Gig Seeker Pro


Omaha, Nebraska, United States | SELF

Omaha, Nebraska, United States | SELF
Band Rock Americana


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Catching up with Vago"

Friday, June 15, 2007

Local rock band Vago will release their first full-length CD “Over Moons and Heavy Arms” this Saturday at the Waiting Room. The new disc isn’t a departure of style for the band, but a snapshot of how far the band has come in their musicianship, their songwriting and recording. The band has been playing the live stages of Omaha and touring regionally and nationally for close to seven years now. The band released their first CD, “The Mariachi EP,” in 2004. I met up with singer and guitarist Daniel Burns, bassist Thomas Burns and drummer Lee Gambrel recently to discuss the album, the changes in the Omaha music scene and what the future holds for the band.

The album is full of songs with multiple meanings, including the title, and the band was cautious to not give those away to me, or to at least go “off the record” with their revelations. I asked the band specifically about the title of the album, which is a lyric from the opening track on the album, “American Joe.”

Daniel Burns said: “That line kind of grabs the whole concept and the whole idea of how we approach lyrics. They are about something very specific, but they are interpreted, which is the kind of music that we like to listen to.” When pressed for a lyrical theme on the album, Daniel simply stated, “You know how Omaha is drastically different than it was 10 years ago, but it is still the same? It all kind of wraps around that stuff. Any record is autobiographical, but growing up in Omaha and watching the scene grow is really present in us.” Daniel Burns’ brother Thomas then added, “It not’s a concept record, but there is a theme to it. Most of the songs have multiple meanings. Songs that can be deciphered, but don’t have to be.”

The theme of the album became a little more clear when I asked the band about some of the songs that stand out to them personally. Thomas Burns opined, “I like ‘Cowboy’. It’s a little bit about how the record is made in a way. It’s about songwriting.” For Daniel Burns it was “The Water.”

“It captures the whole thing of the record. It’s kind of that love-hate that a lot of us have in the Midwest. When you are young you hate Omaha, but now it is kind of cool. Getting a new perspective on where you are at.”

“Vine To The Sky” is the song that Gambrel chose. “It’s just like, ‘Oh I play music because I love it,’ but you still have that little pipe dream of being on a bus and making a living at what you do. It’s that dream that we all have.”

The band recorded the CD locally at Bassline studios, but spent many months prior demo-ing the record at home. Daniel Burns explained, “This album took a lot more time. We did it once at home. We put a lot of thought into our song selection.”

Thomas Burns adds: “We went out to make it less polished, to make it sound more like us.” Daniel also took the time in-between albums to grow as a musician, spending some time with local guitar legend Storm Rhodes. “I took guitar lessons for the first time in my life since the last record,” he said. “I knew I had learned stuff, but I didn’t think it made a difference. Tom thought it did. Lee thought it did. Then I listened to both records back to back, and realized it did make difference.”

The band hired a college radio promoter for the “Maricahi EP” to successful results and plan to run a bigger campaign for this album. The band was surprised by the reaction and amount of Web traffic they got from the campaign. “I always try to minimize it.” Daniel Burns said. “But it’s college kids, and those are the people on the block that are into music.”

Thomas adds, “We don’t fall into the typical indie band sound. We were kind of surprised that it was the college crowd that we connected with.” The band seems motivated by that response and plan to tour more frequently, record more EPs, and even “put out something that no other local rock band has done before.” You can see what else that band has up their sleeve this Saturday at the Waiting Room when they celebrate the release of “Over Moons And Heavy Arms” with special guests Sleep Said the Monster, Ten O’ Clock Scholars and Korey Anderson.
- Omaha City Weekly

"Touring Helps Give Vago a Tighter Bond"

By Niz Proskocil, Omaha World-Herald, Neb.

Jan. 4, 2007--Whether rocking the fans at Rosenblatt Stadium or helping raise money for a local homeless shelter, the members of Omaha band Vago had a busy 2006.

The rock trio opened for national band Yellowcard during opening day festivities at the College World Series in June, which was among the band's career highlights.

"Honestly, it was better than we thought it would be," said Vago guitarist-vocalist Daniel Burns. "Fans who were there were very receptive."

Vago, which also features bassist Tom Burns and drummer Lee Gambrel, expects an equally enthusiastic response to its new album, which the group recently finished recording at Omaha's Bassline Studio.

"Over Moons and Heavy Arms" is due by spring and is Vago's first full-length CD. The band's debut recording was 2004's "Mariachi" EP.

