Ten Year Vamp
Ten Yea Vamp = Pink meets the Foo Fighters with pints full of personality, charm, and sex appeal. Named Best Indie Album of 2009, they've appeared on multiple MTV prime time programs and have performed over 600 shows across the country, opening for Bon Jovi, Aerosmith, Lifehouse and many others.
Tough Sexy – Metroland
By Bill Ketzer
Ten Year Vamp
Bayou Café, April 29 2006
Ralph Spillenger’s Bayou Café is by far the finest nightclub on Pearl Street, besting Jillian’s, the Skyline, and all others in Albany’s little Bermuda Triangle with killer grub, a smashing sound system, gobs of live music and sexy-ass regulars who liquor up and boogie down nightly.
Normally, I avoid these things like minefields, but I was intrigued by Ten Year Vamp, who regularly pack such hothouses from here to the Big Apple with their raucous, high-protein attack. So, deep into those badlands I slunk to see for myself whether it was live or Memorex, and two songs into the night the answer was clear.
Tight, white-hot and endlessly attacking the downbeat from the gun, the band delivered, and I pressed my head to a nearby wedge as to feel their murderous telltale heartbeat. Drinks were spilled. Souls were lost. I stood at stage left, gleefully getting my ears fried into chips by guitarist Pete Vroman’s dual 4-by-12s as the band caught more air than Blink 182 backing David Lee Roth on a McDonaldland trampoline. Vamp cofounder Mark Rose hoisted his six-stringer high as Tim Keenan (one of the finest working bassists around) nailed them all to the wall behind drummer Scott Card’s unflappable meter. And, of course, you have leading lady Debbie Gabrione. Sure, Gabrione is a looker, a prime selling point for the band, but she doesn’t flaunt her sexuality in a manner that diminishes the primacy of her dream-soaked voice. Thank God. Like the pagan Queen Mab, she plats the manes of her horses in the night with toasts and promises and a sort of reassuring elemental satisfaction.
The throng swooned on the hardwood, cursing their ancestors for not bestowing such talents upon them as the band hand-delivered both a slew of covers (from vintage Tom Petty to the Black-Eyed Peas) and promising original goods like “Rockstar” and the iridescent “Fall,” the latter both endearing yet perhaps unintentionally capturing the human blindness to culpability, of promises made that can never be guaranteed. “If you give me the chance, I can give you the world,” Gabrione wailed to the heavens, as if despite her sincerity she quietly suspects it can’t possibly be so. Her lexis is refreshing because it sounds so goddamn there, so pragmatic, and yet the LCD can still derive whatever commercially appealing message is needed to justify the next round of shooters.
During the second set, I noticed I was being cased by a redhead with a Ten Year Vamp bumper sticker on her ass. She alternated between eyeballing me and fixating on Gabrione’s rump as she shook it to Fall Out Boy’s “Sugar I’m Going Down,” arms akimbo, ripping open the salty oxygen of the Bayou in her combat fatigues. “I love you Debbie!” the girl would scream. Then she would look back at me, but not with bedroom eyes. “Are you going to stand here for the whole night?” she finally asked, the implication being that she deserved my front-row spot, because she was in fact sexy, and I, decidedly not sexy, had no real business being at the front of this sexy game farm, blinded by the blessed sheen of Vroman’s Les Paul. What else can you do? You look her right in the eyes, and you hit her with mordant, one-word questions, offered like statements: “Why.”
“Oh, I was just, you know, wondering, you know . . .” she stammered. I held her gaze until she shrunk away. People are such assholes. Later she returned and asked if I was with the local newspaper because she was a photographer and would love to send me some pictures. Christ almighty.
Of course, TYV’s bread and butter is (and must be) cut from the reliable cloth of such harmless party-hards, of people with stickers on their asses, who actually show up to a downtown bar in formal wear, mouthing the lyrics to “Kryptonite” it its entirety. Thankfully, there is a tough circuitry beneath the Vamp, a talent, a rockets’ red glare that should ebb past the cover circuit given time and (someone else’s) money, because their original material is maturing and their radiance is infectious. Why, I was even inspired to help an alcohol-poisoned student drag his unconscious lady friend up Columbia Street on my way home. She bled on my AC/DC hoodie and barfed in my car, but that’s hardly the point.
