Venice, the California-based rock band, was founded in 1982 by three teenagers that shared a common musical interest: mining the rich songbook of mid-60s LA/British rock. With a combination of originals and classic covers, the band built a fanbase through intense live performances and a string of self-released 7-inch singles.
Two of the founding members were lifelong Venice Beach locals, Jim Wolfe and Kipp Lennon, who started the band with Larry Tagg (from nearby Redondo Beach) at the age of 16. The soon-to-be trio had an ambition to provide an alternative to 'mainstream rockabilly' at the time and set out to create a unique mix of blues-tinged rock and roll.
Venice was an immediate hit among audiences at local clubs and as their fan base grew, the band made its first foray into the rock scene with the single, "Sweet Revenge." After another single and the band's first self-produced album (titled "Saint Somewhere"), the trio caught the attention of a major label and were signed by CBS Records.
Their debut for CBS was a re-recorded version of "Sweet Revenge," and their catalog of songs grew to include "What Are You Waiting For," "Nobody Cares," and "Summertime, Love." The band toured heavily, sharing stages with the likes of Jeff Beck, Joe Satriani, and Big Audio Dynamite.
The band's second album was not as successful as the first and CBS soon dropped the trio from its roster.
The members of Venice have gone through many changes over the course of their history. The original trio of Jim Wolfe, Kipp Lennon, and Larry Tagg were joined by Paul Mirkovich in 1991, who had previously played in such bands as Zeppelin Zealots and the Widespread Blues Band.
Throughout the 1990s, the lineup fluctuated, with some members switching instruments and positions, but always retaining the recognizable core sound of the band. After a few years of hiatus, the three original members reformed with drummer Richard Rudie in 2000.
In 2008, after a decade of playing together, the current lineup was finalized with Rick Nash joining the crew. The band has stayed true to its original vision and maintained the smoky bar-band sound that launched their early success.
Venice's eclectic blend of influences has been compared to the likes of Tom Petty, Wilco, Big Star, and Neil Young, among others. The band is often cited as an inspiration to Americana and roots-rock bands of the 21st century, such as The Avett Brothers, The War On Drugs, and Dawes.
Venice's discography is packed with classics. "Sweet Revenge" is the band's anthem and a favorite for fans at live shows. Other favorites include "What Are You Waiting For," "Nobody Cares," "Talk To You," and "Saviour."
Venice also has a wide range of underrated classics from their four core studio albums that fans should definitely check out as well.
Venice has stood the test of time and has enjoyed a dedicated fan base for four decades. If you want to experience a band that captures the soul of mid-60s classic rock, look no further–Venice is the band for you.
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