We've all heard that age old story before, young musicians moving towards the bright lights of New York City, kids from Maine travelling through the Wild West to settle at the golden shores of LA. All of them chasing a dream, a dream to be somebody. It was similar circumstances with the 'Van Doos.' A trio of lads from the sleepy hills of Yorkshire, packing up their lives' in their rusty Volkswagen Beetle and cruising down the motorway to the fresh air of the big smoke, London Town. And they are chasing a dream, a dream that I think will come true.
I first met Mr Simon Hutchinson in a pub just off Oxford Circus. He was an interesting chap with a glint in his eye. Sporting a Beatles hair cut and wearing drainpipe jeans teamed with a fitted corduroy blazer; Simon looked like a mix between Brian Jones and Jarvis Cocker. There was an aura around the lad; guys wanted to chat to him, girls liked to look at him. We chatted over pints of Alpine, talked about sixties music, smoked cigarettes and generally got on very well. A Fine Art graduate and down to earth guy, I knew I wanted to keep in contact with the lad and hear some of the songs he was writing with his band.
The original trio of the 'Van Doos' consisted of Simon, Louis and Charlie, all Yorkshire boys with an affinity for the same type of music. The 'Van Doos' name came from a Canadian Military Regiment called the 'Royal Twenty Second', its nickname being the 'Van Doos' after the French 'Vingt Deux.' A name that struck a chord with all the boys.
The 'Van Doos' has a gritty edge to the demo tracks they have produced. A sound that is very different to the many average bands floating around the airwaves today.
'Under the Noise' merges a psychedelic background with a more mainstream vocal front. A sound that shows a maturity and evolutionary quality in its construction, proving the fact that the 'Van Doos' is developing as the London music scene changes.
'Tenterhooks' has a more rock 'n' roll feel to its melody. 'And when you stop moving, I stop moving too, you put me on tenterhooks.' The indie pop of yesteryear seems to have been updated with a 'Van Doos' edge. A melodramatic sound delivered with toe tapping abandon.
'Goodbye Love' has a blues undercurrent lifted by the presence of Simon's voice. A slowed down piece commenting on a lost love that 'hypnotised' Simon under her spell. The song comes to an abrupt end, much like the failed relationship being written about. 'Goodbye Love' adds a depth to the 'Van Doos' catalogue, a wisdom that only comes with age.
Most up and coming bands like to state influences and harp on about bands that 'changed their lives' as they were growing up. Simon, on the other hand, cannot pin point a particular musician that inspired the 'Van Doos' sound. 'I just want to write good songs. Trends in music come and go but a good song will always be a good song, whether it's Abba or Metallica!' Simon has always been and will always be his own man.
There is a passion in the 'Van Doos' music. A drive to succeed and a willingness to do what it takes to hit the big time. As Simon argues; they are individual and forward thinking. The 'Van Doos' do not harp back to an era when the spirit of rock 'n' roll was alive and kicking; they are pushing the boundaries and taking huge steps forward. I for one will be checking their gigging schedules and will be trawling the pubs and bars of East London to hear them perform.
The 'Van Doos' will hopefully be playing at a venue near you in the next month or so, and with a digital release on Young and Lost's website, their sound will hopefully be hitting the mainstream very soon. So watch this space and listen to their myspace- www.myspace.com/thevandoos. They're a band that is going places, and hopefully I'll be there to witness their rise.