The Semi-Supervillains
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The Semi-Supervillains

Pittsburgh, PA | Established. Jan 01, 2013 | SELF

Pittsburgh, PA | SELF
Established on Jan, 2013
Band Rock Garage Rock




"Semi-Supervillains rock far from Duquesne"

Of the dozens of bands that have formed in the dorms of Duquesne, not many can say they’ve had success quite like The Semi-Supervillains.

Nor can they say they’ve partied with Wyclef Jean in a gated mansion on the Colorado River in Austin, rocked SXSW without a record label or had their songs played on Pittsburgh Pirates telecasts.

But if anyone knows how to navigate the glum prospects of the indie music industry, it’s Vinnie Longhi, sixth-year Duquesne pharmacy major by day and Semi-Supervillains frontman by night.

“Being a working class musician, it’s tough,” Longhi said. “It’s hard to make money anymore. But anything you do full time, it can get monotonous. I’d like to do 20 hours a week as a pharmacist, 20 hours as a musician, you know?”

It’s worked so far for the Semi-Supervillains. The balance between music and school is something they’ve all had to deal with; keyboard player Forrest Mance is one of Longhi’s pharmacy classmates, bassist John Pennacchio is a second-year med student at West Virginia University, drummer Cory Caruso graduated in 2014 from Duquesne and guitarist Nick Longhi is at WVU for biology.

As a band, they’ve released two full length EPs, “Tricks” in 2013 and “Here Comes Trouble” in 2015, as well as a collection of acoustic renditions, “Southwest,” that was unveiled last Friday. They’ve toured regionally and internationally, including stops in Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. And they’ve racked up quite a few accolades, winning the 2014 PennRock Scholarship, 2014 Weirton Band Blast and a chance to play live on 102.5 WDVE Coffeehouse with Randy Baumann.

But nothing was as rewarding to the band as the opportunity to head down to Texas for SXSW, a weeklong festival of music, film, interactive media and innovation conferences.

The band brought its high energy, new wave garage rock style to six different showcases around Austin, including Jam in the Van at the GQ Magazine Artist House.

“Playing in Pittsburgh, it’s sometimes small peanuts,” Longhi said. “At SXSW, we were playing showcases for Ernie Ball guitar strings or GQ. And it’s like, you’re walking down the street with your guitar in Austin, you talk to somebody, and they’re a record producer in Los Angeles. You exchange business cards and hope someday they might call you.”

The Semi-Supervillains are currently shopping record labels and plugging their new EP. “Southwest,” a stripped-down compilation of their songs that was recorded by Longhi and Mance in Georgetown, Texas, is an attempt to show the band’s versatility.

“All eyes are on you after SXSW, and you need to do something that proves you’re relevant,” Longhi said. “A lot of the big record labels want you to prove you can release music consistently.”

“Southwest” is available for download on the band’s Bandcamp website. They are playing at Arsenal Lanes in Lawrenceville on May 4 and the Rex Theater in South Side on May 7. - The Duquesne Duke

"How to Get Creative With Your Music Promotion: Advice From the Semi-Supervillains"

When musicians think of promotion, they often see it as putting up flyers for a show, posting on social media, sending music to radio stations – the usual. It's true that standard promotion strategies are integral to getting your music out there, but who doesn't love getting outside of the box?

Pittsburgh-based garage rock/power pop band the Semi-Supervillains have been incredibly proactive in looking for atypical ways to get their music to new fans. With a love for sports and some good networking, they landed an opportunity to write a theme song for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Not only is that a huge resume booster, but it keeps the band's music playing in their city to new listeners every game. Below, guitarist and vocalist Vinnie Longhi of the Semi-Supervillains gives his advice on how to be creative and imaginative with music promotion.

The Semi-Supervillains recently wrote a theme song for the Pittsburgh Pirates. What a cool way to use and promote your music! Tell us how that opportunity came about.
I was approached by the producer for Root Sports after our showcase at a Pittsburgh local music fest called the Deutschtown Music Festival. He admitted that he had scouted us out prior to seeing us live via the music videos we have on YouTube. (It's important to have an online presence to supplement performing live shows consistently!) He explained that he was looking for a “Friday Night Rocks” theme to be used for Pittsburgh Pirates telecasts. I sent a demo a few days after our conversation for the “Friday Night Rocks” theme, and it worked after a few suggestions and tweaks!

