Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Jagged Cross Explored

Before I go on, the new song for the late 2010/early 2011 record I couldn't remember yesterday is called Why Does Evil Rule? It's totally new, we haven't played it live. Don't know why I couldn't remember it while writing yesterday's post, I love the song.

I thought I'd jot down a few words about the song Jagged Cross, the first track on our LP we will release in April, Hammer Meets Fire. It's also the first song from the record we've posted on our MySpace page and on victorbravo.com. We usually play it these days as the opener to our live set - it seems to have a punishing sort of rhythm that sets the tone of our energy well live.

So I'm going to tell you about some of my process in coming up with the lyrics, but I think sometimes it's good for folks not to know much about what was going on for the songwriter. I think sometimes in that way, people can keep the song meaning whatever it means to them, without having to impose what they heard the songwriter was thinking/feeling on top of that.

So if you want to keep yourself from knowing, stop reading now! You've been warned. I'm writing this for the people who express interest in knowing more about a song than just what they hear on the record and read in the lyrics.

One thing about my lyric writing in general before I go on. I don't ever sit down and logically, intellectually produce words from my brain and slap them into a song. It may seem this way as I talk about them here, but this really is an almost after-the-fact exploration of where in my mind the words might have come from. Most times, lyrics are just sort of bubbling around in the back recesses without my conscious knowledge. Then at some time that is almost always a surprise to me, they seem to pour out like water from a faucet. They might come all at once or in pieces over time, but I never feel like I'm controlling them into existence.

The lyrics really began for me with some of my thoughts and feelings about Kurt Cobain and his suicide. And like most lyrics, I think these started with ideas about Cobain but then really became about a character who could be Cobain, or me, or lots of people. So I might reference Cobain a lot here but really it's bigger than that. I've read several books about Nirvana, Cobain's life and his death. His music affected me deeply while he was alive and continues to affect me deeply to this day. His suicide affected me very deeply when it happened and for quite some time afterward. And reading about his life and his suicide since his death has also had a big impact on me.

It seems that Cobain, like many of us, carried this feeling that his life was not good enough somehow, and he needed something - money, fame, awards, a fancy job title, better relationships - to feel like he was okay, valid as a person. But in Kurt Cobain - I'm paraphrasing and maybe oversimplifying here - I see someone who got everything he wanted, and yet that didn't satisfy this inner longing he had. Instead, he seemed less happy and drove himself deeper into addiction. I've observed several people over the years work hard for something, and when they finally get it, they sabotage it or somehow return it. I've even done this myself in certain instances at certain points in my life.

So in some people, there's this crazy idea, "I'd be happy if only I had [insert item]," but the reality is that honestly we aren't equipped to handle what we want. Anyone on earth would probably need years of working on themselves in order to accept the fame and attention Cobain began to get in overwhelming quantities so quickly in his musical career, and to handle that attention in an emotionally healthy way.

So the first verse is really about Cobain and his suicide:

A cold bullet/in the night
Venom in/ your veins

Cobain shot himself full of heroin and then shot himself in the head with a shotgun.

Those who/looked to you
Reviled by/your stain

This is really about me and people who looked to Cobain as a hero or anti-hero and felt so angered by his self-inflicted exit. Today I try my best not to judge others' life decisions too much. But at the time I felt pretty damn judgmental. I knew he had a lot of personal issues to deal with but really, here was someone who was saying so much as an artist that I identified with and that resonated with me. He became hugely successful, famous and wealthy. And his response was to check out, and in my view at the time, bail on the people who loved and supported his music. It left me with a dissonance - someone I looked up to had died, which filled me with sadness. But I was also angry at his decision. The two emotions seemed at odds with one another.

Awful screams/in the night

Cobain had a very troubled childhood.

Blood and fire/at first light

Another reference to Cobain's suicide, but playing off the possible similarity between the emotional violence he experienced as a child and the physical violence he wreaked on himself in ending his own life.

The second chorus is expanding on this theme of Cobain, as he found out the hard way that fame and fortune weren't the keys to solving his inner, personal problems:

So luscious/and so tempting

(as fame and fortune so often are)

The poison apple/is waiting

(I love it when I can combine two things like the Snow White tale and the Adam and Eve story from the Bible.)

Behind the skin lies/what's in store for us
Behind the skin lies/what's in store for us

You can read this either way depending if you're going the Snow White or the Adam and Eve route. The attractive lure can lead to unwanted consequences (Cobain's suicide, Snow White's induced sleep, Adam & Eve's exile from the garden) but can also lead to illumination (Adam & Eve being granted awareness and more self-direction over their lives).

All you had/you never earned

This was my interpretation of how Cobain might have felt and how others sometimes feel - if they harbor inner insecurity but then achieve great things. There's a feeling of "I don't deserve this" I've observed.

The sky is gone/the sea is burned

I think the world for Cobain, after the success of the Nevermind record, changed forever and would never have many of the comforts of his pre-fame life.

Desperate search/for liberty
Now you've found/your enemy

I think part of Cobain's striving for artistic success was motivated by a desire to escape the pain of his past. Ironically, once the Vanity Fair article appeared accusing his wife Courtney Love of using heroin while pregnant, in his mind he had a new enemy - the national media. But really, the "enemy" as it's mentioned here, I think, is again more his own internal strife. In my observation internal strife often looks for external actors to be projected on to. This notion that the enemy was really within himself carries over to the next line:

It came/to destroy
Found the heart/of a boy

This again references back to how most of Cobain's demons probably developed when he was a child.

Foolish war/eternal
The truth so/infernal

The foolish war is really his own war against himself, the infernal truth being many possibilities: that perhaps he had the keys to his own healing within him all along, that he had repressed the pain of his childhood with drugs and in order to heal would have had to face that pain again, that line's pretty open to interpretation, I think.

So that's the inside view on Jagged Cross. Was this interesting and/or worthwhile to you, our fans? Post a comment here if you'd like and let me know. I'm curious as to whether you want to see more of this sort of thing or not.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The New Record and the New-New Record

Well the plan was to keep rehearsing the last 4 songs for the 2010/2011 record Friday night, but I got extremely ill so that didn't exactly happen. Instead in between my moans from the couch, Dan and I just chatted about the CD pre-release show Thursday night and all our upcoming plans. It was a good, useful discussion. We've got a lot of great stuff coming up soon. Our new record Hammer Meets Fire will be available on April 5, 2010, and we're hoping more and more of you will pick yourselves up a copy, and those who enjoy it will pass word of mouth along to your friends. We're relying on you, our fans, to help us spread the word on this. We sank a good chunk of dough into it, worked very hard, and had an absolute ton of first-rate, pro bono art work given to us by Isabelle Garbani. We really need word about this record to get around.

Sunday we ended up devoting the whole rehearsal to the new song Unsolicited Window. It has proven to be a tricky one to get down, but I think by the end we finally had it. That was pretty unusual for us; we tend to develop, work up and learn new songs fairly quickly. But it was actually a fascinating experience to work on this one and figure out what the tricky spots for us are, why they are tricky and how to deal with the trickiness. I think it's one of the best ones we've written, so I'm glad it seems like we've got the hang of it now and it will be ready to record soon.

So yes, update on recording for the 2010 record. We're working with our co-producer Ian Love (of the band Rival Schools) again. Ian co-produced Hammer Meets Fire with us. We enjoy working with this guy so much, and he is so amazingly talented at what he does, there was no question that we wanted to work with him again on the next record. So by this point we've laid down and mixed 8 new songs:

1. Junk
2. Angel Zero
3. Beautiful Wanderer
4. What We Deserved All Along
5. KC Writer
6. Client-Focused Behaviour
7. No Excuses
8. Party for Everyone

Most of those will be pretty unknown to most of you. Junk is one of the first Victor Bravo songs I ever wrote. We rehearsed it a lot back in the earliest 4-piece days of the band. We may have played Angel Zero a handful of times, I recall playing it at Don Pedro in Brooklyn once. We've been playing it in rehearsal for a long time and it's been one of Dan's and my favorites ever since we wrote it. KC Writer has been in the queue for a while, that one has lyrics written by our friend Victoria from Kansas City. We held off on recording it until she turned 18, which she did this October. We wanted her to be able to have full sway over copyright as a legal adult for her part of the song. It's a real fun one to play live. The rest of them are all pretty new. We played Beautiful Wanderer live just once, back at our show at The Delancey in NYC - I think that was September-ish.

The next four, which we hope to record in December, are:

9. [Oops - can't remember at this moment! I'll include next post.]
10. Impossible Reversal
11. Unsolicited Window
12. Leah's Knicks
Our Friday and Sunday rehearsals will be focused on keeping our regular set sharp for a December NYC show we hope to have with our other Kansas City friends Led Astray, and the big January tour to the Midwest and the South.

