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The Verve Pipe lets 20th anniversary pass quietly

For Journal Register Newspapers

Posted: Saturday, December 15, 2012

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The Verve Pipe didn't do anything to commemorate its 20th anniversary as a band this year -- which frontman Brian Vander Ark says, with a laugh, "is perfectly indicative of who we are.

"We didn't do a thing 'cause we're so frickin' lazy," Vander Ark adds. "We didn't even plan anything. It was like, '20 years. Whatever...' "

Nevertheless, the East Lansing-founded group can look back on five albums -- including 1996's platinum "Villains" -- and a Top 5 hit in "The Freshman," as well as a turn towards a more inclusive brand of pop music with 2009's well-received "A Family Album." "It is a milestone for a band," Vander Ark acknowledges, "especially for a basement garage band from Lansing. It's cool to think about, but we didn't think about it that much."

These days the Verve Pipe is a part-time affair, gathering for occasional shows. The group is working on its second album of family music, though, while Vander Ark continues to play his trade as a solo artist, with plans to start working on a new album in January.

"I'm really happy with the way the band is now, doing these annual holiday shows," Vander Ark says. "Trying to do something on a national scale with radio support would seem ridiculous unless we went to the hitmakers and had them write us something." Which, he adds, will not happen.

"Oh my God, no. I was listening to the radio the other day; there's so much (not good music) now. It's all the same tempo, the same techno beat and everything behind it. It's just garbage. I have no interest in that."

The Verve Pipe and Crashing Cairo perform Saturday, Dec. 15, at the Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20. Call 248-544-3030 or visit www.themagicbag.com.

Web Site: www.themagicbag.com

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