The Vettes
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The Vettes

New Orleans, Louisiana, United States | SELF

New Orleans, Louisiana, United States | SELF
Band Alternative Pop


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As a music business major and aspiring star, the singer who would be Rachel Vette prowled the Loyola University campus in search of like-minded musicians. Instead, she found them under her own roof.

Her brothers staffed a band called the Hush. One by one, she recruited them for her project, dubbed the Vettes. As the Vettes, they recorded a sarcastic spoof of celebrity culture called "Give Em What They Want" in the family's River Ridge home.

The song's synthesizer evokes New Wave nostalgia. The attitude in Rachel's voice recalls Shirley Manson of Garbage or the Cranberries' Dolores O'Riordan. The lyrics, melody and arrangement are instantly accessible.

How accessible? This week, Top 40 station B97 placed "Give Em What They Want" in regular rotation -- an unprecedented achievement for a local, independent band. And MTV Networks recently licensed the band's music for use in its programming.

The four other songs on the Vettes' new "T.V. EP" are equally bankable. Not since "Good" launched Better Than Ezra to stardom 13 years ago has a New Orleans rock band crafted such strong contenders for commercial airplay. Consequently, a big crowd is expected when the Vettes join Oh Juliet, Baton Rouge's Meriwether and Bay St. Louis, Miss.'s, Stereohype for an all-ages show tonight at the High Ground in Metairie. The Vettes are also booked at the House of Blues on June 27.

The Vettes' promising career trajectory, though nascent, results from hard work, good fortune, good genes and good songs.

The siblings grew up in Gentilly; their father plays with local cover bands. In the late 1980s, the family moved to a new, two-story house in a leafy corner of River Ridge.

After a brief stab at college, Todd, a singer and guitarist, formed the Hush and recruited his brother, Chad, as its keyboardist. In 2004, they added bassist Mitch Gray, a transplant to New Orleans from Nebraska.

Dissatisfied with their drummer, they encouraged another brother, Brian, a former football player at John Curtis Christian School, to learn drums. Eager to quit driving the band van, he spent two years practicing, then signed on in 2005. They converted an upstairs bedroom in the family home into a studio equipped with ProTools recording software.

Meanwhile, baby sister Rachel graduated as the valedictorian of Crescent City Christian School in Metairie and enrolled at Loyola as a biology/pre-med major. She switched to music business studies intending to manage the Hush -- if only her brothers would let her go on the road.

"It wasn't cost effective, " Todd said. "We would have had to get another hotel room -- we didn't trust a couple guys in the band to be around her."

Before graduating in 2006, Rachel realized she wanted to perform, not manage. After many false starts, she convinced Gray and her brothers to work with her. They took "Vette" as their collective stage surname and pronounced Mitch their "adopted brother."

Performing with siblings "works for us, " Rachel said. "We don't always get along, but when we fight, we get it all out and then we're fine five minutes later. The disadvantage is everybody's into each other's business. We know each other pretty well."

The Hush favors mid-tempo anthems in the vein of Coldplay and Incubus. In keeping with Rachel's vision, the Vettes are heavily influenced by '80s stalwarts A-ha, A Flock of Seagulls, Depeche Mode and Duran Duran.

"We moved ourselves into a different mindset to play Vettes music, " Mitch said. "There was no transitional phase. It was always two different things."

Rachel's lyrics distill her experiences and perspective into universal themes. She wrote the brash "Invincible, " with its home-run chorus, as a statement of resolve after others doubted her decision to switch majors from pre-med to music.

Her friends' tendency to be engaged, married and/or pregnant inspired "Kill Me Now" -- as in, "I do not want to be where you are, " Rachel said, laughing. "I'm too young."

The ballad "Flame" is a "love song that hasn't happened yet. It's being hopeful that the right person is out there. People perceive it as a God thing, which is good -- I like that, too."

The Vettes toured with the Hush in the fall of 2006; they are essentially the same band, except for Rachel. But the Vettes emerged as the more promising configuration.

That opinion is shared by Todd Parker, the Vettes' Los Angeles-based manager. Parker's father, John Lewis Parker, co-wrote the Chicago hit "Hard Habit to Break." He and his son formed ThroBack Records to groom new talent. ThroBack's investment in the modern rock band Smile Empty Soul paid off; they sense similar potential in the Vettes.

In spring 2007, Rachel, Chad and Todd traveled to Los Angeles with a hard drive containing basic tracks recorded in their bedroom studio. Over several weeks, they added vocals and guitars. John Parker tweaked the music that would become "T.V. EP"; David Holman, who worked on No Doubt's "Tragic Kingdom, " mixed it.

