Nicki Kin--Lead Guitars
VAINS of JENNA formed in the small town of Falkenberg, SWEDEN in January 2005. Lead Vocalist/Guitarist Lizzy DeVine and bassist JP White had talked the previous summer about putting together a new band. Both had played in a group before and eyed a young teenage guitarist named Nicki Kin as the final piece to the line-up along with his classmate, drummer Jacki Stone. Kin and Stone graduated high school in 2005 and played in a band together since they were 12 years old.
During the summer of 2005, VAINS of JENNA was offered a chance to play the world-famous “Whisky-A-Go-Go” in Hollywood and after clearing it with their parents, decided to spend thousands of dollars to fly to California for the gig. They were offered the first slot out of 10 bands and performed at 4:00pm on Saturday July 30. They jumped at the chance and stunned the crowd with their raw energy, young bravado, and sleazy throwback appeal. Before dinner even started for most, their 10,000-plus mile journey to the land of the stars was over in a flash with a short 30-minute set. Or was it?
Four days later, the band was cutting tracks with Gilby Clarke (ex-Guns N’ Roses guitarist) at his Redrum Studios in North Hollywood. VAINS of JENNA returned to Sweden with more determination than ever, as their short six-month career had now taken a swift turn in the right direction. They spent the winter with rehearsals, writing sessions, live gigs and more recording time in the studio. The band supported most of Sweden’s hot up and coming rock bands like Crash Diet, Hardcore Superstar and Gemini 5.
In Spring of ‘06 VOJ toured Southern Europe and spent one month in the U.K. winning over critics and fans by night while playing gigs and sleeping in their van in an alley by day. In a review of their live show, the popular U.K. site Caught In The Crossfire noted, “…they’re unbelievably ace, spinning through a short but ludicrously high-energy set that combines all of the best elements of trashy rock ‘n’ roll like Aerosmith, Hanoi Rocks and of course, Guns N’ Roses played with complete conviction and not a hint of irony. Soon to be legends, mark my words!”
VAINS OF JENNA attracted the attention of skateboarding legend Bam Margera (also of MTV’s Viva La Bam and Jackass fame) who signed the band on the spot after seeing their bombastic live show. The band subsequently put the finishing touches on their self-produced debut full-length Lit Up / Let Down. Released October 24, Lit Up / Let Down was the first release ever on Bam’s brand new label, Filthy Note.
We interviewed their vocalist, Lizzy DeVine, by phone as they were getting in to Houston.
EPMS: How old are you?
Lizzy: I'm twenty-five. I'm the oldest one in the band.
EPMS: You moved over here from Sweden, but you're pretty new to the US, right?
Lizzy: We're from Sweden, but we're in LA now. We moved to LA, then went back to Sweden this summer for three months. We arrived here again four weeks ago. So, we're pretty new.
EPMS: How hard is it to get recognition in LA, with all the bands that are there?
Lizzy: Yeah, there are so many bands. It's kind of hard. We're from Sweden, so we're different, so it's kind of easy. We're doing our own shit, people seem to dig that. It's getting better and better. So many bands come to LA, trying to make it.
EPMS: You've had a meteoric rise to stardom. Weren't you sleeping in your van earlier this year?
Lizzy: Yeah, we had an old station wagon from the 70s, we took it to London. We stayed in it a month. That was one of best months of my life. We had a blast. That was May, I think. No, wait... April. We had a lot of fun partying.
EPMS: Before January 2005, when you formed Vains of Jenna, what did you think you'd be doing for a career?
Lizzy: We didn't think about it that much. We started the band for fun. I was in a band in Norway that really sucked. We (Vains of Jenna) started playing just to do what we really wanted to do. When we got the e-mail from the Whisky-A-Go-Go, that's when we realized, this might be something. If you're just having fun doing what you're doing, good things will come to you.
EPMS: How do you keep your heads on straight?
Lizzy: It's not that hard, because we're having fun. We're not trying to become this big band. Everything is going quite fast right now. It's just fun. Now we get a chance to do the same thing we were doing without working. We appreciate the small things that come with it. There are no big heads with us.
EPMS: How big is Falkenberg, Sweden, where you came from?
Lizzy: There are like thirty thousand people living there.
EPMS: What's the music scene like there?
Lizzy: It is the most boring place you can imagine. They have three bars. The people always say something stupid about how you dress, or things like that. I honestly hate that little town.
EPMS: So, how did you get started if there's only three bars?
