Rolling Stone


Last month, we made our way to Nashville's Mercy Lounge to catch our pals RG3 in support of San Fran psych-garage-punk pioneers, Thee Oh Sees, for their incredibly sweaty, no-holds-barred, raw power, sold-out show. It was the least we could do to keep our minds off the suffocating political twilight zone we found ourselves in. A dutiful reminder that power is in the hands of those who create, not those who govern—I digress.

Mid-break, after a valiant performance by the Ron Gallo trio, including a badass Stooges cover, we attempted to hang by the train tracks, as one does. As I reached for the door, an incomparable, sonic-boom of sleezed-out, bluesy, amped-up, pool hall rock and roll washed over the room. It was transformative, heavy, and real. I remember yelling over the reverb, "This sounds like Skynyrd AND Motör Head!" In disbelief, thinking this is why I live in Nashville, among others, I took my hand off the door to the patio and elbowed my way back to the front.

Making my way, I came upon exactly who I was hoping. Three brothers, Jim, Gian, and Chris Ortiz from Austin, TX, looking and sounding like reincarnations of their idols, promising 1977 rock and roll was back in southern graces again.

Self-proclaimed as the "loudest band around" who play "rock and roll the way it's supposed to be played," I had to know more about the Austin-based band. Check out my interview with Jim, guitar and vocals, and Gian Ortiz, bass and vocals, on their story, sound, forthcoming record, and why you should know Amplified Heat. -LE



Whose idea was it to start a band?

JIM: It was my idea to start a band sometime in Houston, summer of ‘88.

How old were you when you guys started playing together?

JIM: I was about 11 and Chris was about 6.

GIAN: I joined when I was 12. Jim and Chris always jammed together. I always wanted to join, but had to prove myself, I guess. But the band didn't really take shape ‘til we all were in Austin by 1999.

Do you come from a musical family?

JIM: Not really, [our] parents loved to listen to and dance to music all the time, but it was mainly spanish music, you know—Salsa, Cumbia, Samba, and Tangos, as well as Mexican music.

GIAN: Our parents enjoyed music, Mom can sing beautifully, but never pursued it. Music was on a lot, played it all the time on the record player—60s and 70s Salsa and Cumbia—but my brothers were already listening to rock and roll by the time I came around.


Where did you grow up? Did that have a significant influence on starting a band and your style of music?

JIM: We lived in La Puente, California. We moved to Houston, Texas in 1987; there we discovered blues and early ZZ Top, and we actually started to learn to play music.

GIAN: The bulk of our upbringing was Houston, via La puente, CA. I think California radio turned us onto the classic rock, deep cuts of Hendrix, Beatles, Stones, Animals, Sabbath, etc. Houston definitely had blues more available, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Albert Collins, Hound Dog Taylor, Johnny Winter, Freddy King, John Lee Hooker—you know the bit. So, yeah, both places had a good deal to do with our musical direction. We definitely tend to play in the vein of our influences.

Are you guys self-taught on your instruments?

GIAN: Yeah. We were in a strict household, so we weren't the kind of kids that would be allowed to go to our friend’s houses. We were always stuck at home. I think we all were naturally inclined to musical instruments, especially the kind that made rock and roll. So once we got ahold of guitars and drums, we were constantly learning off our favorite albums. Before that, we did air drums and such.

Whose idea was it to move to Austin?

JIM: Chris moved to Austin in 1997, I moved there the following year, then Gian the year after that. Austin offered us the opportunity to play actual gigs.

GIAN: Chris moved there first in ‘97. He started playing around 6th street at the blues jams and other blues gigs. I remember he called me soon after being here telling me, "Dude, this place is it. You and Jim need to move out here."

amplified-heat-original-fuzz-amber-jane-davisAmplified Heat in Nashville. Photo by Amber Jane Davis

How did you hook up with Thee Oh Sees?

