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Jammin' with The DVB

The Dan Varner Band personifies what (I think) a local band should aspire to be.
A: The DVB write and record awesome radio ready originals. The release “From Within” is nothing but originals, unbelievably good originals. B: In the live shows they mix cool covers into their set list. Covers from Grateful Dead, Neil Diamond, Johnny Cash, Snoop and of course the great country artists, old and new. C: They understand the difference between being a talented musician working to keep things going, and being a self proclaimed star in the making. Although if any Cincy band has the ability to be a national act and radio recording artist, it’s them. However the DVB is firmly planted in reality. Egos and all.
The band has graced the big stages in Nashville and played with super hot country stars. They have been cooed and wooed by slick manager-agent-promoters. They have been promised the stars and buttered up like a hot bagel. Nevertheless, they maintain their philosophy of “We’ll believe it when we see it”
And they’ve signed nothing so far. Amen to that. Smart musicians.
For quite some time, the full Dan Varner Band has been in semi-hibernation. The members play trios, duos and solos to keep the cash coming in, but the band as a band has laid low except for a few big shows out of town. Dan explains why... “I don’t want to try to book two or more local shows a week, in the same venues, doing the same thing week after week. Trying to keep the crowds strong is harder when you’re playing at the same bars every weekend. I want to write and record... Then put it all together in a few key shows where we can really shine. I don’t want to become the corner bar band over money.”
It’s not word for word mind you (I can’t write that fast), but the point is accurate.
That hibernation has been disappointing to local fans. People love the DVB. People want to see the shows and the band has many regular followers. We all got to see them at special events and of course the band’s annual Christmas Show. But for those of you who wanted more, for now, you got it. The DVB is now performing a weekly Wednesday show (trio) at the Toby Keith Bar in March, plus two full band Saturday shows (Anderson Bar & Grill on March 3rd, Toby Keith Bar March 31st).
The show schedule isn’t the only news, nor the best news either. Aside from taking on a few new shows Dan & the band are working behind closed doors on new material. They have been for some time. I can’t release details but when they are ready to put it all out there I guarantee CV readers will be the first to know. Hell, we may even get to post a sneak video of the studio sessions for interested fans to check out.
You can rest assured of one thing, they will raise the bar again. “From Within” is still one of the best original works ever to come out of our city. If you don’t have it get it. I still plug the CD and hook up friends with songs or complete CD’s and they are all fans now. I can’t wait to see what talented dope the DVB dishes out next. I now it will be downright sticky icky dank, but I know little more than that. I do know it will be an amazing feat to best From Within. I also know they can do it and they should. I’ll keep you posted.

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EV: First off for the clueless out there give us a run down of the band, relationship history and any new changes.

DVB:The run down of The DVB goes something like this: Brad Kelly teamed up with me about 4 years ago and we hit the circuit as an acoustic duo and started making some waves. 1 year later we added a drummer (Ry Stephenson) and a bass man (Jared Manker). About another year later David Faul (piano) entered the picture and we were a busy busy regional band. Jared Manker left the band and took off to California and that’s when Chris Perreault (from Hyde Park Outrage) came in to play bass. Then just a couple months ago we added Nick Netherton (Floor 13) to play fiddle & mandolin for us. So now we are a 6 piece band and hopefully that will be it because we are running out of stage room. The great thing about the band is that we all get along most of the time which is quite unusual for bands that play as much as we do together. We have our moments from time to time and sharing two rooms with 6 guys on the road can take its toll on you. I go way back with Faul & Kelly to the high school days but I can honestly say they all feel like brothers to me.

EV: The last time time we saw DVB was at the Jaspers CD Party (rockin’show!), where all have ya’ll been since then?

DVB: Thanks. Yes, it was a blast playing to a sold out crowd at Jaspers. We can’t thank our fans enough for their support and appreciate the EV being there as well. Since then, we have been busy doing radio interviews promoting the new EP, “From Within”, playing around town as well performing at some larger events...that include opening up for Bucky Covington at the Taste of Cincinnati, opening up for Blake Shelton at Blue Ash’s Summerbration, opening up for Tracy Lawrence at Louiville’s 4th Street Live’s Hot Country Nights, multiple shows at the Old West Fest, VA Welcome Home event at Lunken Airport, the Cadillac Ranch in Nashville, Tennessee and performing on Louisville’s Fox Morning TV Show.
We are also getting some radio play and I just heard our new single “Back Into My Life” on a local radio station yesterday. Brad & I will be doing a live on air show with 99.3 The Eagle on July 3rd and they will be putting the single into rotation as well. Radio play is everything in this business.

EV: Obviously the big concert shows with big name bands are bound to be a blast, what goes through your minds when your getting ready to play a show with top names on stage, which big bands have you played with recently?

DVB: As mentioned, we have most recently opened up for Blake Shelton and Tracy Lawrence. As for what goes through our minds when getting ready for those shows, we want to have a good sound check and the best possible set list so that everyone is as comfortable as can be before taking the stage and that we give the fans the best show we can give. We got the chance to play in front of 40,000 people at one time last year and you do get more nervous for those shows but after the first minute into the show your nerves are gone and your riding a natural high that I can’t explain but I know I’m addicted to it.