Burns, who studied violin at age 4 before taking up guitar in his teens, said the new CD is a more mature, cohesive effort than the band's previous work.

"It's a lot more of a record this time instead of a collection of songs," he said. "It's more wide-ranging. The songwriting is better. It's a little more eclectic."

New songs range from the heavy to the mellow and include some "pop-y stuff," Burns said.

New material will make up a large part of the band's concert Friday at the Saddle Creek Bar. The 21-and-older show also includes local bands Civicminded and Vinnie Bronx.

Since forming in 2002, Vago has seen a boost in exposure, in part because of a presence on college radio stations and opening slots with national artists, including Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers.

In addition to his growth as a songwriter, Burns said all the stage time has helped the band's live show evolve.

"We don't have to try as hard. The energy comes a lot more naturally now," he said. "The band chemistry is the best it's ever been." - Omaha Wolrd-Herald

"All in a Name"

Vago releases Over Moons and Heavy Arms

by Wayne Brekke

The word Vago has many meanings. It could be taken as an insult in some countries, while others might appreciate the compliment. Which is exactly why the band of the same name chose its moniker. Mischief-maker, mysterious, rambling, beautiful and vague all can be derived as the meaning, but for Lee Gambrel and brothers Tom and Daniel Burns, the multi-lingual twist of the name Vago is the perfect way to describe the unique personalities of the band and its music.

The Omaha band is set to release Over Moons and Heavy Arms, an 11-song, full-length album that offers a complex array of musical flavors. Somewhat of a departure from the band’s 2004 release The Mariachi EP, the new album is more of a collaborative band effort.

“It’s a complete a group effort, way more of a record than our last one,” said singer/songwriter Daniel Burns. “We put a lot more thought into what songs sound good together and what songs make sense on a record. We actually tracked everything on a home version first so we could make sure of what we wanted.”

The effort paid off in a solid, straightforward rock ‘n’ roll record that offers a dynamic structure from beginning to end. The rock edge of songs such as “American Joe” and “Benjamin” are tempered by slower, mid-tempo tunes like the lavish “Moonbee” or the wandering balladeer appeal of “Singer.” Along with the band’s formula of solid Americana-esque songwriting and Midwestern twang appeal, the songs create an album that exemplifies the style the band has built its name upon in its three-year-plus history.

“The kind of overall concept of the record is about how Omaha has changed over the years,” Burns said. “Having spent years growing up and playing here, there was a time when I used to hate Omaha, but I’ve learned to get over that and enjoy what it has to offer.”

The band will pick up promotion on Over Moons and Heavy Arms where Mariachi left off, having had songs played off the previous EP on more than 40 college radio stations across the country.

“We have a college radio promotional person that is helping us promote the record and that will dictate where we go as far as touring,” Burns said.

Rounding out the events of the Waiting Room Lounge release party will be singer/songwriter Korey Anderson, who also appears on the new record, as well as a few special guests.

“We want to make it more of an event than a regular show,” Burns said. “We’re going to have some people sitting in, some planned, and of course, some not planned. Either way it’s going to be pretty cool.” ,

Vago hosts its CD-release party at the Waiting Room Lounge, 6212 Maple St., Saturday, June 16 along with Korey Anderson, 10 O’Clock Scholars and Sleep Said the Monster. Tickets for the 18+, 9 p.m. show are $5. Visit - The Reader

"An Evening With Vago"

Sounds like the start of any number of rather predictable jokes, doesn’t it? A guy walks into a bar…

I had one of those “guy walks into a bar” experiences the other night, but it did not lead into a punch line of any kind. Instead, I walked right into an unexpected transformational experience where I now think entirely different about something. You know the experience. You encounter something, usually the mundane, in a way that you never have before and you have one of those “Aha!” moments. Remember that feeling you get when this happens and you murmur “I’ll never again think the same way about this, that or the other thing?” Somehow, your world had been changed. While these changes may seem like a trifle, they may often be unusually meaningful trifles, for you now approach some aspect of life, no matter how small, in a fundamentally different way.

The bar I walked into was Trovato’s and I was there to see a band called Vago do an acoustic set. If there is any set-up to the joke you might have expected when you first glanced at the title of this story, it is that I have never been fond of acoustic sets and find them perhaps a bit contrived. What do bands do when they want to extend their reach without having to develop new material? They do an acoustic set. And we can probably trace this whole phenomenon back to that widely-seen set on MTV a decade ago where the ill-fated man from Seattle unplugged our world while being supported only by a three-legged barstool instead of that wall of sound we had grown to expect.

