VAINS OF JENNA
AN INTERVIEW WITH LIZZY DEVINE
 

Nearly three decades have passed since the rise of  “hair bands” and their domination of the music world. We’re coming up fast on 2008 and the demand for its return since the early 90’s hasn’t been louder or more widespread. The last couple of years has seen that call answered by more of our favorite classic rock bands than ever and by a growing number of up and coming contributors, as well. Among the new generation of metal…and we are talking metal here, you guys, in your face, loud-ass, kick-ass METAL….are four guys hailing from the small town of Falkenberg, Sweden who, having been influenced primarily by rock n’ roll from very early ages, decided to put a band together, the story of their journey down the road to success anything but usual. Overnight sensation? Practically unheard of in the heavy metal world today, right? Meet the exceptions to that rule in Lizzy Devine, J.P. White, Nicki Kin, and Jacki Stone, collectively known as Vains of Jenna named, yes, after legendary pornstar, Jenna Jameson (we didn’t say they’re into only music!).
After seeing Vains on tour this summer I caught up with frontman Lizzy Devine to hear the rest of the story. It goes something like this: In a nutshell, VOJ was formed, one track was shared with us online, and the boys began living long-awaited dreams less than a day later. I’ll let Lizzy fill you in on the rest of it, including how they became part of one of the most popular rock tours of 2007, as well as his take on everything from metal fans today to why he’s glad he was born with all of his appendages and….well, just keep reading…

 

Blast: Hi Lizzy, you guys have been all over the country with Poison and Ratt this summer. How’s that going?

Lizzy Devine: It’s going great! It’s so exciting being on tour with Poison and Ratt. We’re stoked, we love being on stage every night.

 

B: How did you come to be on this tour?

LD: Well, Poison came out to do some shows in the LA area and they liked what they saw. (Laughing) I heard some crazy rumors online that we paid like $75,000 to play with them!! No, they just liked the band and that was the only reason.

 

B: So you were pretty much just invited by the band? That’s pretty cool.

You’re also getting some pretty strong feedback on your CD, ‘Lit Up, Let Down’.

LD: Yeah, people seem to like it a lot, but even if some don’t, whatever, we’re just having a lot of fun, so we don’t really care, but the more who do, the better!

 

B: You guys looked like you were having a great time up there doing the live thing.

LD: We’re so into it! It’s great being onstage, and if people can see how much we love it, we feel like we’ve gotten through.

 

B: So let’s go back a couple of years to your start in the business, for those who aren’t familiar with the story. Basically, you put one track up online and got an invitation to play the Whiskey less than 24 hours later, right?

LD: Yeah, just one song online after a month of being a band, and 13 hours later they called and asked us to play in LA

 

B: So you traveled 10,000 plus miles to a place that was virtually swamped with metal bands all trying to make it in a market that was questionable at best. Was that a decision that you thought about a little, or was there just never any doubt?

LD: We didn’t think for very long! We were like, ‘hell yeah’!! We were so excited to be invited to play The Whiskey, we just bought four plane tickets and we weren’t really thinking about what was gonna happen after that. We just got there and played at four o’clock, and Stevie Rachelle saw us, and he became our manager, and after that, everything was pretty crazy.

 

B: Wow, everything just kind of fell into place. Nice.
LD: Yeah, we were stoked with everything happening so fast.

 

B: Did you hook up with Gilby Clarke the same day, too? How did that happen?

LD: Well, Stevie is good friends with Gilby, so a day or two after the show at The Whiskey, we met with Stevie again, and he was like, ‘so do you guys want to record some songs with Gilby?’ and we were like, ‘yeah, why not?’, we’re all fans of G n’ R, so the chance to do that was incredible for us. It was a good thing for us to record with him, too, because his name is obviously bigger than ours, so it got our name out there and people opened their eyes and we got more shows because of it, so it was very cool. We’re very lucky that we’ve been in the right place at the right time so many times now. It’s almost scary, but so far so good!

 

B: Your sound and appearance are obviously reminiscent of the 80’s metal scene, but you’re also all very young. Who’s responsible for that influence?

LD: When I was little, my parents fed me with Aerosmith, the Stones, and all types of rock n’ roll. When I was about five or six, I started reading music magazines and seeing pictures of bands like Motley Crue and G n’ R, and just fell in love with the image. I got their CDs and it just worked. From that point on, I loved this kind of music. I hear people now saying ‘that kind of music sucks’, and ‘you have to play this, and don’t do that’. I’m just glad I was born with two middle fingers, ‘cause I use them a lot!!

 

B: Sound like you’ve got some pretty cool parents.
LD: Yeah, we’re very lucky that they’re so supportive. Without them, we couldn’t do what we’re doing now, ‘cause we were totally fucking broke all the time, and I owe my parents so much money! You don’t make it these days if you’re not really big so I have to borrow all the time and it can be hard to do, but they’re so willing to help out. They are incredible.

 

B: So all of you have been on the same page as far as your taste in music from the beginning?

LD: Yeah, pretty much. The other guys are all also kind of heavy into the grunge thing, too, but that’s a good thing, ‘cause we have that influence as well there. You know, people want to label us as just an 80’s retro band, but it’s not just that. We’re influenced by anything that rocks and it can be anything from hip-hop, or heavy stuff, like Slayer. We try to bring everything that’s cool into our music and add a little rock n’ roll to it because it’s what we like.

 

B: Well, as I’ve read through some of the other features on VOJ, I’ve seen a lot of reference and comparison to glam bands, but I’m getting more edgy rock n’ roll from it.

