It seemed like everywhere I went this band's name kept following me around
the city. On every flier on every wall, on the tip of everybody's tongue, in
every record store. Vee Dee. I was in a record store, flipping through the
bins. I picked up their record, put it back down, I'd have to get it another
time when I heard a little more about it, when I read some reviews. I was up
at the counter ready to check out when some odd force grabbed me and dragged
me back to the record bin to grab that Vee Dee record. The artwork looked
homemade, very cut and paste, like it took them about two minutes to get it
all put together. A big white sun with a plain black background. Looked like
I'd be buying this record anyway, despite already being in the hole
financially. When I got back home the Vee Dee record was the first record to
hit my turntable. Upon the first initial listen it sounded good, nothing
special really, but good. It sounded like a pretty straightforward
garage/punk record. Good songs, tight band, an all around decent record. But
something kept drawing me back to it and with repeated listens, a hypnotic
psychedelic sound began to emerge and not too long after I was hooked. I
began playing the record for everyone who came over. It quickly became one
of my favorite and most listened to records of 2004. I had the opportunity
to interview Vee Dee backstage at a somewhat recent show of theirs in
Kalamazoo, MI. The interview was done under odd circumstances, with the
backstage full of other people and other bands shouting as loudly as they
possibly could, taking part in the interview whenever they saw fit. Also,
the band and myself were a bit more than uncharacteristically drunk. All
name calling and general unseemliness were cut out by myself. Still, read at
your own discretion.
Dan: Is that thing rolling? Anyway, I don't want to talk about the Brides.
TB: No? Not even a little bit?
Dan: Not in any way do I want to talk about the Brides.
TB: Okay. Well, we all know Dan was once in this great band called the
Brides and he doesn?t want to talk about it. Were any of you other guys in
any other bands in the past you might want to mention?
Dan: Fuck all that. What is going on with Vee Dee? What is Vee Dee's
TB: Who?s doing the interview here? Good question though. What is Vee Dee's
mission? Does Vee Dee have a mission?
Dan: Yeah we have a mission. We are a sonic machete in a space jungle.
That's what we are. Now that that's out of the way though, I'd like to talk
about Anti-Matter here, our drummer. Can we talk about our drummer?
TB: Of course. I will say though that I saw Vee Dee play before Anti-Matter
was in the band and with him on drums you guys are a much more solid unit.
Dan: Thank you. Actually you should be telling him, thank you Anti-Matter.
See, Nick and I here, we're kindred spirits, and we found this Anti-Matter,
who completed the circle, because it's always about that, completing the
circle that is.
TB: Completing the circle? Care to elaborate?
Dan: There has to be a unified understanding about what is happening.
Nick: Three always works great for a circle.
Dan: Always. Four never works?
Anti-Matter: Four is two and two, which?
Dan: Four never works because democracy doesn't work and four will never
work. That's why three works.
Nick: Plus there's no such thing as a power quartet. There are only power
Dan: Only power trios.
Anti-Matter: And it's powerful.
Dan: Absolutely. Anti-Matter compliments us like no one else has and that's
why we love him dearly. Like, we're brothers. Nick and I, we're brothers,
and Anti-Matter is like our other brother.
Anti-Matter: I feel like there was no Vee Dee before me.
Dan: You know, we don't even argue. It's all understood. It's like
telepathy. We absolutely understand what the other is thinking so it's not
even a question of what the next song is going to be.
Nick: Almost, unless I roll my eyes which I don't do too often.
Anti-Matter: Unless he yells at us after the set.
TB: Okay. I noticed a reoccurring Vietnam theme in a lot of Vee Dee songs.
Where does this Vietnam fascination come from?
Dan: That's all Nick's fascination. My dad was actually in the Vietnam War.
Specialist 4th class Herbert A. Lang.
I don't think his was in the shit. But yeah, that whole Vietnam kick is all
Anti-Matter: My dad was also in Vietnam. He was first Lieutenant James R.
Flaiz and he was in the jungle, in the shit, and he shot a boa constrictor
right in the fucking face.
Dan: This is good stuff. Exclusive stuff for your mag.
