Veteran punk rockers scale back for newest effort

By Drew Hunt

The kind of no-nonsense, lack-of-self-indulgence type attitude punk rock embodies, as a subculture and a music genre, is still very present in the longtime fans who have withstood iconic punk venue Fireside Bowl’s transformation, for example.

But for about a decade, members of garage-punk trio Vee Dee were contrarians in that their songs weren’t always two minutes long. Already recorded, mixed and mastered, their newest album, due out in December or January 2011, is described as more psychedelic.

Lead vocalist and lead guitarist Nick Myers, or “Nick D’Vyne,” spoke with The Chronicle about the band’s evolution, what the new, self-titled album sounds like and how their fans have reacted.

The Chronicle: What’s the history of Vee Dee?

Nick Myers: Me and Dan [Lang] probably started playing together in 1999 or 2000, and we started using the Vee Dee name in 2000 or 2001. We’ve had a number of different drummers [throughout] the years, but me and Dan have always been consistent members. We did our first record, “Furthur”—taking the name from Merry Pranksters’ bus. They were Ken Kesey’s group in the mid [to] late ’60s. That first record came out in 2004 on Criminal IQ records. We did our second record in 2009, called “Public Mental Health System,” which was also on Criminal IQ Records. We recently finished our third record, which is self-titled, on Boulevard Records, and that should be out by December or January.

The Chronicle: What is the new record sound like compared to your previous releases?

NM: The band has gone through some stylistic changes [throughout] the years. When we started, we were, I guess you could call it, a garage-punk band—real short songs, real fast songs, kind of inspired by late ’70s punk rock and mid-’60s teenage garage-rock. The most recent record, “Public Mental Health System,” was more a psychedelic record with longer songs, but was also kind of influenced by what you might call early heavy metal like Black Sabbath. The newest record is a mixture of all of that, but there’s even more jangly type songs that have a garage-y influence but more of what the early psychedelic records sound like. The songs are still short but they have different parts, and the guitars are a little

less distorted.

The Chronicle: What influenced that direction?

NM: The last record, a double album, took a long time to get done. The first record was in 2004, and the second was in 2009. Five years in the meantime, two different drummers had come and gone, and we started working on [“Public Mental Health System”] in 2006 or 2007. By the time that was done, we felt like we had made our grand statement. We wanted to scale it back and do shorter songs that are more “to the point.” It was more like, “Let’s stop thinking about what we’re listening to and what we’re influenced by and let the songs come out of us.” So the songs come out this way. It’s not so much this super self-conscious approach. It’s tough to pinpoint but we had done our long, epic songs and we felt like scaling it back and trying some shorter material and trying different tempos.

The Chronicle: What’s the reaction been from longtime fans to the new material in a live setting?

NM: For so long we were part of the Chicago garage-punk scene. When we started, there was a local zine called “Horizontal Action” that helped collect all the groups at that time into a scene. We came out of that scene so when we started doing more psychedelic stuff and longer songs, there was backlash. People who like punk rock and shorter songs are not as open-minded to the longer songs. There was a little bit of that, but what we have found is that we do much better when we play out of town because when you’ve been in a band in one city for so long people can take you for granted. I’ve found that playing in other cities, people seem to be a lot more appreciative of it.

For more information on Vee Dee, visit