We play energetic rock music, so a pair with sports definitely makes sense. Pittsburgh is a sports town; having my music and band featured with the Pirates is creating a lot of buzz about the Semi-Supervillains.

The theme song is also being used for Friday night telecasts throughout the game. How has that promotion helped draw new fans to your music?
We have seen some new social media interest after each time the song and music video are featured on television. It's pretty cool because the announcers will even plug our upcoming shows! The Pittsburgh Pirates telecasts are broadcasted locally with Root Sports in Pennsylvania; the Semi-Supervillains are based out of Pittsburgh, PA, so that worked out nicely.

Most people generally don't go to the clubs to see unknown bands, but when they see something on TV and hear we are playing down the street Friday night, they may be inclined to come check us out. We have definitely been drawing some new fans at our recent shows.

In addition to writing the theme song, you shot a music video for the Pirates. Tell us about that experience, and how the video helped further grow the song and promotion of the Pirates.
The music video shoot was awesome! It was done at Stage AE in Pittsburgh, and the whole Root Sports crew was there with five-plus cameras, a gib, complex lighting, and a professional video crew. We did at least 30 takes of the song with different camera angles, etc.

Every Friday this season, they have a different version of the music video depending on what team the Pirates are playing; this includes a different edit of the music video with a variation of moves, jumps, and funny faces I make on camera!

You never know when the right person is going to hear your music at the right time. What is your creative process for dreaming up and executing out-of-the-box promotion ideas?
The "Friday Night Rocks" opportunity is huge, and I really wanted to take advantage and "hit it out of the park." As soon as I found out that we were doing the music video for the Pittsburgh Pirates telecast, I invested in our website,, because extra traffic is expected there from the viewers.

You have to present yourself in a professional style, online and in the flesh. Definitely know your audience; I geared the song and band image to be a crowd-pleaser when writing the “Friday Night Rocks” theme and refining the band's image. The kind of people who watch the Pittsburgh Pirates games on TV are sports fans, fathers and sons. When I was a kid, my dad and I bonded a lot over baseball and classic rock music. So I created a song that had a retro-rock vibe.

We even borrowed classic-looking Marshall half stacks to backline the band in the music video to help contribute to a classic rock 'n' roll image/performance to appeal to a sports audience. When performing out live, I always adapt my band's setlist to adhere to the venue and other types of bands we're showcasing with.

When you're looking for insight on how to grow your music career in unique ways, where do you typically look?
Reddit has a bunch of threads – you just have to dig for them. I like to use Reddit to help find out where the best fitting venues and bands for local support are when playing a new larger city for the first time.

The Sonicbids blog is my go-to! I have definitely taken advantage of a lot different opportunities, especially thanks to Jhoni Jackson’s blog posts about the #RoadToAustin and SXSW. We made a splash at SXSW 2016 because the Sonicbids blog served as our guidebook for our networking and marketing strategy.

Also, Sonicbids has a ton of opportunities where businesses/individuals are looking for a jingle or theme song, so definitely try your hand at those if you have a decent home recording setup. "Selling out" for bands isn't a thing anymore. Using product endorsements and creating jingles is how working musicians survive.

If you were talking with another independent band that felt frustrated with the traditional avenues of promotion, what are three pieces of advice you would give them?
First, I would say to utilize all of the marketing tools available at our fingertips via the internet. We just talked about a few different types of blogs to check out for advice. Whether you are a beginner or a pro, the Sonicbids blog has something that you should read. If you want to make a career in music, you have to do the behind-the-scenes work yourself because nobody will do it for you. With all the different websites like Sonicbids available, you can practically start your own independent label.

Second, every internet radio station, college radio station, and blog – no matter how big or small – is worth your time. Always follow up with those internet stations that are playing your music and offer to do an interview or a tagline for the station. It's a friendly gesture to send them tickets whenever you play in their area, or even merchandise for giveaways.

If you're getting to Cleveland at 1:00 p.m. and you don’t play until 10:00 p.m., reach out to the local college radio stations (even if it's last-minute) to try to schedule an interview before your show (and invite them to come out, too). Always conduct yourself in a professional manner, on and off the stage. In your emails, make sure you use proper grammar. With that being said, don’t be spammy with your emails, either. The personal touch goes a long way. - Sonicbids

"Music scene: Full-on rock from Semi-Supervillains"

Of the Semi-Supervillains that got their start in a Duquesne University dorm in 2010, Vinnie Longhi is the last Semi-Supervillain standing.