Anti-Matter: Actually, maybe it was a king cobra he shot in the face.
Dan: Like I said earlier though, that whole fascination is strictly Nick's.
Nick: The thing with Vietnam is simply because I think that what we're doing
right now is practically walking into the same fucking situation with our
current government and it just blows my fucking mind that these people
haven't learned from their mistakes and don't really seem to remember what
happened. I mean, they haven't learned that you just can't go into another
country and try changing people's lives around, because those people have
been there for thousands of years and they really don't like us. I mean
anyone can see that it never will work.
Anti-Matter: It's a whole other world over there and our government doesn't
seem to understand that.
Nick: Exactly. So basically I guess I write about it because I'm like "Hey,
don't you remember that we already did this?" Plus there's just something I
can't describe about it. I don't know. Maybe I'm a Vietnam veteran who died
and was reincarnated or something in like 1980?
Anti-Matter: No. It is very relevant to what's going on now and I think
people definitely have forgotten.
Nick: It's a weird time right now, and nobody wants to talk about it because
everybody that came home from Vietnam got spit on and they make movies about
it, but when a lot of those guys came back they were treated like shit, as it
was pretty much the first unpopular American war and it was totally fucked
up, and we're sort of living in the shadow of it now.
Anti-Matter: My parents were in that generation and it's like the last thing
that's on their minds. I think it really should be very important for people
our age who are fighting in wars right now.
Nick: I think a lot of people from that generation kind of want to forget
about it. A lot of people sort of feel like that may have been the end of
innocence in America. But people were always getting fucked around and have
always been fucked up, doing drugs and getting blow jobs in back alleys and...
Dan: No shit. There was anal sex and shit going on like since the dawn of
time. Now I don't have an exact date but I can tell you
that pussy has been eaten throughout the whole twentieth century. I mean
everybody is so familiar with sex. But back to Vee Dee, we exist beyond sex.
We're through with sex. People don't understand that we're trying to
de-familiarize everything. We're even trying to de-familiarize the populism
of rock & roll. We're trying to create something new that is like freedom.
TB: Is that the mission of Vee Dee that you've been talking about?
Dan: Yes. What we want is freedom. That is our mission, freedom.
Anti-Matter: Between the three of us, yes.
Dan: Absolutely. The only way you can get there is if you de-familiarize
what is normal. That's the only way you can look at rock & roll because rock
& roll is always going to be the same, unless you de-familiarize it. When
you do that it gives freedom the opportunity to take it's fucking stand.
Nick: These guys are really drunk but I'd say this really is the first time
we've actually consciously and coherently put it. But yeah I would say
freedom and I think ultimately what we're doing is trying to communicate
with people. We definitely don't want to alienate people or say we're
different from everyone else. We want people to feel like they're part of
what we're doing.
Dan: We don't consciously go out and think to ourselves that we want to be
different than say the Krunchies or the Functional Blackouts, but I do think
that what we do is challenging in a different way. We're challenging
reality. I also think Vee
Dee challenges rock & roll every day. Every time we practice. Every time we
play. How else are you going to create art? I mean this is art. Most rock &
roll and art have become standardized but it has to be challenged. How else
can you be even somewhat original? I think we are very original and don't
sound like anyone, usually. Especially with the newer stuff.
Nick: Plus, I think we all realize that rock & roll has always been around
and it's like a long lineage of something, and I'd say we're definitely
trying to find our own voice in it and not sit there and be like "Oh, lets
write a song that sounds like Crime meets the New York Dolls" or something.
The longer you try playing something you normally wouldn't play and try and
make it work. Maybe people won't necessarily get it or like it but so long
as you're happy somebody's going to look you up twenty years down the line.
Dan: I think my worst nightmare would be to be shuffled away with another
Nuggets volume, just shuffled away.
TB: All right, Anti-Matter. Seeing as you?re the newest member in the band,
what's it like being in a band with these two? Dan doesn't exactly have a
history of keeping a band together too long?
Dan: Be honest...
Anti-Matter: Do you really want to know? I'd say Nick and Dan are two of my
best friends. Dan and I live together. We live in the same house. I see Dan
in the mornings...