I really don’t know much about music and have great difficulty writing about it. As a matter of fact, this is my first (and perhaps last) “music review” for the Pulp. This just goes to say that the fact that I had never liked acoustic sets most likely speaks only to my own naïve, stunted and ill-informed view of the world of music and how to appreciate it.

I had seen Vago a few times before. I even own one of their CD’s, so I am certainly not unfamiliar with their sound. But what I learned about music while watching their acoustic set that night is nothing short of that transformational experience I mentioned early on in this piece, for I now somehow get it. The result of all this is that I will never again think about acoustic sets in the same way.

I had heard most of the songs in the set before, yet it was somehow fundamentally different that night, as if I was hearing a totally new repertoire. Hearing November and December in Vago’s acoustic arrangement revealed to me a song that simply does not exist when played in their electrified sets. It’s not just that the arrangement is so radically different, even though it most surely is. What I heard for the very first time that night was that November and December is a sweet love song composed by Vago’s front-man for his wife. There is an almost lilting romance that envelops the acoustic version of this song that I had never before heard in other sets. And it’s not just that I heard the same song in a different way. What I experienced was nothing short of having the true nature (in my mind) of that song revealed to me for the very first time, as though it was previously wrapped in a mysterious shroud of some sort when played all those times during their normal, electric sets, making it almost like an “inside joke” of some kind where its true meaning is carefully guarded and known only to the musician and his lovely muse.

The choo-choo train staccato of the guitar play in Lorraine (“written for a woman whose name is not Lorraine, but is too hard to rhyme”, we’re told) comes across in machine gun fashion in the electric set but, when played acoustically, it somehow takes on that lonesome “Johnny Cash” air of a solitary soul rocking on a front porch of an old farm house on some dark and otherwise lifeless night where the eerie wonder of the entire universe unfolds above in a canopy of nothingness in the endless night sky as a ghostly train passes in the distance.

There I go again. Now I’ve done it. I’ve been asked to do a music review for the first time and I can’t seem to get around to actually writing what I know such a review is supposed to look like. I know I’m supposed to identify the Vago band members and describe them as three guys originally from Fremont and that two of them are brothers. I know that I’m supposed to tell clever stories of the postage stamp sized stages they’ve played on in postcard sized bars in towns that don’t even warrant being put on postcards in the first place. I should probably tell you the funny monikers that the boys go by, but it’s a good thing that I don’t because one is a bit unflattering and the other two are off-color and borderline obscene, respectively. The meaning of the name “Vago”, ubiquitous in the Spanish-speaking countries of the Americas (but with curiously different subtleties in meaning, depending on which country) would certainly make for a paragraph of good ink. Instead, I have once again taken an easy assignment and wasted my word count exploring nothing more than my own peculiar and perhaps eccentric experiences as I partake of the local art scene.

Since this will most likely be my last music review for the Pulp, should they even print this at all, let me just leave you with this one piece of advice. Go see Vago. They are a fun band, and yet they can be oddly dark and brooding at the same time while they put on one heck of a show. Wow! That last sentence almost sounds like a “music review”, doesn’t it? There may be hope for my writing career yet.

I don’t know if you’ll get much of anything from my ramblings here, but I am certainly glad that I was the “guy that walked into a bar” the other night for I have now learned to listen to music in new ways. And isn’t that what all art is really ever meant to do…to provoke some kind of emotional response from us? The fact that I can’t seem to get it down on paper in no way changes the fact that I know what happened to me the other night and the boys from Vago can take the credit for that.

© Copyright 2004 by
- Omaha Pulp

"Mariachi EP Review"

This Cd by the three-piece Omaha band Vago is a lively little number. The first song (November and December) is an uptempo love ballad with a Kinks type sound. Slightly distorted power guitars blended with clean guitars. Although most of the people I played it for had trouble with the vocals, I liked it. It might at times seem a little frail, but I felt comfortable with it. I thought he hit the notes quite well and it's got a nice edge. Lots of pain. I'm sure they could do a hot rendition of Lola.

Song two [Cancion Del Mariachi] who knows what this song's about, it's in Spanish. And it rocks, in Spanish. The people who had trouble with his voice did think that he sounded better singing in Spanish. I think he's rippen it up. Yi Yi Yi He does some fine guitar work. When you hear this one, you will be stomping your feet and doing the Mariachi, what ever that is.

Song three [California Girl] this song has a lot of Tom Petty in it, maybe too much. It's a good little rocker with the "Good Girls Don't" beat. I've always had trouble with songs about California. I like California. I justdon't relate to it. It is the whole story about a California girl. "She's a California girl, she's been around the world".