Fortunately, he’s also the frontman, and one who admits to enjoying a certain degree of creative control.

“It's a really long story,” he says. “I've always just done the writing/recordings myself and just had some of my friends back me up to do live shows. Eventually, the friends that were playing with me live wanted to take part in the writing/recording process and it just didn't work, out so they got fed up with it.”

The current band has him backed by his brother Nick, who plays bass, guitarist John Pennacchio and Rusted Root drummer Cory Caruso. (By the way, Nick is in med school at West Virginia University and Vinnie just finished pharmacy school, so they could have your medical needs covered.)

Having released a debut album, “Tricks,” two years ago, the Semi-Supervillains return with "Here Comes Trouble," an EP produced by Rick Witkowski at Studio L. The sound falls somewhere between the Beatles and the Hives, which makes sense, as Mr. Longhi recently stood in as the Hives singer at a tribute show and, he says, “I grew up with the Beatles and remember singing “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” when I was a child.

As a budding singer-songwriter, he was encouraged early on, he says, to dirty it up with garage-rock and power pop.

“I had some people bullying me to do heavier riffs and saying my singer-songwriter stuff was boring, uninteresting. Naturally, that was great fuel for me to really focus and try to prove them wrong.”

He managed to do that, and along with the slicker production and raucous songs like “Shivers” and “Bad News,” this EP has more wisdom on its side.

“Compared to the album that I wrote when I had 18/19-year-old angst,” he says, “the EP has some 22/23-year-old angst.”

The release show is at Cattivo, 146 44th St., Lawrenceville, at 9 p.m. Friday with the Turbosonics and Zombo's Rocking Bones. Search “The Semi-Supervillains” on Facebook. - By Scott Mervis / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"What’s Your Road to Austin? 3 DIY Bands Share How They’re Making the Most of Their Trip to SXSW"

The Semi-Supervillains, a Pittsburgh power-pop quartet with blues-rock roots, has already squared away their plans. They've got gigs in Cincinnati, Nashville, Memphis, and Dallas. "We contacted some bars and small venues and explained to them that we are headed to Austin...and they were more than happy to help us pick up a show in each city," says frontman Vinnie Longhi. - Sonicbids

"Deutschtown Music Festival Energizes City and Bands"

The bands feel the energy too, feeding off fans and visa versa. The Semi Super-Villains played the main stage with their three piece band. The stage wasn’t too big for these guys though. Lead vocalist, Vinnie Longhi used the stage to his advantage leaping through the air on several occasions.

“My showmanship feeds the crowd for sure. On a big stage there is even more room for that to happen. The crowd’s positive vibes fed me more than anything to be energetic and smile while doing it. We opened our set with a cover of SGT. Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band to engage the crowd right out of the gate,” says Longhi. - Sound Scene Express

"Semi Supervillains “Here Comes Trouble” Album Review"

Semi Supervillains
Here Comes Trouble
Self Released
September 19, 2015
The Semi Supervillains are a garage rock band from Pittsburgh. They describe their sound as blues rock influenced power pop and compare themselves to such bands as The Strokes, The Black Keys, Cage The Elephant and The Hives. They have performed onstage with the likes of Foxy Shazam, the Soft White Sixties and Living Colour and have released one full length album, Tricks, in 2013.
This EP, Here Comes Trouble, consists of five tracks and starts with the superb “Bad News.” Though their style is certainly blues rock influenced, with a meaty guitar sound and punchy drums, Bad News is first and foremost a great pop song. Lead vocalist Vinnie Longhi has an appealing voice, backed up by some fine harmonies and it builds up nicely to the chorus hook: “Bad news, I think I’m already through with you….”. The guitar solo is sharp and effective, as well as refreshing, with solos a rarity in modern rock.
“Champagne” has a chord progression that wouldn’t have been out of place in the Sixties though its sardonic opening line brings it back to the modern age: “I work in a hospital because its convenient…for when you take my heart and you smash it to pieces…”. It’s another nicely written song where the melancholy lyrics counterbalance the poppy upbeat melodies.
“Shivers” shows their rockier side with a demonic low end guitar riff that Jimmy Page would be proud of and again features some great one liners to put a smile on 
your face: “I tied a knot in the devil’s tail…”. A truly blistering solo tops off a track that proves this band can tear it up with the best of them and Vinnie Longhi is equally adept at this more visceral style of vocal.

