At the VFW last winter, I witnessed VTO’s return to rock and roll music after its years-long hiatus due to familial obligations. Post-set, they regrouped at the bar and earnestly recounted how the performance went with the vigor of a baseball team who had just lost a game after boasting a six-run lead at the top of the ninth inning. It was clear that they were serious about music, but not serious enough about themselves to skip playing old school tracks about girls and aliens. In one form or another, VTO has been around since 1992. These days some of the band members are “coming out of the haze of having little kids,” says guitarist and vocalist Charlie Beaton. “I didn’t realize how much I missed playing music.”
The band is currently filled out by Joe Bates on guitar, Brian Collins on drums and bassist Greg Twigg. On Oct. 11, though, they’ll also be joined by original drummer Yale Kaul for a couple of tunes. Kaul will also be playing drums with loudcore, old-guy outfit Humpy that same night. Adding some sweetness to this rock and roll pancake is Mary Jo “Butterworth” Reynolds, who returns to VTO after being whisked away to Seattle by Love Battery’s frontman during an Indy block party back in the ‘90s. All this reminiscing and reuniting is great, but VTO plans on sticking around. The band is recording new tunes at Club Shmed Studios. The songs are country and punk in style. “People appreciate simple music,” Beaton says. Besides Humpy, the Oct. 11 show includes a mystery band called the Douglasses and during week three, Oct. 18, VTO has invited the Red Carpet Devils and Valis to join them.
Although the final week of the VFW residency is billed as “VTO Goes Country,” the music of youth still inspires the 38 to 43-year-old bandmates to keep on rocking the free world. “It feels great to still be playing punk rock music,” Beaton says.
Cost is $2, doors 9 PM.