Things are also moving along with the new side project Dan and I are involved in, Atomic Shotgun. In this outfit Dan drums and I just stick to guitar. We're joined by guitarist Scott Holcomb, of the bands The Bulletproof Lincolns and Kelly Jo & The Pre-verts, and Corynne Wilder, of the band Afterdawn (which sadly broke up a while back). Dan and I love Victor Bravo with all our beings, but it's been wonderful to have another outlet for our musical creativity where we get to bounce ideas around with two more people. And we couldn't have asked for nicer, more talented, more professional people to work with. Scott and Corynne make every night of rehearsal just flat-out fun.

Our new band pages are fairly sparse, but you can check them out:

Facebook: Search Atomic Shotgun

Dan's & my next show is actually with Atomic Shotgun, the band's public debut Friday December 11 at Don Pedro in Brooklyn. We're really looking forward to that and seeing those of you who can make it there.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Hammer Meets Fire CD Pre-Release Show

Man, we had a fantastic time last night. Many thanks to Abby B., who put the show together, Lit Lounge for hosting, Dead Stars and Ben Franklin for rocking everyone's asses off and being so super-nice to us, and everyone who came out.

They're thanked in the CD jacket and I thanked them last night...but extra big thank you-s to Isabelle Garbani, who designed the artwork for the CD jacket and all our new merch, which we are so excited about because it all looks so awesome. And to our co-producer Ian Love, who helped make a 12-song record we are so immensely proud of.

The set list:
1. Jagged Cross
2. Make the Escape
3. Nuclear Palin
4. Spin Cycle
5. Into Debt
6. Alien Homeland
7. Binge
8. Motherfucker

Dan and I are also in an exciting new side project, Atomic Shotgun. You can find the band at www.myspace.com/atomicshotgun, and we're also on Facebook. We're playing Don Pedro in Brooklyn on Friday Dec. 11 with Runny, The Naked Heroes and The Whores.

Victor Bravo is now on Twitter. Follow us at victorbravoband. The Victor Bravo Facebook page is under construction and should be available soon. We'll keep you posted of course.

Plans for the biggest Victor Bravo tour yet, to help generate excitement for the release of Hammer Meets Fire in April, are in full swing. Folks in Boston and the Midwest, get ready. In January, we're comin' to you.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

119 Gallery@Lowell, Mass. Show Recap

We had such an amazing time playing such an amazing place last night. The 119 Gallery is an art gallery in Lowell, Massachusetts, run by two fantastic people, Angie and Mike. On certain weekend nights the art is moved to safe places and the gallery is converted into a music space. This was our second time playing there, and both times we have been, the positive energy flowing through this place has been just astonishing. Everyone we met and played with both times have been just wonderful.

Local punk rockers Stale Fish opened the show and played a great set. They are an all-female 3-piece that really knows how to have a good time on stage, and how to involve the audience in what they're doing. After them, Mike, one of the co-managers of 119 Gallery, took the stage in one of his bands, Big Fat Family. They're two guys, one on vocals/guitar up front and one on drums. They played half the set with Mike on drums and then switched places and played the rest of the set that way. They were really great, as well - Mike told us they've been playing together for quite a while, and it shows in the great songs and cool chemistry between the two of them.

Then it was our turn and it felt like one of our best sets ever. Right from the start, Jagged Cross helped set the tone, the crowd was really into us, and everyone in the place seemed to be having an awesome time. Spin Cycle, Binge and Motherfucker also seemed to really get the crowd going. We felt damn good when it was all over.

The full set list:

1. Jagged Cross
2. Make the Escape
3. Nuclear Palin
4. Spin Cycle
5. Better Lives
6. Night Scales
7. Alien Homeland
8. Binge
9. Transparent
10. Motherfucker

After we were done, a local band from Bellerica, Mass., Wednesday Night Militia played a totally rockin set. We met them and shared the stage with them the first time we played 119 Gallery, and we asked them to play with us this time if they were able to. They graciously agreed and we're so glad they did. We enjoyed them the first time we saw them, but Dan and I agreed they were even better and more powerful this time around. They're also just a great bunch of people, like all the bands we played with last night, who were great to chat with before and after the show.

Special thanks to everyone in Stale Fish, Big Fat Family, and Wednesday Night Militia; to Angie, Mike and 119 Gallery for being such an amazing place to play and for having us back; for all the people who showed up to watch us, including Jen and Leann who were so nice to chat with; and as always to our good friends and superfans Theresa and John, who not only came out to see us play but put us up again at their apartment and bought us dinner after the show.

Now it's time for all our New York fans to get psyched for our CD release show at Lit Lounge on Thursday, November 12. The line-up is a crazily awesome group of bands: Ex Wife, who recently played with Screaming Females at Mercury Lounge and played a totally sick set, will open the show at 9; Dead Stars, an incredible band we've played with many times before, will follow them at 9:45; ourselves, ready to rock NYC never before, will take the stage at 10:30; and a terrific new band we just met recently, Ben Franklin, will close it out at 11:30. Plus, our new CD, Hammer Meets Fire, will be available for the first time. How cool is that?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Geno's@Portland Maine Show Recap

We played Geno's at Congress Street in Portland, Maine last night and had a great time. I, Barbarian, a local thrash-punk band, opened mightily and played a great set. Then we took the stage and unleashed rock insanity.

We're especially grateful to our former college roommate Dave who showed up and our former college radio colleague Jason from the old WMEB days who also came out to see us.

Speaking of college, as luck would have it our old college friend Ben Meiklejohn, who we had not seen since we graduated, turned up fronting the band that played after us, Hoboe. They were absolutley fantastic and truly unique and original. Ben alternates betwen playing guitar/singing and playing an oboe with a wireless mic, hooked through some electronic effects. It was really awesome.

Our set list for those that are interested:

1. Jagged Cross
2. Make the Escape
3. Nuclear Palin
4. Spin Cycle
5. Better Lives
6. Night Scales
7. Binge
8. Transparent
9. Motherfucker

After the show we scarfed down a late-night dinner at the Portland Denny's. Then we hopped back in the rental SUV (thanks again, AVIS!) and drove down to our friends' place in Watertown, Massachusetts. We're staying with our pals and Victor Bravo superfans John and Theresa, who always put us up, feed us and give us great support and conversation whenever we come to play Beantown and the surrounding area. Big thanks to them once again.

Tonight we return to a venue we truly fell in love with the first time we played it, back in April of this year. It's 119 Gallery in Lowell, Massachusetts. We're told an all-female punk band, Stale Fish, is opening, and a great band we met last time we played there, Wednesday Night Militia, will be taking the stage after we're done. We're really excited and looking forward to rocking Lowell again tonight.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

News News News

Just wanted to provide an update on what's going on these days with us.

Hammer Meets Fire CD Pre-Release Show

Thursday, November 12, we will be having our huge, massive, everybody-must-come CD pre-release show at Fontana's in Manhattan. Our first LP with 11 tracks (10 new songs plus a new version of 'Motherfucker'), titled Hammer Meets Fire, will not be officially released until April 5, 2010, but the CD is finally finished and this show will be our way of celebrating with every one of you, our dear fans, who can make it. We are really proud of and excited about completing this new record. It includes many of the songs we've written since the release of Sky Full of Messages that we've been playing live for quite some time now. We will have sneak pre-release CDs with several of the songs from Hammer Meets Fire on it for anyone who comes to this show.

We're encouraging people from everywhere to travel to NYC for this show, as it will simply be a stellar night of great rock n' roll. The line-up of the other 2 bands has not been fully settled yet, but we believe it will be soon, and we will announce it as soon as we know. You can count on 2 other amazing bands who will be well worth seeing.

January Tour

Details are anything but set at this moment, but our general plan is to depart on our biggest tour yet in January. We're hoping to return to many cities we've played before, as well as hit some new ones for the first time. On our wish list: Boston, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Detroit, St. Louis, Chicago, Minneapolis, Kansas City, Denver, and East Moline IL. We would also like to have our first southern swing, including the possibilities of Memphis TN, Asheville NC, Austin TX, New Orleans and somewhere in Florida, but we're unsure at this point if we'll be able to add those on to the January tour, or if they'll have to wait for a future trip. Any help anyone could provide in helping getting us booked will be much appreciated.

