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The Virgins
hip to the hype
by: Erin Roof - March 4, 2008

The Virgins turn the entire notion of indie rock straight on its head. The band played their third show ever in front of 3,000 Parisians with an opening slot for Patti Smith. Television drama Gossip Girl used five Virgins songs in a single episode. And to top it off, Atlantic Records signed them before even catching a live set.
This would certainly leave any time-tested band in awe. But The Virgins are riding on the strength of their first EP. The music industry hasn’t seen such skyrocketing popularity so early on in a band’s career since music vandals were dry humping Karen O’s vomit-soaked legs during the hyped-up mess before the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s 2003 debut Fever to Tell.

So are The Virgins ready to sell out? Are they chasing down celebrity starlets? Are they working on their third stint in rehab? Surprisingly, no way. Despite their status, the band still adheres to the indie ethos. They’re a hard working group with a militant touring schedule, even if that includes glamorous European clubs like London’s KoKo that most bands only dream of playing. And that groundbreaking EP—they’re selling it for six bucks on their Myspace page.

If you are hip to the hype, The Virgins are totally worth a spin. Their slinky, smoky rock will make your blood run hot. Picture a sexed up Elvis Costello or Mick Jagger when he would slip into that lurid whisper and that’s The Virgins’ scheme. They play straight forward rock—and that means rotating subjects of ladies and sex and having sex with ladies. Sample lyrics of frontman Donald Cummings are: "All we ever think about is sex/ Nothing really matters to me now,” and “Let’s get together and get it on/ Let’s get these clothes off before I’m gone.”
It would be easy to write off The Virgins as a pack of simple-minded rock and roll floosies (I mean, their name is The Virgins.), but that isn’t the case. The proof is in the execution. The tunes are akin to those by New York City’s academic sounding rockers, Yeasayer. The Virgins pull off their sluttiness with an “I skipped geometry class to pen this love song” vibe. They have a certain low key raunchiness about them, one where button down cardigan sweaters get as much airtime as foxy leather jackets and intellectual gazes replace come hither stares. And all of it is done with a pre- quarter life crises allure where major life decisions involve which in the cadre of fancy t-shirts to wear.

The Virgins’ “Rich Girls” is irresistible. It is a perfect theme song for New York’s club banging elite with a thumping bass line that hits you just above the hem or your mini skirt and a romantic candor you don’t care if you believe. With that ultra-disco high hat and delectably bouncy chorus, it aims to please dance floor stalwarts. “One Week of Danger” starts off with some Rolling Stones style guitar swagger and is quickly topped off with some teeming falsetto. And by the end of those three minutes and 36 seconds, you know you’re not going to get it out of your head. Better yet, you won’t care. The same goes for “Radio Christiane,” a fuzzed out screamer that manages to be both cutesy adorable and wickedly fierce at the same time.

Whether The Virgins are card carrying members of the indie elite or bonafide mainstream up and comers, they’re scheduled to go intergalactic next week. The Deli caught up with bassist, Nick Zarin-Ackerman, to discuss The Virgins’ craze.

How did The Virgins meet?
Donald and Wade [Oates, guitarist] met in Mexico working for they're friend Ryan Mcginnley. I met Donald through his ex-girlfriend, Jen. The three of us became really close and formed the band. We met Erik [Ratensperger] while auditioning drummers.

What are your goals for 2008?
Our record's coming out in May, so hopefully people will like it and we can keep touring. I guess our goal is to play for as many people as we can.

What have been your career highlights thus far?
Hmm. There have been a lot. Lots of shows have been incredible. We just spent the week in Paris playing and it was really special. We had played there at the Olympia once before very early on, our third ever show, and that was also amazing and totally fucking horrifying. But I guess the real highlights for me are the people we've been able to meet/spend time with/work with like Jason Hill, Jet, Ra Ra Riot, and Tokyo Police Club.

What bands are you being compared to?
We get lots of random comparisons as I'm sure most bands do. Listening to music is so subjective and personal that people just compare us with the most scattered array of shit, from Chic to The Velvet Underground to Duran Duran to Maroon 5.

What was your strangest moment onstage?
No matter what unprecedented or insane, debauched shit that might unfold during a show, nothing to me is stranger than watching my parents or, like, an aunt, watching us from the audience. It totally weirds me out every time. I'm not saying we do anything uncouth up there. It’s just a kooky juxtaposition for me--like seeing the Queen of England sitting on a stoop by my house with a bunch of Puerto Ricans or something.

The Deli; Do you have any pre-concert rituals?
No. we are seriously lacking pre-concert rituals. I don't know why. We just sit around and talk and then someone tells us its time to play and we go over to the stage and play. I guess maybe one ritual is trying to find Wade who runs to go to the bathroom or smoke a "quick" cigarette right when we're supposed to go on.

What are your favorite NYC bands of all time? Why?
There are so many. Run DMC because they're Run DMC. The Velvet Underground because they're so good and they make you want to be pretentious. The Ramones because they're such guys from Queens. Chic because they're such amazing musicians. The New York Dolls because they're so fun to look at and on and on.


What NYC current NYC bands do you enjoy?
I like Yeah Yeah Yeahs. I really like the music they make. I love Modrocket because they're so good and so young. I love The Wu Tang Clan because they're so smart and fun to listen to. I love A. R. E Weapons because they're music is so good and they're amazing live.

Is there anything else you want to add?
I don't eat seafood and I wish I did because I'm sick of Chicken and Beef.



 
 

"Nothing to me is stranger than seeing my parents or, like, an aunt, watching us from the audience. It totally weirds me out every time. I'm not saying we do anything uncouth up there. Itís just a kooky juxtaposition for me--like seeing the Queen of England sitting on a stoop by my house with a bunch of Puerto Ricans or something."


The Virgins
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what it is

slinky, smoky rock