Song four [Speedy's Lament] this tune has got the old Duane Eddy tremolo reverb whammy guitar. It's got an uptempo bleeding heart theme and lots of ambience. Some songs lyrically just don't interest me but this one does. It's got a fun beat so it's not a "shut that crap off" candidate. It does keep the Cd rockin out so I say, "Keep it". It's also got a really fine arrangement, if you're into that.

Song five [What You've Done] this, their longest tune at 5:49, is a real concerto with orchestra and the works. It starts out with just a beat and almost six minutes later it has half the Tabernacle choir doing their thing. If you've got the time, check it out.

And song six [Benjamin] acoustic ditty with what's got to be a real cello, I think I can tell because it's ever so slightly out of tune at brief moments, really well played. Don't let my close inspection throw you. Although it's not the greatest song ever, it's big and good. It's also got a weirdass hook, "Don't ride in Helicopters" Now that means something??
- Iowa Entertainer

"Demo CD Review"

Review of 2002 Demo


Omaha's vague little secret -By Justin Heany
In Omaha's increasingly competitive music scene, VAGO looks to separate and distinguish itself from the pack.

Since 2001 the three-piece band, consisting of drummer Sven Deepe, bassist Thomas Burns and guitarist/vocalist Daniel Burns, have been building a solid fan base with their non-abrasive pop/punk/rock fusion.

While working on a full-length album VAGO has satisfied local fans with a 17-minute, five-song independently released demo. Overall the demo is solid. The track that caught my attention in particular was "Days," which has an attention-grabbing intro, sturdy rhythm and a splendid guitar solo. "Days," which addresses struggling through life's relentless trifles, is by far VAGO`s most passionate, polished and interesting song.

Where VAGO comes up short is in their lyrically driven love songs. Whether motivated by optimism ("Lorraine"), frustration ('Bitch") or dedication ("Indiana"), these songs lack the creativity, substance and musical precision necessary to command and sustain the listener's attention.

Although the band has weaknesses, VAGO deserves some attention. They have the sound that made pop/rock bands like Sister Hazel, Nickelback and Puddle of Mudd famous. They have a strong work ethic and a drive that has already made them favorites in Omaha's under-appreciated yet heavily competitive band scene.

VAGO will never tread water in the deep end of the music pool with bands such as Flogging Molly, Blues Traveler or Green Day. Nevertheless, with consistent hard work and continued growth, VAGO has the ability to cash in on the financially lucrative, FM acceptable and MTV approved world of Rock, Pop and Roll.
- UMKC College News

"Midwest Bands"

This is a review of the 2002 demo recording.

There are cities in the Midwest that have strong music scenes. Omaha is one of those cities, and that is where Vago comes from!

The band consists of three guys that have been in and around Omaha and Omaha’s music scene for awhile. They got together in the fall of 2001, and seem to have found a chemistry that works well in this band! Add one part lyrical content and one part interesting guitar work (all compliments of Daniel Burns), one part excellent bass tone/bass playing and one part backing vocals (Thomas Burns), and top it all off with excellent drumming (Sven Deepe) and you get an elixir that is very tasty, very intoxicating, and smooth going down!

Each song, whether it be “Bitch” (which talks about a man who is dealing with a paranoid and questioning lover), or the enigmatic “Indiana” (which after reading the lyrics, seems to be a sailor speaking to a battleship), takes on a life of it’s own, and is interesting in its own right! No fluffy lyrics are present, and no fluffy filler is provided in the music, either. The songs are all very stripped-down models that perform very well; no effects are used to try and cover up horrible guitar playing or bad vocals. They stand on their own, and when combined, provide the listener with a very entertaining 17 minutes!

There is one oddity with the songs of Vago; each song seems to end very abruptly! I’m not sure if this is by design, or if it just happened that way, but it is the way it is! I’ve heard it said that the two most difficult parts of flying an airplane are taking off and landing; sometimes, the same is true with songwriting (starting a song and ending a song). I don’t notice the introductions of the songs standing out as odd, but the way that the songs end sure is! The first tune just sort of fades into the sunset during the guitar solo; the next stops mid-riff, and so on it goes down to the last song, “Lorraine”, which actually ends in a fairly decent way. It may actually be the way that the songs were designed, because you are left with a feeling of wanting to hear more! It’s not a strange unresolved feeling you get when a song ends on a wrong chord or something; it’s just different!

