Interview: The Vincent Black Shadow

Photo by Jeff Forney for YRB Magazine

Listen to “Metro.”

The infectious lead single off The Vincent Black Shadow’s debut full-length, Fear’s In the Water (Bodog Music), will turn metalheads and grunge enthusiasts alike into instant fans of the pop-punk rockers.

The Vancouver-based quartet, which pounced onto the scene in recent months, is fronted by Cassandra Ford (lead vocals) and the Kirkham brothers – Robbie (guitar, vocals), Chris (bass, vocals) and Anthony (drums).

Cassandra was always musically inclined. She attended school at a convent in England where students were required to play multiple instruments – everything from piano to recorder to xylophone. Yadda, yadda, yadda, a few years later she found herself in the Philippines being bred for a career as an Asian pop star, courtesy of Universal Music’s Philippines division. “I was like, ‘Why am I doing this, I don’t wanna do it,’ and everyone was like, ‘Oh, but it’s a foot in the door,’ and I was like, ‘A foot in the door for what? I don’t want a foot in this door, I wanna pick the door that I’m sticking my foot in,’ so I just bought a plane ticket and came back,” says Cassandra.

Shortly thereafter, Cassie, Rob and Tony formed The Vincent Black Shadow (Chris joined later). “We were already showcasing for labels on like our fourth show,” says Tony, the youngest member of the band. “We sent Bodog a five or six song demo, and they were really stoked on it.” Stoked indeed; Bodog called them back just a few days later. “We didn’t even really have a band together. It was me, Rob and Cassie. Rob played the bass and piano, and I played the drums and Cassie sang on it. And they were like, ‘We want to see you right away,’” Tony recalls.

“And it was funny because we were like, ‘Oh, sure, we’ll book a show,’ and the show we booked was at this shitty bar in the shittiest part of town, and then they ended up not being able to come!” says Cassandra. “But we ended up meeting with them anyway; they came to a rehearsal and we played for them, and they were like, ‘Well let’s talk contracts,’ and our second ever show was playing for Bif Naked.”

Although the band has yet to break into the mainstream MTV scene (not that they would necessarily want to), they have been blowing up the more alternative music television outlets, particularly Fuse, where they were featured on last year’s Fangoria Chainsaw Awards and went on to repeatedly earn the number one video for “Metro” on countdown shows like Oven Fresh.

As we talk in the hallway of the Park Central Hotel in midtown Manhattan, TVBS is preparing to play a sold-out show at trendy SoHo nightclub Crash Mansion to kickoff the CMJ Music Marathon. Next, they’ll return to a grueling tour schedule throughout the U.S. and Europe in support of Fear’s In the Water, which is flying off the shelves after its re-release in January.

So if you don’t know about The Vincent Black Shadow, here’s a piece of advice: Listen to “Metro.”

To learn more about The Vincent Black Shadow, go to www.myspace.com/tvbs.


(Originally published in YRB Magazine. Copyright © 2007)

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