"Give Em What They Want" first aired on B97's Sunday night new music show, then progressed to the station's weeknight "Top 7 at 7" countdown. Based on strong listener response, B97 program director Mike Kaplan added it the station's regular playlist.

"I heard the song and immediately thought we should give it a shot, " Kaplan said. "It's got a great hook. We put it on, and reaction has been very impressive so far. It's a real song."

The band members are thrilled. "We've been listening to B97 since we were kids, " Brian said. "The only local band I ever remember hearing was Better Than Ezra -- but they were on every local station in every city."

Not surprisingly, Kaplan is now fielding e-mails and calls from major label talent scouts inquiring about the Vettes. In an era of disarray and depressed CD sales, record companies are more likely to take a chance on a band with proven commercial appeal. - By Keith Spera, Music Writer, The Times-Picayune

The Vettes could be considered many things, but lacking style would not be one of them. From the gem-encrusted mic stand of lead singer Rachel Vette all the way down to the key master Chad Vette, this band oozes style and flair. This glam rock band from New Orleans consists of Rachel (vocals), Chad (keys/synth), Todd (guitar), Brian (drums) and Mitch (bass) who are all brothers and sisters having joined forces to bring pizzazz back to the local music scene.

With a debut album called T.V. EP hitting the streets in March of 2008, and recently being signed to indie/alt-rock label Throback Records in June of 2007, The Vettes are firing on all cylinders. If you can’t wait until March to get your hands on The Vettes, they also have demo you can get at one of their shows.

Not since the early sounds of No Doubt and Garbage have I heard or seen a band that makes full use of a talented female vocalist. Rachel’s voice and stage presence will make you feel as if The Vettes are putting on a personal show just for you. When compared to other bands that have female leads, The Vettes tend to be an evolved form of bands like Garbage and Blondie, but I sense a bit of the early years of No Doubt.

The No Doubt comparison isn’t completely off the wall because the upcoming Vettes album is being mixed by David J. Holman who worked on No Doubt’s biggest album “Tragic Kingdom.”

There are two types of bands in the world, studio bands and live bands. The Vettes are a live band and worth the price of admission. With tour dates all along the south including The Varsity on February 28 with Meriwether, a CD release party and show on March 7 in New Orleans and the famed South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, it surely will be a busy year for these five musicians. - Josh O'Neal, The Tiger Weekly

The Vettes burst onto the music scene two years ago and with the help of MySpace and heaps of talent, have solidified their presence on the local and national platform. Rachel Vette leads the group with her brothers Todd, Chad, Brian and Mitch. It all began with a simple question, “Do you want to be in a band?” And the rest, as they say, is history.
I met up with The Vettes at the CD release party for their E.P. at Southport Hall. I had never met them, but because of MySpace, I knew to look for a striking blonde. And there she was. I swear, she arrived on the thunderous end of a lightning bolt. Doors slammed shut and locked behind her, chandeliers flickered yellow and every male and female in the place breathed her in, hoping to inhale an ounce of her magnetism. In other words, the girl knew how to make an entrance. Some people just have “it.” And this pint-sized Polly Pocket of rock, has “it.” In fact, the whole band has “it.”
Chad Vette handles the synthesizer, Todd Vette rocks the guitar, Brian Vette smashes the drums, and Mitch Vette (who was adopted by the family as a boy) provides the bass tones. Together they create what they consider “New Wave Alternative Rock” - a blend of throwback synth sounds with modern melodies.
The band was signed to ThroBack Records late last year. The self-titled E.P. was produced in Los Angeles by Grammy Award-winning producer, John L. Parker, and mixed by David J. Holman, who is responsible for mixing No Doubt’s Tragic Kingdom among other things. It’s pretty appropriate that Mr. Holman was the mixer, as there is a definite No Doubt kind of sound. Not bad bragging rights for a first effort. Rachel’s sweet, stylized voice coupled with retro synthesizers offers a modern alternative to the mundane generic pop that is currently being played.
The first song, “Give ‘Em What They Want” is fantastically catchy and seems primed for the ever-popular Urban Outfitters summer compilation CD. The softer, more vulnerable “Flame” really showcases Rachel’s pipes, as well as the rest of the band’s abundant talent. Influences from The Bravery and The Rapture as well as Peaches can be heard throughout. Listening to the E.P. is like eating a slice of sophisticated bubblegum pie in the summertime.
Fans of The Vettes are Super Fans. They adopt the group’s last name on their MySpace profiles. One fan, Tammy, gushes, “The Vettes are awesome, magical and spectacular. The best thing about them is they are great people with big hearts. They make music that touches your soul.” Ashley, Caroline and Sonia said in unison, “We love The Vettes!” Their appeal is wide and is relatable to sixteen-year old girls all the way to the 20-something set who would be happy dating Rachel or emulating her hipper than thou brothers.
Due to their first studio release, The Vettes have been touring and promoting nonstop. In March, they appeared in Austin at South by Southwest. They then proceeded on to what seemed like almost daily shows in Texas and Louisiana.
Fame is a veritable waltz for this fab five. They are all so damn cute, talented, and nice that it’s no wonder that promotional stills have them featured on a box of Wheaties. Quality material combined with style, genuine personality, and sprightly youth will take them all the way to the top. And the best thing is, it’s pretty certain that they’ll stay there. - Katie Tape, Where Y'At Magazine: Jazz Fest Edition