GIAN: A few years back during SXSW, we were playing at a restaurant patio, Botticelli's. I help book the day shows there, so, naturally, I had Amplified Heat on the bill. A friend of mine is friends with Dwyer, so he brought him out to see us. Apparently, John enjoyed it very much, and bought our records. I didn't know who he or Thee Oh Sees were. The next night, I was playing a show downtown and another friend who works the door at a venue called Beerland stops me and says, "Dude, John Dwyer of Thee Oh Sees was blown away by you guys and won't shut up about ya. They are playing here [Beerland] tonight. It'll be packed, but I'll get you in." So, after my show I went there. Sure enough, there's a line out the door and he ushers me in, they were set up on the floor. I clawed my way in front of both drummers, had people falling on top of me. One of the best shows I'd ever been to in my life at that point—I think I met him after; met Brigid, Mike, and Petey, they were all so sweet, and our friendship started there. He randomly sent me copies of obscure 60s psych rock. He has been very kind to help us get good gigs in California, and now recently this tour. He also recorded us live in San Francisco this past spring. Castle Face Records release pending...

Was that your first time playing in Nashville?

JIM: First time since 2007.

GIAN: No. I don’t remember exactly when or where—I just remember it was horrible, I blocked everything else out. So, we are grateful that we got a chance to come back at a better venue on a fantastic bill.

What do you think about playing in Nashville compared to Austin?

JIM: I loved it!

GIAN: It's definitely not the same. [Mercy Lounge] and especially the bill allowed us to be in front of the right crowd for us. Without that, I think we would have had a different experience.

What are you guys working on now?

JIM: We’re working on [our] next album.

GIAN: New LP. In January we are heading to Cincinnati to record with Zach Gabbard of the Buffalo Killers. It will be nice to get out of Austin and all its everyday distractions and dive into a new recording. We will be tracking at the legendary Herzog Studio space in downtown Cincinnati. Lots of King Records recordings, as well as some of Hank Williams' best-known work, were tracked at this space. It has a cool vibe and sound.

What excites you most about your forthcoming record?

JIM: That it will be our first record since 2010!

GIAN: It’s always exciting to record, just to make the new tunes into final works of music is exciting—they last forever.

Tone-wise, what’s your favorite recording setup?

JIM: My setup is basically what I use on stage, Fender Strat through a pair of 60s Fender Bassman, 50s heads, and Marshall 4x12 cabs.

GIAN: My rig at the moment consists of two Fender Bassman 135 heads, and one stack of late 60s Fender Showman cabinets (2x15 - JBL E series) and a Marshall stack with 15's in them as well, so, eight 15's. But for the recording, I'll just need one of my Fender cabs. I like to capture my natural tone, I dig any mic that will grab the growl and low end of my rig. One day I'd like to try the "White Elephant" trick the Beatles used on "Rain" and "Paperback Writer." Using a 15" speaker in reverse, making it into a microphone and lining it up with the speaker in my cab; perhaps this can be my opportunity!

amplified-heat-nashville-original-fuzz-amber-jane-davisAmplified Heat in Nashville. Photo by Amber Jane Davis

What's one album or artist that you’ve been listening to lately?

JIM: I mainly listen to a lot of blues, Hendrix, and Cream.

GIAN: Fuzz II—that's a great record, it's super heavy. To me, it’s blending the influences of Grand Funk Railroad, Sabbath, and Blue Cheer; the tones as well, so organic. It’s a real rock and roll record for me!

What city has the best burrito?

JIM: Los Angeles!

GIAN: Budapest.

Best tour you’ve been on and why?

JIM: Last tour opening for Thee Oh Sees!

GIAN: This last one. Playing with Thee Oh Sees is just an incredible experience! They were on fire every night, that makes you wanna play better. We couldn’t suck!

What was your first instrument? Do you still play it?

JIM: Drums, yes I still play drums from time-to-time.

GIAN: The drums—I do here and there, more in jam settings, but I wouldn’t mind getting some pointers from my brother, and other drummers in Austin, and eventually pick up some drumming gigs.

Any pre-show rituals?

JIM: Smoke two hits of weed, a shot of Jameson whiskey, and away we go!

How loud is too loud?

JIM: Never too loud!

GIAN: When it hurts. It could be mainly because of shitty tone, or shitty playing, at which point any volume of that is too loud.


