The Vice Rags describe themselves as a “breath of Jersey Turnpike air,” and if you’ve ever driven that famed highway — that seems like a pretty left-handed compliment, and a bit of self-deprecating praise.
However, I look at it in a different way. The band has the type of Turnpike air, that you’d get heading south, windows rolled down, and the excitement and freedom of a road trip filling your soul. There’s an excitement in this band’s sound, and yet hints of familiarity. You’ve heard this sound before, and you love this sound. It’s rock ‘n’ roll at its most pure — lyrically fantastic, hooks for days, and a massive re-listenable quality to it.
In short — The Vice Rags are the deal, and should be priority on your must-play list.
I caught up with the guys as they get set to make their Stone Pony debut tonight at Dark City Entertainments “Get Stuffed with Presents” Thanksgiving Eve bash.
The Vice Rags Are (Band Members and the Instruments They Play): Joe Chyb: Drums, Jack Roberts: Guitar, Paul Rosevear: Vocals / Guitar, Gay Elvis: Bass / Vocals.
Year We Started: I can give you the exact date we first played together. It was September 12th, 2016.
We’re Based Out Of: The Rags are headquartered at the Hot Dog House on Cookman Avenue in Asbury Park. Send Tecate!
You’ve Seen Us in Other Bands Such As: Mars Needs Women, Kid With Man Head, The Anderson Council, ACID, Readymade Breakup, The Blakes, Dibs, Worst Nightmare.….. eesh. We’ve been around.
Our Sound Has Been Likened To: We’ve only gotten one review thus far. But the reviewer name-checked a whole bunch of bands. Let me list them here: Real Kids, Jack White, Watts, Rolling Stones, Black Crowes, The Replacements, Gaslight Anthem, Psychedelic Furs, and Kyf Brewer/ Ravyns .
Bands That Influence Our Sound: Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers come up a lot, as do The New York Dolls.
The Vice Rags are a relatively new band, but you’re comprised of veteran musicians. Can you talk about how you guys came together?
All roads lead back to Gay Elvis. He started talking with each of us about playing together and eventually we all met up one night down at the shore for a jam. The night before I’d emailed everybody a mp3 with a few tunes we could try out. Things went well and we were off and running.
You guys jumped into the studio to record your new EP with only a couple of shows under your belt — do you guys think your natural chemistry as a band, and/or your experience as musicians lead to such a relatively quick move from debut show to recording album?
We’d been playing and writing together for a good six months or so when we finally said hey we ought to record this stuff. But it didn’t seem right to go into a recording studio without having played out live at least once. Alot of the time, playing a song live reveals what is working and what isn’t. Its an important part of the writing process. So we did a show or two, earned our stripes, and then booked some studio time.
Parlor Mob’s Paul Ritchie produced your forthcoming EP — can you talk about what Paul brought to the table as both a producer and as a performer (since he did some acoustic guitar work on one of the tracks)?
Paul has two things every great producer needs — taste and patience. He gets cool sounds which is important of course. But he’s also a very chill guy. So you feel relaxed around him, which helps you deliver a good performance.
If someone wanted to get to know what the band is all about — what song off the EP would you suggest people check out?
Well we didn’t write it, but “Lucille” is the first song we ever played together. So maybe start there.
How stoked are you guys about your upcoming EP release at The Stone Pony?
I would say very stoked. On a scale of 1-10, we’re stoked to 11.
Any big (or small) plans for the rest 2017, and 2018?
We have zero plans for 2018 at the moment. But beyond the Pony show we have one more show on the books for 2017 — December 17th at The Pet Shop in Jersey City. You should come!