The Vettes are burning hot with their latest rock CD, T.V.EP. From the first single, “Give Em What They Want,” to the last, “Kill Me Now,” lead singer Rachel Vette will simply captivate the listener with her enchanting, dominant, and seductive voice. Rachel can easily be identified with powerful female rock singers with a presence like Amy Lee’s of Evanescence. The Vettes’ latest CD clearly shows influential signs of the rock/dance/pop sound of the late 70’s and early 80’s that made the music from Blondie a household name. The synthesizer brings a mass commercial feel to the harder rock beats (think Duran Duran early 80’s), which easily appeals to the listener without losing the lyrical substance or edge behind each song. There are some dynamic harmonies and sweetly poetic lyrics, especially on “Invincible” and “Flame,” which from the first listen, have mass radio appeal. This CD is definitely one for your collection, especially if you love retro dance rock music. The Vettes are a group to keep your eyes on as they begin to play more gigs around the city and out of the state, as they fully promote their latest work. - Sheri McKee, Where Y'At Magazine

Let's just get this out of the way: New Orleans-based new wave/alternative/rock outfit The Vettes is a proper family band. Singer/guitarist Rachel, guitarist Todd, keyboardist Chad and drummer Brian are all biological siblings, while bassist Mitch was adopted at a young age. But forget the preconceived notions and stereotypes that come with the "family band" label. As Rachel explains, "We don't line dance and our father didn't lock us in the attic as infants until we rehearsed if that's what you were thinking!" To be sure, the band's long-awaited T.V. EP, released on the indie/alt-rock label ThroBack Records this past March and produced by Grammy Award-winning producer John L. Parker (Smile Empty Soul, Keb Mo), is gimmick-free. In fact the band feels so strongly about the album that they've become the first band in history to offer a 100% Customer Satisfaction Money Back Guarantee. "If someone purchases our CD and doesn't like it, we don't think they deserve to have it; we don't care. We'll just give them their money back," says The Vettes' main songwriter Chad. But with songs as catchy and powerful as "Kill Me Now" and "Invincible," it's unlikely that anyone will be taking advantage of that generous offer.

- ASCAP Magazine

The tightly controlled play lists of commercial radio stations almost never let local talent in the mix. But last month a song by the Vettes — a rock-pop band based in the Jefferson Parish community of River Ridge — miraculously penetrated the play list for New Orleans Top 40 station WEBZ-FM, aka B97, with a captivating, neo-new wave number called “Give Em What They Want.”

“A friend of a friend of a friend posted a comment on our MySpace page,” singer and lyricist Rachel Vette said recently from River Ridge. “He wrote, ‘Hey, I just got you guys on the radio.’ And we’re like, ‘Yeah, whatever, sure. Thanks for trying.’ But that night they played us. We were like, ‘Whoa! He really did.’ ”

“Give Em What They Want” quickly picked up steam. It even made multiple appearances at No. 1 on B97’s Top 7 at 7 countdown.
“We didn’t expect this at all,” Vette said. “It’s really weird, because we’ve never heard any bands that we know, local bands, on the station. All the famous bands aren’t even being played, just what’s hot right now. It’s crazy that we’re in the mix.”

“Give Em What They Want” is the lead track on T.V. EP, a five-song EP released in March by the Valencia, Calif.-based ThroBack Records.

The Vettes, featuring 21-year-old Rachel and her older brothers Todd, Chad, Brian and Mitch, recorded the basic T.V. EP tracks at their home studio. Vocals were recorded and guitar parts re-recorded with Grammy-winning producer John L. Parker in Los Angeles.

ThroBack Records discovered the Vettes through the band’s MySpace page.

