Interview: TV Tramps

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We’ve extolled the virtues of the Asbury scene for so many reasons, but one reason we haven’t touched upon is the fact that the women of this scene kick some serious, serious ass. No matter the genre, no matter the venue, the women who make up this scene are crazy talented and they all this stage presence which’ll strike you in dead in your tracks. In other areas, it’s pretty much a boys club, but Asbury is an equal opportunity city for good music. You play good music – we’ll love you forever – doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from or what you’re playing.

TV Tramps, fronted by Joy Vay, rip things with a ferocity, style and velocity that puts us in the way back machine and sonically transports us to the late 70s incarnations of CBGB’s and the Whisky a Go-Go. Vay has this infectious vocal cadence that just makes us want grow a mohawk and pin some band logos on our jean jacket. It’s just awesome.

The band, currently on Little Dickman Records, will be performing tonight at Happy Mondays at Wonder Bar with The Mischief Kids and Kill Matilda. We caught up with Joy Vay to talk punk rock, Asbury Park and new music.

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TV Tramps is (Band Members & The Instruments They Play):
Joy Vay (vocals and rhythm guitar) – Orange n black leopard Dean Baby Z, ’91 Peavey Classic amp
Brian Sugent (lead guitar) – ’63 Silvertone model#1446, ’66 Fender Bassman amp w/2X12 cab
Matt Guzda (Drums) – Pearl Export series
Claude Coleman, Jr. (bass) – Epiphone Thunderbird Special edition w/ Silverburst

We’re based out of: New Jersey and North Carolina (Claude moved to NC this year)

The Story of Our Name: Joy got the name from a vintage pulp fiction novel entitled TV Tramps by Walter Dyer.

Any new music coming out: Yes! We’re pumped get back in the studio to record three new tunes “Destination Hollywood,” “I Don’t Care,” and “Baby Bop.”

You’ve seen us before [in other bands]:
Claude Coleman, Jr. – Ween, Eagles Of Death Metal, Amandla, Three Input Woman, Skunk, Wooden Soldiers
Brian Sugent – The Blisters (NJ)
Matt Guzda – Wooden Soldiers, Toys In Trouble, The Obvious
Joy Vay – The Dirty Shirleys, The Obvious

Our sound has been likened to: Classic ’77 punk rock

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Can you talk about the artists that have inspired you? Also, what people in your life have inspired you to create music?

When I was a kid in the early 90s it was bands like Nirvana, Hole, Babes In Toyland, The Lunachicks and L7 that made me want to pick up a guitar and piss off my parents. My first songs were pretty shitty but hey, you gotta start somewhere! By my mid 20s I was dying to be in a REAL band. Not just getting wasted in my best friend’s attic or basement and never playing a live show. When I saw “The Decline of Western Civilization Part 1” I felt like I had finally found the kind of music I was meant to play and was busting at the seams to form a punk band like The Bags or The Damned. I then met Tommy Miller of The Disconnects and he really opened my eyes to so many bands from the classic punk era that I hadn’t heard of like The Cramps and Nina Hagen…. My late grandmother Fern was in a girl group back in her day so she is definitely someone I look up to . She had to put aside her musical dreams when life got in the way, whereas life is what fuels my music. I’m able to do what I do because of the sacrifices she made so to honor her memory I’m gonaa ride this puppy as far as I can and hopefully make rock n roll history.

Photo Credit: Jeff Crespi/JeffCrespiROCKS
Photo Credit: Jeff Crespi/JeffCrespiROCKS

You guys are on Little Dickman Records – what has this label done for you guys as a band in terms of support?

Amy and Chris have been my peeps for years so when they told me they were starting a music label I was very excited for them and was of course down to join Little Dickman Records. In addition to promoting our debut record they set up our first mini tour during SXSW this year which was awesome! They’ve hooked us up with a few cool radio interviews and blog reviews, so I’d say they’ve more than exceeded our expectations just in the first year. We’re looking forward to working with them in the future.

There are so many bands out there in the Jersey Shore scene to check out — what do you think separates TV Tramps from everyone else?

That’s a good question, but it’s impossible to answer (laughs). It’s like asking someone why they prefer vanilla over chocolate. They just do.

If someone read this interview and never heard you before, but decided to check you out, what song would you recommend they listen to in order to understand what TV Tramps are all about?

“Baby Girl,” it’s got balls!

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A bit of more broad, sweeping question — what is it that you love about being in TV Tramps?

It’s like a vacation from the rest of the world. I mean, being in a band comes with its own drama, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. The boys are like the older brothers I never had, they get it and they get me.

What can the people coming out to see you guys perform expect to see from you guys in terms of a live experience?

No gimmicks, no bullshit. Just pure punk rock ‘n’ roll!

What do you have planned for the rest of 2014?

We want to have at least half our next EP recorded and SXSW 2015 booked.

TV Tramps performs at Happy Mondays at Wonder Bar with Mischief Kids and Kill Matilda.

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Bill Bodkin is the gray bearded owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, he is lucky husband, and proud father to a beautiful daughter named Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site's podcast, The BreakCast. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites