Virginia Is For Lovers

Sounds like: I Have Dreams and… Finch? I don’t know.

Discography
This file contains the “XOXO Demo.”

Bandcamp
Stream the above files here.

Photo Gallery

 

VIFL (Chad and Shane)

Brothers In Bandwidth: The Story of A Band Called VIFL

A brief and one-dimensional retrospective by friend, fan, and two-time bassist
Michael Hawkins

If you’ve already read the entry on my first band, Every Waking Moment, then you will recall our buddies in Virginia Is For Lovers. They were a short-lived (2003 to 2004?) screamo band from Daytona that sounded a lot like Tallahassee’s I Have Dreams. Why a bunch of Floridians named themselves after the state of Virginia’s national slogan is beyond me, but wordy names that mentioned a state, a season, or a girl were pretty big with bands back then.

VIFL (pronounced “viff-ull”) consisted of my good friend Chad on vocals, Tom from local pop punks Runner Up on guitar, Danny (who I once referred to as “Underoath guy” because of his hair) on drums, and my hetero-lifemate Shane Spiker on bass. The band started while Tom was still in Runner Up. Unfortunately, Runner Up’s drummer Sean, died of leukemia around the age of 15. After that, Runner Up disbanded and VIFL started to play out a bit more. It was sort of a similar situation to the formation of I Have Dreams: that band started as a tribute to a friend that had died unexpectedly. I don’t know if that was explicitly the case with VIFL, but it seems like an appropriate parallel.

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I actually played bass for one of the band’s first shows before Shane joined (Alex from Meantime did too). It was at the Pit Stop Pub (a Daytona Beach shit hole that has long since been torn down) and Every Waking Moment played as well. I remember this girl Margo, who had a giant head, booked the whole thing as an all-day event with a shitload of bands. She was always talking about her friend that had dated someone in Good Charlotte. But in true Daytona fashion her friend had just banged Benji Madden and done a lot of coke. I’m a bit curious to know where Margo, or “Bobblehead,” as we were wont to call her, ended up. Probably in a boardwalk claw machine. But I remember this show was a lot of fun. VIFL played earlier in the day and got a great reaction from the crowd. The band’s sound was definitely a product of the times: pretty, melodic stuff transposed with heavier riffs and screaming. Every Waking Moment was cut from the same cloth, except VIFL’s guitarist Tom was a much better guitarist and songwriter than I was at the time. This was also one of the reasons we slopped up our last batch of songs and just played really fast.

Playing shows with VIFL was my first experience relating to another musical group of like-minded, kindred spirits in the world of punk rock and hardcore. It’s a cool thing when two bands of friends get together and support one another. You don’t see it as often anymore – it seems based more on status these days. Every Waking Moment and VIFL went on a great weekend trip to some no-name burgs in South Florida once and we had a blast together. It was like we had doubled the members in our bands. We were just a big group of morons having fun and playing bad music for strangers.

VIFL’s only recording was a three song demo (the “XOXO demo”, how’s that for a 2000’s throwback), but they did write some other songs. One was actually about our trip together and it made reference to the haunted hotel we explored in Lake Wales where we think we saw the ghost of a bird-eating bum. VIFL also used to cover the song “All the Things She Said” by t.A.T.u. Remember them? The Russian lesbian duo that sang pop songs in broken English? Yeah. 2003 was weird.

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I don’t recall the events that lead to VIFL’s demise, but suffice to say, they broke up in ’03 or ’04. I was sad to see them go. Chad put together a post-VIFL band that included myself, Danny, Alex, and Bro Tom, but we only ended up playing one show. The band’s name was Rumors, which incidentally is also the name of a local gay bar, though I believe that was unintentional.

Chad ended up moving to Gainesville and writing for the newspaper. Now he’s up in D.C. effecting change with his random outbursts of righteous indignation. I still get to see him when he comes home for a visit. We generally skulk about the mall, assessing the devastation, eating meat and cheese. We even followed a car chase across town once. He loves Morrissey and, since I don’t, I usually warble Smiths lyrics at him until he shrieks. Danny went on to drum for a few more local bands before disappearing for a while. He turned up in Gainesville last I heard and he plays in a black metal band now. Years back I was kind of a dick to him about something stupid, but now we’re Facebook friends again and it just seems weird to apologize for whacking him in the head like eight years ago because he threw a Coke on my car. Well, I’m sorry anyway, Danny. I take pills for my anger now. Not really an excuse, but there it is. Tom ended up moving to Texas where he rides a motorcycle and plays guitar at hoedowns or something. I saw him at Alex’s wedding and I’m pretty sure he thinks I hate him because of an incident that happened the opening weekend of Peter Jackson’s King Kong. I loved the movie and as we were leaving, Tom said something about it being unrealistic and, as I usually did in my pre-Prozac days, I started screaming at him about how I was sorry it wasn’t The Notebook and that he was a pretentious ball sack or something. Well, I don’t hate you, Tom. Quite the opposite. I just could never control my anger, even when it was unwarranted. As for Shane, I still see him all the time and his daughter kicked me in the shin the other day, so whatever.

 

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