“They emailed me a bunch of times,” Rachel Vette said. “I thought it was spam, because people say that kind of stuff all the time. ‘Hi, I like your music. I’m interested in using it.’ Or, ‘Do you want your songs to be in movies?’ Random emails all the time. So I ignored it.”

The persistent ThroBack kept trying. The enthusiastic record company called Vette a mere 20 minutes after obtaining a phone number for her.

“We were playing Houston that weekend,” she recalled. “It was, like, a Wednesday and they were, like, ‘Oh, we’re gonna come see you Friday in Houston.’ So they flew to Houston and wanted to work with us right away.”

“We chose to work with the Vettes because they are the whole package,” Todd Parker, head of artists and repertoire at ThroBack and now the band’s manager, said this week. “The band is literally a close knit family of extremely passionate musician-writers fronted by a gorgeous young woman who is an amazing singer and gifted songwriter.”

Despite the record company’s enthusiasm, the Vettes didn’t rush into a deal. Their thoughtful approach to the business of music also applies to the band’s release schedule. They’re in no rush, for instance, to issue a full-length CD.

“It’s pointless because we’re an indie band,” Rachel Vette said. “We’d rather get our best couple of things together, put that out and let it generate something. Bands that hammer out 12 songs, 12 songs, 12 songs — that goes unnoticed and their best things get lost in the shuffle.”

The Vettes, having grown out of an earlier band called the Hush, which featured Todd Vette as lead vocalist, began just before Hurricane Katrina. Inconveniently, the storm scattered everyone, forcing the project into limbo for about six months.

Once the Vettes were together again, they found their most receptive audiences outside of the New Orleans.

“Yeah, there seems to be a better attitude about finding new music in Baton Rouge, Houma,” Vette said. “The attitude of people is different than New Orleans.”

But attitudes closer to home changed abruptly when B97 began broadcasting the Vettes.

“Which is crazy,” Vette said. “It’s been really exciting for us. I guess we’ll see how it translates into show attendance.”

Vette and her brothers grew up in a musical household. Their father, a musician, encouraged any sign of musical interest his children exhibited. Rachel began playing piano at 7 but music wasn’t really it for the Vette kids until later.

“We wanted to be regular kids and play sports,” she said. “Pointless things, because we weren’t gonna be in the NBA or anything. But I think that allowed us to develop socially a little bit better. A lot of musicians, they’re kind of weird growing up. We’re still weird, and now we‘re doing music anyway, but we had a normal childhood.”

The new wave sound of the Vettes flies against contemporary pop and rock. Rachel Vette often is compared to Debbie Harry of Blondie, but she’d actually developed her style before she knew much about Harry.

British bands Depeche Mode and Duran Duran are among Vettes’ favorite groups, but Elastica, the mostly female British band of the ’90s, is her biggest inspiration.

Vette’s brother, Todd, handed his little sister an Elastica CD in 2002, saying she should listen to it.

“Their song, ‘Connection,’ really influenced my direction,” she said. “Because I knew I wanted to play music, I knew I wanted to be in a band, but I didn’t know what sound I wanted to go after. That song, ‘Connection,’ just influenced me heavily. And I loved their whole CD. Now I have all of their CDs, CDs nobody even knows about.”

With “Give Em What They Want” obviously a song people want, song placements in Sunday’s MTV Movie Awards and the upcoming movies Kill Theory and Final Destination 4, the Vettes are devoting themselves to their band on the rise.

“The band is all I do,” Vette said. “I’m always doing something for the band. And no one is locked down to any kind of job, everybody’s mobile. We’re all able to go when we need to go. There are always highs and lows in this business, but this is a good time for us. We don’t know what’s gonna happen next, but it’s looking up.” - John Wirt, The Advocate

Animal by The Vettes - Kings of A&R

The Vettes (, based out of New Orleans, is one of the newer bands circling our local music scene, and they’re off to a fantastic start. The five-member band is a family affair, as all of its members are related. Lead by front woman Rachel Vette, the band includes Chad Vette (synthesizer, keyboard), Todd Vette (guitar), Mitch Vette (bass) and Brian Vette (drums).

“We used to be two separate bands, and my brother Todd was the singer of the second band called The Hush,” Rachel explained during an interview I conducted with her in December. “The Hush had all the same members as The Vettes, except me. Then, about eight months ago we decided to focus on just one act and get one band out there. We chose to do that with The Vettes.”

The sound produced by The Vettes is as familiar as it is foreign. With a throwback sound, reminiscent of early new wave and dance rock, their track “Give ’Em What They Want” best identifies their style. The track has all the elements of a radio-friendly pop song, but lyrically it’s pure punk rock, because it satirically pokes fun at individuals who do what they think they should, as opposed to what they really want.

