Wednesday, January 03, 2007
Big in 2007? Rivals: The Popstars?
A shorter one today. Two bands. Who used to be one. Sort of.
Anyway, the story centres round two blokes. Vincent Vincent (who I think is really called Mark) and Charlie Waller. They used to both play together in East London band Vincent Vincent and the Villains (above), who are often described as rockabilly, but are really more of indie band with a particular interest in 50s rock ‘n’ roll. Not just the sound either, which they do very well. They look quite the part too.
VV&TV have been going for quite a few years now, and my interest in them has been as intermittent as their record releases. They released the great 7 inch single On Your Own on Smoking Gun Records, back in 2004. That was my introduction. The next year I heard that they had split up. But what seems to have happened is that Charlie left the Villains to go full-time with his other band, which became known as The Rumble Strips (left). Vincent and the rest of the boys continued on without him. But the split wasn’t entirely amicable. There was some real acrimony between the two bands. So much so that Vincent wrote a song called Johnny Two Bands about Charlie, who before the split was unsuccessfully dividing his time between the two bands. It was a single for them a few months ago.
I don’t know if Charlie and Vincent have patched things up, but I guess their loss is a gain for fans of retro rock ‘n’ roll. We now have two bands. The Rumble Strips differ from the Villains by augmenting their rock ‘n’ roll sound with horns, which has brought along the inevitable Dexy’s Midnight Runners comparisons.
The other thing the two bands now have in common is that they’ve both landed major label deals – the 'Strips on Island and the Villains on EMI. Maybe that will mean that both of them will get a major push this year which will land them firmly in the mainstream. Maybe both at the same time. Who knows, maybe then the whole history will be dragged out again.
Anyway, hope you enjoyed this story. You may be hearing it again soon somewhere else. And I hope you enjoy listening to these tracks.
Download: The Rumble Strips – Hate Me You Do
Download: The Rumble Strips – Motorcycle
Download: Vincent Vincent & the Villains – On My Own
Download: Vincent Vincent & the Villains – Johnny Two Bands (demo)
Read more: Music Like Dirt was watching The Rumble Strips way back in 2005. And again almost exactly a year ago. The Villains have their own Wiki page.
Watch: Rumble Strips - Oh Creole! video. Villains - Johnny Two Bands video.
Buy: Vincent Vincent records at Rough Trade, and Rumble Strips records at Pure Groove
See them live: No gig dates for the Villains at the moment - look out for them - they're good live. I've not seen the Rumble Strips yet, but may get my chance at The Scala on 20 January.