Vaud And The Villains: A 19-Piece Time Traveling Band

Vaud And The Villains: A 19-Piece Time Traveling Band

Every villain has a story.
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If you were to take a modern band, and then have them time travel to perform in a film noir, you would get Vaud and the Villains - a traveling cabaret roadshow with nineteen members. The band's saxophonist Vaud Overstreet and his wife Peaches Mahoney formed the band several years ago and they have been forming their own genre-bending niche ever since. I caught their performance at Lake Eden Arts Festival (LEAF) in Black Mountain, NC and interviewed six of the members: vocalist Sugar Cherie, vocalist Alabama Blu, vocalist and dancer Peaches Mahoney, dancer Racy Raven, dancer Charlotte Charmaine, and vocalist and saxophonist Vaud Overstreet.


How did the band create its signature performing style?

Peaches Mahoney: Our music and performing style don't really fit into a traditional genre, and that was by design. My husband [Vaud Overstreet] and I started the band eight years ago when we were getting married and we wanted a band, and we couldn't find one, so we decided to start one ourselves. We met with our friend who is a club owner and he gave us five dates. We needed more than just the two of us, so we went on Craigslist and found musicians. The first rehearsal was ugly, but great. Then we played for about six months for almost no money, and we started getting a following through word of mouth.

Each member has stage names - so how do those stage names happen?

PM: Creating the stage names is my job, which by the way has become a task that I really hate! When there's a new person in the band, we get to know them through touring because when we go on tour we have way too much fun - we have just as much fun as it looks like we're having. So then I know who they are. I'm like, "Oh, this is your name."

Sugar Cherie: Everyone has a villainous story about them. I'm the madame.

Alabama Blu: I'm the southern belle that ran away from my father. I had nothing, but then I found these guys and they turned me over.

PM: I love history and we read about women in the 1920s and in the Great Depression who ran away. There was this great story of this southern belle whose dad was a very rich person who killed himself. All she had were her pearls.

AB: That's my story.

Vaud Overstreet: We had this idea of an ensemble show. My grandma was a dancer in vaudeville, so vaudeville came to mind, villains was born out of that, so "Vaud and the Villains" happened.

You were inspired by Bruce Springsteen's Seeger Sessions, so how did you go from that folk sound to your current one?

VO: We kind of played it to death - we played it every single weekend. For the first few months of performing we had more people on stage than in the crowd. Then, we got a circus in LA to let us play with them, and they had sort of a film noir and Cirque de Soleil feel. We played those folk songs with them for an entire summer, but we wanted to do more.

What are you working on currently?

VO: We're starting to tour more. It's really costly to get out with so many members, so right now we're able to tour through little stabs of long weekends; five days here, five days there. We're writing new songs all the time, so the next thing to do would be to record them and keep getting our name out there.

PM: We do radio shows too. We just did one in Colorado, it was so fun!

Where is the coolest place you have ever performed?

Charlotte Charmaine: France.

PM: It was just the two of us and they didn't have stages, so we had to perform on the floor. And she just had a baby a month before.

What's the biggest challenge of having so many members? How do you manage touring?

PM: Everyone is directionless! I'm driving one of the buses and there's ten other guys in it. Everyone is making different hand gestures so I'm like, "what is left and what is right?"

VO: If you ever want to hear really interesting stories about old-timey American jazz, go into the boys' dressing room. If you want to get your ears chunked out with an ice pick, go into the girls' dressing room.

PM: We talk about interesting things and they talk about band camp. Literally, band camp! They're adorable though. We have the best guys.

What about driving?

VO: Driving is the worst part. Everyone else is asleep but I don't get to sleep. With our budget, we have to fly into where we end, rent the vans, and then drive the vans to where we begin, and then drive back. Driving is definitely the hardest part.

AB: And tomorrow [October 22] we're heading to Nashville, so that's another five hours.

What has your day at the LEAF festival been like?

SC: It's been a great day. There are so many wonderful people, I love the vibe here, and I think we all agree it's like a big family, just like our band.

AB: Everyone is so friendly. When we go to new areas we don't expect everyone to take to us as well, but they do and they enjoy you, so it's like this transfer of good energy.

PM: Initially I was hesitant about playing the LEAF festival because I wasn't sure if we fit the vibe. But then when I got to meet people I was like 'We're so this vibe!' I loved the crowd, I thought it was a great experience. We had too much fun.

Racy Raven: I didn't expect anything less because I'm a fellow North Carolinian. You guys are always warm and welcoming.

CC: I'm an LA native, so for me to travel outside of LA is amazing. I love being in the mountains, and this fresh air - I almost don't know what to do with it - there's no smog!

VO: There are so many families here at LEAF, there's a warm vibe going on, it's wonderful! Not every band gets to do this. It's really, really, really extraordinary.

Want to catch them on tour? Here are the upcoming dates.


Cover Image Credit: Sophie Harris

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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Freshman Year Of College As Described By John Mulaney Quotes

Freshman year of college described by the King of Comedy himself, John Mulaney.

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Gracing the world with his presence on August 26, 1982, John Edmund Mulaney has taken the world by storm through his extremely relatable, at times awkward, standup comedy. And a lot of the time, I can't help but sit there and relate to his self-deprecating, hilariously truthful jokes.

So, here are 9 John Mulaney quotes that accurately and hilariously describe freshman year of college.

1. On finally becoming an "adult":

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It's been very funny to try to act like an adult. Even getting dressed. Every day, I'm like, 'Should I wear a blazer and walk around with an umbrella? Do I carry a briefcase?' Because I'm trying to be some image of the adults I saw on TV growing up.

2. On new-found struggles:

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I am very small and I have no money. So you can imagine the kind of stress that I am under.

3. When your very first round of midterms comes along:

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I like when things are crazy. Something good comes out of exhaustion.

4. When you take your very first midterm, and it didn't go quite as planned:

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If it's one of those true or false questions, you should be able to add a third option which is, "Who's to say?"

5. On studying for your first round of dreaded final exams:

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You can do good work simply staying up all night and eating nothing but junk food, but probably not in the long term.

6. On learning how to participate:

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College is just your opinion. Just you raising your hand and being like, "I think Emily Dickinson's a lesbian." And they're like, "Partial credit." And that's a whole thing.

7. On procrastination:

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Percentage wise, it is 100% easier not to do things than to do them, and so much fun not to do them—especially when you were supposed to do them. In terms of instant relief, canceling plans is like heroin.

8. On dealing with your new lack of sleep:

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College [is] like a four-year game show called "Do My Friends Hate Me or Do I Just Need To Go To Sleep?"

9. On finally getting the hang of things, despite still occasionally messing up:

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The more you do stuff, the better you get at dealing with how you still fail at it a lot of the time.

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