- Samantha Morgan, The Advocate

Rachel Vette, the lead singer and sole female member of New Orleans glam rock group The Vettes, is a touch boy crazy. Which is strange, because she’s never even had a boyfriend. The lyrics to most of her songs, from “Animal” to “Kill me Now,” have something to do with post-hook-up moral hangovers, unsolicited jilt, and tears. “I guess I like to write about what happens with me and guys, where you think they’re one thing and they end up being something else,” she says. “But that’s the story of everyone’s life.”

It’s a wonder she still likes boys, seeing as how she lives cooped-up with all five male bandmates: Chad (keyboard), Todd (guitar), Brian (drums), Mitch (bass), and Jon (guitar). Oh, and they also happen to be her brothers.

Equal parts Madonna, Flyleaf and LCD Soundsystem, The Vettes’ synth sound has been compared to Blondie’s, but Rachel shrugs, reducing the resemblance to her blonde hair.

Recently signed to Los Angeles-based indie label, ThroBack Records, the Vettes are set to release their first five-song EP in March, when they’ll also be playing as one of the showcased bands at South by Southwest Music Festival in Austin.

Maybe she will meet a nice boy there. And he’d better be nice, because if he ain’t, she’ll get her brothers to beat the hell out of him. —Erin Hicks - Erin Hicks, BlackBook Magazine


Walk Like Models Single 2010
Give em What They Want- Radio Single
T.V. EP- Released 2007

MTV Movie Awards (2008)- 'Give Em What They Want'
Kill Theory (2008)- 'Flame'
MTV's The City (2008) - 'Kill Me Now'
MTV's Making the Band 4 (2009) - 'Invincible'
MTV's The Girls of Hedsor Hall (2009) - 'Give Em What They Want'
VH1's Secrets of Aspen (2009) - 'Invincible'
MTV's MADE (2009) - 'Give Em What They Want'
MTV's The City (2009) - 'Walk Like Models'



"Let's get back to the issue: if the press wants a story we'll give them a story!" announces lead singer of The Vettes' Rachel Vette. Let's just say that this is the first new wave/ alternative/ rock outfit that actually begs the question. Recently signed to indie/alt-rock label ThroBack Records in June of 2007 The Vettes is set to release an inadvertently self-titled debut EP entitled T.V. EP in March of 2008 which was produced by the stylistically diverse Grammy Award winning producer John L. Parker (Smile Empty Soul, Keb Mo) and mixed by David J. Holman (No Doubt-Tragic Kingdom, Bush- Sixteen Stone & Razorblade Suitcase).

To put the rumors to rest The Vettes is, in fact, a family band, but in order to fully grasp the concept one must first dismiss the preconceived notions of all the real life and fictitious family band stereotypes we've all come to know and hate. "We don't line dance and our father didn't lock us in the attic as infants until we rehearsed if that's what you were thinking!" Says Rachel.
Rachel, Todd, Chad, Brian, and Mitch Vette collectively known as The Vettes are all sister and brothers with Mitch being adopted into the family at a young age.

Getting back to the long awaited T.V. EP release The Vettes believe so strongly in the quality of music being released that they've become the first band in history to offer a 100% Customer Satisfaction Money Back Guarantee. "If someone purchases our CD and doesn't like it we don't think they deserve to have it; we don't care. We'll just give them their money back," says Chad Vette, keyboardist and main songwriter for the band. To put it gently The Vettes' music has been in a metaphorical cage like a rabid bobcat; upon release there is no telling what the beast is capable of. In conclusion The Vettes have done it: they've managed to write catchy songs without being simple and honest without being didactic.

"But with songs as catchy and powerful as "Kill Me Now" and "Invincible," it's unlikely that anyone will be taking advantage of that generous offer. [in regards to The Vettes' '100% Satisfaction Money Back Guarantee on the purchase of their T.V. EP]"

"Five songs may be all we need to fall in love with the Vettes"---Jaya Saxena, OffBeat Magazine

"The Vettes’ latest CD clearly shows influential signs of the rock/dance/pop sound of the late 70’s and early 80’s that made the music from Blondie a household name."---Sheri McKee, Where Y'at Magazine

"If Debbie Harry crashed a Joy Division recording session, the resulting song could have been “Give Em What They Want.” ...skillful re-creation of new wave and indie sounds from decades past, the group has another hook — all five band members are siblings. "---John Wirt, The Advocate

Loyola University
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Tulane University
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