Velvet Elvis
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Velvet Elvis

Rochester, New York, United States | SELF

Rochester, New York, United States | SELF
Band Rock Blues

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Velvet Elvis belongs on a big stage. Its slow-dirge, stoner-rock opuses embrace time signatures conducive to the big cathedrals of rock like the Main Street Armory. The band was absolutely epic and thundering while opening for Black Sheep Friday night. Sonic explorations from the guitars and the shared multi-octave vocals gave the band a sinister stance. The crowd loved it and cheered wildly, though a few may have been a little intimidated. Hey, remember when rock 'n' roll did that all the time? - Rochester City Newspaper


Velvet Elvis' music manages to get max traction in a bluesy, stoner sludge. Slow grooves and volume work a heavy trip, yet the tunes still soar thanks to the band's punk roots, energy, and aesthetic. It's a cool combo of classic sounds that the band clearly acknowledges - The Stooges, Blue Cheer, The MC-5 - but manages to learn and build from, as opposed to merely mimic. Velvet Elvis is a nouveau-classic original. You've heard it before, and yet you've never heard it before from the same band, within the same song.

Back in 2008 when Rochester heavy trio The Apostles Of The Hidden Son couldn't play a show due to the sudden exit of a band member, Apostles guitarist Brendan Henahan threw together the band that would become Velvet Elvis. That was two years ago.

Today the locally based band - Henahan, bassist/vocalist Luke Crozier, drummer Ryan Thibault, guitarist/vocalist Randall Coon, and vocalist/percussionist Karrah Teague - is working on its first album due to arrive sometime this fall. And despite the band's brief time on earth, you've got to dig it. it's got it's own slant on the sound; Velvet Elvis owns what it does.

The band recently stopped by for a sit-down. Below is an edited transcript of what was said.

CITY: How come these bands that you turned you on, despite their impact, didn't last all that long?

Brendan Henahan: I think they were too raw and too tough for the times, almost, especially the MC-5.

How do you maintain these influences within our sound without overdoing or lampooning them?

Randall Coon: Practice like hell.

But you can't practice how you're perceived.

Coon: I guess it's just soul, then. We've got it.

How does Velvet Elvis write?

Henahan: Usually I'll come up with a riff or something, write it on acoustic. It'll come out of nowhere sometimes, or Karrah comes in with lyrics.

When does a song not make the cut?

Luke Crozier: When we get stuck. When we've got the A and B part and we can't bridge it, or we'll have all the parts but can't transition them together. Or someone will just get sick of playing it.

Of all the rock 'n' roll bands here in Rochester, how come Velvet Elvis is virtually the only one adhering to these classic, heavy sounds? Are these others just falling short?

Crozier: I wouldn't say they're falling short, I just think right now everyone else's interests are in different places. It seems like everyone I know likes heavy rock 'n' roll. But nobody wants to play it right now, because they want to do something that absolutely no one else is doing. And I think the punk and metal gets paid a little less attention.

How was it making this record?

Crozier: It was surprisingly easy. It was a lot easier to record our songs than it was to practice them sometimes. We practiced a lot, but we left the vocals off because we were only rhythm tracking in the studio. We went in and most songs were done in one take.

What do you love about rock 'n' roll?

Crozier: I like the organ-shaking deafness of what we do. And I like the soul and the feel of rock ‘n' roll. I was in first grade when I really remember talking about starting my first band. But it never ended up happening until about 11th grade.

Did this dream band have a name?

Crozier: No way.

Speaking of which, how did you arrive at Velvet Elvis?

Crozier: We tried for about three months to come up with a band name; Dionysus and the Party Dudes...

Henehan: The first show we played was under that name.

Crozier: ... Oblivion, Murder Pod, Murder Pod B, Stone Oblivion.

Henehan: I came up with Velvet Elvis because we needed a name for a show we had. I said, "We're going with this, if you can't come up with something better."

Crozier: And I tried and tried because I hated the name.

How do you see the band evolving? Where would you like to be in the next couple years?

Cozier: In two years I don't want to be in Rochester. I love Rochester, but if we're actually going to do anything with the band, we need to be going out for at least a month at a time on tour.

How about creatively speaking?

Henahan: Just have to keep it fresh with the songwriting, keep those creative bursts, just not get stuck in a groove where it becomes mundane.

What'll be fresh, or at least different, on your next record?

Cozier: The next one's going to be heavier - a lot heavier. This one's definitely heavy enough, but it's just the new songs we've written since we recorded are about twice as heavy.

Henahan: I'd like to see more instrumentation like keyboards on it, more band members.

Crozier: Yeah we need 35 more band members.

When you look into a child's face you can see their parents. Do you see traces of your old bands in Velvet Elvis' face?

Crozier: I think Randall brought the trash from Raunchy Sex.

Henahan: I can hear the Apostles in some of the songwriting.

What about The UV Rays?

Crozier: I think in the rawness of the live show. I mean, we're way heavier than the UV Rays were, but we're just as raw. UV Rays were rock 'n' roll and this is more sludgy, I'd have to say.

- City Newspaper


Discography

Velvet Elvis EP (Jan. 2010)
1. Space Cadet
2. Pretty Girls in Lace
3. Solid Gold
4. Cokesmoker
5. Stoned into Oblivion

This EP is available for purchase at all Velvet Elvis shows, and is currently streaming at myspace.com/velvetelvismusic

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Bio

We are Velvet Elvis from Rochester NY. Our heavy driving riffs and spaced out overtones of feedback and echo laden guitars, paired with powerful soaring vocal lines will blow your mind. Our strong aspirations to progress as a band allows us to write songs with a familiar goove, while continuously improving and perfecting our musical style. We are currently seeking to expand our horizons through recording a full length album and booking a tour of New York and neighboring states in summer 2010. Our debut EP was recorded in our practice space and released through our own self distribution. We intend to make our full length album a powerful statement of who we are, where we come from, and where our band is headed in future. Velvet Elvis is committed to being a unique and progressive recording artist, while performing live with an unrelenting, unapologetic, and distinctly heavy groove.