With their origins rooted in being a “faux band”, V*A*S*E quickly morphed into a very real entity, driven by their desire to bring back the hard driving rock sound of days gone by.
V*A*S*E are currently working on what will become their debut EP, but we thought it was still a good time to throw our “Introducing” Q&A their way, and get to know the Michigan based rockers a little better…
What does the band name mean to you?
First thing’s first, while the word can be pronounced both ways, we say it to sound like, “voz”. We’re going to have to spell out the pronunciation for people, just like Lynyrd Skynyrd did on their debut album. As far as the *s go, we’re big fans of the TV show, M*A*S*H. It was, either, we’re going to use *s in the name, or we’re going to use a different name, entirely. Vase just doesn’t look that good, in our opinion. Instead of having any meaning, we like how the look of V*A*S*E attracts people in.
Where is the band based?
We’re based out of Brighton, Michigan, which is a quaint little suburb of Metro Detroit. Although Detroit is where we rendezvous with other bands, we take pride in having a closer proximity to Ann Arbor, the birthplace of our favorite band, The Stooges. Also, I don’t know if you’re familiar with late 60s psych legends, Frijid Pink, but they’re from Brighton.
How long have you been together?
We began the formation of the band in late 2018, but our current five-some has been playing for a little over six months, since August of 2019.
What style of music do you play?
We’re a band heavily influenced by American protopunk from right here in our own backyard, with the likes of The Stooges and MC5 being a huge inspiration on our image and stage performance. Our actual sound favors much more of the grunge stylings of the 90s, with distorted guitars and Eddie Vedder-like vocals. If it gives you any idea, Nirvana and Local H are some of our favorite songwriters. When we aren’t playing distorted guitars and power chords in the chorus, our verses remind some of American post-punk bands, like Wipers and The Feelies. There’s definitely a quiet-to-loud thing going on there.
Give us the story of the bands formation, and give us a clue towards your influences.
We were originally just two cousins, Drew Kussmaul and J.T. Jasinski, who came up with the idea to form a faux band during a family get-together in the summer of 2015. Playing guitar on and off for the next few years, it wasn’t until early 2019, when we first attended school together at Michigan State, that we truly took the idea of playing in a band together seriously. First playing a host of cover tunes, by artists as diverse as Queens of the Stone Age, Pixies, and YES, our identity was still up in the air. What we needed most was a singer, and thanks to the power of social media, we found one. Vocalist, Christian Thibodeau, joined in April of 2019, giving us a definitive idea of where we could head with our original songs. With a shared love for grunge, us three members found bassist, Derian Parsons, in June of last year, while drummer, Elijah Simmons, followed suit in August. It’s been us five since.
Tell us about your latest release.
We’re currently recording our debut songs for release at The Loft in Saline, Michigan, which is the home studio of producer, Tim Patalan, from Sponge. The plan is to get a single or two out, before finishing an EP of six or seven songs currently in our repertoire. It’s been our first time in a professional studio, which has made for a great learning experience.
What are your goals for the bands future?
Our immediate goals are to continue growing a fanbase in, and around, Michigan. After finishing up in the studio and getting our songs out for people to hear, we’d like to start doing some DIY tours. More than anything, we want to continue playing all the time.
If you could share the stage with any other band or artist, who would you chose?
It’d have to be Iggy Pop, because of his groundbreaking live performances with The Stooges. Stories of their shows in 1969 and 1970 are that of urban legend, but if they’re anything as crazy as they sound, then it’s a no-brainer.
What can you tell us about your live shows?
Our live shows are all about energy and buildup, and seeing as though we’re not world class musicians, we have to be good entertainers. Thankfully, most listeners would choose a good song over soulless shredding, 9/10 times.
Do you have any upcoming gigs to promote?
We have none to promote for the immediate future, due to the recent postponement of all live events in Michigan, but there’s a cool festival we’re playing later in the year. The Goose Lake Jamboree, as it’s called, will be a 50th anniversary celebration of the original Goose Lake International Music Festival, which ran from August 7th through the 9th, 1970. It was considered Michigan’s response to Woodstock and had a lineup that featured The Stooges, who had just released their second album, Fun House. Sadly, Iggy Pop fired bassist, Dave Alexander, immediately after the gig, ending their original run. We can’t wait to play, knowing the importance of the festival.
What do you think sets you apart from other bands?
Our open-mindedness and appreciation for an array of musical styles, dating back to the 50s, allows us the freedom to create music without borders. Instead of having a particular artist in mind, we use our own diverse listening habits to draw inspiration from a multitude of different artists. A little bit from here, a little bit from there, it all comes together really nicely. Your local hippie is just as likely to dig us as your favorite metalhead. We think having this background in so many different styles, while honing in on the importance of the hook, makes for an enjoyable experience.
Explain why you think a new listener should give your music a go.
Keep an open mind and you never know what you’ll come to love. Some of our favorite songs of last year came from local bands, who have gone on to do big things. In this way, we feel we can help put the power back in the peoples’ court. All the best bands started somewhere, so why not us?
What has been your biggest achievement as a band, so far?
That’s a tough one, but we’d have to say sharing a stage with The Demolition Doll Rods. They were a very influential band on Detroit’s garage rock revival, so they’re local legends, of sorts. Iggy Pop has even stated his admiration for them. When your idols become your friends, you know you’re doing something right.
What else do you hope to achieve?
We want to sell enough records to take us on the road. Although our identity will always remain in Michigan, we’d love to tour the country. The thought of doing this for a living gives us great excitement. We look forward to what lies ahead!
Where can fans find you online?
You can check us out at our website, bandvase.com. There, you can find social media links, photos, video, and other exclusive content. Check it out!
Thanks for joining us!
Thanks for having us!