( What is the Metroland you ask ? The only newspaper of its kind serving the Capital Region of New York state and adjacent western Massachusetts, Metroland reaches 100,000-plus area residents every Thursday with in-depth reporting of regional and national news and politics, provocative commentary, insightful coverage of arts and culture and the region's most comprehensive entertainment calendar. With a strong commitment to editorial and graphic excellence, we attract readers with both style and substance, inviting them to share in the rich experiences our region has to offer and challenging them to think more critically and creatively about how our communities can be improved. Above all, we strive to offer a lively forum in which to engage the Capital Region's most active, conscientious, influential and discriminating readers. The Metroland ranks #2, to NYC's Village Voice. )
Amp Up with Ten Year Vamp – CD On Tap (1/29/2008)
What’s grown local, never sleeps, amps up the metro music scene and rocks out with a woman at the helm? If you haven’t seen it, if you haven’t heard it and if you haven’t experienced it – drop everything. You, my friend, need a substantial dose of the sinfully sweet sounds of Ten Year Vamp.
This high-energy kick-ass rock band is five years young but consistently outperforms bands with decades under their belt. Their sounds rock the rooms in over 50 venues and across seven states. The list of bands they’ve shared the bill with read like a Billboard Chart - Fuel, Lifehouse, The Gin Blossoms, Finger Eleven, Bo Bice, Nickelback, Three Doors Down, The Spin Doctors, Simple Plan, Hoobastank, Ludacris, Cinder Road, Nonpoint and Drowning Pool.
“We started performing in 2003 as an acoustic duo,” says Mark Rose. “The plan from the beginning was to find a band, and play just a few acoustic duo shows while we searched for band members. We thought we might play a month or two of acoustic shows, but it ended up taking eight months to find the right.”
The Capital District venues have really supported the band from the very beginning. Although competition is fierce, things seemed to happen fast for 10YV in the right places. “We have to give a special thanks to Ralph from the Bayou,” smiles Mark. “He gave us a ton of Happy Hour gigs as the acoustic duo, and he gave us our first gig as a full band on the main stage... it's been our home ever since.”
2008 is shaping up to be a year jam-packed with shows and appearances for Ten Year Vamp. The band will often go from one venue to the next, from city to city, playing for their loyal followers of the “vamp culture.”
“We're always busy, but lately we've got more shows than ever,” boasts Mark. “Feb 1st we're at the Bayou in Albany. We'll get home from the show that night somewhere around 5am, sleep for about three hours, then meet up with a bus from Premiere Limo to take us down to the city. We've got a big show at the Blender Theatre in Gramercy. It's the BoDog Battle of the Bands and we've made it to the third round of competition with a million dollar recording contract on the line.”
The BoDog Battle of the Bands is presented by BoDog Music and does culminate with the winning band receiving a million dollar recording contract with BoDog Music. Over 7000 bands entered in this high-profile, high-energy, aggressive music jam contest across the country. Through many levels of qualifying rounds, each major city selects bands to continue on the next following rounds. Ten Year Vamp has titillated and tempted the eager crowds at each round they’ve advanced to. They are now another step closer to that recording contract.
When asked what sets them apart from the rest of band world, 10YV front woman Debbie Garbrione makes these points. “Firstly, there aren't many (any?) female fronted bands, who HONESTLY rock, and can amp up a crowd. Female fronted rock bands are rare, and female fronted high energy rock bands are even more rare,” boasts Debbie. “We're able to deliver high energy AND talent. Many bands have to compromise on one...either they have the energy, but can't seem to deliver the stability of the music at the same time...or....they are incredible musicians, but they just stand there. We have it all.”