TB: Cute. So you guys share the same toilet paper and go on the Hun with
Anti-Matter: We do share the same toilet paper. When I want to go online I
go to Dan's room, a.k.a The Masturbatorium, to use his
computer. Dan and I are very close. All I'm saying is I'm very happy with
being in a band with both of these guys. They're two of my best friends. Dan
smokes a lot of weed, which I'm all about, but then he doesn't practice
because he's always high.
Dan: Oh bullshit.
Anti-Matter: Actually Dan bitches about me for smoking too much weed and not
TB: You guys have a full length out on Criminal IQ, have songs on the Maybe
Chicago compilation on Proto Mersh/Criminal IQ, and a single on Goodbye
Boozy. Do you have any plans for recording anything else in the near future?
Dan: The next full length is done, maybe not recorded,
but done. Written.
TB: Every time I've seen you guys play it seems like you break out at least
two or three new songs...
Dan: Fuck that first album. We're done with that. It's already over. I mean
yeah, it is good. The Nuggets groundhogs that just eat it all up can have
that already. The second album is destined to be stronger and mastered
well..and loud! But the third album is where
you're really going to have to open up your third eye, because everybody's
third eye must be opened.
Nick: This next full length we have planned should be recorded soon
, hopefully, after the New Year.
Anti-Matter: For the record, for the interview, I want everyone to know I am
staying with the Krunchies tonight.
Dan: What's it like being in a band called Vee Dee? Is that what you asked?
TB: Sure. Lets go with that.
Dan: Well, I mean, it's not difficult. But it is a little annoying having to
explain that we are called Vee Dee, V-E-E D-E-E. Like everyone's always,
V.D., like I have fucking crabs. Like "I read Horizontal Action and I'm a
fucking sexual pig."
TB: Have you guys played with any bands you absolutely never want to play
Nick: Ooh, I don't know.
Anti-Matter: Emo bands. I hate emo bands.
Nick: Yeah, we played in St. Louis with three emo bands and that was the
all-time worst. So I guess just the emo bands.
Dan: We're into real music. People that create real music like Paul
Capriano. Am I pronouncing that right? Caporino. Guys like Paul Caporino,
guys in the Functional
Blackouts, guys in the Mannequin Men, those are guys who create real music.
That's the stuff I'm into.
Anti-Matter: We don't want to talk shit about anybody, but emo bands should
just go fucking die, and die sad, hopefully.
Dan: Put this in the interview. I want to play drums in M.O.T.O. I want to
play drums in a band that I respect and that I think is a real rock & roll
band. Not a band that is bullshit.
TB: At the first few listens Vee Dee comes off as sounding like a straight
up garage/punk/rock & roll band but after repeated listening a psychedelic
sound and influence starts showing through that separates you guys from a
lot of the other bands using a similar formula. Where does this psychedelic
influence stem from?
Nick: I suppose it's a lot from me. Both Dan and Matt are big fans of the
Beatles more out-there stuff though. Matt likes some of the Beach Boys "Pet
Sounds", "Smile"-era stuff too. I've listened to punk and '60s garage since
I was in high school and after a while you start to get an ear for the later
'60s stuff that most close-minded garage types like to write off as hippie
shit. Psychedelic music is great though. And it's not just from the '60s or
just rock. I think a lot of free-jazz like Pharoah Sanders and Sun Ra are
psychedelic. Or Rocket From The Tombs, the first two Stooges LPs, anything
that stimulates your mind. Oh, Funkadelic's early stuff kills too. So,
whether consciously or not, the psych does seep into our sound. Definitely.
Dan: I think Nick will agree that the music we listen to is different, which
is great for the band. Also, even our listening habits differ. We are both
obsessive about music in different ways. I don't buy much music, I am very
very picky when I buy something and I think less like a collector than our
Nick. I will listen to the same records for weeks and weeks and then get
into something else. But I would like to thank Nick for introducing me to
the following bands: SRC, The Churchhills, Manfred Mann Chapter Three... Side
note: We just got back from Ann Arbor, Home of SRC. We played a show with a
great band called the Terrible Twos. Anyway I found a weird homemade copy of
SRC's first album on CD, for my mp3 player, signed by lead guitarist Gary
TB: Have you used psychedelic/hallucinogenic drugs? Ever have the kind of
experience on them where you feel like a squirrel outside your window may be trying to kill you?