The Next Record: 2010

Yes, we need to keep your focus on Hammer Meets Fire, our brand-new record that will be released (as I just mentioned above) in April, 2010. But behind the scenes, the next record is pretty much completely written. We are in rehearsals now for recording and will begin laying down tracks in October. We have not set a release date for this one, not because we like teasing you (although we do like teasing you), but because there are so many exciting possibilities for us in 2010 we don't want to over-commit ourselves. But the hope is that at some point in 2010 or early 2011, in some way, another VB record will be available for your listening pleasure.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Rocker Tycoon Blog

Friday night we played the Iron Monkey in Jersey City, NJ, with our most excellent friends in The Natch! (formerly America's Sweetheart) and Rainbow Fresh. Along the way we met Zac Clark who does the blog at Rocker Tycoon, who's an incredibly cool guy. He blogged about the show today:
Trish warned me to be ready for Victor Bravo. They’ve been touring together for a few shows. I obliged her that I’d stick around. I snagged another beverage from the roof and locked in for Victor Bravo. First impressions are so important. I go as far to say that in the music industry they are 90% of the battle. Already having the backing of my friends in Natch I suppose I could say VB had a good standing with me before they played. After their first song though I was hooked! Collin Daniels (guitar/vox)and Daniel Collins (drums) were destined to rock together! I’m not even alluding to their epithet concordance. Like the White Stripes meets Black Flag (Black Stripes …no that wouldn’t do….. Certainly not White Flag….there’s nothing White Flag about these guys). It’s pure kick to the groin writhing in agony rock! Holy Cow! Just …wow! Like the first three bites of a bowl of Frosted Flakes with extra sugar! PURE FROSTING! They were finished almost before I felt like they started! I can’t wait to see these cats again. Mark my words! These gentlemen, and I use the term loosely, are in for very big things. You must check them out!

Check out the pics and video from "Nuclear Palin" over on Rocker Tycoon: http://rockertycoon.blogspot.com/2009/08/natch-and-victor-bravo-at-iron-monkey.html

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Tour Days 1-4

Dan here, on the road from St. Louis to Chicago on Saturday. Was hoping that we'd write more frequently while on tour, but with just two of us, the constant cycle of driving/ eating/ navigating/ loading/ playing/ sleeping manages to pretty much fill all of our days (which is, frankly, a good thing). Hopefully I'll upload this post after the show tonight.

We started Tuesday at PA's Lounge in Boston (Somerville). Very cool space. We had a few hiccups playing out the first night, but possibly nothing anyone noticed. People were up and moving by the end of the set. Big thanks to Martin & James of Boston's Plumerai for coming out (we have plans to work with them on a project later this summer). Props to the opener Academia – we've been listening to their CD in the car, and really been digging it. Great album.

Wednesday we were in Cleveland for a fantastic show with local and touring band Hot Ham & Cheese. Cleveland floors us every time – we've never seen an unimpressive band there, and they may take their flat-out rock shows the most seriously of any city we've seen. The opener: A Slight Chill, who by Cleveland standards are crazy young and just starting out, but can still outplay a whole heck of a lot bands we've seen elsewhere. We played 2nd and got a bit better groove on than the first night. Again by the end we had people up and pushing & shoving in front of the stage, which we love. Then Hot Ham & Cheese played, and man, do they kick ass in every way (as we're learning, the very best bands manage to be powerful bookers, promoters, planners, and stellar players all in on e package). After the show, a bunch of people got our new T-shirts, and we got lots of great compliments on the closer “Motherfucker”. Exceedingly cool audience in Cleveland, we can't say enough about them. HHM will be in NYC on Aug-24 at Arlene's Grocery (with The Natch!), we'll be there to see that.

We left Cleveland and actually drove non-stop all night and day to get to Des Moines, Iowa for a Thursday-afternoon show at Vaudeville Mews. That one was kind of a blur. As it turns out, we were actually onstage playing when the news that Michael Jackson died came out – it's the first thing the next band told us when we finished and stepped backstage. I don't have much more to say about that, but this: We'll always remember exactly where we were when we heard that news.

Friday night we were in St. Louis, which is another town we've sort of fallen in love with, they treat us so well. This was at the Way Out Club, right in the downtown area, put together by Moe from Scene of Irony. Moe is like this hurricane of energy, booking and promoting shows, supporting every band who shows up, shout-outs to everyone in the room, and singing his guts in his own awesome punk band. If I lived in St. Louis, I'd ask to mentor under him, because the guy's in a whole different league. Every band was excellent – Girl Jimi (all-girl trio, sounds a bit like the Donnas to my ear, completely have the fire to get up and rock out), Vindell (5-piece from Pittsburgh, jaw-droppingly talented, I'm sure they'll go places fast), us in the 3rd slot, and then Moe's killer Scene of Irony. Everyone we meet in St. Louis is nice as hell, we rapped with the other musicians all night long. Free pizza and drinks from the club.

The other thing is that we were really wired excited by our own performance in St. Louis. Partly it's being inspired by other stellar performances, partly it's working out our kinks and getting a chance to try again night after night (and it's partly getting an XXL large cinderblock to sit behind my kick drum). Frankly, it was one of our best shows to date – we really, truly kicked ass. I think that the folks that saw us really got our best possible output that particular night, and that's a good feeling.

Here's a couple of random anecdotes:
  1. Tuesday morning before we left NYC I had to get to Sam Ash in short order for new drum heads. I was literally sprinting across 7th Avenue against the light when I almost got run over by Collin, who just happened to be bringing the car around to our practice space at that very moment. That would have been the shortest tour ever.
  2. Everybody really likes our new T-shirts, which it took us a while to get. We've heard it often, but it's still a real eye-opener that the merch/ apparel gets more traction than anything else. It's also mind-blowingly awesome that 2 bands so far have said they'd wear our stuff at their next gigs. We'll try to return the favor!
  3. I got a GPS mapping system for my laptop that we're using for all our driving routes, rest areas and restaurants, etc., which is totally great compared to what we've done in the past. I'm thrilled that I can use $50 billion in military hardware in outer space to pinpoint exactly where my next bathroom target is with laser-precision.
  4. I also got new shoes before I left town (kick drum action tends to bust my shows apart), and holy god are these the most comfortable sneakers I've ever worn in my life. I can be practically crippled after a set, but I get up and start walking away and every time say, “Wow, my feet feel great!!” (Collin's really sick of that at this point.) Converse, call us, I can give a really fantastic endorsement right now.
Okay, enough for now. We just added a show outside Davenport, Iowa for next Thursday (Jul-2), extending the tour a bit longer (tell anyone in the area to get there, we're really cooking at the moment). If anyone wants us to play date Jul-3 somewhere around the Ohio region, hit us up, we're game for that, too.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Gem City Saints at Crash Mansion NYC Thursday June 25

I'm just about to head up to AVIS to pick up the rental truck for our summer tour that starts tonight at PA's Lounge in Boston. Dan and I are very excited about this tour, hitting cities we hit last year another time (Cleveland, Saint Louis, Chicago, Kansas City) and hitting some new cities for the first time (Des Moines, Iowa and Saint Paul, Minnesota). We hope to see you out on the road and rock with you...HARD.

Before I take off, though, I wanted to let our NYC fans know about a great band playing Crash Mansion in Manhattan this Thursday night, June 25. They're called Gem City Saints, and they're travelling to the Big Apple all the way from Dayton, Ohio, home of course to the legendary Robert Pollard and Guided By Voices. We met these folks on our trip to Athens, Ohio last month to play 19-South. They opened the show which also included Athens bands The Revulvas and We March, and Dan and I both really dug their music. I hear some serious Superchunk in their music, and as they are one of our big influences of course I dig that. They're a 3-piece, with a singer/guitarist, bassist and drummer. We highly recommend checking them out, and ask our fans to help support bands that help us out, as we build relationships with bands across the country that help us out when we come to their neck of the woods.

To check out the band before you go, visit them at www.myspace.com/gemcitysaints. Crash Mansion is located at 199 Bowery in Manhattan. You can check the venue's website at http://www.crashmansion.com/. Gem City Saints go on at 8:00 PM.

All right, I gotta get outta here. See you at the show.