”No Desire” returns to the 60’s vibe of earlier tracks, with Cory Caruso’s driving drums and Doors style organ forming the backdrop for another catchy song, with the insistent hook “You’re building me up just to break me back down…”. This is high quality songwriting to find late into an EP, and bodes well for their second album.
“Stick With The One You Love” is another gem to close with, opening with a lilting descending guitar line. The chorus shines with a great call and response vocal arrangement, the harmonies particularly strong on this song. This is a band in complete control of their sound, with the performances and production perfectly executed.

Overall, this is a thoroughly enjoyable EP from start to finish from a band who manage to breathe new life into what many might consider to be a stale genre. Unlike the rather limited retro blues of The Black Keys. The Semi Supervillains draw from a wider palette and know how to capture its finest elements. Their knowing, dryly humorous lyrics add to the appeal and give it a modern edge, and these five excellent songs show a fine understanding of the songwriting craft.
Don’t miss Semi Supervillains Friday October 30 for their EP release party with The Turbosonics who are also celebrating the release of Tres Gatos Suave and The Rockin’ Bones. The show is at Cattivo in Lawrenceville at 146 44th Street at 9pm. The show is only $5 for 3 awesome bands. Don’t forget your costumes!
Review by Alex Faulkner - Sound Scene Express

"HGR CD Review: The Semi-Supervillains"

THE SEMI-SUPERVILLAINS – TRICKS (no label) Formed at Pittsburgh’s Duquesne University in 2010, the Semi-Supervillains deliver a vigorous, garage-rocking wallop on their first full-length CD, Tricks. The band’s nucleus of founder, singer, guitarist and keyboardist Vinnie Longhi and bassist Ron Rekowski team with several drummers and noted producer/multi-instrumentalist Rick Witkowski to lay down a raucous, guitar-fueled garage rock sound. The group’s style displays the go-for-broke demeanor of Jet or White Stripes, but also captures the spirit of classic ‘60s-era garage rockers like the Kingsmen, Kinks and early Who. The disc’s 11 songs are compact, with catchy hooks and to-the-point melodies; providing the backdrops for Longhi's lyrical odes to boy-meets-girl ups and downs. The Semi-Supervillains offer four quality textbook crash-bang-wallop guitar-rock exercises to launch the album; the disc-opening title track “Tricks,” “Magic Touch,” “Black Letter” and “Learned My Lesson”; and stomp hard on the crunchy “Trolls.” They accelerate to punk-like velocity on “Come On Pain Give Me Sympathy” and the disc-finisher “Start the Show,” and provide infectious ska chops on “Right for All.” The group crafts a catchy R&B-like pop melody on “Fool for You,” taps a McCoys “Hang On Sloopy” vibe with the playful “She Put a Spell on Me,” and belts out a convincing doo-wop ballad on “Say the Word.” The Semi-Supersonics deliver all of it with a caution-to-the-wind velocity and abundant enthusiasm; yet the execution is airtight and dead-on. Longhi’s vocals are playful and tuneful, yet capable of going off the deep end at any moment. Witkowski’s studio finish enables The Semi-Supervillains to sound sharp and edgy, yet polished and radio-ready. No trickery involved, Tricks delivers a refreshing, awakening garage-rocking slap to the cranium, and The Semi-Supervillains provide a stripped-down, fun and raucous listen. - See more at: - The Homegrown Rocker on ROCKY 99 fm

"The Semi-Supervillains look to save your potentially boring night"

Vinnie Longhi wanted to spend more time this afternoon talking about his band, The Semi-Supervillains, but he had to get to his class in Duquesne University’s Mylan School of Pharmacy.

You really don’t want to be late for Infectious Disease II.

Tonight, however, The Semi-Supervillains will be providing the cure — get it? — for what might otherwise be a boring evening. The prescription is music and dancing at Club Cafe on the South Side.

Like so many great things, The Semi-Supervillains got their start in a college dorm.

“I lived next door to the bass player our freshman year,” said Mr. Longhi, 22, who plays guitar and serves as the band’s singer-songwriter. “I heard him playing music in the hall of St. Ann’s Hall. Actually, we heard each other, and we started playing together.”

Which led to those five special words: “We should start a band.”

That was in 2010. Today, Mr. Longhi and bass player Ron Rekowski are joined by guitarist Kyle Yoho and drummer Jake Locke for gigs all around the city.

“Our first show was the freshman talent show in 2010,” Mr. Longhi said. “Our second show was the Barroom at Station Square the next week.”

