Friday, June 24, 2011
Interview with John Polydoros of Vacation Bible School/Vicelords
Photo by Patrick Houdek
By Chris Carlton
Squid Pro Quo: Thanks for taking the time to talk with Squid Pro Quo, John. Can you give us a little history on Vacation Bible School?
John Polydoros: "Hey, thanks for taking the time to want to talk to us. We've been a band since late '97 or early '98. It's been so damn long, we really can't remember which it is. We formed in the northeastern 'burbs outside of Chicago, and spent the first several years writing pretty immature and terrible songs, while trying desperately to play the Fireside Bowl, which was the best venue on the planet. It smelled like beer, and faintly of urine, or the other way around; truly, truly awesome. We've spent the last several years kicking around the Midwest, with an occasional jaunt out west or down south. We've recorded three full-length records, and three 7-inch splits in the roughly 13 years or so that we've been a band. We are extremely lazy, but I think we're looking to turn that around. We recently discovered that people in other places like our band, and now that the shock of that has worn off, we're gonna get off our asses and try and hit the road to play for some of these people."
SPQ: Your split with the God Damn Doo Wop Band came out in April of 2010. Are there any plans for a new release in the coming months?
JP: "We did a limited CD pressing of our most recent record, "Ruined the Scene," back in December, and it looks like the vinyl version will be out mid-summer. Our buddy Justin Schwier at Underground Communique Records is putting it out. For those who don't know Justin, he's one of the best dudes ever. After that, we have a split with The Brokedowns that will be coming out as soon as we record two new songs. Did I mention we're lazy?"
SPQ: I recently saw an online interview with Dear Landlord where Brett Hunter said he was a fan of the band. Will there be a DL or Copyrights tour with VBS in the future?
JP: "We would love to do that. We actually had the opportunity to go out with Dear Landlord recently, but circumstances were so that we couldn't do it at the time. We won't miss out if we get a second chance at that, I don't think. We really enjoy both of those bands, so hanging out and getting to see them play on a nightly basis would be all right with us. Its also worth noting that they're all quality guys too."
SPQ: Has the band played many shows outside of the Chicagoland area? Are there any plans for a tour outside of Illinois?
JP: "We've done a handful of shows the last couple of years throughout the Midwest in Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Minnesota. We've been fortunate enough to be asked out to both Awesome Fest, in San Diego, and The Fest in Gainesville, FL the last three years, which have only gotten better for us each year. We're genuinely surprised, and stoked each year that they'd have us back. Again, touring is something we're planning to address soon. We occasionally get a message from someone that says they live in Texas, and we should play there, and now we're thinking, hey, that's not a bad idea."
SPQ: I hear a lot of influence in the band's songs. What are some of your musical influences and how do you incorporate them into the bands songwriting?
JP: "We, especially Ryan, grew up on Chicago punk rock, mostly. I lived down south as kid, and then out west, so I was listening to a lot of crusty weirdness, as well as anything Lookout! Records put out. We don't really make a conscious effort to incorporate our influences, so much as that it just happens. I think we just write the kind of music we want to listen to."
SPQ: Are there any VBS shows coming up in the coming weeks?
JP: "We're hoping to be able to play with the Slow Death, and Dan Padilla at Underground Lounge on July 2nd. We're planning our record release show for mid-summer, and we'll be playing at The Fest in Gainesville this October."
SPQ: The band recently played the Windy City Sound Clash show at the Subterranean here in Chicago. Was this your first time playing WCSC?
JP: "Jeff Wegner, the brains behind WCSC, has been nice enough to ask us to play each of the three years he's put on these shows. Its been a great time each year."
SPQ: Is there a website you would like to plug where fans get get up to date news on new releases, shows and merch?
JP: We have a MySpace, and Facebook page that we are terrible at updating. Underground Communique is ran much better. Even its Facebook page is more informative than our own."