Friday, June 19, 2009

More Shows, Plus NYC

So here's the final list of shows -- we added a date near Kansas City, plus a homecoming show in NYC on Monday Jul-6 (which includes Kyle Bobby Dunn, The Natch!, Crowds and Power, and Prison Pretty). We'll be taking off next Tuesday for the first show in Boston, and posting here from the road when we can.
  • 6/23/09 9:00 PM PA’s Lounge Somerville MA
  • 6/24/09 9:00 PM Symposium Lakewood OH
  • 6/25/09 5:00 PM Vaudeville Mews Des Moines IA
  • 6/26/09 10:00 PM Way Out Club St. Louis MO
  • 6/27/09 8:00 PM Penny Road Pub Barrington IL
  • 6/30/09 8:00 PM Big V’s St. Paul MN
  • 7/1/09 7:00 PM Mission Theatre Mission KS
  • 7/6/09 8:00 PM Otto’s Shrunken Head New York NY

Monday, May 25, 2009

Summer Shows

The VB summer touring schedule is about a month away. In late June we hit the road for New England & the Midwest. Confirmed dates are listed below (likely more to come later; if you've got ideas for other places/parties along the way - or even just a place to crash one night - send us a comment/message). More complete info on the website "Shows" page. Tell yer friends.
  • 6/23/09 9:00 PM PA’s Lounge Somerville MA
  • 6/24/09 9:00 PM Symposium Lakewood OH
  • 6/25/09 5:00 PM Vaudeville Mews Des Moines IA
  • 6/26/09 10:00 PM Way Out Club St. Louis MO
  • 6/27/09 8:00 PM Penny Road Pub Barrington IL
  • 6/30/09 8:00 PM Big V’s St. Paul MN

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Dan's New Band Crush

So Saturday night we played a party in the courtyard behind Paris Manicini's (The Natch!, America's Sweetheart) art gallery/ thrift shop EPOH OWL in Brooklyn. Great space, great lineup, and great sounding, too (thanks for the audio setup, Chris!). Lit-up cars driving into the parking lot directly behind the stage was a nice touch.

Evening started with beatbox/ guitar work by the Young Boys (boy?). Unfortunately, he left his iPod onstage and we destroyed it during our later performance. Yeah, ah, sorry about that.

Then came The Natch! (formerly America's Sweetheart). We love these guys to death, and they're writing songs like crazy and getting stronger with every show they play (and they were top-notch performers already!). Watch them take over New York (again).

And then came a band I hadn't seen before. Royal Pink: Four chicks take the stage in pink 50's poodle skirts. We're like, “Wait, how does that make sense as an opener for VB?” Well, for starters they're just flat-out awesome. Two bass players (no guitar). Great rock-solid drummer. Singer with incredibly strong pipes. And they're playing these sweetly 50's-tinged songs about protesting, getting naked, layin' pipe, jizz on the wall, having a gay boyfriend, etc., etc. They're playing and dancing their hearts out. And I'm like, “Yeah, that's EXACTLY the ideal VB opener!”

So then we take the stage and do our usual thing, and it was one of the best audiences we've had lately (and we're on a good jog recently), great sound all around (as I said above). May I say how ludicrously awesome it is to have chicks in pink poodle skirts jumping and throwing down in our mosh pit? Hell yeah. That may be central to our next music video, you heard it here first.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The VB Touring FAQ

1. What's the name of your band?
Victor Bravo.

2. There's just two of you?

3. How many mics do you need?
Just one.

(One hour later...)

4. Holy god, how are you guys so LOUD!?

Friday, May 8, 2009

Listening to Dead Stars

I really like the band Dead Stars. The last time I saw them at Europa, I got a copy of their upcoming CD (no art or title yet, but you can hear many of the songs on their MySpace page, here: http://www.myspace.com/deadstars ).

I played the CD, like, 4 days ago, and I'm finding that I've got multiple of their songs stuck in my head as I wake up in the morning, get around town, etc. On the one hand, it might be a bit lighter than a lot of the stuff I usually listen to. Jeff on guitar/vox feels pretty poppy to me, but Jaye & John (on drums and bass) have the capacity to bring a furious prolonged beat-down whenever they want to. So, it feels like they can swing from achingly-beautiful to monster-rock at a moment's notice, with complete confidence.

I think it's the songs "Break the Tide", "The Party's Over", and "Fade Away" that I've got stuck in my head, but the whole album is incredibly solid. That's one great sign for these guys, in that every single song the disc is really satisfying and really belongs there. Other great sign is that they both sound great on a recording, and they also kick massive ass live (something that a lot of bands seem to find hard to accomplish).

They've got shows in DC, Chapel Hill, Philadelphia, and Brooklyn listed on their MySpace page, check 'em out if you have the chance.

Monday, May 4, 2009

New England Tour Recap

We had an awesome time playing New England this past weekend. We left NYC Friday and headed up to Maine to play Slainte on Preble Street in Portland. Our good friends in The Natch from NYC played first and gave everyone an amazing set. This band consists of the 3 surviving members of the recently-broken-up America's Sweetheart. They only had a few weeks as a 3-piece to get ready for this show, and you could never have known.

Then we took the stage. We opened with our new song "Jagged Cross" and right from the first chord and beat the crowd seemed really responsive. We had a total blast playing. Slainte is kind of small and intimate, but it ended up suiting us wonderfully. The set list for those who need it:

1. Jagged Cross
2. Make the Escape
3. Sarbanes-Oxley
4. Spin Cycle
5. Better Lives
6. The Door
7. Night Scales
8. Alien Homeland
9. Binge
10. Motherfucker

Apparently we were the loudest band to ever play Slainte, which of course delights us to no end. Huge thanks to Laura and Rob, and all their friends for coming out, to Ian of Slainte for assisting us and being such an amazing host, and to Trish and The Natch for setting up the show and inviting us on to the bill.

The following day we went to see X-Men: Origins in Newington, New Hampshire, then booked it on down to Lowell, Massachusetts to play 119 Gallery.

We fell in love with this combination art gallery/music space immediately. It had been recommended to us by our friends in Runny, who played there a short while back. The booker Angie was super-nice to us from the first e-mail I sent her asking if we could play, to the moment we left after the show. And it was an awesome bill of local bands that preceded us: 1,000 Paper Cranes kicked the night off in grand rockin' style with their third show ever as a band, Wednesday Night Militia revved it up a notch with their first show ever, and Hayburner nearly blew the roof off the place before we had our shot at it. Folks in Wendesday Night Militia and Hayburner stuck around for our set and were very complimentary and supportive. We really liked everyone we met and hope to play with all of them again at some point. Again, it was a great crowd who shouted, jumped around and gave us a fantastic response after every song, and even demanded an encore (which we rarely grant, but for these special folks we made an exception!).

The set list from that show:

1. Jagged Cross
2. Make the Escape
3. Sarbanes-Oxley
4. Better Lives
5. Into Debt
6. Alien Homeland
7. Binge
8. Transparent
9. Motherfucker
10 (Encore). Name Today

Thanks on this one first off to Lemon Cookie of Runny for giving us the low-down on the place, to 119 Gallery, to Angie for booking us and Mike for helping us out with sound and set-up, to all 3 of the amazing bands that played before us, to our Boston-area superfans John and Theresa for coming out, rocking out, giving us a great place to crash afterwards and feeding us so generously, and to everyone who came out and stuck around for our show. We love you all, and can't wait to go back.

We're gearing up now for our trip to Ohio this weekend to play 19-South in Athens, Ohio (home of Ohio University) with the totally-rad, all-female punk band The Revulvas. We are PSYCHED.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Crappin' On Songs of the 80's

Hey (Dan here). Sometimes I walk into some public establishment and they've got some pop songs from the 80's playing overhead, and it gets a reaction out of me one way or the other. Let's see if you agree or it's just me. Here's two songs from the 80's that both hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 back in the day:

First of all, "Human" by the Human League. I would like to nominate this song as possibly the #1 worst song of all time. Everything about it aggravates me, disagress with my system, and begs to be destroyed somehow. I think I was in a store last week forced to listen to it, and it's been bothering me ever since. The tempo is way too slow. The sound is way too soft, frail, and lacking passion. The mix has all the music practically inaudible, so all you can hear are the damned voices. The singing sucks. Blech. But worst of all is the message of the song -- A guy meekly begging forgiveness for cheating on a chick:

I'm only human
Of flesh and blood I'm made
Born to make mistakes
I am just a man

You know what? I say screw that crap. The narrator never even comes out and directly says "I did it with someone else", it's all this re-directed referential crap. I recommend the following. (a) If you did something wrong, come out and say it directly, don't equivocate like a freaking loser. (b) Take responsibility for your decisions, don't act like being "just a man" is some unrelated mental disease controlling your actions. (c) Likewise take responsibility for what you like, and if you find pleasure in multiple partners, come out and say that, and don't act like it's some frickin' accident when it happens. That's bullshit.

