From Rags to Riches: Our Interview with the Vagabonds

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If you haven’t heard of the Vagabonds by now, I would ask where the hell you’ve been. Just two short years ago, the world was without this rock goddess band. Even though they are an international sensation, these young women—who are currently working on their second album—are barely of legal age…to marry, vote, or buy cigarettes.

We caught up with the ladies of the Vagabonds—vocalist Barbie Bennett, twin guitar threats Liz Mayer and Kyle Summers, bassist Kelly Cambridge, and drummer “Sticky” Vicki Graham—and asked them a few questions about their overnight success.

The frenetic energy in the room where the ladies sit waiting for us is undeniable. We ask them if we can get a few pictures after the interview and they agree. Then we get down to business.

What does your family think about your newfound fame?

Barbie (BB): My mom is totally supportive and even comes to some of the shows. We don’t go more than a few days without talking when we’re on the road. My mom is amazing.

What about your dad?

BB: Um…not so much. But he’s coming around.

What about the rest of you?

Kelly (KC): My family and friends think it’s so cool that they know someone famous. (Giggles.) Sorry, but I don’t feel famous.

Not at all?

KC: Nope. Not at all. It’s still so weird to see my picture in a magazine.
Vicki (VG): Yeah. Weird. As far as support, my family’s great too. They were hesitant at first, but now they’re completely behind us.
Kyle (KS): My parents too. They knew I wanted to do this. It was as important as breathing to me, so how could they say no?

As important as breathing?

KS: Hell, yeah.

Silence.

Liz? What about you?

Liz (LM): Let’s just say my family is not nearly as supportive as everyone else’s.

Hmm. Sorry. You want to talk about it?

LM: No, not really.

How’s your second album coming along?

BB: Fan-f*cking-tastic. You can tell just listening to it that we’ve really jelled as a band. We fit together well, and our sound has really matured. We can’t wait for you to hear it.

Liz, I saw you nodding. Anything you want to add?

LM: Well, just like Barbie said, our sound has jelled and progressed. What you heard on our first album is child’s play and nursery rhymes compared to this one.

What have you learned about yourselves—and each other—since becoming a band? (All five women look around the room—at each other and then back to me—as if trying to decide what they can and can’t say. I hope my sly grin coaxes them into talking.)

BB: I learned that I like modern conveniences—running water, electricity—
VG: Wireless.
BB: Yeah, wireless.
VG: Seriously, this girl can’t live without her phone.
BB: Damn right I can’t. But you couldn’t either.
VG (grins): Takes one to know one.
KC: Five girls sharing access to one shower sucks. We have already demanded better accommodations for our next tour.
LM: I play better for an audience.
VC: That’s true. She totally does.

Kyle, what about you?

KS (pause): I’ve learned that not everyone in this band takes the job as seriously as we all should.
KC: Chill out, Kyle.
BB: Not everybody has a stick up their ass.
KS: F*ck off.
BB: No, f*ck you.
KC: Can we please stop?

Uh, sorry. Seems I hit a nerve. Looking back on the whole experience, is there anything you would do differently?

VG (clears throat): Well, I guess I’m not speaking for everyone, but I wouldn’t change a thing. Wow. The places we’ve been, the people we’ve seen, the venues we’ve played. Man, oh, man. Feels like we’ve died and gone to heaven.
KC: We’ve definitely had it good.
BB (giggles): The boys we’ve kissed…ooh…
KC (rolls her eyes): Oh, yes, can’t forget the boys we’ve kissed.
VG: Or…
BB: I’ll never kiss and tell.

(Giggles all around.)

Anyone else?

Both Liz and Kyle shake their heads. Their lips are obviously sealed.

So…we’ve heard rumors, lots and lots of rumors…and you’ve hinted that they might be true. We heard you ladies got wild and crazy while you were on the road. Want to confirm the rumors? Tell some stories? Plead the fifth?

BB: I am definitely pleading the fifth!
KC: Not a word. But you know I’m the good girl, right?
VG (laughs): Nah, that’s probably Liz.
BB (serious look on her face): Define “wild and crazy.”

(Girls giggle but it’s obvious they’re not telling.)

Anything you want us to pass on to your fans?

LM: Yeah. Our next album is gonna kick ass, so be on the lookout. And we’re gonna tour twice as hard, go to twice as many venues, make twice as many videos. We’re also gonna do a live DVD on this tour. We’re doing more stuff and we’re doing a lot of different stuff, so keep an eye out for us. We’re bigger and better than ever, and we’re here for you.

A final note—there was an obvious tension among the group, even though they seemed to get along, all except for the one little blow up, but it makes us wonder—is there trouble on the horizon for this group of young women? Only time will tell. But one thing we know from decades of other musicians—sometimes tension makes for great music and even stronger ties ultimately. Let’s see how this plays out for the girls of the Vagabonds.

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