Ten Year Vamp also prides themselves on their uncanny ability to connect with the audience. “We don't function separate and removed from the audience,” says Debbie. “We function WITH them, and talk to them, and laugh with them and we monitor them to confirm they're having a good time, and that we're doing our job... which is to entertain them and make killer music. They fuel us, just as much as we fuel them.” Having seen several recent shows, this is a characteristic absent from so many bands. Ten Year Vamp really does thrive on the crowd’s energy and involvement. The more pumped you get, the more you see it on stage. It’s completely intoxicating and addictive, to put it mildly.
It’s no wonder why the band is taking this connection even further through their innovative and ground-breaking concept of “consumer/band partnership.” In an effort to Amp Up the Vamp, the band is offering the option to become an owner and collaborator of a record label. Through several levels of participation, 10YV fans are able to truly become part of this music and marketing revolution. The band is slated to record their first major album this fall and is offering YOU, the loyal fan, an opportunity to buy into the band’s record label and become part of the process. Ownership opportunities start at just $25 for a Basic Sponsorship up to $2000 for a Corporate Sponsorship. Each additional level offers additional benefits based upon financial participation including a percentage of the album profits, listing on the album credits, invites to band tour dates, and even the executive ability to chose songs for the final album cut.
“The potential is endless here,” says Mark. “No one is doing anything quite like this and we want our fans to be the first to do so in the industry. We want them to be part of the process that only a select few usually get to be a part of.”
Of course, being part of such a crazy gig can bring with it some pretty crazy times. Debbie says, “I don't know that I have a favorite 10YV story necessarily, simply because something funny or crazy happens almost every show....alcohol, boys, girls, hotels, adrenalin, rock music, hormones....it's quite a combination.”
“My fav 10YV memories are attached to our bus trips,” laughs Debbie. “We often play in NYC (which is 3 hours from Albany), and we'll get a bus and fill it with 50 friends and head down to NY city. We get food and drinks and good music, and we all just get to hang out and laugh and be silly. Then we arrive at the club and put on a KICK ass show, and more often then not, we BLOW away all the NYC based bands. It's a good feeling to drive 3 hours to play in world reknowned bars (like CBGB's or the Knitting Factory or Blender Theatre), and go head-to-head against bands from one of the trendiest, music centered cities in the world... and bring more people then any other band and just blow the other bands out of the water.”
Ten Year Vamp is often catching the eye of numerous industry notables, one of which most of you have seen on VH1 or read his column in the Village Voice. Michael Musto recently judged a competition 10YV played in and had these fine words to say as a result: “I voted for the tighter-than-my-pussy Ten Year Vamp".
The band is slated for a full rockin schedule through the months to come. To check out where they will be rockin out, visit www.tenyearvamp.com. Also, for further info on the unbelievable kick-ass opportunity to be a part of a real record label, visit www.tenyearvamp.com/album_project.html.
A Piece of the Action – Metroland (Albany NY)
A Piece of the Action
The members of Ten Year Vamp take their music—and the music business—very seriously
By Bill Ketzer
Photos By Joe Putrock
Two days after Thanksgiving, Ten Year Vamp are standing in the frigid sundown looking up at the Black Brimmer, an immense nightclub housed in a Victorian-era public works building in downtown Manchester, N.H. “Last night we played Worcester [Mass.], which was pretty good,” says guitarist Mark Rose as the band members prepare for load-in. “But this place . . . we’re building a following here. Should be a good crowd tonight.”
Uh-huh. Four hours later, the three entire floors are filled with soul-patched punters and boob-flashing 20-somethings hitting the drink specials harder than Amy Winehouse at Carnaval. Lead singer Debbie Gabrione whips her black mane in perpetuity as she roars from the stage above the din, encouraging birthday spankings, group toasts and general misconduct. Rose ducks a plastic cup then catches my eye with a smile, and we both know his earlier assessment was the understatement of the year.
Formed in 2003, Ten Year Vamp don’t win crowds over; they own them. The next time I catch them is at Sandy’s Clam Bar in Glens Falls, where the atmosphere is like a European rock festival. Then, down by Poughkeepsie’s waterfront at Mahoney’s, the place is so over-capacity that bouncers help with load-out. Ten Year Vamp bumper stickers are smeared across the asses and pint glasses of the masses, and it seems right.