To my esteemed colleagues in the Human League, I offer a countering theory of humanity, by quoting the author Neal Stephenson (from Cryptonomicon): "Like every other creature on the face of the earth, Godfrey was, by birthright, a stupendous badass, albeit in the somewhat technical sense that he could trace his ancestry back up a long line of slightly less highly evolved stupendous badasses to that first self-replicating gizmo — which, given the number and variety of its descendants, might justifiably be described as the most stupendous badass of all time. Everyone and everything that wasn't a stupendous badass was dead. "

Secondly, let me rant a bit on "Bette Davis Eyes" by Kim Carnes. This one isn't totally evil, even if it's not the kind of music I would search out. I was in a resaurant with my girlfriend a little while back, and realized that this one does get stuck in my head whenever it's played (it's also been covered by a whole lot of artists of different stripes), but at the same time there's something about it that aggravates me. I think I finally found what it is. Let's say that the song is generally well-written, but then there's one part of the lyrics that go like this:

And she'll tease you
She'll unease you
All the better just to please you
She's precocious and she knows just what it takes to make a pro blush

Ummm... "What it takes to make a pro blush?" Ewww, that's, like, completely cringe-worthy (once I became aware of the lyrics in that section). Every time I hear that song and that section comes by, I honestly flinch a little bit. Someone was locked into a rhyme for "precocious" and "knows just", and, frankly, didn't spend enough time thinking about their options at the end there.

Personally, I would recommend changing that line to "What it takes to look ferocious", which is the best thing I could come up with in a bit a half hour after listening to that song last time. This is one of these things where I wish I had a time-fax to send back to Weiss and DeShannon (the writers) when they were writing it 35 years ago, so I don't have to listen to the glitch in that song for the rest of my life.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Cleveland Show Recap, New Shows, Compilation CD

Hey Collin here.

CLEVELAND SHOW RECAP: So after our visit to the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame the afternoon of Friday, April 10, we went to The Symposium for our show. This was our second time playing Cleveland and my good friend Justin was nice enough to show up early and stay the whole night. Big thanks to him for coming out. The Symposium is a great place to play. The sound techician Lauren was just fantastic to us and the sound was really solid on stage and in the house. The night started off with 2 songs from Nightmare Mode, followed by one song done solo by Tom (of Nightmare Mode and Thashantos). Then Thrashantos (who, like Nightmare Mode, are from about 30 minutes outside of Cleveland) took the stage and played some of the most awesome speed metal I have ever witnessed. After that, the Detroit punk band D.A. took over, and played a blazing, fearsome set. This ended up being the heaviest bill ever put together by someone other than us, I think, and we could not have been more pleased.

We finished out the night with a 9-song set that was really fun to play. The crowd was a fun group of people to play for, we're grateful to everyone who came out. The set list for those interested:

1. Make the Escape
2. Toxic Tornado
3. Sarbanes-Oxley
4. Better Lives
5. Into Debt
6. Alien Homeland
7. Binge
8. Transparent
9. Motherfucker

Thanks so much to all the other bands we played with, Trish from America's Sweetheart/The Natch! and JT at Jib Machine Records for helping get us on the bill, Michele at PhantasyConcertClub for putting the show together, and Lauren and the entire staff at The Symposium for being such great hosts.

After packing up and hanging out with Justin (who is an amazing actor and appearing in a play at the Cleveland Playhouse as I write - check him out!), we rolled over to our local IHOP for a now-somewhat-traditional post-show snack/meal/debrief/cool-down kinda thing. Then it was back to the EconoLodge for some much-needed sleep.

The trip back to New York on Saturday was almost as wonderful as the trip out - brilliant sunshine and smooth travelling the whole way. Except for two of the most awful 18-wheeler wrecks we had ever seen! One trailer upside-down and crushed in the grassy median, another whose cab looked like it had just exploded spontaneously into pieces. Looked like the drivers were both all right. I turned Dan onto Metric by playing their CD "Live It Out" for him, and we both listened to the full record of fellow punk rockers The Brooklyn What for the first time (I picked up their CD "The Brooklyn What for Borough President" when I caught them by chance at Goodbye Blue Monday a while back). We both totally LOVED the record.

NEW SHOWS: So the out-of-NYC bookings have been rolling in lately to our utter delight. Check us out if you're near one of these:
+Saturday May 2 at 119 Gallery in Lowell MA

+Thursday June 25 at The Vaudeville Mews in Des Moines IA

+Friday June 26 at The Way Out Club in St Louis MO

Also, one line-up change of note, the Friday May 1 show at Slainte in Portland ME will now be with The Natch! (replacing America's Sweetheart on the bill) and The andWutz.

Brooklyn Punk Rock Compilation CD: We're excited to tell people that we have been selected to be a part of the new compilation CD produced by Brooklyn Punk Rock. You can buy a copy on eBay for $12 HERE. It features our new song "Scary Mary" which will be on our upcoming new record, plus lots of other great Brooklyn punk bands like the aforementioned Brooklyn What, Money/Paper/Hearts, and The Filthy Animals. If you're unable to attend our show in Athens, Ohio on May 9, there will be a kickass show that day in Brooklyn with most of the bands featured on the CD (we are a bit bummed that we have to miss, but are psyched for our show in Athens!). I'll pass on details on that as they come in.

The (Aforementioned) New Record: The recording and mixing is DONE. Done, done, done! 11 songs, ready to go. We now have some mastering work remaining to be done, then it's on to the artwork, packaging, etc. So at the moment it still looks good for a release in September as we were planning. Dan and I are both really pleased with how it's come out, we hope you will all enjoy listening to it and much as we enjoyed ourselves recording it. And remember we will have sneak-peaks ahead of the official release date for tried-and-true VB fans, so stay tuned.

WHEW! All right, I think that's it for now. I'm off to see my friend Larry in The Damn Lovelys who are playing tonight at Hill Country Barbeque in Manhattan. Should be some good fun. Keep rockin', we'll see you in your ears.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

At the Hall of Fame

So here we are in Cleveland for a show tonight. To kill the afternoon we go to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I (Dan here) have mixed feelings about it, but I'm glad we went. There's some cheesy parts to it, but overall it rises above the threshold of “somebody at least gave a shit”. The architecture is stunning, I really love the building – big glass pyramid, tall, very postmodern overlapping levels inside, balconies that don't connect to anything, big atrium you could drop down 6 stories in. This by the side of Lake Erie, near the football stadium, WWII submarine museum, and a skate park next door. A lot of families inside, somewhat cooler/hipper moms & dads in their 40's, with kids all in their tweens or teens, clearly getting more cultural education than I was at that age. A bit touristy, but not completely exploitational, either.

You know, it was like 10 years ago when I saw a Superchunk show in Boston – and this particular night, Mac comes onstage all fired up because the band just saw Bruce Springsteen at the Boston Garden (Fleet Center, whatever). Probably the best Superchunk show I ever saw, they were really completely inspired that night.

So currently the special exhibit at the Hall of Fame is devoted to Bruce Springsteen (upper 3 floors devoted to him). Guitars, posters, clothes, albums, listening stations, videos, magazine articles, the desk where he writes, etc. One of the freaky things is there's this thick scrapbook under glass, opened to a page reviewing a show from 1973 (in Crawdaddy Magazine). And this show happens to be in New York, at the club Kenny's Castaways. (We played our first-ever performance as Victor Bravo out at Kenny's Castaways a couple years ago now). And part of me is thinking, “oh, well I'm sure Springsteen had a hundred people packed in there”, but the article goes on to describe a crowd of only about 30 people, with maybe 12 knowing who Bruce is. Which is a jarringly accurate description of some of our early shows there.

So here we are now coming from a Bruce Springsteen exhibit, playing a show later that night. Am I as jazzed up as Superchunk was that one night? Well, not so much, I kind of have tangled-up feelings about it. Honestly, Springsteen's zenith was just a little bit before my time. And in some ways the whole celebrity-flash of the Hall of of Fame is pushing some of my bad buttons along with my good ones. I saw a video of Joe Strummer saying re: the Clash, “Man, when you have the right people making up a band, that is a miracle, do not screw with that under any means. We learned that lesson bitterly (shakes head)”, and I could applaud and hoot for that. But I can also see the handwritten lyrics to “Because the Night” by Springsteen and Patti Smith (one of my major, early eye-opening artists) and have a lot of my confusion and jealousy and frustration rear up, too. If this is what they got huge for, if someone could sing “Because the night belongs to lovers”, well, I'm up all night all the damn time and that's the polar opposite of my experience. It feels like there's a whole lot I need to do and say, and it's the opposite of what gets said by a lot of music, and it confuses and perplexes me. So I've personally got a lot of work to do – that's what I seem to be taking away from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, there's a whole lot in there, and yet there's a whole lot to be said that's been left out so far, too. So I'd better get off my ass and get in this club tonight, stretch out, and lay down as ferocious set of beats as I can, and I'd better get up tomorrow and get back to work and writing, too.

