Chatting with Detroit rock band Van Go Go

Van Go Go. (L-R) Jonah Brockman, Jason Schaller, Nathan Mackinder, and Paxton Olney. Photo by Chyrisse Tabone

By Chyrisse Tabone, Rock At Night Tampa, and Vlad T., Rock At Night Detroit

Interview: Van Go Go — Shinola Hotel, Detroit, Michigan- Recorded April 24, 2021

Van Go Go. Photo by Chyrisse Tabone
Nathan Mackinder of Van Go Go. Photo by Vlad T.

Rock At Night had the pleasure of speaking and photographing one of our favorite bands Van Go Go in Detroit last week. The band held a private release party and livestream event at the venerable Shinola Hotel, Detroit, for the unveiling of their self-titled master album.  The self-titled debut album was produced and mastered in Detroit by Chuck Alkazian (Pop Evil, Soundgarden, Tantric) at the legendary Pearl Sound Studios (Asking Alexandria, Eminem, Filter).

Currently, the 8-song album is available via streaming and download on major platforms.  The first three singles “Big Mistake”, “Imaginary Friend”, and “Both of Us” have received over 500,000 streams and 100,000 plus plays on YouTube.

Two recommended songs off the album

Jason Schaller of Van Go Go. Photo by Vlad T.

Actually, I have been driving in the car and listening to the album on YouTube Music all week. My brain has been filled with earworms of choruses and riffs from the songs “Why Ask Why” and “White Flag”. Here’s my take:

White Flag” with its hard-driving beat takes me back to 90s alt rock (reminiscent of one of my favorite bands Fastball) with its descending melodic chord changes and tempo shift in the middle of the song. The song is about relationships, a common theme in the album, which takes on a retrospective air.

The upbeat song “Why Ask Why” socks it to the phony corporate music industry that serves the public the “fad of the day” on a platter for all to consume. Essentially the song describes how musicians are beholden to the “dream makers” who “lie—lie all the time.” The song builds into a crescendo, before roaring into a catchy chorus which asks, “Why? Why ask why?”  This upbeat, anthemic song is candy-coated with cynicism and honesty, yet is hard-hitting rock ‘n’ roll.

The interview

Jonah Brockman and Chyrisse. Photo by Vlad T.

In the interview, Van Go Go discusses the origin of the band, which initially formed 12 years ago; what makes Detroit a hub for music creativity; how the band reformed in 2020 and created new music during COVID; their experience working with producer Chuck Alkazian; and the future of playing live shows.

When asked if Van Go Go had a message they would like the listening audience to know, Nathan Mackinder said, “I think we are good fun guys. We want people to come to our show or listen to our music, and enjoy it. There’s no real message. We are big fans of rock ‘n’ roll. If we can find a community of people that like to listen to good melodic songs, that like good classic rock, good straight up stuff. We are not trying to change the world or trying to change the way you think about anything, but to have fun and enjoy yourself. ” 

Rock At Night’s Podcast Channel–Listen to the iTunes Audio Interview Here   or   Google Podcast

CLICK THE ARROW ABOVE TO LISTEN or Google Podcast

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Chyrisse Tabone, Ph.D.
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