Kipp Lennon: lead vocals
Mark Lennon: lead vocals
Michael Lennon: producer, acoustic and
electric guitars, bass, keyboards, vocals
Pat Lennon: acoustic and electric guitars, vocals
“Venice is the best vocal group in America right now. They\'re better than anybody else I know. They\'re fantastic. I’m a student of harmony. That’s my thing. I love all kinds of harmony. But I particularly love theirs, because it’s so natural. It’s not like anybody else’s. Very unforced, very from their hearts. I’ve been telling people about them since the first night I heard them. I’ve told everybody I could find that they were the best. This is my favorite band in the world.”
“Venice, one of my favorite bands, is quintessentially Californian, with soaring harmonies. It’s such a pleasure to play with these guys, because they have that power.”
Trying to describe the music of Southern California band Venice is a little like trying to describe a perfect sunset or the feeling of first love. It transcends words -- you just know it’s great. But since this is a bio and part of its responsibility is to use words to convey the unconveyable, try mixing the rock & roll of 70s era Aerosmith with the folk storytelling of James Taylor, mix in some Earth, Wind & Fire funk, some Maroon 5 pop, a little Craig David R&B soul, harmonies reminiscent of the Eagles at their best, and then combine old school arrangements with modern production layered with brilliant musicianship, remarkable vocal stylings and lyrics that are intelligent and often laced with wit, and you’re in the ballpark.
Whether performing as a 7-piece rock band for 50,000 festival attendees, or as an acoustic quartet for an intimate audience of 100, Venice never fails to get the crowd up and dancing with their infectious melodies and high-energy grooves, or to bring them to tears with their poignant themes and heartfelt delivery.
Venice’s distinctive sound has made them a favorite of some of the biggest names in the business. To list just a few of the artists and bands they’ve either performed or recorded with, there’s Bruce Springsteen, Don Henley, Elton John, Phil Collins, Sting, Melissa Etheridge, Cher, Ozzy Osbourne, Stevie Nicks, Chris Isaak, Kenny Loggins, the Doobie Brothers, Styx, Brian Wilson, the Beach Boys, Dolly Parton, Linda Rondstadt and Warren Zevon.
Venice has been featured nationally on such television programs as “Entertainment Tonight,” “Access Hollywood,” “E! News Daily,” CNN’s “Showbiz Today,” “Live with Regis and Kathie Lee,” “The Jerry Lewis Telethon” and Rick Dees’ “Into the Night.”
To date, Venice has found their biggest success in Holland, where in 2003, the band won an Edison Award (the Dutch version of the Grammy) for Best International Artist, beating out superstars U2 and Coldplay. In that country, Venice’s singles are a mainstay on radio, their tours sell out, and they’ve guested on countless television programs, most notably on “Two Metre Sessies,” a popular prime-time program that has devoted three entire half-hour episodes to the band. The subsequent “Venice - Two Metre Sessies” CD release has gone gold.
In November of 2005, Venice began writing for their tenth studio album. In order to capture a feeling of immediacy and live presence, it was decided that this new album should be recorded live-to-tape.
Kipp Lennon explains the overall concept. “We wanted it to be spontaneous and loose and no overdubbing or fixing wherever possible. Mellow and moody, but also fun and energetic along the way.”
Once new songs were written and developed enough to start playing, the rehearsal process began. Every song had to be as finished and tight as possible by the time they got into the studio, so rehearsing for the recording sessions was very similar to the process of rehearsing for a tour. Explains Michael Lennon, “This rehearsal process really enriched the songs. Having musicians that you really respect to bounce ideas off of is invaluable. Even if someone’s idea doesn’t work, it often triggers another idea that does.”
On May 18th, recording for the album began. Their studio was the Doopsgezinde, an old wooden church in Amsterdam. The band recorded all of the music first, with Kipp and Mark standing outside in the hallway singing reference vocals into microphones that could only be heard in the musicians’ headsets. Once all the music was laid to tape, the instruments were cleared from the room, and it was time to record the vocals. Once again, all of the parts were recorded at the same time. According to Michael, “The pressure was on not to screw up the other guy’s take, but it felt so good to sing together!”
“It felt like we were making an album in the 60\'s or 70\'s,” Kipp adds, “when you just dove in and cranked out an album. We were lucky that we didn\'t have enough time to get too picky about anything, spending hours overdubbing to make it ‘perfect,’ which can end up sounding sterile and lifeless.”
Michael continues, “The experience of playing together as a band was awesome. When someone plays a new part that wasn’t in the take before and that triggers another guy to play a new part and suddenly we’re in uncharted territory, that’s exciting. The journey is amazing and it lifts the track to a whole new level. There’s something great that comes out of musicians when they are put in that ‘do or die’ situation that cannot exist when they know that you can just push stop, rewind a bit, and punch in again before their mistake.”
“When I listen to this album” says Mark Lennon, “it feels like I’m seeing a private, live show in a great sounding room.”
“To me,” he summarizes, “There is no one way or only right way to do an album. You just try different things and celebrate that time in your recording career. Have fun while doing it, and look forward to surprising yourself on the next recording venture.”