We sensed it on the horizon. In retrospect, it will be blamed on multiple issues, from the fact that these girls started way too young, had too controlling a producer, had too little supervision on the road (and what resulted was too much of rock and roll’s sisters sex and drugs). What won’t be disputed is that they had a hell of a run, and many fans will be devastated to learn that the split is permanent.
But it’s not like we didn’t see it coming. The first sign that there were cracks in the band became evident when singer Barbie Bennett left two years ago, followed by bassists Kelly Cambridge (and her loss resulted in a string of unmemorable replacements). Then, of course, we heard continual rumors over the past two years of an imminent breakup that never happened…until now.
Last week, the internet was abuzz with the rumor that The Vagabonds were done for good. We’d heard that rumor more than once, so we all waited with bated breath, hoping this stirring too would blow over. But it persisted. So I caught up with Kyle Summers, the woman who has played lead guitar for the band from the beginning, and confirmed with her that, in fact, The Vagabonds are no longer together. Here’s what she had to say.
Thanks for taking a few minutes with me to answer my questions, Kyle. We’re just wanting to confirm that The Vagabonds have gone their separate ways.
KS: Yeah. Sad but true, I guess. I know our fans are devastated. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten this much fan mail before—people begging me to tell them it’s not true…but it is. We just can’t work together anymore.
It’s rumored that you’d already recorded several songs for an upcoming album. Any chance that’ll see the light of day?
KS: It might. I don’t have any control over that music. It’s a pretty eclectic collection of tunes. I’m curious what all our fans would think…
So what’s next?
I can’t speak for any of my former bandmates, but I’ve been in talks with a label, and I’m going solo.
Solo? As in…you’re going to record your album?
Hell, yeah. You got a problem with that?
No. No. I didn’t mean it that way. I think we—your fans—would be thrilled to hear solo material from you.
That was kinda what I thought. Good.
What about the other ladies in the band?
Like I said…I have no idea. The only person I still talk to is Kelly [Cambridge, bassist]…and, well, she’s part of my plan.
You’ll still be working together?
That’s what I said.
Interesting. So…what do you have planned exactly?
We’re kicking around a few tunes. I guess I should warn you—my stuff’s going to be a lot harder than the fluffy stuff you heard in The Vagabonds. I kept my music light to keep the other girls happy.
Light? You’d call “Mr. Valentine” light?
(Laughs.) Well…for me. For the direction The Vagabonds wanted to go. See…the band’s sound was kind of a meshing of all of us, but mostly me and Liz [Mayer, rhythm guitar and vocals]. And Liz…well, she likes to play on the pop side.
Yeah, we’ve heard that before, but she’s also been given lots of credit for the commercial success of The Vagabonds for that very reason.
Oh…it would be easy enough to give her all the credit, but people seem to forget that the band was a collaboration. If we’d let Liz do everything she wanted to, we would have had the most generic sound you’ve ever heard. It was all of us together.
Sorry. Guess I touched a sore spot.
Damn right you did. I’m getting pretty tired of hearing how the sound of The Vagabonds was all Liz. Liz this, Liz that. Well, guess what? Liz wasn’t the only person in that goddamned band. There were five of us, and the sound was all of us, all our input. Hell, even Siege [C.J. Slavin of Death Crunch] had some influence over our sound. Liz? She was just a piece of the fuckin’ pie.
So…back to you. You hinted earlier that your music is going to be a step away from the traditional Vagabonds sound. Want to give us an idea of what we can expect?
Well…Kelly and I haven’t done any writing yet, but I’ve got a lot of shit I wrote while I was in The Vagabonds that was given a thumbs down by other band members for being too dark or too heavy. I could release an album of just that stuff. But I’ve evolved and changed too. I want to write some new stuff and see where it takes me. What you can expect? You can expect to have your socks rocked off, your ears blasted, your head crushed. I’m takin’ no prisoners.
When should we look for your album?
This split is still fresh and we’re still working out the details…and Kelly and I have just begun working together. I’m hoping you won’t have to wait too long—but we’ve got a few tough months ahead. Stay tuned—I promise not to let you down. Kyle Summers ain’t goin’ anywhere.
After concluding my interview with Ms. Summers, I did talk with the band’s manager Ben Tripp and confirmed that, in fact, the band has split for good and they likely will not reconcile. However, it is rumored that Liz will also be releasing her own solo album, so stay tuned. The Vagabonds might be split, but they will continue to bring us music.
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