Where’s the best record store in Austin?

JIM: End of an Ear.

GIAN: I personally like Antone's Records, they have more of what I’m into—60s, 70s blues, jazz, rock and roll.

What influences your music?

JIM: Life, sex, automobiles.

GIAN: My mood; I lean towards writing rockers, something that'll make you wanna move.

Where do you get inspiration from?

GIAN: I can't say it comes from one place, it could be a current personal situation, or seeing a show, listening to something in passing, or going on a run stoned and having ideas scramble in my brain.

When are you playing Nashville again?

JIM: Soon!

Anything else you’d like to promote?

JIM: Be cool to each other! Try and be happy! Jimi Hendrix is God!

GIAN: AMPLIFIED HEAT!! - Original Fuzz

"Amplified Heat, Duel, Greenbeard, Tia Carrera"

Amplified Heat, Duel, Greenbeard, Tia Carrera
Swan Dive, Jan. 4
print write a letter

Greenbeard (Photo by David Brendan Hall)
"A quick one," joked Erik Conn to an audience of 100 after Tia Carrera's second song. By then, the long-running trio had already logged 40 minutes onstage. A well-timed yelp from behind the drum kit by Conn then comprised the first and last vocal in a performance galloped forward as guitarist Jason Morales and Curt Christenson on bass conjured brisk and endless improvisational changes to metal movements set aflame in every direction to Conn's backbone rhythm.

Next, Greenbeard rocked the cold winter night with their nipples out save for drummer Buddy Hachar. The Austin trio sludged forward on distortion and dominant vocals from frontman Chance Parker, bassist Jeff Klein swaying like a proud peacock as local metalheads nodded in pleased assent. Duel followed suit by demonstrating the volume increase associated with a second guitarist.

Amplified Heat brothers Chris, Jim, and Gian Ortiz closed with high-powered jams about missing "your biscuits & gravy" and the Chupacabra blues. One woman next to the stage hyped the crowd with her dancing, eyes closed and lost in the music. Frontman Jim Ortiz leaned over and played directly to her for almost a minute, but she never saw him. That explains how locals might have missed the veteran little ol' band from Austin. - The Austin Chronicle

"Song of the Day - Amplified Heat - Big Black Smoke"

14 years beyond their initial formation, Austin-based trio Amplified Heat are still destroying live sets and demolishing stereo systems. The group’s high-intensity brand of rock and onstage energy has far from dwindled over the years and still retains the original Ortiz brother lineup – Jim Ortiz (guitar, lead vocals), Gian Ortiz (bass, backing vocals) and Chris Ortiz (drums).

Amplified Heat’s performing Sunday December 3rd – 1:00am at the Sahara Lounge as part of Saturnalia Festival and you can check out their new single, “Big Black Smoke” from the upcoming album Madera – due for release early next year. - KUTX 98.9

"Amplified Heat - On the Hunt"

Three brothers, two sets: Texas Latinate in triplicate. Amplified Heat's third LP, On the Hunt, shotguns the culmination of the little ol' local trio's decade of dues. Houston natives of Colombian decent, Jim (guitar), Chris (drums), and Gian Ortiz (bass) bleed the amps and drum mics open on an early ZZ Top-like dirt warble, the big rusty riffs of "Give It to Me" rising up from some humid metropolis in tempo-quaking destabilization. Bar rock of the basest kind, its back-molar blues and pool cue-cracking rhythms thump 'til eyes turn red. Blackout. Piston boogie "Lost" bundles 1960s/1970s psych blues into a mescaline capsule, while the abrupt gear jam of "What's It Gonna Be Will Be" shifts into Jim Ortiz's Cream-y leads, cutting through a coagulated pool of water moccasins. A vintage tube-amp solo fuses the song's gumbo of Gulf Coast soul exfoliation, "Louisiana Hobo Blues" then slumming in NOLA on an acoustic bang and twang, Jim's gut-string pluck a six-string and vocal garrote. Successor "Ain't Trying To Deny" snorts a rock & roll rail as produced by two-thirds of another local Latin brand, Omar and AJ Vallejo. "Stop, Drop, and Roll" and "Strong Arm" race neck and neck to the closing title track. - The Austin Chronicle