Funny thing, this Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It's both nourishing and challenging and somewhat difficult to process right now. We'll see how that works out tonight.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Road to Ohio

Dan here. Collin & I are on tour from New York to Cleveland to headline a show there Friday night at a hard-rock/metal club. The trip is mostly a big 370-mile drive across the length of Pennsylvania. That can be tough, but today seemed to slide by really easily. Beautiful weather, sunny and warm, with just a few puffy clouds in a bright blue sky. (Meanwhile, we're getting Twitters that it's snowing in Boston). Also, no tolls in PA, we like that.

You may not know this, but Collin & I can both talk for a pretty long time if we need to. So between the two of us swapping stories the 7.5-hour drive seemed to fly by in a snap. Now we're in Ohio as it gets near dusk; hope the place we're staying at isn't too sketchy. Tomorrow we're considering going to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Bad idea? Dunno, but it's something to spend the day on.

I'm being told that Collin considers himself to be an "astonishingly talented front man" if I ever need to describe him here. Yeah, I'll keep that in mind.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

New Shows and Radio Appearance

We have four new shows confirmed:

Friday April 10 at The Symposium in Cleveland (Lakewood) Ohio

Friday May 1 at Slainte in Portland Maine - This show is with NYC's America's Sweetheart and Boston's The AndWutz

Saturday May 9 at 19-South in Athens Ohio - This show is with Ohio's The Revulvas

Tuesday June 23 at PA's Lounge in Boston (Somerville) MA - This show is with In Endeavors

We will also be appearing on the RewBee*s World internet radio show at 4:15pm sharp on Wednesday, April 29. Thanks in advance to RewBee*s World for having us on. Go to www.arizzmaradio.com a bit ahead to make sure you know how it works, then tune in on April 29 to listen in. They'll be interviewing us, and we'll be playing a song live in the studio, and one or two more from our records. Should be fun.
Keep on rockin', we'll see you in your ears.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Boston Show Recap

Dan and I hopped in a rental car Saturday and made the trek up to Boston to play Precinct in Somerville. It was a beautiful day for the drive, and one of the highlights was listening to the CD of Teeth of Mammals. They are an amazing band from Reading, Pennsylvania taht we played with when we played Philadelphia many moons ago. I really dug their set and was psyched to pick up their full-length CD and their new (at the time) demo. Dan hadn't heard the CD, so we listened to it and it just blew us away. It has one of the best ending to a CD I've ever heard, with a great song that brings the whole album to a thunderous, complete finale.

We got to Somerville a bit early so after checking out the stage we walked up to a comic book store and checked it out. There was a really cool dog who lives in the store who was very friendly and came over to have me pet him several times. We then headed over to a Subway sandwich place so Dan could get some dinner.

We sauntered back over to Precinct, which is a really nice bar with a great little stage in the back bar area. We got set up, chatted up some folks who had come out and then took the stage to play. A bit of a rough start with "Jagged Cross," as the mic died somewhere around the first chorus. But James, the bassist for Plumerai, replaced the mic in the break between the first chorus and the second verse, and after that we were good. "Better Lives" and "Into Debt" went particularly well. We also played our first slow song ever, "What We Deserved All Along," live for the first time. I think people were a bit thrown by it, but it seemed like it captured everyone's attention in a way our other songs don't, which was a cool feeling. By the way, the song is slow, not light...we still rock fairly heavily with it, even though the tempo is slower and the melody and vocals are a bit "prettier" than the usual VB fare. "Motherfucker" got a great response at the end, with people emerging from the shadows in my field of vision, dancing up a storm.

The set list:

1. Jagged Cross
2. Kick You Out
3. Sarbanes-Oxley
4. What We Deserved All Along (live debut)
5. Better Lives
6. Into Debt
7. Alien Homeland
8. Binge
9. Motherfucker

After our set the cool Boston band The Daily Pravda took the stage and played several great songs. We had never met them before, a great bunch of guys and really great musicians. They have a new album coming out at the end of May, we wish them all the best with it.

The headliners for the night were our friends in Plumerai, and this was going to be a Plumerai show like no other for us because for a short period we were going to be in it! Martin, the guitarist, asked us to play with them on their crazy-rock-out ending of their song "Avernal" towards the end of their set. Dan and I were game but there was no time to rehearse to we were just going to wing it and hope for the best.

Plumerai's set was just amazing. They started with a brand-new instrumental that blew me away, and then went through a bunch of songs new and familiar. These folks are one of my favorite bands, and it was just a sheer joy to watch and hear them.

Then it was time for our bit, they got to the ending of "Avernal," I pikced up my guitar, Dan went to his snare drum and cymbal, and along with Mark, another guest musician, all eight of us tore the shit out of the song's finale. It was literally one of the highlights of my life, some of the most fun I've ever had playing on stage.

We hung around for a bit and then said good-bye to everyone, headed to the local IHOP with our friends/super-fans John & Theresa, and had some damn good pancakes. We crashed at John & Theresa's place in Watertown, got up bright and early on Sunday, and made the drive back to NYC. All in all, another great trip to Boston.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009


We had an AMAZING photo shoot in Brooklyn this past weekend with Mary Lopez, who is also the drummer for the insanely good band Prison Pretty. Mary was incredible to work with and we got some really great shots. We'll be posting them on the website and the MySpace page soon.

We've been booked at PA's Lounge in Cambridge, Mass. for Tuesday, June 23.

We are working on 3 new songs at present in rehearsal, titled 'What We Deserved All Along,' 'Unsolicited Window' and 'Party for Everyone.' We are really digging them and are looking forward to playing them live at some point.

We have been rehearsing like maniacs the next (and final, we think) 4 songs for the new record, which will be laid down this month.

Congratulations to our friends in Goes Cube, who got signed to The End Records last week. Dan saw them give a killer show at Glasslands in Brooklyn last Thursday, and they blew the power no less than 4 times. We wish them all the best as they head out on a killer tour with Valient Thorr.

Between Dan and myself we saw 3 shows at Glasslands last week. I saw Renminbi who gave a great show Monday and blew the power only once (but that's still respectable). Dan saw The Naked Heroes burn it all down on Saturday night, hats off to those crazy fuckers.

I've bought the new U2 record and haven't been able to listen to it enough to know exactly how I feel about it. There are some excellent tracks on it, though.

I've been listening to a live set of The Whores recorded by Jake James (now of Jake James and the Sexual Freedom Riders, and formerly of The Stick, who hosted us all that night) from a show they played with us at Seaside Tavern in Stamford, Connecticut back in Feburary of 2008. I can't stop listening to it, it so rules. I've also been listening to the 4 new tracks they have up on their MySpace page, which also rule. www.myspace.com/hotgodlesswhores

This Wednesday (tomorrow) night at The Cupping Room Cafe, at 359 W. Broadway in Manhattan, from 7-9pm, VB SuperFan/Mailing-List-Signer-Upper/Free-CD-Giver-Outer, brilliant artist and Dan's girlfriend Isabelle Garbani will be having an opening reception for an art show her work is appearing in.

Good acoustic music and live art this Saturday night at Teneleven in Manhattan this Saturday night, my girlfriend Sarah Valeri's two bands, Kate-Matt-Ben-and-Sarah and Snazz Mammoth, will be performing with some other cool folks. Music starts at 8pm.

That's it for now.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Rehearsals have been going really well lately. We're getting the next set of songs for recording ready, but we're also writing some new material as well. We've written one just recently called "What We Deserved All Along" that we're digging quite a bit, and personally I can't wait to play it live. It's slower and less venomous than our usual fare, so it might sound pretty different on first listen. But we go nuts and rock out toward the end of it, have no fear.

Maybe I've mentioned this before, but we're shooting for a September release for the new record. That keeps seeming really far away to me, but I've witnessed in the past with our two EP's how long the art, promotion, etc. tends to take.

We're ramping up our pursuit of a label. We really want to be on a decent label that will treat us right, so we're hitting up some of our contacts in the business and sending copies of our new demo around. Anyone who can help us out on this, all assistance is much appreciated.

I'm also working on booking, but I haven't had as much time as I've wanted lately. I think starting this week this will be more my focus, and hopefully we'll have some new dates to post soon.

Congrats to our pals in the band Runny who we hear had a very successful tour through New England last week.

I'm more excited every day to play Precinct in Somerville, MA, just outside of Boston, with our good friends in Plumerai on Saturday, March 28. That promises to be an amazing night.

I have been listening to a LOT of music lately...Interpol, Kings of Leon, R.E.M., U2, Bob Mould, and Sugar primarily. I got R.E.M.'s 2008 record Accelerate, Interpol's Antics, and Bob Mould's 2008 release District Line recently and I am seriously digging all of them. On his website Bob says he'll be releasing another record in April of this year and touring somewhat in support of it. I'm hoping I can catch him again with a full band. I saw him a few years back solo electric at the old Northsix in Brooklyn. It was an awesome show but I'd really like to see him with a band behind him.