Since these shows are largely cover gigs, however, it would be easy to charge such explosive regional popularity to pop groupthink. And it doesn’t hurt that Gabrione and her compatriots didn’t exactly fall out of the ugly bastard tree as newborns. Yet, 10YV’s original material, cannonballed between your Green Days and Red Jumpsuit Apparatuses, goes over just as well. Crowds sing along to their “Rockstar” and the chugging “Get Up,” and for some reason there’s also lot of hugging involved. What gives?
“I think it’s the respect and attention we give everyone,” Gabrione says in a later interview. “I basically have about five minutes to earn the friendship of a potential fan, so we get right in there—laugh, have a few drinks, talk about our week. It’s our time to socialize too.”
“Our plan from the very beginning was to be a successful original band, but we didn’t have the money to support [one],” Rose explains. “The solution was simple: Play covers. We make more money and play for more people . . . and we still play original songs, provided they hold up.”
Apparently they do. After an original showcase at the Knitting Factory in New York City last month, even infamously unimpressed Village Voice columnist Michael Musto praised Ten Year Vamp in his weekly rant as “tighter than my pussy,” and to be sure, the quintet’s rank-and-file—rounded out by guitarist Pete Vroman, bassist Chad Balzer and drummer Scott Card—form a seasoned, well-schooled chop shop. “We have the talent to be a national band, [so] we market ourselves that way,” says Gabrione. “Labels aren’t signing, so we can’t expect a company to invest a million dollars in us. All they have that we don’t is millions of dollars!”
The decision to eschew industry support also made Rose and Gabrione—who incorporated as an LLC in 2006—better business professionals. “Everything a record label would provide, we provide for ourselves,” the singer explains. “Bookings, marketing, recording, gas, hotels, competitions, production, Web site hosting, online merch—and of course we pay our musicians. Then we have to find time to write songs!”
Despite full-time day jobs (Rose is a partner at Colonie’s Camelot Copy Center and Gabrione counsels high-school students with disabilities as they transition into workforce settings), the band play most major Northeastern markets within four hours of the Capital Region every weekend, reinvesting all revenue back into the music. “We had to hire a CPA to keep track of our accounts—PayPal, credit, payroll and sales,” says Rose. “And if we’ve got any money left over, we rent buses so fans can come to our New York City shows.”
These trips are immensely popular. The next is on Saturday (Feb. 2), when 10YV will compete in the Bodog Battle of the Bands regional finals at the Blender Theatre at Gramercy in Manhattan. The winner bags a million-dollar recording contract, so 10YV gladly eat the entire cost of the sold-out bus. “It’s costing us $1,250 and over $800 in tickets,” Rose estimates. “But we’ve got the best fans a band can have and we’re happy to pay for it all.”
As 10YV begin songwriting for their first full-length album, however, fans now have an opportunity to return the favor, and perhaps even pay themselves in the process. When major labels began to tighten purse-strings a few years back, Rose sought ways (million-dollar contests notwithstanding) to make an industry-quality record without going to the poorhouse. The result is the aptly-named Album Project 2008, which lets fans invest in the band—and share the profits.
“I was reading a New York Times article about [successful independent] bands, and it really highlighted the obvious,” Rose says. “There’s no reason to chase a collapsing industry. With the right people, hard work and financial backing, we can [easily] be successful without a label.”
The premise is simple: Interested parties purchase “shares” in the album’s creation through the band’s Web site. Investors choose from various levels of support, and when the album is released on 10YV’s label, they’ll receive dividend checks based on their investment percentage. “We wanted a system that would make money for investors, but also be fair to us,” Rose explains. “So instead of paying ourselves up front, we’ll only get paid back if investors make money at the same time.”