LD: That’s what we’re trying to do, but people just want to label us a glam band. Maybe because we’re blond as hell! (laughing) I don’t know, I get kind of annoyed hearing that sometimes. I mean, we are into a lot of glam bands, too, but we’re not trying to be one. We are all about rock. People are actually going to be shocked when they hear some of our new stuff; it’s not going to sound the like what they’re used to from us. It’s still VOJ, but better! Some people will love it, some may hate it. I love it!!

 

B: It’s very rare to see the intensity of the reaction to an opener, especially a new band, that you guys generated here in Boston. We talked to a lot of fans that night, and several of them who had been to other shows told us that the response everywhere has been the same. That has to feel pretty good.

LD: Well, I was kind of worried before the tour about how people would react to us. But I think they know that we take this very seriously, that we plan on doing it for a long time, and we’re not going away! If you really believe in what you do and have a good time doing it, people will see that and appreciate it, and we want to stay in touch with them. And, you know, I’ve seen so many opening acts myself, and most of them sucked. I’m stoked every time we go onstage and people are standing up out of their seats. It’s an incredible feeling.

 

B: Yeah, they were definitely standing. In fact, by the end of the show, my photographer was dancing on her chair with them!

LD: (loud background laughter) That’s so cool!

 

B: Your cover of Tom Petty’s ‘Refugee’ was, I think, a little unexpected, but beautifully done. Why that one?

LD: Thank you. I’ve always loved Tom Petty, and before the tour, our guitar player, Nicki, came to me and was like ‘we need to do Refugee, it’s such a great song’, and it was weird because I had been thinking about exactly the same thing, so we just had to do it. People would have expected us to do a cover that’s more like our stuff, but it’s better to do something unexpected that we can do our way.

 

B: Can we expect to hear that or any other covers on upcoming projects?

LD: Maybe. I don’t know if we’ll record any covers right now, but maybe we’ll come up with some other good ones in the future. Again, it has to be something that people won’t expect from us.

 

B: Fair enough, we’re looking forward to it. So who writes the majority of your material?

LD: All of us. We work as a team with no egos. That’s the great thing about this band. Me or Nicki will come up with the main riff, then we all help out. I’m not always writing the lyrics, either. Jacki is a great lyricist; we’re a great team, one of the things I really appreciate.

 

B: You’re starting another tour right after this with a bunch of other bands. Can you tell us about that?

LD: Yes, we are! It’s called ‘Viva La Bands’. We’re going out with bands like GWAR, and Cradle of Filth, so it’s a little different, but we like to go out with new bands and catch new audiences and new fans.

 

 

B: How long will you be on the road for this one and what areas are you scheduled to play?

LD: We’ll be out for about a month and a half in the smaller venues, but I think they’re going to be packed. A lot of bands with a lot of people. There’s a younger crowd that Poison has these days, so we get that market as well, and we want to show the younger people what music is about because they’re fed with all that MTV shit that they’re playing all day long now and it’s like brainwashing on a high level, and I don’t think people should take that shit anymore. They need to open their eyes to new music and choose for themselves.

 

 

B: Yeah, we would have to agree with you on that one. Where else do you want to play that you haven’t?
LD: Well, we’re staying in the States for now, then we’ll take over the rest of the world!! (more background laughter.) Every other band from around the world goes to Europe for a long time, dreaming about coming to the States and never making it, so we thought from the beginning, we’ve got one shot here, why not try to make here first and stay for while, then going over to Europe.

 

B: I think your US fans will be ok with that. Anything you want to say to VOJ fans while we’ve got you?

LD: Yeah, we have a new song coming out this fall, around October, called ‘Enemy In Me’, and it’s going to be released on the Viva La Bands compilation. People should check it out, it’s going to kick ass!! It’s a whole new side of VOJ. Hopefully they will love it. We may release a CD in the spring if we’re back in the studio in time, but we plan on being out on the road a lot in the future!!

 

 

      So that about wraps it up. Blast will be here to cover happenings with VOJ for you with reviews and more in the near metal future. Check the links and tour dates below to catch Vains of Jenna in your area. Til next time…

 

 

Links:
www.vainsofjenna.com

www.myspace.com/vainsofjenna

 

TOUR DATES:

Oct 04, 2007

House of Blues

Dallas, TX

Oct 05, 2007

Verizon Wireless

Houston, TX

Oct 06, 2007

Sunset Station

San Antonio, TX

Oct 08, 2007

Marquee

Tempe, AZ

Oct 09, 2007

Joint

Las Vegas, NV

Oct 11, 2007

Soma

San Diego, CA

Oct 12, 2007

Wiltern

Los Angeles, CA

Oct 13, 2007

Warfield

San Francisco, CA

Oct 15, 2007

Salt Air

Salt Lake City, UT

Oct 16, 2007

Fillmore

Denver, CO

Oct 18, 2007

Cains

Tulsa, OK

Oct 19, 2007

Pops

St Louis, MO

Oct 20, 2007

Beaumont

Kansas City, MO

Oct 21, 2007

Myth

Minneapolis, MN

Oct 23, 2007

Congress

Chicago, IL

Oct 24, 2007

Eagles Ballroom

Milwaukee, WI

Oct 26, 2007

LC Pavilion

Columbus, OH

Oct 27, 2007

Agora Ballroom

Cleveland, OH

Oct 28, 2007

Harpo's

Detroit, MI

Oct 30, 2007

The Docks

Toronto, ON

Oct 31, 2007

Electric Factory

Philadelphia, PA

Nov 02, 2007

Roseland Ballroom

New York, NY

Nov 03, 2007

Palladium

Worcester, MA