Nick: I've had some mind-blowing shit happen on LSD. I have also freaked my
shit and thought I was gonna die. I think the euphoric aspect of the
psychedelic experience is viable and does happen but there is this whole
other side of hallucinogens that's really dark and scary. I had too many bad
trips and don't do hallucinogens anymore. My mind got blown out. Don't need
it. My third eye is open.
Anti-Matter: I used to do acid a few times a week for a year or two in high
school. I have probably eaten around 100 tabs.
Dan: I've only done mushrooms a few times. I've seen too many acid
casualties I guess. I don't trust most acid "dealers". Unless my mom was
making it, I wouldn't try acid. I like mushrooms because they are natural
and sorta mild.
TB: The song "T.V. Police" comes off to me as an almost perfect punk-rock
song in both music and lyrical content. It mentions science fiction,
lobotomies, methadone, institutions, television, and of course police. Was
it written with a conscious decision to include all these subjects in one
Nick: "T.V. Police" is one of our many paranoid conspiracy-type songs. I did
not make a conscious decision to write the perfect punk song. I think modern
American society is fucked because people are always scared but not aware of
it. It's like we're all ignorant of how scared we are of each other, the
government, huge corporations, or whatever. So we think we can make our own
identities with products and define ourselves with what we watch. Basically we are in 1984
only Big Brother is not watching you, because Big Brother is you. Or you
think like Big Brother. Some such shit. Yeah, TV Police.
TB: What the hell is "Kaleidoscope Death Ray" about? What the hell is a
Kaleidoscope death ray?
Nick: "Kaleidoscope Death Ray" is part one of our Vietnam trilogy. It deals
with the end of innocence, or selling out of the '60s youth culture. It was
unrealistic to grow your hair, drop acid, put flowers in soldiers' guns and
think those actions would cause change. The end of the '60s (Altamont,
Manson, cocaine, Nixon's re-election) found the young na´ve idealism to be no
match for the entrenched American capitalist system. The "Kaleidoscope Death
Ray" is a hippie gun (kaleidoscope) mixed with '50s sci-fi (60's youth
beginnings, cold war, UFOs). The idea is that a kaleidoscope death ray
would wipe out the hippie dream or prove how sadly implausible it was. Love
your brothers and sisters.
TB: Dan, this question's from Brian Costello. What did Dr. Filth of the
Functional Blackouts ever do to you?
Dan: He's beaten me up before (once). To make up for it, he let me cheat off
him in medical school.
TB: What is the first thing each of you do in the morning?
Nick: Cuss the alarm clock, make coffee.
Dan: Moan low.
Anti-Matter: Get coffee and go to work.
TB: Last question. It's time for bed. From what I've seen and what I've
read, you guys seem to be getting a lot of mixed reviews. It appears that
everyone who likes your music really likes it a lot and it seems that people
who dislike your music really have a strong dislike for it. How do you guys
feel about that?
Nick: We've gotten, it seems to me, really good reviews. A lot of people
listen to the album and don't hear much right away. It's a sleeper I guess.
It is a rather straightforward rock-n-roll album, so some may say we're
unoriginal or whatever. Bad press is still press. If you don't like it,
Dan: I haven't heard many bad reviews, or felt a strong dislike for Vee Dee.
Someone from Terminal Boredom wrote a luke warm review. One month later it
was retracted and replaced with a nice one. (Ed.: Not true. Different reviews that appeared in different issues. We retract nothing.) So I think Nick is right about
"Furthur" being a sleeper or a creeper.
Anti-Matter: I've only read two reviews that weren't really good. They also
were not that bad either. Abbada abbada hey now, I guess. If you really step
back, look closely into the gypsy's eye? All this happened in Cleveland,
Interview by Matt Coppens
Pics by Canderson and ? (if you took 'em, let us know and we'll give you credit)
PREVIOUS PAGE HOME NEXT PAGE