The band realize that investor commitment will require more than the promise of future returns on sales of an independent effort. Accordingly, the Album Project offers a slew of other perks that grow in proportion to the investment levels. These can include free CDs, access to unreleased material, free merchandise and concert tickets, personalized business cards, private band meetings, studio access, advertising time on 10YV media outlets, and voting rights on band decisions.
Wait. What was that last one?
“Mark and I are only two votes,” Gabrione confirms. “Right now we have 20 other owners whose decisions need to be considered, so until their votes are cast we make no decisions. Fans will also pick the songs—we plan on putting at least 20 songs up for vote.”
The two admit they’re heading into uncharted waters, in essence ridding themselves of record-company liability in exchange for a growing list of investors who will quite literally dictate the nature of the final product. (To date, $5,000 has been invested by more than two dozen sponsors, some of them complete strangers.) Isn’t this a little nerve-wracking?
“Sure, but even though we believe everyone will make more than their money back, these people aren’t in it for the money like a record label,” the guitarist points out. “Labels [make] decisions based on profit. Our owners will be making decisions based on what they love about us. No one knows us better. And if we can sell as many Album Project CDs as we have our previous releases, every owner will profit.”
Gabrione agrees. “As long as the bills are paid and I can still make my rent, I don’t care if I ever see a penny. If we can sell 10,000 CDs, then I got what I wanted.”
“A lot of things will all need to fall together,” admits Rose, “but we’ll make it work. We always do.”
Understatement of the year?
Ten Year Vamp will appear tomorrow (Friday) at the Bayou Café (79 N. Pearl Street, Albany, 462-9033), then compete in the Bodog Battle of the Bands in New York City on Saturday. For more tour dates or to learn more about Album Project 2008, visit www.tenyearvamp.com or www.myspace.com/10yearvamp.
Michael Musto – The Village Voice (1/8/2008)
"At the M.E.A.N.Y. Fest finals at the Knitting Factory, I voted for the tighter-than-my-pussy Ten Year Vamp and the completely off-the-wall Maslow, but some showbizzy Scottish band with bowler hats won, maybe because they'd flown all the way from Sweden just for this event."
- Michael Musto, The Village Voice (1/8/2008)
The next No Doubt with Debbie Gabrione as the next Gwen Steffani – Northeast In-Tune
"The next No Doubt with Debbie Gabrione as the next Gwen Steffani."
- Lauren Proctor, Northeast In-Tune, (7/2006)
Ten Year Vamo on UC Radio – UC Radio 10-15-2009
“I was blown away by this band right away… The first time that I heard the lead singer Debbie Gabrione’s voice, I was hooked. They got great songs, excellent lyrics, great melodies, and like I said, Debbie’s voice just ties it all together. The album Don’t Act Like You Know Me, is solid all the way through… I ended up buying the album and wanted to play almost every song on the show today... On top of it all, Debbie is just f&%$in hot... This is a top of the UC Radio List recommendation.”
One of the most dynamic rock albums of the year! – Wildy's World 9/25/2009
"Don't Act Like You Know Me, shapes up to be one of the most dynamic rock albums of the year... Debbie Gabrione is the sort of front woman they make movies about, and the rest of the band is incredibly tight. With a sound already refined and highly marketable, Ten Year Vamp just needs that one big break to fall in place. It will happen sooner or later; music this good just doesn't stay hidden. Don't Act Like You Know Me is brilliant; a Wildy's World Certified Desert Island Disc. Don't miss it.
Rating: 5 Stars (Out of 5)
This is a cd that flat out rocks! – Greenbush Life 9/19/2009
"A disc that brilliantly captures the urgency of their sound and the relentless passion of their live performance. From the opening track "Never Know" to the cd's conclusion, "Goodbye," this record boasts a unique sounds laced with hints of Green Day's musical complexity and enhanced by Gabrione's intense and incisive lyrics... There is nothing generic or gimmicky about the music of Ten Year Vamp. When Debbie Gabrione sings of "... a secret you will never know" - one thing is certain - no one needs to know the secret to enjoy the musical rush on the new Ten Year Vamp cd. The music is in your face. The songs will move your soul. This is a cd that flat out rocks."