April 17, 2003

Test Spin: Vonray

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The time is 1993. The place, a basement in Orlando, Florida. The members of the Soul Asylum cover band Vonray, hopped up on Crystal Pepsi and Pop Rocks, accidentally turn their amplifiers up too loud, overloading the electrical currents in the poorly-insulated basement and creating some hideous timewarp. Spit out onto the streets of New York in 2003, still clutching their instruments, still wearing their shitty flannel, they glance around furtively like cornered rats, and then, not knowing what else to do, begin to rock out right there on 42nd Street.

To their great fortune, a record executive from Elektra is walking by at that moment, and as he hears Vonray swing into “Runaway Train” for the seventh time, he sees some potential. “If they write their own songs and get some production values, they could be big! Matchbox 20 big!” he thinks, and immediately signs Vonray to a record deal. Now here they stand, having changed their shirts and cleaned up their sound, poised on the brink of stardom, soulful-looking and sexy-sounding, the ‘Next Big Thing.’

Shudder.

Back! Back to 1993, Vonray! Back to the days when your dirty guitars and stringy hair were in vogue, where breathy vocals and trite lyrics were rocking the suburbs day and night. The world doesn’t need any more top-40 shit that pretends to be alternative and deep when it’s really just as mediocre and mainstream as everything else. Get in your time machine and go, Vonray — you’re too slick to be a grunge band, too nice to be Ted Nugent, and too lame to be taken seriously.

Archived article by Justin Peters

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