After colliding at a favorite neighborhood watering hole in Madison, Wisconsin one summer evening, guitarist Dan Hicks and vocalist Courtney Collins instantly bonded over their mutual love of old-school power pop. They closed the evening with a pact to start a band that would pay homage to the bands that inspired them during their formative years, and then set about finding the rhythm section that would complement their music, which they dub "arena pop." Drummer Dave Ross entered the scene and wholeheartedly agreed to join the expedition. The lineup was completed with the addition of bassist Andrew Yonda.
Hicks' roaring power chords and classic arrangements are augmented by Yonda's melodic bass lines. Ross's precise but big beat provides the foundation for the playground that is Arena Venus. Collins ties it together with her bright melodies, contralto vocals, and multi-entendre lyrics which are usually delivered with tongue planted firmly in cheek.
The band's debut EP, "Plucked," was released in July 2003. "Plucked" has been reviewed as a "smart, catchy disc," with "gritty guitars" and "sultry, dreamy legato" vocals. Over the summer of 2004, Arena Venus took a temporary departure from power pop to record a Christmas CD. "Yuletide Swank" combines lounge, rockabilly, and traditional stylings - upright bass, vibraphone, Christmas bells, rocking guitar, organ, and smooth female vocals that make the recording both retro and fresh.
To purchase WELCOME TO CHRISTMASTOWN by Courtney Collins and Jeremy Ylviskaker, go to: http://cdbaby.com/all/arenavenus
To purchase other ARENA VENUS CDs go to: http://cdbaby.com/all/arenavenus
To purchase COURTNEY COLLINS'S solo CD, Violet Night, go to: http://cdbaby.com/all/arenavenus
And also visit www.CourtneyCollins.com and www.theBack40s.com for more music from members of Arena Venus.
"Local band Arena Venus has a secret weapon in singer Courtney Collins, whose sultry and expressive voice would sound great singing just about anything. Fortunately, she's chosen to pair it up with charging power-pop, and the resulting album Plucked radiates sheer joy." - The Onion
"Guitarist Dan Hicks throws down guitar riffs you'd expect to find on a Cheap Trick album (maybe not on the debut album... but maybe on Heaven Tonight), while vocalist Courtney Collins has that throaty, sultry Debbie Harry thang goin' on. It's a cool mix that‚s awfully appropriate considering the geography involved (Hey, Rick Nielsen's house is only, what, an hour away in Rockford?)." - DJ Hostility, Actionman Magazine
"Arena Venus could likely succeed in any genre, the elements from each of the individual players are that in tune and that cohesive." - Christine Holm, The Badger Herald
"The've got well-written, powerful guitar parts, solid drumming, durable bass lines, and a singer who has an amazing, sultry voice. The music rocks." - Saara Myrene Raappana, Actionman Magazine
"The material nods to the past but is rich in modern influence. With an almost painful grit, 'Plucked' leaves the listener feeling delightfully sleazy." - Mike Huberty, Maximum Ink
"Hicks' guitar playing is meaty and tasty, and the lyrics are smart." Rick Tvedt, Rick's Café
"One of the most exciting new bands is Arena Venus, who play gritty rock reminiscent of early Pretenders." - Kenneth Burns, Isthmus