The Vice Rags are a band from Asbury Park and Jersey City NJ.
Please list all of your band members and their roles in the band.
Paul - vocals, guitar
GE - bass, vocals
Jack - guitar
Joe - drums
For starters, what bands were you guys a part of prior to The Vice Rags? How long has the band been around?
Paul: We’ve been around for about 2 years now. Previously we were in many bands on the Asbury Park and New Brunswick scenes. Dibs, Kid With Man Head, Mars Needs Women, The Blakes, Readymade Breakup, Anderson Council, Prunella’s Scales. The list goes on.
What’s the origin of that name and have you changed the band’s name before?
GE: We were at our first rehearsal and a cockroach, walked through the middle of our little conversation circle, so we saw that as some sort of sign and we called ourselves COCKROACH!!! That name didn’t really seem to fit our music though, so shortly after we changed it to “The Roaches”. We found out the hard way after we booked our first show, that The Roaches, was already the name of a fairly popular folk act also from NJ. I still feel bad for the people who showed up to see The real Roaches and got stuck with us…So The Roaches became “The Roaches of Red Bank”.
Now I’ve never heard a band name so unilaterally hated as that one and people were really outspoken and willing emphatically to share their opinion of how badly they thought that name sucked. When one of our friends said it sounded like a minor league baseball team, that was the last nail in that coffin. So after three name changes we basically wrote a bunch of different options down on a list and the “The Vice Rags” was the one we all liked the best…or disliked the least depending on if you’re a glass half full or empty type of person.
Who writes your songs? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs and do you think these topics will change over time?
Paul: I write the basic song and then we all figure out how to play it together. The themes are everyday life and the ups and downs of being a person. I doubt they’ll change over time.
GE: We all chip in our part to give to make it sound like the rags…It comes in one way and goes out another. When Paul is pulling his hair out, we know we’ve done our job. That’s a good thing though…That’s like smiling for most people. Paul’s got one of those hair pulling fetishes.
Jack: Finding the sound that becomes the band is a journey. Paul set us on a path, the rest of us backseat drive and we keep landing places we like. So we keep driving.
What bands are currently inspiring the music that you’re making?
Paul: Van Halen, Little Richard, Tom Petty, the New York Dolls, Jon Spencer.
Was there a particular band/artist or concert that inspired you to start a band?
No, we just wanted to get in a room and blow off some steam and have fun.
GE: For this band in particular, I think it just was just good timing for all of us. I joined a band initially way back when because I was pretty much at all times afraid of being beaten up, but I figured if I could find three or four other equally fearful individuals, together we might be able to fend off a bully.
Jack: I sucked at sports, then I saw Van Halen live and thought, thats not a sport, maybe I could do that.
What do you do to prepare for a show?
Paul: Get a bite to eat together, hang with our girlfriends and wives.
What has been the biggest highlight of the band’s career so far?
Paul: For me, I would say our first encore at the Bond Street Bar in Asbury Park.
GE: I’d have to agree…That was a really great show. I wish they could all be like that one.
Jack: Yeah, that show was fun. But, leaving a rehearsal with a fresh song, that's reaching the goal. Even if know one else likes it or cares, we do and thats a good feeling.
If you could tour with any bands, past or present, who would they be and why?
Paul: Maybe the Bouncing Souls. They are from NJ and have a great sound.
Jack: Stereophonics. I think we'd be a great fit on that bill. Plus, I can't get enough of those guys.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
GE: I would like to add 84+84. The answer is 168.
Paul: Thank you for the interview!
Jack: Yeah, thanks for doing what you do, and helping helping guys like us get the word out about what we do!