You don't learn 5 Languages from sitting at home on your ass watching TV! We did that by travelling. The whole idea of a journey should be NOT having a plan that gets in the way of fun, music, and potential. We never let the original plan keep us from learning and opportunity. Why bother booking a return flight?
This is a live band that knows how to rock. They don't work an audience, they work them out! Everyone leaves with a hand in the air, feet hurting, sweating, and smiling.
The Vagrants got their name from the obvious, life on the road with no home. The good times and the bad give their music its diversity, raw energy, edge and sweet tones. Happier on the road than at home they have been gigging constantly in separate projects and have all come together as one on stage to launch the Vagrants. Getting compared to Ben Harper, Black Crows, The Allman Brothers, Baby Animals, Stray Cats, The Stones and Jack Johnson says a lot about how hard it is to categorise the music. With an EP and video to be released in December they have recently taken time off travels to record.
Have played 150 gigs last year including major Australian festivals, Frankston International Guitar Festival, Monbulk Jazz and Blues Festival, Williamstown Festival, PBS Concert Series, and the Mt Hotham October Fest. Our members have played in Australia, US, Germany, Denmark, England, Spain, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Japan, New Zealand, Canada and looking to expand their experiences.
This self-titled album is the result. The album was mixed by American expatriate Rob Feaster, who has worked with the likes of Jack Johnson, Bush, Billy Joel, No Doubt, Bruce Springsteen + Whitney Houston - to name a few. Needless to say, The Vagrants were very excited to have him on board, and are very happy with the final result.
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Considering their blues foundations and the attitude that’s prevalent throughout the Vagrants’ self-titled CD their sound is surprisingly (and for my part, refreshingly) clean. Don’t let the rough appearance of the gentleman on the front cover fool you (actually that’s guitarist/ chief songwriter Steve Iorio!) For a truly independent band – as in, of no label at all – this is a very slick production. Steve and bassist Jim Rintoul are the main responsible parties, but no doubt, at least part of the credit is due to the mix of Rob Feaster, who has worked with among other, No Doubt.
The infectious, briskly paced acoustic blues of Wrong Side of the Tracks introduces us to the Vagrants by way of Steve’s story as a wandering soul, “I ain’t ever going back to what I never had” is the catch cry. The bass heavy Accelerated Kharma is the hardest rocking moment on the record, where lead vocalist Renate Ludwig channels one of her idols, Suze DiMarchi. With Steve adding his own bottom0end growl beneath Renate, it’s a fittingly brooding vehicle for the lyrics about the irresistible lure of revenge over high minded philosophizing. If the band gets airplay for this one, they’ll be on a winner.
Suddenly, just when you think you’ve got the Vagrants figured out, along comes Ooh Ooh Voodoo - a slightly hokey boot-scootin tune that is the throwaway track of the CD. Missed the Bus is a song about people who never stop whingeing about lost opportunities. Featuring some great slide guitar work, it builds very well to a hard-chunking sing-along chorus. Insert air-punching here. Meanwhile, Alone fades away just when it’s starting to get somewhere! Steve takes the vocal reins for Two Strong Arms, which sees the band returning to a pure blues template for something kind a Black Crows. Nice strat work.
With the breadth of styles of this EP, the Vagrants seem out to prove that, true to their name, they are of no fixed musical address. Apart from the blues, that is,,, and isn’t that the music of the open road anyway?
PBS FM Radio 106.7
This is the hottest band I have seen live in a long, long time! Lead singer Renate Ludwig is the bomb and sounds like one going off. The guitar tone and playing will suck you right in to the amp and you will leave singing the chorus.
PBS FM Radio
Forte Magazine Dec 2005
The Vagrants EP (Independent)
Melbourne band ‘The Vagrants’ self-titled EP should prove popular with fans of high-energy rock’n’roll with a touch of class. Featured tracks demonstrate the diversity of influences they deliver. It’s timeless, good-time stuff which would have pleased an 80’s Aussie pub crowd as well as today’s. You could work up a respectable sweat on the dancefloor or just lean on the bar in head-banging, foot-tapping mode.
The Vagrants have been compared to the Black Crows, Baby Animals and Ben Harper. The songs – all written by Steve Iorio – move through a selection of rock-based stylings. On ‘Wrong side of the tracks’ there’s driving rock rhythms, with Renate Ludwig demonstrating Chrissie Amphlett-like vocals. On ‘Accelerated Kharma’ she sounds a little like Melissa Etheridge. There’s some great gutsy guitar work, earthy vocal duets and infectious rhythms. Delicate guitar work and sweet, heartfelt vocals adorn ‘Alone’ while ‘Two Strong Arms’ gets pretty funky with Iorio taking over vocals. The EP also comes with all 6 tracks as video/computer files and features: Iorio (Guitars, vocals, keys), Ludwig (vocals), James Spiteri (rhythm guitar), Brett Spicer (drums), Jim Rintoul (bass) and Scott Targett (keys).