I'm planning on heading out to see Renminbi at Glasslands in Brooklyn next Monday night and both my girlfriend Sarah's bands, Kate, Matt, Ben and Sarah and Snazz Mammoth will be performing at Parkside Lounge in Manhattan next Tuesday. Both will be pretty awesome shows, I think. I keep listening to and enjoying Renminbi's latest record The Phoenix. I've only seen them live once and they've been on a break from performing, so I'm psyched to see them again. Of course I'm biased, but I like Kate, Matt, Ben and Sarah and Snazz Mammoth more every time I see them. Really original, intricate songs played with some serious heart and passion. And an extremely attractive gal drawing amazing pastel drawings while the musicians play.

Thanks for reading, keep rockin.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Trash Bar Show Recap and News

Hey hey.

We played one of our favorite haunts, Trash Bar in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn on Wednesday, February 11. After a cool opening set by Blueberry High Heels, we took the stage and did it up Victor Bravo style. At Trash it's hard to see the audience if you're in the band, because they put bright lights on the stage and turn out the lights in the house. But when I could see people it looked like everyone was having a good time. During the always-set-closer 'Motherfucker,' figures kept emerging from the dark shadows as they were hurtled toward the front of the stage by the other people jumping around and acting crazy. Our new song 'Jagged Cross' has become the one we like to open with now, and after that one we played three relatively new ones that will be on the upcoming album. I wondered how 'Into Debt' and 'The Door' would go, because I think we may have only played them live one or two other times. But they went really well from our perspective and they were really fun to play.

The full set list:

1. Jagged Cross
2. Into Debt
3. The Door
4. Name Today
5. Binge
6. Alien Homeland
7. Transparent
8. Motherfucker

After we got done, our friends in Imaginary Friends went on and just tore the place up. Those guys are so frickin' good. We really wanted to stay for Dead Stars and Gulf of Michigan, but unfortunately Dan and I were both recovering from major flu bugs and I had an early morning commitment the next day. So we had to bolt. But hopefully the rest of the show was as good as the start felt to us.

We want to thank Trash Bar and all the staff there for having us back, everyone who came out, all the other bands, and a special thank-you to Abby, the manager of Imaginary Friends, who added us to the bill and treats us like gold. We love you, Abby.

Work on the new album continues to go wonderfully. We are working with Ian Love of Rival Schools and have developed an astonishingly good working relationship with him. We have 8 tracks completely finished and are set to record the last 4 or 5 in March and possibly April. No title or artwork as yet, we're going to get on that as soon as we can. We're shooting for a September release and really excited to share these tunes with you. We're planning to sneak-release some of the tracks to our diehard fans ahead of the official release, so stay tuned for info on that.

After lots of delays from illness and various personal life-type stuff, I am looking to get into booking a ton of shows in Arpil, May and over the summer. Dan and I really want to be on the road playing a LOT more in 2009, so I have a bunch of work ahead of me. It can be tough to get booked outside of NYC because club bookers often don't want a band that is not as well known and might not bring a lot of people. But I'm hopeful we'll get this ball rolling soon and good things will come of it.

On the less-distant horizon, we are thrilled to be going back to Boston to play Precinct in Somerville with our good friends in the band Plumerai. I am totally in frickin' love with Plumerai and their music, even though they are very different from us genre/style-wise. When Martin, their guitarist, e-mailed me to offer us a spot on the bill I was really psyched. We'll be playing Saturday, March 28, which should make it accessible not only for our Boston fans, but for any of our New England fans who don't mind a little travel on the weekend (if you live in New England, you should be used to travelling to get to things!).

That's the news of the moment, thanks for reading and keep rockin'.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Lighting it Up at Lit

Hello, woooooo am I tired. But it is definitely "good tired." Last night we played Lit Lounge on 2nd Avenue in Manhattan. This is one of the coolest clubs in the city. Dan and I have both wanted to play there for a long time, but we were patiently waiting for the right opportunity. Our new friend Abby, who manages the incredible band Imaginary Friends and is putting a whole bunch of great rock shows together these days, gave us that opportunity by inviting us to play with Imaginary Friends last night at Lit.

When I got the e-mail from Max, the house booker at Lit, confirming us on the bill, the instructions were for all bands to load in with their gear at 7:15 PM. The music was to start at 9:00PM, 4 bands, with us going on last. Now, some of you know this, but both Dan and I are originally from Maine, and sometimes we can't escape certain things we learned growing up there. Some of these things are not especially helpful navigating life in New York City. One thing about people in Maine is that most of them like to get to things early. I don't know if this comes from the old days of farming when everyone was up at 4AM to milk the cows, or what originally caused it. But I have a nasty habit of arriving at things ridiculously early. I once went to a rock show in Maine with my sister. We got there at the published start time, and the show was already over. I am not making that up.

So when I saw 7:15PM load-in, I had a voice in my head that said, "This is a rock club in New York City. No one will be there that early." But of course I got there around 7:30 - pretty late by Maine standards. And of course I was the only musician there for what seemed like several hours. Dan was meeting me there later because he had to teach class at his day gig. Luckily for me, my girlfriend and Victor Bravo SuperFan Sarah got her signals crossed with Dan's girlfriend and Victor Bravo SuperFan Isabelle, trying to meet her for an artistic co-adventure. So she came to Lit, and we just sat on the couch for a long time, chatting and having a little private date while the other bands showed up and started loading their stuff in.

Sarah got hungry, so she went to get herself a slice of pizza and while she did the first band began playing. They were called Broccoli Destroyer and I thought they were fantastic. They were a 2-piece like us, 2 guys, one on guitar and the other on drums, but no vocals. They played a short set that was fun from start to finish. When they were done, Sarah came back and Dan and Isabelle showed up. The next band, Birthing of Millions, went on, and blew me away as well. They were a 4-piece, again all guys (it was an all-male performer evening): bass, 2 guitars and drums, and again no vocals. All instrumental, which I really enjoyed.

Then it was time for our pals in Imaginary Friends to go on, and man did they kill it. We played with them once before at a party in Bushwick, Brooklyn and they really amazed me then. It was so great to see them play again. Really original music all around - bass, drums, lead guitar and a rhythm guitarist/singer. Good, solid rock.

Some people disagree with me but I find that most bands in New York are pretty darn good, but occasionally we do get booked in with bands we don't know who just don't do much for me musically. This was such a great night to me because all 3 of the other bands really impressed me and put on one hell of a great show. In our earlier days of shows such a line-up might have intimidated me a bit, but today it's more like a great challenge, like, "Hey they all did great sets! Let's do a great set, too!" Okay, I used two exclamation points there and that's not very rocker-cool of me. Apologies. I know as a rock frontman I need to be very cool. I meant: "Hey man, they really rocked. Let's do this." Yeah, that's better. Way more cool.

So we got up there and at first it felt like some of the people who might not have seen us before didn't exactly know what to make of us. But it was a show where we just seemed to build a connection with audience more and more with each song. The cheers and yells got louder after every one. After "Alien Homeland," I had a bit of a gaffe when I switched guitars. First I couldn't find my guitar cable to hook up the new guitar, then I found the cable but I had flipped some switch somewhere so my amp wasn't making any noise. Eventually I figured it all out and told the crowd, "Just so you know, I am a complete f***ing idiot, which you would know if you saw what just happenned." Someone I did not recognize shouted back loud and clear: "Hello, f***ing idiot!" And I think that's when I knew the crowd and us were on the same page.

We launched into "Transparent" and suddenly the crowd seemed to triple in size and everybody started jumping around and hurling themselves at each other with wild abandon. It was so cool. I felt like the show wasn't about us playing for people anymore, the audience and the band were like one crazy ball of energy flailing around together. We finished up with "Motherfucker" as always, and things got even crazier. We finished the song, I took my Fender into the brick wall a few times, and that was that. The set list:

1. Jagged Cross
2. Binge
3. Better Lives
4. Alien Homeland
5. Transparent
6. Motherfucker

After the show we hung out with friends new and old for a while, then dropped off the gear at The Music Building, and then finally headed back to Brooklyn. I got home around 2:30AM, hence my present state of fatigue.

We had a really good time playing last night, and we just want to thank Max and Lit Lounge, Abby and Imaginary Friends, Broccoli Destroyer and Birthing of Millions, Pete from Ruby Bullet, our former bassist Dani now from the new band The Bad Nights, Corynne from Afterdawn, and everyone who came out and stayed to see our set. None of what we do would be possible without all sorts of people doing what they do to make it possible. Thanks to you all, you are the best.