"Amplified Heat - How Do You Like the Sound of That (Arclight)"

Amplified Heat
How Do You Like the Sound of That (Arclight)
In 2004, Austin's Ortiz brothers were involved in an altercation on Red River that left bassist Gian and drummer Chris hospitalized with multiple stab wounds, delaying the power trio's ability to record a follow-up to their carnivorous debut LP, In for Sin. Three years later, they come out swinging for opener "Tough Guy," guitarist and vocalist Jim Ortiz taunting, "Been talkin' shit for far too long, the time has to come to fight. Let's git it on!" and following with a flurry of guitar solos from all directions. The Heat's vengeful onslaught continues with the bluesy "She Drank That Wine," new rockabilly standard "What Went Wrong," and the fiery, self-descriptive instrumental "Amplified Boogie." The Ortiz brothers never pull their punches, but drunken Bo Diddley romp "Moonshine," the panning title track, and closer "Sickness" don't quite hit the mark, struggling to kill the time between bourbon-fueled breakdowns. Though revenge is best served cold, How Do You Like the Sound of That should've amped the heat index a few degrees. - The Austin Chronicle

"Amplified Heat - In for Sin"

Amplified Heat
In for Sin (Arclight)
Break out the Jim Beam, and put away the crystal – the Ortiz brothers are gonna destroy everything. Toting the savviest name change Red River's ever seen, Amplified Heat is dying to blow your speakers. With their debut on local imprint Arclight, In for Sin, Jim, Chris, and Gian are out of the Honky and Dixie Witch shadows. Jim and Gian more than likely tossed their volume knobs years ago, and Chris beats the hell out of the kit just to garner their attention and yours. Despite a bit of wank streaming from Jim's SG, In for Sin simulates the Red River live experience on disc: hair whipping around like a tornado, Converses on stained carpet, "Can we get more Lone Stars up here?" The opening title track forays into classic Southern stomp, chauvinism included ("She gonna cook me some dinner, when my workday is done, and when I'm in the mood for some love, she gonna give me some"). Aside from the "perfect woman," IfS focuses on the important things in life: cars, drugs, drink, and money. This is rock & roll, after all. "Roadrunner" screams past at 120 mph, with "Wagon Wheel" rolling in right behind toting Motörhead and Nashville Pussy. With their blues roots showing ("Just a Junkie," "The Gunny"), mixed in with a devotion to classic rock ("Fever," "Reflections"), Amplified Heat is a swirling vortex of blood, spit, and history. Those volume knobs are hardly missed. - The Austin Chronicle



In a time where everybody has to put a label on a band to try and separate or distinguish what kind of music they play Amplified Heat adopts Lemmy from Motorhead's philosophy....ROCK AND ROLL! Emitting a truly menacing blues psych-rock sound from four massive walls of double stacked Marshall and Fender cabinets and a 1966 Ludwig drum kit in between - Amplified Heat continues the Texas tradition of pure, fearless rock and roll.

     From Cali, Colombia the Ortiz brothers have been playing music together since the early 90’s and formed Amplified Heat in 2003. Based on a tradition of bone rattling blues they take a direct approach to intense riff slinging - never pulling punches and delivering the real deal with every sonic tsunami they unleash. The band has released four full length EP’s and their next album “Madera” is due out in early 2018.

The band’s sound pulls from a variety of influences including Cream, Jimi Hendrix, Black Sabbath, Canned Heat, Motorhead, ZZ top, and Deep Purple.

Amplified Heat has shared the stage with Blue Cheer, The Black Angels, Clutch, Thee Oh Sees, Honky, Atomic Bitchwax, Kylesa, Kadavar, Ian Moore, Dead Meadow, Corky Lang’s Mountain, Buffalo Killers, Nashville Pussy, Dresden 45, and Roky Erickson amongst many others. They make multiple appearances every year at Austin’s South by Southwest Festival, have played at Ohio based Emissions from the Monolith Festival, and Oakland California’s Burger Bugaloo.

Band Members