By Carlos Ramirez
Abe Vigoda’s 2008 album Skeleton found writers calling their songs everything from “noise pop” to “urgent and maniacal” but the most common, albeit bizarre label they get tagged with is “tropical punk.” Maybe it’s the primal bounce of a song like “Live-Long” which has hints of Afro-Cuban rhythms in its DNA that brought that label on. Guitarist Juan Velazquez gave us some insight into where the Los Angeles band’s free-spirited inspiration came from, “I think for me personally it’s always been Sonic Youth, because they were the first "weird" punk sort of band that I got into. My Bloody Valentine is also a band that I think is influential to us, especially their ideas about turning noise into pop.”
Three out of the four musicians in Abe Vigoda are Latino-American but the growing up, the cultural differences never got in the way. Velazquez explains, “My parents weren’t that freaked out about the music thing because my dad has also been into American rock music forever. He actually took me to see the Smashing Pumpkins when I was in 8th grade!” The band’s new Reviver EP sounds like nothing on the radio but neither does Wilco’s so it wouldn’t be out of the question to see Abe Vigoda being courted by major labels this year.
We asked Velazquez how the band hooked up with SESAC, “We actually didn’t know much about licensing and all that business type stuff. But Josh Feingold has always made stuff super easy to understand and a lot of our buds are on SESAC so it seemed like the cooler choice when it comes to that stuff.”