By now, it’s a guarantee you’ve heard at least something about The Vagabonds. Good or bad, there’s no dismissing their seeming overnight fame. Turn on the radio to any rock station, and you’re bound to hear one of their tunes at some point. Search trending topics online and you’ll see something about these notorious bad girls of rock.
Fronted by the gorgeous Barbie Bennett, The Vagabonds also consists of bassist Kelly Cambridge, drummer “Sticky Vicki” Graham, and guitarists Liz Mayer and Kyle Summers. Big all-girl bands come around every once in a while, but there’s no denying there’s something special—something different—about these five young women from Colorado.
By now, fans have heard the story about how the band got together, but behind the rainbows and glitter is a dark side that isn’t being reported. Songs like “Give it to Me, Baby” hint at the sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll lifestyle behind the scenes. The girls give off a hot-to-trot image that might not be far from the truth, in spite of what their parents back home have to say in the matter.
Danielle Graham, Sticky Vicki’s mother, said, “The whole agreement with Peter [Cyrus, manager, publicist, and producer of The Vagabonds] was that he would take care of them—as if he were a parent. We only agreed to let our girls pursue this dream in exchange for their safety and well-being—and the continuation of their education while they’re on the road. I have to trust that he’s taking care of my baby girl.”
While Ms. Graham’s sentiment reflects what any parent would hope for, there are hints that Cyrus hasn’t held up his side of the bargain. Just last week, Bennett only made it through half a set at a venue in Florida. From the moment she took the stage, her behavior was erratic and uncharacteristic. She slurred her words, skipped entire sections of songs, and then went off on a three-minute rant during the show before passing out. Mayer took over vocals so the band could fulfill their promise to the fans.
When interviewed just before a show in Tennessee, Summers said, “We’re livin’ the dream, man. This is rock and roll.” Asked if she could confirm the rumors that the five girls were partying too much and out of control, evidenced by Bennett’s onstage collapse, Summers just laughed and excused herself.
There is no question that The Vagabonds are musically gifted, as their first album attests. However, Bennett’s collapse is but one of many episodes both big and small that leave fans wondering if maybe The Vagabonds are far too young to be on the road. Only time will tell.