Lizzy: We didn't get many gigs in the beginning. After one month, they sent us the e-mail from the Whisky-A-Go-Go. We said, "Yeah, that's what we want to do." When we told people in Sweden, they wanted us to play all over Sweden. That was the thing that really got this thing going.
EPMS: Describe your ten-thousand mile journey to The Whisky-A-Go-Go.
Lizzy: That was last year. To be able to play The Whisky-A-Go-Go was like a dream, all my favorite bands had played there. Even though it was four in the afternoon. We also met our manager, Steve Rachelle, there. There are lots of bands that stay home. They don't take chances. Steve told us we had to take chances to get anywhere. Back then, it was the best week in my life. Every day it's getting better. We were, like, fifteen hours on the plane. It was the first time I'd ever travelled that far.
EPMS: What was that trip like for you, emotionally?
Lizzy: It was cool. I slept most part of it. We were flying to Los Angeles to play the Whisky-A-Go-Go... That was unreal, to be able to do that, a band from Sweden, from a small town. It was the greatest feeling ever.
EPMS: Who's the biggest person you've met, since all this started?
Lizzy: We've met a lot of famous people. C.C. DeVille from Poison. Bam, of course. So far, we've met quite a few famous people. I used to be big Poison fan. To see C. C. DeVille walk into the club when we're playing, and to talk to us afterwards, is just amazing... Also, the guitar player from Rage Against the Machine, Tom Morello.
EPMS: Have you been to TV shows, etc., where you were overwhelmed by who was there?
Lizzy: No, not really. I take everything like a normal thing. What's more fun to me, is a young fan that really likes the music... I appreciate the fans more than TV shows and shit like that.
EPMS: Who is your favorite musician that isn't a rock 'n' roller?
Lizzy: Let's see. that's gotta be ... that's a hard one. Dr. Dre. He is a cool musician. He writes good songs.
EPMS: Are any of you skateboarders?
Lizzy: No, we're not. Three of the guys, the bass player, the drummer, and the guitar player like to, but they're not good at it. I injured my back trying to ride a BMX bike. We like to have fun, but we really suck at things like that. We leave that up to Bam to do that kind of thing. We were born to be musicians; we can't do anything else.
EPMS: Who is your favorite 80s band?
Lizzy: Must be... there's quite a few, really. I loved Ratt. Detonator is playing in our van every day. I love that band. They did everything right.
EPMS: One of the labels applied to Vains of Jenna is, 'Sleaze rock.' What's the sleaziest thing you've ever done?
Lizzy: A lot of stuff. The other night, I don't want to say what city, we met some girls, and went with them to some after-party, which was a bikers' party... there were a lot of big guys with guns. One of us took this girl into the bathroom, and then there was this big guy banging on the door with a gun... Our bass player said later, it was her dad, the owner of the bikers' club. It could've ended up really bad.
EPMS: What's it like touring with Fireball Ministry and Artimus Pyledriver?
Lizzy: It's cool. They don't play the same music as we do-they're a lot heavier. Artimus Pyledriver is a great bunch of guys, they're great to party with. The same with Fireball Ministry... It's fun being in a rock n roll band...
We never know how the audience will react. When big guys with beards tell us they like us, that's great; that's a hard group to please... We don't listen to their music at home. It's still rock n roll,though. All three bands are all sick and tired of the music scene today. We're working toward the same goal: to change the world of music, somehow.
EPMS: Have you ever been on anybody else's street team?
Lizzy: No. I've never been. I wanted to, but I never had the time to be as involved as you need to be. When you're on a street team, you have to be willing to do lot of work. Our street teams are fucking great. They always bring us stuff, food, drinks, batteries for our CD player. We hang out with them. They're the coolest people. I never knew how good it'd be to have one. Our street teams are amazing. We had to do it all ourselves before, they do that stuff now.
EPMS: What's the best band you've ever seen live?
Lizzy: The Rolling Stones, Bridges to Bablylon tour. It was the best experience ever.
EPMS: Did you do any partying with the girls in your video, No One's Gonna Do it For You?
Lizzy: We wanted to do anything imaginable to them... but they had to leave right after the shoot was done. I'd love to fuck them, but they had to do other shit, so we had to find other girls at the bar.
EPMS: Thanks a lot for your time, Lizzy
Lizzy: Thank you very much.
EPMS We'll see you Monday at the show!
Lizzy: See ya there. Bye.