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
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
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.