“From the Vault”: Last Nights Vice grips local music scene

     Last Nights Vice Lead Vocalist Brandon House described the band’s music to George Clooney as “a mix between Motley Crue and Frank Sinatra meets Daft Punk.” Clooney responded, “So, you’re telling me that you wear tight leather and croon like Frank Sinatra, and you have a drinking problem?”

     House, Chris Blake (Bass Guitar), Andrew Ghiassi (Drums), Joe Fitzsimmons (Lead Guitar) and Jordan Phoenix (Guitar) formed Last Nights Vice three years ago when Ghiassi and Blake’s former band, Blame Gary, lost two of its singers, and House served as their replacement. As the new group came together, the name for their band came up in a brainstorming session.

     “I heard ‘Last Night’s Fight’ in my head for some reason, and I kept seeing the color purple,” Blake said.

     “Violet,” Ghiassi corrected him.

     “[I thought…] violet sounds like vice, and I was like, “What is a vice, guys?” and they told me, and I said, ‘Last Nights Vice.’”

     According to House, their namesake also derives from the type of music they play.

     “We wanted to be a party band…we basically figured, if we’re going to be playing for crowds that are going to be…smoking, drinking, partying [and] having fun, we want to be the soundtrack to that.”

     Each of LNV’s members helps to personify the distinctive atmosphere they create.

     “We’re all like cartoon characters. You could definitely make a comic book out of us.”

     Since its formation, LNV has played in local venues such as The Pageant, Pops, Ciceros, and Old Rock House, which the band considers their home base. At least four of their shows have contributed to charities. One function, the Washington University Carnival, had House and Phoenix judge and announce a Guitar Hero contest.

     Contrary to a typical scenario where a singer/song writer brings a song to a band, LNV works collectively to put lyrics to a melody.

     “It starts with a small idea, and we keep playing it over and over…until new parts evolve from that idea, and then we make a song out of it,” Ghiassi said.

     “It’s like a big jam thing,” Blake added.

     “I just make jibberish up. Really, I literally sing about nothing. You’ll hear me talking about how a baby needs to go get gas before Sunday because the malls are closed…just to get the vocal melody down. Then I go into the studio and write the lyrics,” House said.

     Because the group does not gear its music to one specific type of fan, its audience stretches across a wide range of individuals. From outcast teenagers to elderly women, they have seen it all.

     “I work at Ted Drewe’s, I was scooping ice cream that night; the energy was vibrant. I looked out the window. What do I see staring in at me? A Last Nights Vice t-shirt. A 50-year-old lady. Anyway, I just kept scooping, and I smiled. It was really funny,” Ghiassi said.

     LNV’s music also reaches the entire St. Louis area through 105.7 The Point’s Local Show. “The Power Cosmic” and “All I” rotate on a bi-weekly basis on the show.

     One facet of their musical idiosyncrasies is that their sound cannot be classified in one specific genre. Pop/Rock and alternative are two potential descriptions, but LNV would rather have the debate continue than lock their music into one distinction.

     “My main goal is to take that CD and when it gets into the hands of the people that work at the music store, they don’t know where to put it. They’re looking at all those aisles and going, ‘Shit. Where do I put this CD?’” House said.

     Whether or not LNV really wears leather or croons like Frank Sinatra as Clooney proposed, one thing is for sure—they will kickstart your heart and bring out your wild side as fans are smokin’ in the boys room.

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