I think my favorite tune on the CD is “Days”. The drum and bass work on this song are excellent, providing a driving beat that lifts the melody up and carries the song. Lyrically, the song speaks of a man frustrated with his surroundings, and with the seemingly meaningless existence that he is living. My second favorite is “Benjamin”, for many of the same reasons. I also like the words, which admonish “Benjamin” to be careful, and to not get hurt. I think it left me with the feeling that you have when your kids leave the house, off on some adventure. The other songs are good as well. I really like the guitar tone used on “Lorraine”; the backing vocals are also good! Sometimes the vocals seem a little one-dimensional on the CD, and this song cures that! It seems as if perhaps a little more attention could have been spent with getting the vocals perfect. Everyone is on pitch, but at times the vocals seem to be a bit buried. This song is the one exception to this rule on the CD!

Fans of Vago in and around Omaha have probably known about their music for awhile, but the rest of the Midwest is slowly catching up! Soon, I hope that fans all over the Midwest will know these songs, and be singing along with them on their favorite FM radio station! Until then, you can hear them on MWB RADIO! Be sure to listen for them, and also be sure to pick up a copy of their Demo. They are supposed to be working on a full-length release now that will be out later in the year. I’ll be looking for it, and we’ll let you know about it as soon as possible!--Mark Lush,, 6/27/03 *Listen to Vago on MWB RADIO!

"Vaguely Dark"

Feature story from independent Newspaper - 2003


They don't have that skinny, tortured frailty onstage that's so wildly popular these days, but members of Omaha band Vago (translation: vague) nonetheless have a handle on dark lyrics set to fast-paced, guitar-driven, in-your-face alt.rock. Formed in 2001, Vago is comprised of Thomas Burns, Daniel Burns and Sven Deepe, all of whom bring experience from previous Omaha bands. Front man Daniel Burns talked about breaking into what's become a competitive music scene in Omaha.

"In the past, the Omaha talent was relatively thin and all it took was a phone call to get a Saturday night headlining slot," Burns said. "However, in the past few years there are suddenly a lot of great bands in town, which is wonderful, but it means working harder to get into the places you want to play."

The band is currently working on a full-length CD, which, gauging by their demo, should offer an interesting array of sounds. When asked if the song "Bitch" was dedicated to anyone in particular, Burns replied, "She knows who she is."

Maybe she'll be in the crowd this Saturday at the Howard St. Pub, when Vago plays along with fellow Omaha band Lovetap and Kansas City's the Daybirds. Show time is around 9:30 p.m.; cover is $5. The Howard St. is located at 1113 Howard St. in the Old Market.
- The Reader


"Cemetery Hill" EP Released October 2010

"Over Moons and Heavy Arms" - 11 song CD Releaseed June 2007

"The Mariachi EP" - 6 song EP Released June 2004

"The Mariachi EP" has received airplay on over 200 American College Radio stations in over 40 states.

"Over Moons and Heavy Arms" (O.M.A.H.A. about a musicians life in his hometown) Currently licensed to MTV and Lifetime for use on many shows. Is currently receiving airplay nationwide on college radio (over 240 stations in 48 states..

Audio available:



The four members of Vago find common ground through varied influences. While Daniel's flavors come from songwriters like Adam Duritz and Ben Harper, Tom finds his roots in bands from Bauhaus to REM . Lee brings a laid back style and groove that pops, is a dynamic rock drummer, fan of bands from Galactic to The Who. New addition Larry Dunn’s rockabilly passion adds to the mix some serious lead guitar fireworks and badass energy.

Their collaborative songwriting always serves the heart of the art – The lyrics. They’ll take you on a journey with their personal perspective, interpretive story telling.

Vago has made their name throughout the midwest as a headliner, as well as a support act for national acts such as Cross Canadian Ragweed, Bright Eyes, Cursive, Yellowcard, John Spencer Blues Explosion, Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers, Tommy Stinson (the Replacements), and Will Hoge. They recently played the Red Sky Festival that included Soul Asylum, STS 9, Sister Hazel, Cowboy Mouth and many others. Vago has been nominated for a 2011 Omaha Entertainment and Arts Award in the “Best Rock” category.

Audiences routinely express surprise at the full sound from a three piece band. Listeners also have difficulty reigning the band into a specific sub genre. Stylings from Bob Mould to Springsteen to Matchbox 20 to older influences like the Doors and Tom Petty are clearly present, but with a range and a unique modern energy that sets them apart.

Simply put, Vago is a rock band that is real and has succeeded in putting their real self out on stage to the delight of fans, as opposed to trying to fit into any specific formula.