Q & A With The Vegabonds
by Amanda Detyens
The Vegabonds are a “new southern rock” band hailing from Alabama. They are currently on tour supporting their 5th album V. This is the first album on their new label Blue Elan Records. V has been garnering attention for its sincere lyrics, which depict the everyday man’s struggles in the turbulent times of our country. Having worked on some of their earlier projects, such as the critically acclaimed album What We’re Made Of (2016), Tom Tapley helps to make V sonically dynamic and full of warm, catchy tunes. The four piece is made up by lead vocalist and songwriter Daniel Allen along with Richard Forehand (lead guitar/vocals), Paul Bruens (bass), Beau Cooper (keys/vocals), and Bryan Harris (drums). Since meeting at Auburn University, The Vegabonds have grown their fanbase over the last decade by playing shows all throughout North America and Europe. Most notably, they have opened for legends such as Lynyrd Skynyrd and played festivals such as Sweetwater 420 and Peach Festival. The Vegabonds will also be performing at Columbia’s own St. Pat’s in Five Points festival on March 21st along with other amazing acts like The Nude Party and Band of Horses, so I definitely encourage you to head out and hear for yourself what all the talk is about. Read more about the band, how they got their start and some of their more unique ventures below!
Amanda: You got your start in 2009 working the college circuit, but how did you come together to form The Vegabonds?
Daniel Allen: We formed the band in 2009 while we were in college at Auburn University. We were split up into two local bands playing around town, and met at a house party. After jamming a few times we all quit our other bands and started The Vegabonds.
Amanda: If you could go back to then, what advice would you give yourselves starting out?
Daniel Allen: Take the networking aspect of being in a touring band more seriously. Collaboration is key.
Amanda: Not many bands can say they have their own hot sauce, how did creating “Georgia Fire” come about and how involved were you in actually perfecting the taste?
Daniel Allen: The idea was something we talked about from time to time, but never had the connections to make it happen. When the opportunity actually presented itself to us we were able to move quickly, because we knew what we wanted. We were very involved with the perfecting the taste. It took us 4 batches to get it right. We knew we wanted fresh peaches with a solid kick of heat, and that’s exactly what Georgia Fire is.
Amanda: As a group of “Hot sauce junkies” have you ever watched the youtube series “Hot Ones”, the show where celebrities answer hot questions while eating even hotter hot sauces? If so, do you think you could make it all the way to the “Last Dab” where the sauce has 3.3 million Scoville Heat Units.
Daniel Allen: That show is awesome. We all like our hot sauces. I had a tiny dab of a hot sauce that was 1 million scoville units once, and it felt like it burned a hole in my tongue. I think we would all be up for the challenge.
Amanda: V is a huge release being your first project with Blue Elan Records, what made you decide to sign with them and how was the process different from the more diy self releases you have done previously?
Daniel Allen: We are very proud of V. It’s a great record from start to finish. Blue Elan is the right fit for us, because they believe in our vision for our music releases and where we want The Vegabonds to be in the future. They opened up opportunities we didn’t previously have, and never put up barriers on our creative process.
Amanda: Tom Tapley has produced many amazing artists such as, some of my personal favorites, Blackberry Smoke and Sugarland. How was working with him and how did he influence the sound of the record?
Daniel Allen: Tom is a great producer and engineer. We have worked with him on our last two records so he has a deep understanding of how we want our sound to be. From day one we felt like he was the perfect fit for our band, and he has become a great friend. He made our sound epic and larger than previous records, and we love his attention to detail.
Amanda: You’re a self described “Southern Rock Band”, but V seems to be genre bending. What artists influence your music?
Daniel Allen: We still haven’t found our “genre”. We say southern rock because people want to define everything. We all have different musical backgrounds which plays to our advantage. Our main influences have been Tom Petty, The Allman Brothers, and Kings of Leon. That’s why you hear Southern Rock, Jam Rock, Indie Rock, and singer-songwriter songs on our albums. I believe there are no rules to making a good song.
Amanda: 2019 was a major year for the band with the release of and non-stop touring for V, your 5th album, what plans do you have for the rest of 2020?
Daniel Allen: 2019 was a busy whirlwind kind of year for sure. We have an even bigger year planned for 2020! We have TWO new releases in the works, so tons of new music from The Vegabonds coming soon this year!