We are playing again Wednesday, February 11 at Trash Bar in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, again with Imaginary Friends, and this time also with Dead Stars and Gulf of Michigan. That should be an unbelievably great night of rock music. We'd love to have you come and share it with us.

And I am getting back on track with tour booking, so you folks outside New York City - who we love - stay tuned, we may be coming somewhere near you soon.

Oh, a few last things - if you're looking for more great live music this weekend, our friends in Afterdawn are playing what is being billed as their last show tonight at Bowery Poetry Club at 10:30. This is one of my favorite bands of all time, we've played with them several times and I am sad to see this amazing musical entity come to an end.

At the other end of the lifecycle-of-a-band, Victor Bravo SuperFan Mr. Scott Holcomb leads his new kickass country-rock band The Bulletproof Lincolns tonight at 8:00 in what I think is their third show ever at Mehanata Ice Cage (new venue, don't ask me, Google it). I saw their last show at FatBaby and they are terrific. And aforementioned SuperFan and my girlfriend Sarah will be performing with both her bands, Kate Matt Ben & Sarah and Snazz Mammoth, at the Return to Roccoco night at Teneleven Saturday night beginning at 8:30. That show will also include period costume, fire dancers, burlesque, free pastries, and all sorts of crazy s**t. All those shows are in Manhattan, and we wish all our fellow musician friends wonderful shows.

Okay, be well. I've gotta go take a nap now.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Another Top 50 and Don Pedro Show Recap

Hey hey.

Our song "Drain on Me" off Sky Full of Messages was picked for the Top 50 Songs by Airplay by Westcott Radio. Ends up that we actually tied Sugar (Bob Mould's band) song "If I Can't Change Your Mind" from the 1990's. Pretty cool. The whole list is presented as the Jan-4 podcast you can access HERE.

Friday night we played a great show at Don Pedro in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The night was kicked off by Genan, who we sadly missed (we were late showing up) but we heard she played an amazing set. Then we did actually get there in time to see the second band, Big, a great all-female rock trio from Brooklyn. I had heard about this band but this was my first time seeing them live, and they really blew me away. The drummer Carrie and guitarist Monica traded off lead and back-up vocals with each other to create a great mix. And bassist Terry had really creative, kickin basslines. Really glad I caught them. After them was an awesome duo called Prison Pretty, who played crazed indie rock. Singer/guitarist Shen shredded on rapid, unique riffs, alternatively singing sweetly and screaming his head off. Meanwhile drummer Mary was smiling throughout, which did not disguise the fact that she was pounding the hell out of her kit with fury and abandon. It was pretty awesome to see such two amazing bands I had never seen before back-to-back like that. They set up the whole evening very well.

After Prison Pretty, one of my all-time favorite bands, The Whores, took the stage, and proceeded to play one of the best sets I've ever seen them play. Drummer Juline was slamming out the beats, guitarist Greg was on fire, and bassist Matt was holding it all down. I was in the front jumping up and down and head-bopping for the whole thing. They were just awesome.

Then came Runny. A few seconds before they were to go on, singer/guitarist/sometimes-male- stripper Lemon Cookie ran up to me and told me to jump up on stage and introduce them. So I did. Then LC, singer DJ Phlegm, drummer/singer Colonel Creem and masked bassist Cracker Dap proceeded to lurch into the music and mayhem. They played a blazing, we-don't-give-a-fuck-what-you-think, but we-want-everyone-to-join-in-our-fun-god-dammit! set, as usual. But about half-way through, LC - who used to get pretty naked when I first began seeing Runny live, but who had not gotten even slightly unclothed in quite a while as far as I knew - began to auction off his disrobing. A few souls banded together to raise $5 for him to take off his shirt I think. But he wanted $10 for the pants. I ran up and gave him a 20, which allowed everyone to see him once again in only a rainbow thong. He played most of the rest of the set thus attired, much of that rolling around on the floor amidst the audience. Nice.

When Runny was done messing with everyone, we took the stage. The set list for those interested:

1. Jagged Cross
2. Binge
3. Night Scales
4. Better Lives
5. Name Today
6. Make the Escape
7. Alien Homeland
8. Transparent
9. Motherfucker

We had good fun and I got pretty worked up by the end, took my guitar into the brick wall that backs the stage there a few times, then into my amp. My amp is now missing some pieces. But it still works.

After we finished, East-West Quintet closed out the night. These 6 guys (yeah, I said six) are really amazing. Individually they're each some of the most skilled musicians I've ever seen play, and together they are just a force. Their music starts out as cool, toe-tapping jazz and then rockets straight into full-out rocking. I have yet to see another band like them. It was the second time I've seen them live and they were just as incredible this time around.

All in all it was a fantastic night of great people and great music.

Our next show is Thursday, January 29 at Lit Lounge in Manhattan. We're playing with a great band, Imaginary Friends, who go on right before us I think.

More later...

Friday, January 9, 2009

SFOM in Top 5 CDs of 2008 and Open Mic Night

Hey-llo. Collin here.

I mentioned recently that we got picked for the Top 50 artists of 2008 by Radio Crystal Blue internet radio in Brooklyn, we just found out that our CD Sky Full of Messages, which we released this year, got picked as their #4 CD of the year. Thanks again to Dan Herman and RCB for the nod, we really appreciate it. You can see the whole chart HERE.

I did a 3-song acoustic set at Lilly Coogan's in Manhattan last night, sorry I didn't tell anyone before-hand, it was kind of a last-minute thing. If I do it again I'll try and let people know. It went pretty well I thought, I played 'Final Friend' off SFOM and two new ones, 'Night Scales' and 'The Door,' first time those two have been played live, and both will probably be on our new LP.

I saw and met some other great musicians there as well. I went with my girlfriend Sarah, who's in the bands Kate, Matt, Ben & Sarah and Snazz Mammoth, and who also wrote the lyrics to 'Night Scales.' Trish from America's Sweetheart was there, it was great to see her again. I've been listening to their two CDs, Firecracker and Rainbow Party, a lot these days and really digging them. They just got back from an awesome mini-tour to the midwest so it was great to hear all about that.

I also got to chat with Minnie from the band Swoon, who I have yet to see live but I hear are awesome. They're playing Crash Mansion in Manhattan on Jan. 15.

The open mic was kicked off by JC Cassis, who plays with a band normally but was doing her solo thing. She had a hilarious song 'Texas Boys' to start it off that had me on the floor laughing. She's playing Jan. 30 at Public Assembly in Brooklyn.

Next was Natalie Gelman, who I had actually seen in Battery Park this past summer. She's a great singer-songwriter, beautiful voice and wonderfully-crafted songs. It was nice to see her perform again. She's playing a free show tonight at 6pm at the American Folk Art Museum at 45 West 53rd Street in Manhattan.

Following Natalie was Jeneen Terrana, another wonderful singer-songwriter with heartfelt tunes. I am especially grateful to Jeneen because she let me borrow her guitar to play my set. It was great to meet her, she seems like a sweet person in addition to being a great musician. Jeneen is playing this Sunday (Jan. 11) at 8:30pm at Lucky Mojo's, 514 51st Avenue in Long Island City, Queens.

After those three great folks, I got up there and did my thing. Thanks also to Jakki the bartender at Lilly Coogan's, for hosting and setting the whole night up. Trish and I were sad she didn't play a set, she's an amazing singer/songwriter herself.

All right, I've got to get off here and put some new strings on my Strat for the show tonight at Don Pedro in Brooklyn. Maybe I'll see you there.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Another Best of 2008/Show/Tour/Recording

Hey hey.

Thanks to Radio Crystal Blue internet radio in Brooklyn for putting us in their Top 50 of 2008. This is the second Top 50 list we've made for the past year, on this one we're #16. You can see the full list HERE.

We just confirmed another Manhattan show coming up. We'll be playing Lit Lounge on 2nd Avenue on Thursday, January 29. We're playing with two other awesome bands, Imaginary Friends and Redbeard. Should be a great show.

We are continuing to work on booking a tour back to the midwest in late February. No definites yet but we'll keep you posted.

Also, we decided we are going to record an LP for release later this year. The timeline is not set yet, but we're shooting for some time in 2009. We finished 4 songs last month and want to add some more to end up with 10-12 total.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy New Year/VB in Top 50 Songs of 2008

Hey happy new year to you.

WCH Radio has put our song "Alien Homeland" in their Top 50 Songs of 2008. You can read the whole list HERE. Thanks to everyone at WCH Radio for the nod. We appreciate it.

Reminder, we're playing Don Pedro in Brooklyn this Friday.