The Grand Rapids rock band fronted by an 18-year-old high school senior was featured during this week’s edition of Local Spins on WYCE and plays Tip Top Deluxe tonight. Story, video.
On stage, she has all the traits of a budding rock ‘n’ roll diva, but really wants to be a librarian.
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Only 18, Sierra Van already has seven years of experience singing and performing with her guitar-playing father, Timmy, but still surprises many people when they find out she’s the lead singer in a rock band.
“I think most people don’t know,” said the Northview High School senior, noting one teacher even referred to her as a “secret rock star.”
The secret’s out: The Fabulous Vans, with Sierra Van on lead vocals, has performed regularly in West Michigan the past few years and recently completed work on their debut studio album.
The band – Sierra and Timmy Van, drummer Ryan Gravelle and bassist James Wolf – hopes to release “The Fabulous Vans, Vol. 1” in late April or early May.
Before that, the group – which appeared in-studio for this week’s edition of Local Spins on WYCE – plays Tip Top Deluxe Bar & Grill on Saturday night (Feb. 29), the second night in a row that the band graced the stage of the West Side club. Saturday’s “Jam for Bernie” also features FunkWagon, FlyLiteGemini and Great Lakes Feather Co., with music starting at 8:30 p.m. Get details on the Facebook event page.
And scroll down to watch a video of The Fabulous Vans’ in-studio performance of the song, “The Tryst.”
The band, which played covers during shows before starting to perform their own songs a year ago, leans on a variety of influences for their rock-driven material.
“We just get up and jam and just have fun,” Timmy Van said. “I think it’s a mixture of influences. I don’t think we’re tied to any particular genre.”
Wolf noted that all of the musicians “come from largely different musical backgrounds. Tim is more of a classic rock and alt-rock guy, Ryan is more of a punk background, Sierra is into a lot of different things, but being younger than all of us experienced pop music of the early 2010s. I grew up listening to Motown records and the Beatles.”
As for Sierra, she seems to cover the gamut.
“I enjoy a large musical base,” she insisted, “from ’50s doo-wop to current times.”
The new album – featuring songs written by Timmy Van – was recorded at Grand Rapids’ Cold War Studios with producer/engineer Rick Johnson.
In addition to Saturday’s show, The Fabulous Vans will play Quinn & Tuite’s Irish Pub in Grand Rapids on March 21, with a spring album-release show yet to be finalized.
VIDEO: The Fabulous Vans, “The Tryst” (Local Spins on WYCE)
Editor’s Note: Due to technical issues at WYCE, this week’s Local Spins on WYCE podcast is not available. We apologize for any inconvenience.
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