RRR FM 102.7
This is the classiest new rock and blues band I have heard this year. And the year is almost over.
The more you listen the more you like it, that is why I keep it on high rotation.
Chicken Mary Show
Rather than Roots and Blues it should be called rootless. The Vagrants are as diverse and rootless in styles as the name implies. Steve's restless spirit find a home in the music that implies Stones, Who, Baby Animals and Suze Di Marchi.
November 30th, 2005
Naked Dwarf Interview
The Vagrants in perpetual motionInterview by: Kristy Wandmaker
Wednesday, February 1
Australia has a habit of producing fantastic local bands, and then neglecting them. This was the case for Stephen Iorio of The Vagrants. Thankfully their name is true to their nature or we wouldn’t have the raw, warts and all power of their independent self titled first recording.
Perhaps thanks to these nomadic tendencies The Vagrants are a unique sound in today’s aural landscape of local bands. They’ve been compared to the likes of Ben Harper, Black Crows, The Allman Brothers, Stray Cats, The Stones and Jack Johnson. But as Iorio points out,
“People always try to compartmentalize things to understand them better. They will invariably compare us to the things that they know, and are obviously unable to compare us to the music they don't know. That means when someone compares you it is usually more a reflection of themselves that of the Vagrants. Therefore we will always be compared to different bands by different people.”
Their choice of instruments gives them a point of difference to most bands, including the occasional saxophone, flute or harp. By far the greatest twist at their disposal has to be Renate Ludwig. In the tradition of Fiona Apple, Alanis, and Susie Demachi, the power of the vocal resonating out the littlest person in the room is unfathomable.
The band have always been travelers.
“We came together slowly and met during different times. I met the singer Renate in 1992 when I came to Australia for a working holiday. I lived in Austria at the time and spent 100 days a year snow boarding. I convinced her to come with me. She bought a one way ticket to Vienna and left with $600 in her pocket and had never skied before. She is totally addicted now! We played in Europe together and traveled around in a Van with a PA and did gigs from Spain, Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Germany and Austria. When we came back to Oz we put together a band and that’s when we met James Spiteri. He was a Vic Uni student and I was there speaking about getting on radio.”
Even now, with the launch of the ever dangerous second album imminent, the band are planning to go off gallivanting again.
“We are all going to Europe and Canada next summer 2006 (June - Sept) to play. Our CD is getting good airplay in Germany and Denmark at the moment. We are in the process of signing an agreement with a booking agent for Europe, but we still need one for US and Canada if you know anyone good. We have always booked our own tours, but it will be great to have a hand.”
The adventurous nature of The Vagrants doesn’t translate to arrogance and insistence on staying independent.
“I would never say no to being on a great team, and getting help and support from people dedicated to our music. There is so much I don't know and there are professionals that I would love to work with in all areas of the music industry. Those areas include management, bookings, recordings, and yes, a record company. If there is one bold enough to cater to a broad crowd and won't try to stop us from producing creative music in all genres and styles. That is a hard ask but if I was approached by the right company I would be happy. We have already been approached by some European labels and we will chat to them more seriously when we are over there,” he says.
“We are a band always in motion and will always be and that includes the types of technology we use. We really wanted to make the first CD totally clean. It reveals all the flaws and if you can't hear them you never improve. You will hear the delays and vocal effects that we are getting into at the moment on the next CD.”
And so The Vagrants shuffle ever onward.
“I have always loved all types of music and you can really hear that at our shows. We are always keen to play with different styles of music to keep things fresh for ourselves as well.”
Catch them before they head off again, supporting Area 7 in a run of shows in Victoria.
Dharma Media Pty Ltd
The Vagrants Wrong side of the Tracks has been mined from the same reef as the Australian Black Sorrows, Vika and Linda, and Diesel and all those Aussie artiste who were once a staple of FM radio. If you like like your rock accompanied by ballsy female vocals and intensely rock guitar solos you'll probobly get a kick out of the bBagrants competent, tuneful debut effort.
November 30th, 2005
SYN FM Melbourne
This is great and we have used it as the feature CD of the week. We have been playing it and singing along. We just aren't sure of how to classify it besides fun.
Moving to the local Beat
Article, picture in the recording stuido and interview about conception and running of the Vagrants. Leader newspapers in Blackburn Victoria. December 2005. NO Review, just our own words in interview.
Steve Iorio - Guitar, Keys, Vocals, Harp,
Renate Ludwig - Lead Vocals, Sax, Flute, Keys
James Spiteri - Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
Ben Hellmig - Drums Oliver Davey – Bass
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