Holywood hard rockers Venrez are taking the world by storm, bringing a wealth of experience, mixing that with superb musicianship, and throwing in a good healthy dose of attitude. Before they get too big and busy, Scribes Of Metal thought we'd get in and find out what makes the band tick. Speaking with frontman Venrez, we bring you.. Venrez..
Interview with Venrez
Thanks for taking the time to speak to Scribes Of Metal, we know you’ve hit the UK a couple of times before, but could you tell us a bit about Venrez, your history, recent success and future plans?
We just hit our 3 year anniversary playing together this October. Jason Womack, formerly the bassist in Juliette Lewis and the Licks, plays guitar and sings backing vocals. He writes the Venrez music and produces our albums. Alex Kane, formerly of LSD (Life, Sex & Death) front man for Anti Product, plays guitar. Michael Bradford grew up with Jason and has been in bands and played music with him since they were 15 is our bassist. Ed Davis, also formerly of Juliette Lewis, plays drums. Everyone calls me Ven and I write the lyrics and am the lead singer. We have toured the UK and Europe in 2010 and 2011. Our first USA tour was with Fuel in January/February 2012.
We then toured with Alice Cooper in the summer of 2012 and Slash this summer. Our new album “American Illusion” released on July 30th so we are looking forward to returning to the UK and Europe to play the new songs for our fans. We plan on touring behind this new album well into next year before breaking to record the next album.
We’re UK based and haven’t had a chance to check you out live yet – what can people expect of Venrez when they hit the UK shores on the forthcoming gigs?
We are something very different. At first you think you have heard it before then quickly realize you have not. Expect the unexpected.
You cite lots of UK classic bands as influences, bands ranging from the Rolling Stones to the Jesus and Mary Chain, how does such an eclectic backdrop help you fit into the ‘Hollywood’ scene?
We don’t care about that. The rock music scene in Hollywood died mid 1990’s. Jim Morrison would roll over in his grave. But we do live here and when we play in Hollywood we have a very large and faithful fan base who come out to see us.
Your latest album ‘American Illusion’ is a great example of taking influences and making them your own, how important do you view having a “Venrez sound” or is it something you expect to evolve throughout your journey?
Jason and I wrote and recorded quite a few songs before we felt we had achieved the sound we wanted for the Venrez project. We wanted to create an entirely new genre of rock music and I feel we have. Jason is a shear genius. I call him “The Professor”. We have gotten a bit heavier and darker since our last album “Sell The Lie”. I would look for more of that natural progression when we record the next album.
You’re a rising band in what could be seen as one of the hardest moments in the music industry, what’s your opinion on the changes in the industry going on at the moment and do you think that Venrez will be doing anything different to keep momentum?
It is a very different world today in rock music. You have to earn your fans one at a time, be real approachable and spend countless hours all about the band and interaction with your fans. Commercial Radio will not play any of the new rock bands music so great videos and you tube have become a formidable means of getting out there and tour, tour, tour. I remember an interview I saw with Mick Jagger where he said first you gotta let them know you’re out there and then hope they like you. Well that has not changed. You gotta find out who your music is for and take it to them and it is much more difficult today.
Venrez have a classic Hard Rock sound, full of punchy melodies and driving riffs, is there a plan within the band to stay true to the your roots and maintain that artistic creativity (as opposed to getting swallowed by the machine)?
We will never sell out ever. This is a very talented band who could dumb up our lyrics and pop out our rock to get on radio and make getting to the top much easier. But we have a message deliver and so far it appears that someone up there likes us and wants us to continue, an uncanny divine intervention seems to surround this band.
Having toured with some really big names, Alice Cooper, Slash and previously LA Guns, what is the most memorable experience from those tours?
Well our first two tours were to the UK and Europe with LA Guns in 2010 and 2011. So I was curious in 2010 whether or not the fans would like us and me. I figured that would pretty much decide if we were gonna continue on as a band or not. Thank god they did like us, so the next tour was just great cause so many of the fans that saw us the last tour came out to see us again and had spread the word about us. We have been fortunate to have extremely loyal fans. Alice Cooper is a rock legend, it was an honour to open for him. I had not met him till the 5th show of the tour. We had really killed it in Kansas City the night before and I was in my dressing room in St. Louis with my bass player Michael. The rest of the band was on stage getting ready and I was literally 2 minutes from leaving for the stage. Alice just walked in my dressing room, came over to me, shook my hand and said, “You guys are great every night”. My jaw just dropped.
I think we were received the best of any previous tour on the Slash tour. The most memorable moment of the Slash tour was mid way through the last show. Michael and Jason stepped up front stage on either side of me and the band all kind of went to another level. I thought to myself, damn this band is just kicking it beyond any previous show on a level way beyond any previous show. Now, I cannot wait to see what we do on this November tour.
While making a name for yourself and seeing how the industry works, what experience can you share for newer bands just starting out who want to get ahead in the industry?
Go to medical school. Hahaha this business is so tough to make it in today. My advice is always to never give up your dreams and just go to medical school.
Your sound has been compared to numerous other great bands, personally I have a feeling that if the Doors were still alive and kicking, Venrez would be kinda where they would be at… so… has Venrez had any “in the desert, Navahoe Indian, Epiphany” moments (ie. Unique sources of inspiration…)?
Hahaha great question. I have had great times and moments of darkness and light in my life. Most people do not believe that I am 58 years old cause I still look like a kid. My source of inspiration comes from a multitude of life experiences, deep pain, sorry, joy and happiness. A means of find my way of surviving life in the most positive way I could achieve. And I write about all those years and experiences along with my opinions on what is wrong with this world. And my close connection with what I will call a higher power of universal spiritualism.
If you could start the whole Venrez journey over again, what one thing would you change?
In a fictional future, music is to be banned. You can only safely smuggle one album without being detected by the fascist dictatorship – which album will you take to the secret mountain hideout?
“Get Your Ya Ya’s Out”
Tours can be lonely experiences, do you fill the void with a) Jack Daniels, b) Cake, c) the brotherly love of fellow bandmates?
Gee you’re really hitting there with the Doors and epiphany’s eh!!! We pick our moments on the road. A night or two during the week, after a gig, we sometimes drink and listen to music on the bus till the wee hours. Winding down after shows can be pretty tough, but for the most part we are on line or getting rest in our bunks while rolling to the next city. This is a real pro band and I hate to disappoint anyone but there are no girls, time for girls, no drugs and we are not bathing in whiskey. We pace ourselves and make sure we deliver the best show possible for the fans every night, that is what it is about for us. It’s a marathon not a race.