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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Revving Up The Vincent Black Shadow
Wednesday, May 09, 2007

A handful of years ago Rob Kirkham (far left in picture) and his two brothers, Anthony and Chris, had a band. At the same time Rob’s friend Cassie Ford was on her way to the Philippines to work with Universal Asia (it should be fairly easy to pick out which one she is in the picture). Ford brought with her two songs Rob had written for her, but the Universal Asia people weren’t interested in them, they wanted to turn Ford into a pop star. She would have nothing of it and went back home to Canada where she quickly linked up with Kirkham and his brothers to record the songs he had written. The foursome became The Vincent Black Shadow, naming themselves after one of the bikes from Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. The group released their debut album, Fear's In The Water, late last year and the album’s lead single, “Metro,” is currently in rotation on Fuse. It’s apropos that they named their band after a mode of transportation since they’ve been touring seemingly non-stop since the album came out, including being scheduled for every date of the Warped Tour this summer. Amazingly, even with their road warrior status, I managed to catch up with Rob Kirkham and Cassie Ford recently during one of their rare days off to ask them about their rampant touring, their awkward initial meeting, and a certain killer rubber duckie.

Adam Bernard: With three brothers it’s obvious how most of you met, birth, but how did you end up linking up with Cassie?
Rob Kirkham: Through a mutual friend. It was actually a really cheesy meeting that our publicist makes sound much better. I was in some shitty restaurant reading some shitty poetry for a shitty class I was taking at University when she came in with a friend of hers and I actually asked her what grade are you in but she had just started University so she was a little offended on our first meeting.
Cassie Ford: Yeah, he thought I was like 16 or something. He was like “ooh what grade are you in,” like he was going to be my babysitter or something and I was like yeah, I’m like 21 and he’s just like “oh” and I looked over at him and he was reading this poetry book and I thought that he was reading it to look cool, I didn’t know that it was for a class, so I was just totally rolling my eyes. I was like who is this guy fuckin sitting there reading poetry in a shitty coffee shop? What the hell?
Rob Kirkham: Our publicist makes it out like we met over some stupid martini. I don’t know, that’s publicists for you. I’m sorry Rikki.
Cassie Ford: For a while we actually went with it and then I finally admitted it. I don’t even think I tried, or knew, what a martini was until this year on my birthday. We were playing a show and I was like maybe I should have a martini? Then I had one and it was super gross.

Adam Bernard: Yes, but they’re visually appealing because of the glass.
Cassie Ford: Yeah, exactly. You get the glass and you’re like “oh, this looks alright,” and then you drink it and you’re like “this is just vodka with a gross maraschino cherry in it,” and I hate those so it was completely retarded.

Adam Bernard: How’d you end up friend with him after that?
Cassie Ford: He called me and he had extra tickets to this Johnny Depp movie that was about William Burroughs and Jack Kerouac and I was like yeah, OK fine, I’ll go, and we ended up finding out we had tons in common.

Adam Bernard: Who were some of your early influences growing up?
Rob Kirkham: Anything alternative. I loved The Butthole Surfers, Primus, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Misfits. Faith No More, anything Mike Patton was doing because he would always try and do something that had nothing to do with what anybody else was doing. 92-94, those years was when I thought music was really vibrant. Look at the Lollapalooza of 94 and then look at the Lollapalooza of 99, you can see how much it changed.
Cassie Ford: I listened to a lot of classical. I went to a convent in England and took piano lessons and was in a choir and we traveled around and competed against other private schools and stuff like that, so I did Andrew Lloyd Webber kind of stuff and opera and stuff that kids probably wouldn’t normally listen to. It was actually really fun but it was really strict, an almost stereotypical British upbringing. I didn’t really start getting into newer music until I was probably in maybe like 11th grade.

Adam Bernard: Talk to me about the duck from the cover art. What’s the significance of it?
Cassie Ford: The duck is basically sort of like the fact that I have a sense of humor. The cover’s really dark, I get a lot of comments that it looks like it should be the cover for a death metal album or something, and that’s sort of what I was parodying, it was like a parody of those albums where these hardcore people put out these hardcore records and they have the hardcore cover and then you listen to it and it’s just cheesy. I wanted to do something that looked like that but had a little amusing twist to it. It started off as just this room scene and I actually toyed with a lot of different things, there are a few different versions of the cover where one is tentacles coming out of the bathtub, one with little feet sticking out, but I think we all liked the duck the best, it seemed most amusing so we went with that.

Adam Bernard: So the rubber duckie would be the fear that’s in the water.
Cassie Ford: (laughs) You could say that. The rubber duck in Batman Returns is pretty freaky. I just like attaching weird meanings to sort of mundane things. I also collect rubber ducks so because of that, whenever we play shows, every now and then a fan will come up and give me a rubber duck.

Adam Bernard: If you get really famous are you worried about being pelted with rubber ducks while performing?
Cassie Ford: No because they’re not really that hard, so bring it on, I’ll live.

Adam Bernard: I’ll leave that in the interview.
Cassie Ford: Oh, thank you. (laughs)

Adam Bernard: I see you’re on tour just about every day of the year. How’s life in a bus?
Cassie Ford: It’s really, umm, it’s kind of horrifying actually. By the time you get used to it the tour is over.
Rob Kirkham: That’s the thing, it’s like Kurt Cobain or Danzig or any of those guys always said the best part about touring is that half hour or an hour you get on stage and every other part of it fucking sucks because you can’t eat how you want, you don’t get to sleep where you want, you don’t get to sit where you want in the van or the bus or whatever thing you’re driving, and you’re always around other people even if you don’t want to be. A lot of people think it’s just complaining but really if you think about it it’s kind of like your whole world, you don’t have much control over anything but you have to do it in order to get your music out there. It’s a lot more tiresome than a lot of people think but at the same time I’m not going to complain like “I want to go home,” but I do enjoy the time off, let me put it that way.

Adam Bernard: What do you like to do first when you hit a new city or country?
Cassie Ford: I’m the biggest food fan ever, I love to eat and I love to eat really weird things so I’ll probably go look for the nearest restaurant that’s serving something that’s probably still moving and go there and go try that out. If it’s in the States I like to go looking for sushi restaurants, I’m sort of obsessed with sushi, or an arcade, or something to do at least. When we were in Germany last time we actually got to go sightseeing in a lot of the super old places, we went to a bunch of castles and old cathedrals and stuff. I’m sort of a nerd with all that history stuff, so I really like checking all that stuff out for sure. We went to the aquarium actually when we were in Kentucky and that was super fun, learned a lot of stuff.

Adam Bernard: Finally, who’s the biggest cockblock on the bus?
Rob Kirkham: I actually think that my brothers do it on their own. What happens is they’ll both get in arguments, especially them as they’re more interested in getting together with people on the road, about “oh I’m going to get this girl and I’m gonna get that girl” and I’m sitting there going “neither of you are going to get anybody.” I think it stifles them. They have a couple of drinks to loosen themselves up and then they just end up coming back alone going “oh man, she wasn’t worth it.” I’m like dude, anything that breaths and walks is your type.

For more of The Vincent Black Shadow check out myspace.com/tvbs, bodogmusic.com/tvbs & bodogmusic.com/artists/the-vincent-black-shadow.php.

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