Behind the music: Four Winston-Salem musicians - Doug Davis, Jerry Chapman, Mitchell Snow and Bob Stitcher - form the core of the VSS. They, along with other members of the group, play in at least 50 different bands, and they all previously had done side projects in which they took on different musical personas or performed classic pop music works in their entirety. But a year ago, they decided to create one group and perform projects they all thought would be fun.
The real catalyst for VSS is Mitchell Snow. He's a "Mocksville farm boy," says Davis, who used to perform at open mike sessions sponsored by Davis' recording studio, Flytrap Studios, at Rubber Soul. Snow would sit and sing in a voice that reminds many of Tom Waits, and the entire bar would become cemetery-quiet so everyone could hear. So, combine Snow with the rest of the triumvirate, and you have one of the Triad's strongest musical lineups. So far this year, VSS has performed Dylan's "Time Out of Mind" and Fleetwood Mac's "Rumours" to standing-room-only crowds at The Garage. On Saturday, they take their musical carnival to Ziggy's to perform "Tommy," the classic 1969 rock opera by The Who.Member in quotes: Doug Davis
What's in a name? "That was a Mitchell recommendation. It has Beat poetry origins, which played into the whole Dylan thing. And we all felt the Beat connotation made sense, and it has a nice ring to it. Plus, it doesn't sound like a band name. This is really a revolving-door project, and we felt a name like 'Society' or 'Club' worked because of the revolving personalities and eclectic projects we choose."
Who chooses what you do? "It's a benevolent dictatorship. We all bring in these ideas, and I sort of crack the whip."
Why Bob Dylan? "Dylan was a common denominator for all of us. But a lot of it was serendipity. A lot of us were planning projects like this, and Mitchell came in and said, 'All my life I've wanted to do a Dylan album,' and ('Time Out of Mind') was the album he wanted to do."
Why Fleetwood Mac? "We chose 'Rumours' as our second project because we wanted something that was a little more of a blockbuster. We wanted something that involved a lot of people and that would galvanize a large group of musicians, as well as a crowd. It was a big musical circus, and that's what we wanted to do with Fleetwood Mac."
Why "Tommy"? "The Who is another common denominator with this band, and to be honest, some of us associate Christ-mas with 'Tommy' because 'Christ-mas' is a relatively short song. But in the movie, there's a whole scene based around that song.'
What's next? "We haven't nailed that down yet, but it will not be classic rock. Maybe something more contemporary. But it will definitely be more musically edgy. And we'll shake up our personnel a little bit because that was built into the original idea of the project. We wanted it to be vastly eclectic, as far away from formulaic as possible."