Since then, they’ve played The Smiling Moose, Mr. Small’s, the Hard Rock Cafe, Altar Bar and numerous events on The Bluff, where Mr. Longhi still lives. Mr. Rekowski and the other three live off campus.

“We still practice in the bass player’s parents’ basement in Allentown,” Mr. Longhi said.

The music they play is guitar-driven garage rock. Poppy songs with hooks.

“It’s about my life and the stuff that people between 18 and 22 years old face,” Mr. Longhi said. “Falling in love and getting your heart broken. Typical things that people write songs about.”

The title of the group’s CD, which was released in October, is “Tricks.” But that has nothing to do with the trick of being in a band while trying to get through college. All the members of The Semi-Supervillains are seniors. Only Mr. Locke is studying music.

“I’m studying pharmacy and the others are in random majors like history and political science,” Mr. Longhi said. “The pharmacy is a good fall-back plan for music. It’s a steady career.

“I’m pretty good with managing myself, so I just schedule the shows around the tests. Sometimes I do play a show and the next morning I have a test, but I just start studying a week in advance for that test so I don’t fail it or anything.”

There’s another benefit of studying in Duquesne’s School of Pharmacy. You get the chance to meet Dr. Patrick Flaherty, who also goes by the name “Dr. Fireball” when he’s playing upright bass with The Allegheny Rhythm Rangers.

Did we mention that The Allegheny Rhythm Rangers are opening for The Semi-Supervillains tonight at Club Cafe?

“I’m going to class right now and I’m selling tickets to my friends in class, showing them pictures of me playing next to my professor playing the upright bass. And they’re like, ‘Wow, you’re playing with Dr. Flaherty’s band! That’s so cool!’”

There’s even a chance the two groups might jam together tonight.

Who knows? A good solid dose of music might be just what you need. It also might save the members of The Semi-Supervillains from depressing lives with normal jobs.

“I think we all truly aspire to make music as a career,” Mr. Longhi said. “The bass player is a political science major, so he’s thinking about grad school or law school. But if the music really starts paying the bills, you know, we’ll go with it.

“As long as I graduate pharmacy school first. That’s my dad’s rule.”

You can get into Club Cafe at 56 S. 12th St. tonight at 8 for just $8.

Dan Majors: - Pittsburgh Post Gazette

"New Releases Review of records by The Semi-Supervillains and Volcano Dogs"

Why is this power-pop outfit called The Semi-Supervillains? Is it because their plans for global domination didn’t pan out? They couldn’t manage to get the death ray to work? Here Comes Trouble is the newest five-song EP from the group; its sound recalls early-2000s garage rock, a la The Hives, with hints of “Hash Pipe”-era Weezer. The songs are less edgy, though — more likely to be called “cute” rather than “snotty” or “snarling,” or similar words that critics use to describe rough-and-tumble pop like this. Perhaps the “semi” modifier means these supervillains are more a cuddly sort, the kind you can take home to your mom. — Andrew Woehrel Volcano Dogs - Pittsburgh City Paper


Here Comes Trouble EP (2015)

Tricks LP (2013)

Teenage Screams! EP (2011)



Described as "your best friend's older brother's cool rock and roll band" the Semi-Supervillains have showcased with the likes of Foxy Shazam, the Soft White Sixties, and Living Colour to name a few. The self-proclaimed garage rock powerhouse is known as the Pittsburgh Pirates "Friday Night Rocks" band having their music video televised on Root Sports during telecasts and for promotional ads. 

 In March 2016, the villains attended SXSW in Austin, TX notably making appearances on MTV and with Jam in the Van at the GQ Magazine Artist House. The Semi-Supervillains released an acoustic EP titled "Southwest" in April 2016. Southwest was recorded entirely Studio M in Austin, TX featuring Vinnie Longhi and Forrest Mance.

The band's latest release titled Here Comes Trouble is a follow up to their 2013 debut full-length Tricks. Here Comes Trouble features the musical talents of brothers Vinnie & Nick Longhi, Cory Caruso, and John Pennacchio and was produced and mastered by Rick Witkowski at Studio L and Jay Dudt at Audible Images respectively.  The Semi-Supervillains proudly play Guild Guitars and Dean Markley Guitar Strings.

The Semi Supervillains perform across the United States and Canada at an array of music festivals and have been developing a fan base throughout the Northeast and Midwest.  The band's guitar driven, blues/rock influenced power-pop will make a lasting impression leaving rock music fans drooling all over themselves waiting for more! 

Band Members