Vaud & the Villains Bio
Vaud and the Villains was born out of whimsical dreams, glitter and boa feathers. The big show is a 19 piece orchestra and cabaret, and has evolved over the years from a folk band singing traditional tunes…to an originally voiced genre bending spectacle commonly described as Americana Noir meets Moulin Rouge. At once seedy and inspiring…gritty and sublime. Bring your wretched souls, your sins and your dancing feet…they will save you and you will never be the same…
The band is founded by Andy Comeau and Dawn Lewis, known in the show as Vaud Overstreet and Peaches Mahoney. Both of them have had successful careers as actors but in 2008, were moved by the Bruce Springsteen Seeger Sessions, to create some sort of large ensemble musical family. They shared a love for old traditional folk songs they had both known growing up and became inspired by how the music has lived for so long and retained not only a relevance but an ability to galvanize large groups of people. They began setting new arrangements to old songs and new, all drawn upon the themeatic message of the show’s stolen motto: “Every Saint Has A Past, Every Sinner Has A Future”. Its visceral, uplifting, over the top fun. And the unmistakable message of hope, duality, acceptance and inspriation creeps up on you like a fink on a lonely dark street. The ever evolving cast of the show is comprised of a five piece horn section, incredible vocalists, a rhythm section, and three dancers.
They have played for the Telluride Jazz Festival, The Live Oak Festival, San Jose Jazz Festival, LEAF Festival, “The Simpsons Take The Bowl” @ The Hollywood Bowl, the Cannes International Film Festival, appeared on Showtimes’s House of Lies, CARSLA(City of Santa Monica), Pasadena’s Levitt Pavilion, City of Santa Clarita, LACMA’s ArtWalk, OC Weekly, for the City of West Hollywood, House of Blues, Drink Eat Play, El Rey Theatre, Cirque Berzerk, Clear Channel, and Disney Studios. They have traveled to New Orleans, Chicago, Indiana, New York, Boston, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, Texas, Colorado and Arizona. They have headlined the Ford Amphitheatre in Los Angeles three times.
Who are the Villains…?
I understand. And I want to help you, but I can only offer you what I know. Which is very little in the way of intimacies. The Villains formed when I came to town inconspicuously to flee oppression in a neighboring state. Apparently music is very dangerous because it leads to dancing and dancing leads to people remember who they really are. So I ran here to see about shining more light into darkness. See…that is a lie. I am trying to get better about the lying. I came here to this town we are all in tonight…for a woman. Its always a woman. On a whim she decided to leave the aforementioned neighboring state and come here. So here I am. Peaches Mahoney is the queen of the Villains. A pickpocket, muse, survivor, a trendsetter. She once proclaimed she was no longer eating meat and suddenly one by one all the Villains began to suddenly change their diets as well. Imagine their surprise when we were served vegan meals a few weeks later and they witnessed Peaches eating a double cheeseburger claiming she has just “changed her mind” about “all that”. We would be lost without her. I sure would.
The Overstreet Brothers; turns out my father was a prolific sort and I am gifted from his wanderings with my brothers…Two Boots – sousaphone, helped nurse me off many a bender. The most animated of the Villains…and cannot be found without a number of the finest spirits on his person at all times. Shakes Overstreet – trumpet, hails from Seattle. We learned we both crave truffle fries at 11:11pm and from this odd similarity, we compared other likenesses and low and behold…we are brothers. Kidd Overstreet – trombone, is not a bastard but sometimes he’s a bastard. He is classic middle child and perfectionist…all or nothing. If you don’t floss, do not inform him of this fact. His glares are long and cold and stay with you for a surprising length of time. He can and has survived in the wild for three days with nothing but a bowie knife. Low Down Kate – bass. When you have a hot dame slappin’ a big bass fiddle, you hold on to that tighter than the arm of that guy that dangled me off the roof of the Herald Tribune building that one time. Low Down Kate is super sweet. Unless you are a neighborhood cat. Then she will tempt you, trap you, and cut off your balls. But she will feed you forever after that, so there are pluses and minuses. Blackburn James – drums, my uncle. Occasionally rambles on like a madman…when I first heard from him, he was convinced people were trying to have him committed to a mental ward. I don’t think anyone was. But sometimes the way his face looks when he hits those drums…you wonder if he is somehow envisioning a person he doesn’t care for very much. I stay on good terms with him. Loose Lips Leon – guitar. One of the great monsters in the Villains. I don’t know his real name. He got his “Villain name” because of his profound ability to remain silent for entire legs of tours. When he picks up that guitar though…silent is not a word I would use to describe him. Hollywood – banjo. He plays almost every instrument we have on the stage. I have never seen a single hair out of place on his head. He once shared a hotel room with Kidd Overstreet and while Kidd was showering, Hollywood took every item that could move and placed it on Kidd’s bed, then turned out the lights and went to sleep. He was sober at the time and they remain friends. Mad Paddy – violin. We met Mad Paddy on a cold night in New England. We are all winding down from a late show and he was arguing with the front desk clerk in semi coherent phrases about the fact that he couldn’t find his room on the third floor. When the clerk told him the hotel only had two floors, he insisted there must be a mistake. There was. His hotel was next door. Blind Dog – keys. He has captured some of the best Villain moments on camera. He receives his name for his exquisite taste in filtering out all of our cinematic shortcomings and for his unrivaled loyalty. Fatina Noir -singer…we met her outside a bar where there was a ruckus…there was a woman berating a no good cheatin’ man with a degree of volume that gave me pause. I thought, I bet that girl can sing. Perhaps a delicate moment to ask but I found a way. In the beginning, she used to wear a little bracelet of teeth. After it made children cry, we had to ask her to not wear it anymore. So far so good. Sugar Cherie – singer. You wouldn’t think that someone so sweet would have such a dark past. She once turned down a solicitation of marriage from a prince because of a dark vision she had the night before. Some say that she is Russian by birth but you will never hear her speak the language. We had all these beautiful songs written and couldn’t find the right voice for all of them until Sugar came in to the Villains. King Easy – singer. From royal stock and true blood, the man is a freak of nature. Easily able to complete any feat of strength you could imagine. He was a policeman when we first met but I could tell right away, he was meant to be singin’ the blues, not wearing them. Is that corny? Okay. Lets see. Fact: almost every villain on stage is wearing something that King has found for them specifically. The man has pipes AND panache. Magnifique – dancer. Known for her death defying aerial maneuvers, we saw her fly over an audience and steal a man’s hat. We all agreed she needed to be a Villain. I still have not gotten my hat back. Dollface – dancer. The Aussie dame doesn’t quit. No seriously…once she starts something, anything, she has a hard time putting it down. More than once we have been looking for her after a long day’s drive and found her practicing her moves in the moonlight of the hotel rooftop. Charlotte Charmaine – dancer. The daughter of a railroad tycoon, Charlotte came to us when she was having a “I want to run away with the circus” moments. Now we have some much dirt on her, she can never leave.