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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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AOTW - The Vincent Black Shadow
Monday, December 22, 2008

I’ve made it no secret that The Vincent Black Shadow is one of my favorite rock bands. They’ve been featured on this site a number of times, and now that they’ve gone the indie route they’ve become a perfect fit to be an Artist Of The Week. Cassie Ford’s vocals are some of the most amazing you will hear in all of rock, and the band, which is made up of the Kirkham brothers, with Rob on guitar, Chris on bass, and Tony on drums (pictured L to R), is truly an amazing group of musicians. This week I sat down with Tony Kirkham to find out more about TVBS’s latest release, El Monstruo, why they parted ways with their label, Bodog Music, and what the band ended up learning after spending the better part of a year and a half on the road.

Adam Bernard: El Monstruo is the new album. The musical backbone of TVBS that made Fear’s in the Water so great is definitely still there and it sounds like this time around you’ve even added a few elements to things. When you approached El Monstruo what were your goals musically?
Tony Kirkham: Our goal definitely was to try and top Fear’s in the Water. I think every artist wants to top there last effort, but what you measure that by can be anything. Musically we achieved an album that has no feeling of repetition, which is what a lot of people liked about the Fear’s in the Water, different sounding songs that tend to dip into many genres in a span of three or four minutes.

Adam Bernard: Lyrically you cover a lot of ground on El Monstruo with one of the most poignant songs being “In A Row.” What inspired you to get a little political on this effort?
Tony Kirkham: “In A Row” was the first time I penned any lyrics for TVBS, so it’s funny you should ask that. I wasn't trying to get political on purpose. The words in the chorus just kind of came up out of rhyme scheme and I just built on that. I was watching a lot of the show Band of Brothers, which was about the paratroopers from 101st Airborne, and reading a lot about their factual history, so as the song progressed it got more political. We’re not here to preach about politics, though, and I think the song’s lyrics come off more descriptive than opinionated.

Adam Bernard: Why did you go from the ways of a label to the ways of an indie?
Tony Kirkham: There is a lot of dirty laundry behind why we are no longer with Bodog. More or less, Bodog is an online gambling company and when it was sold the new owners had no interest in the entertainment side of Bodog, i.e. Bodog Music. We decided rather than spend what could be a long time trying to get another deal we'd give our fans a chance to get the new album directly from us, otherwise El Monstruo would probably not be out yet. With the industry the way it is, we thought it would be a cool thing to test out and so far so good.

Adam Bernard: Has anything surprised you about doing things independently?
Tony Kirkham: Not really. Even though Bodog had money it still operated like an indie. No matter what situation, everything in life seems revolves around a bottom line, so even if you have the best radio single that people love, if you’re not part of a company that is constantly supplying revenue to these stations through advertising they won’t really get behind a track like they would for an artist signed to a major. I guess I was a little surprised by how much that mattered.

Adam Bernard: How are you defining “success” with this release; or does the fact that you put everything together yourself and have it in stores make it a success already?
Tony Kirkham: Definitely. The fact that we created our own online store from scratch, did our own marketing, press, mailings, tour booking, listening parties, press, etc., proved to us that we have a lot of drive and passion for what we do. We did have some help from some great people we hired for marketing and press, but it was still up to us to act as our own manager/label when performing these tasks and dealing with whoever was on the other end of the telephone, so to speak. Sometimes I wonder how big our band could be if we had the likes of Irving Azoff, or Andy Gould, running our careers (Guns N Roses’ management), but who knows, maybe we'd be in the same spot. You can't think about that stuff, you have to just keep at it with all your heart and soul. I would love it, though, if we had Ari Gold as our agent. Those would be some hilarious meetings.

Adam Bernard: I think everyone wants an Ari Gold on their team, myself included! Even with an Ari Gold, though, you couldn’t possibly have toured any more than you did in 2007. You were on every date of the 2007 Warped Tour and actually spent the vast majority of that year on the road. What did you learn from those experiences and what, if anything, will you do differently the next time you hit the road for such an extended period of time?
Tony Kirkham: We were actually on the road from May 2006 to Dec 2007 pretty much straight. I realized how much we learned because when it came to booking our own tours; the hotels, show agreements, routing, etc., we did an amazing job. We just got back from an American tour that went very well.

Adam Bernard: During your Warped Tour experience, who were some of the more interesting people you hung out with?
Tony Kirkham: In 2006 Melvin from NOFX, TAT and the Joan Jett crew were very cool. In 2007 there was The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Ray and Lil Jazz from k-os’ crew, Brooks from Bad Religion, and Circa Survive. There were a ton of people who work on the tour that were really cool to hang with, and some people who you didn't know what they did. There were lot lizards.

Adam Bernard: Finally, you can be real, did all the fellas have to flee from parades of jailbait girls knocking down their door, and did Cassie have to fend off an equal amount of adolescent boys?
Tony Kirkham: No, they’re more into lame shit like Boys Like Girls. Cassie has a ton of admirers, but they’re pretty respectful.

Related Links

Website: tvbsmusic.com
MySpace: myspace.com/tvbs
Adam’s World: Revving Up The Vincent Black Shadow (5/07)


posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:30 AM  
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