Previous Villebillies Interviews
The Gauntlet: What's up?
Deme: Nothing man, just doing sound checks right now. We got up at 6am to do some radio interviews. We are now getting ready for the biggest show we have done in Louisville, KY in a long time. It is the first show we have done in Louisville since the album came out. We are pumped, we have a whole bunch of radio people here. Our guestlist here is crazy. We have over 100 people on the guestlist with all the radio contests that have been going on. We have ten people in the group and each of us get 2 on the list, so thats twenty. Each radio has about seven people they are bringing. Our label has a bunch of extras, and also a tattoo studio is coming out. We will have a turnout of about 2,000 people. It is also college night. They usually have a lot of the college crowd come in around 11pm. After this show, we wake up and go on to Mississippi and then onto Alabama. We will be on the road for a few days then come home. We are just doing this to test out some markets. We have played from Texas to New York. Our song 'Rollingstone' is getting push to modern rock radio.
The Gauntlet: How was that song chosen?
Deme: The label tested "Burnin Down the House" which is one of the more hip-hop tracks and they tested a few others in the secondary markets along with the song 'Whiskey'. Some of the radio didn't want to play it because they have a problem with us talking about whisky. The song 'Rollingstone' has the rock element and the rap element and can break into the top forty. We are a ten piece with a full live band. A lot of people don't realize this and if they hear "Burnin' Down the House" they just think it's five guys raping over music. We felt that we can get more people. If "Rollingstone" works, we can then release a rock track or a rap track and go either way. A lot of people like the song too. It catches a lot of really young people to really old people. So it is really cool.
The Gauntlet: The album came out in September right?
Deme: Yes, but it was a grassroots album that came out with no push behind it. They are just testing it. Even though we have a vision, they want to see how it does before they know what they want to do with it.
The Gauntlet: I got the disc in early December and immediately dismissed it without even listening to it. After reading the presskit, it sounded like something i would hate. After a lot of convincing from a friend, I finally popped it it and I have been hooked since. I am not a fan of bluegrass, hip-hop, or rap. But all together it is great the way you guys do it.
Deme: that's great. It has been tried before; to mix all those types of music. I am the same way. If I pick up a CD and it has bluegrass, country, pop, rap and hip-hop, I'll be the first to say I don't want to hear it. I am immediately negative. I think a lot of musicians would be like that too. People are like that. A lot of people don't want to give it a chance. But there are a lot of people who are the opposite. They immediately know they will like it. The song "Old Faithful" is confusing to some if it is the first song they hear as it is upbeat and hip-hop with banjos and talking about country shit. You can do a line dance to it, and at some of our shows, people do. I hate pop-country. I hate all that stuff, but I think the way we do it is our own tribute. We take what we like about the music and what comes out is what we like. I listen to Pantera, play the banjo and rap. I think most people that listen to music have a confusing CD booklet. Nobody just listens to metal. I guess being a musician, my ear is open to everything.
The Gauntlet: I imagine having ten people in a band brings a lot of different influences.
Deme: Yeah, sometimes too many to deal with. It becomes overwhelming. It changes by the song., Some songs just two of us wrote, others all ten of us wrote. You definitely need to read the credits to know whats going on. It is what it is and we enjoy it. We butt heads so don't get me wrong, but we are great friends.
The Gauntlet: I am not too familiar with the beginnings of the Villebillies. Having five vocalists, I figure you started out as a boy band and then realized it might not be the best thing for your image.
Deme: Oh hell no! No, we actually all met up this way. I was with another band called The Plan of Man. I had cancer of the lymph nodes when I was twenty. I was in a rock band with the guitarist, bassist and drummer. We played a lot out here and almost got picked up. Toby Wright(Alice in Chains producer) wanted to produce us. I was on vacation in Panama City and ran into Tuck. We were talking about doing our music. We wanted to get together musically as we were from the same spot. He had this hardcore rap thing which I thought was cool. We started making music together and started hanging out and partying together. We started the Villebillies as just a side thing. The band, Plan of Man, would have the Villebillies open up. It was just the five vocalists rapping over a CD instead of having a band play it live. Once we started getting attention, we decided to bring the band in and have a ten piece band. The next thing you know, Toby Wright got a hold of our demo and brought it to Universal. The label rep didn't want to hear a rock/rap/country album. Toby said it was the perfect thing for them. Some of the heads of Universal checked us out and loved it. They immediately signed us. Then Motown and Republic split and we didn't know what was going on. We went out to New York and played for the label and brought in all the press and bookings.
The Gauntlet: It seems like things have been picking up for the band lately. I have been hearing a lot of good things, and not from promotion companies and such, but from actual people who have listened to and love the album.
Deme: We have been putting our name out there and leaving an impression on people. I lot of people love us but don't know what to do with us. We have our own style and our own thing.
The Gauntlet: I am a metalhead and love the CD. I have told other metalheads and they have the same reaction.
Deme: Thanks. I do appreciate that. I am a metalhead too. A lot of people are surprised to hear that when they look at me.
The Gauntlet: The final track on the album, "Greatest Moment" is amazing. Don't get me wrong, the entire album is amazing, but the final track is just that much greater than the rest of the tracks. It was produced by Bob Ezrin (Pink Floyd, Alice Cooper, Kiss) from what I understand.
Deme: Thank you. That song is like the next level for us. The thing is, we have other songs that I wouldn't say are similiar, but they are edgier. But A lot of the songs on the album we have had for 6 years. When we got in the studio, we wanted to put twenty songs on the album. The label said they wanted just ten. We wanted to showcase a little bit of country, and bluegrass, and other songs. What we planned on doing was sneak one of those songs onto the album to let people know. The album is more like a timeline. We are a lot further musically from where this album is. Does that make sense? The country side of us hasn't even been exposed on the album. We did the album start to finish though. "Greatest Moment" was the last song and we went balls out with the rock anthem sound. We want people to grow with us. I think our second album will be a lot deeper and less about drinking. The Plan of Man was the rock group and was about the cancer I was fighting, problems with your girl and stuff going on in the world. It was a lot more serious and powerful. The Villebillies was more party music, but there is a lot more going on with the Villebillies and we want people to know that but we didn't want to scare them. We have a song called "O Death" that we want to put on the second album. It is a bluegrass hardrock mixture. I would say it is like a melodic Alice In Chains. We love that stuff. We are thankful that out of the songs that made it on the album, "Greatest Moment" made the cut. Don't get me wrong though, we aren't going to turn away from our roots and forget where we came from, but we aren't teenagers anymore. This band is evolving.
The Gauntlet: The song "Greatest Moment" kinda sounds like Eminem's "Loose Yourself". But the more you listen to it, it has this big 70's KISS rock sound.
Deme: Yeah, thats what it is. A lot of people don't hear it that way. A lot of people just think of "Loose Yourself" as that came out. That chug chug chug rythym. But that sound is as old as can be. The song started off from just a "Moonlight Sonata" sample and we switched a lot of things around. When we got in the studio with Bob Ezrin, he said we need to add that drive to it. It is like you said though, the more you listen, the more you realize the song isn't like Eminem's.
The Gauntlet: How'd you end up in the studio with Bob Ezrin?
Deme: We were in the studio with Toby Wright and the album was leaning to much towards the rock thing which I like. But there are ten people in the band and a label we need to think about. When we got to "Greatest Moment", we just couldn't nail the sound. Joelene at the label saw the track as something much bigger. We went to the studio three times to record it and couldn't get it right. She said Bob Ezrin was a friend and she brought him in to help out with it.