EV: Which stars have you had the chance to meet, and what response have you had from them? Who would you really like to meet/play with?

DVB: Of all the people we have opened up for over the years, we’ve met a few but have never really hung out enough to get a response. To tell the truth, most of us pack up and head home after the shows. But, recently, our fiddle player Nick did hang out with Bucky Covington on his tour bus and I talked to Blake Shelton briefly before he went on. All and all, everyone has been down to earth and really nice. If there was one person I’d really like to meet and play with it would be Merle Haggard who will actually be in town at Riverbend on August 7th. Haggard is my biggest influence in country music.

EV: DVB stands out of the crowd for many reasons, first and foremost (in my opinion) is the strong song writing, give us a sneak peak on any new tunes you have been working on and when will we get a chance to get it on video and add them to our DVB collection?

DVB: Thank you, I take a lot of pride in my song writing. I always like listening to artist on the radio that write their own songs. To me, it just means more when you perform your own music instead of singing a song you have no connection with. I do have a couple new songs completed and a few more that I am working on. Also, everyone in the band is capable of writing and has written some great songs. We are looking to get back into the studio to lay down some tracks in the near future. I’ll make sure you are one of the first to know when we are ready to release them to the public.
EV: Most bands today don’t start out with a permanent piano player. Your piano player Dave Faul is one truly talented key man, do you give special consideration to his (or anyone else’s) parts in your song writing in the early stages?

DVB: Yeah, Dave is definitely a talented key man. Dave joined the band when he moved back from California, approximately 2 yrs after the band was formed. As for giving special consideration to parts in the early stages of my songwriting, I have always let the guys influence their own parts into my work. One of the things I am most proud of with the DVB is the unique flavor each person brings such as Dave’s jazz background, Brad Kelly’s rock background, Ry Stevenson’s funk/rock background, Chris Perreualt’s 70/80’s rock background and Nick Netherton’s multiple backgrounds. These guys are some of the best around and I am extremely lucky to be able to perform with them week to week. I learned early in this game to surround myself with the best talent I could and I overachieved with this group.

EV: DVB songs sound like they’ve been written from personal experience, although since both you and brad (maybe others?) are happily married you still write songs like “I’m Through” “Back in my Life” and “12 Beer Honey”
Are the songs personal or more of a collective collaboration or just plain fiction?

DVB: 4 of the 6 of us are happily married with 2 happily single (for now).
As for the songs. They are mostly personal to me either directly or through other family members & friends experiences over the years. As for “12 Beer Honey”, that was a song David Faul wrote the music for and the chorus was written by Dave, Myself and a few other high school friends way back in 1990. I just re-wrote the rest of the lyrics so we would be able to put it on the album with out a parental warning. lol.

EV: Who is the real 12 Beer Honey?

DVB: WOW!! Good Question. We get asked a lot about what is a “12 Beer Honey”. The best overall answer I can give is that a 12BH is that girl you run into at the bar you know your going to get loaded & lucky with. The one you only know her first name and would never take her home to Mama. The 12 Beer Honeys are those party girls that come in all shapes and sizes and are a blast to be around. God Bless them all!!!

EV: Your manager is really working hard to get you on the stage next to some really impressive names. What do you attribute the success so far to.

DVB: The success of the DVB so far comes from: The hard work and individual skill that the guys I get to play with bring to show after show. I also have a great “Street Team” that helps to spread the word every way they can and I am thankful for all their hard work. But most importantly the number one reason we have had the success we have is due to the FANS that come to see us week to week, show after show. Everywhere we go from here to Nashville we have fans that follow us, sometimes it blows me away to see them in different cities singing my original songs. That is what it is all about for me. I cant thank them enough for the support and kind e-mails and comments they have sent my way over the years. I just hope The DVB can keep making them as happy as they make us feel week to week.

EV: We all know “It’s along way to the top if you want to rock n roll” With all this new exposure and hard work (not to mention the sweet sweet songs) sooner or later your bound to hit the road. How prepared are ya’ll and your families for the “extended leave of absence” and hardship at home life on the road brings.

DVB: That’s one of those bridges we will just have to cross if we ever get there. We have some big things lined up and some bigger things a little further down the road that could make for an interesting future. I don’t really want to get into details because anything can happen in this business at any time and plans & dreams can be washed away in an instant. That being said, we have all talked about what we are willing to do to get our music out there and we will just keep doing what we are doing now until we hit that crossroad.

EV: Last but not least what upcoming shows can we eastside fans drive out to and see DVB?

DVB: The fans out there know how to find us. But for those who would like to check us out for the first time, just check the web site schedule (www.danvarner.com). We have some local shows coming up and then we are going to get back into the studio and work out some new material as well as work on all the behind the scenes boring business stuff you don’t want me to bore you with.

The DVB would like to thank the EV for taking the time to find out more about us and to help us spread our music. We hope nothing but success for the EV and as local artists we can’t thank you enough for the work you do.

EV: Thanks guys! We love ya, need ya, got to have you all the time. We know we’ll see you at Riverbend before long, you got what takes and then some. DVB fans can help by calling local radio and requesting the single “Back Into My Life” as often as they can. The album is available for purchase at www.danvarner.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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