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Interview:
The Upbeat: Lordd Virgil
 

By GARY GRAFF
of the Oakland Press

» See more SOUND CHECK

Formed: 2008 in Flint

Sound: Hard rock

Members: Lordd Virgil (aka Virgil Brewer), vocals and guitar (Farwell); Mark Stevens, guitar (Fenton); Rob Johannis, bass (Rankin); Oscar Gomez, drums (Saginaw).

Influences: Kiss, Queen, Alice Cooper — “The guys who put on the biggest shows,” Virgil says — Iggy Pop, Mitch Ryder, Bob Seger, Green Day, Godsmack, American Bang, Sponge.

What’s in a name? Virgil, who’s a distant cousin of Grand Funk Railroad drummer Don Brewer, had his stage name long before he gave it to his band. “That was a nickname given to me in high school — and it was an insult. There were people who would say, ‘Oh, Virgil’s here again. He always wants to have everything his way...Lord Virgil!’ So it was an insult. In the spirit of making lemonade out of lemons, I put it on the marquee as the name of the band.”

Day Jobs: Virgil and Gomez are full-time musicians, though the drummer also works in construction. Stevens is a field supervisor with AMCOM Telecommunications, while Johannis owns his own printing business.

Flint love: Lordd Virgil is making noise these days with “Flint, Michigan,” a song written for the group’s forthcoming third album. Virgil put “a little video together” featuring iconic images from the city, and it’s nearing 25,000 YouTube views on word-of-mouth alone. “We’ve had views from 46 countries on six different continents, in places I didn’t know existed — like, where the heck is Togo?” says Virgil, who was inspired to write the song during a funeral procession for a friend. “I just wrote about my hometown and what our hometowns do to really shape who were are. I think what’s happening is it’s taken on a much larger meaning. People make it personal to them; even if they’re from Philadelphia or St. Louis or Austin, Texas, somehow it resonates with them about their hometown, too.”

Looking ahead: Virgil says the group has “about 30 songs” written for that next album and is “trying to figure out how to whittle that down to the best. They’re all like your children, and you don’t want to have to say which ones get to go to college and which ones don’t. It’s very difficult, but the way the music industry is these days, we can’t really afford to make another good album. We have to make a spectacular album or there really isn’t any point in doing it.”

Hear ‘em: Lordd Virgil’s two existing albums are the self-produced “Carpe Diem” and “Anno Domini,” which was helmed by John Hughes II (George Clinton, David Sanborn)

See ‘em: Lordd Virgil, Sore Eyes and others perform an all-ages show at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Ritz, 24300 Hoover Road, Warren. Tickets are $5 for those 21 and older, $10 younger. Call 586-756-6140 or visit www.myspace.com/theritzdetroit.

Surf ‘em: www.lorddvirgil.com

Web Site: www.lorddvirgil.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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