Public Service Announcement Regarding our CD Release Party

Alt-Nation: VulGarrity’s Afterlife

On their 4th release, Afterlife, VulGarrity conjures up another batch of supernatural-themed thrillers. VulGarrity are a brother/sister team composed of Shawn and Tracy (Vul)Garrity that are known for swapping instruments back and forth and being obsessed with horror movies and the supernatural. They even used to have their own web series that delved into skits involving all kinds of paranormal stuff and Santa Claus. For this obsession, some (or one) in the local media have referred to them as the sinister siblings. Afterlife is no different from the cover artwork depicting the sinister siblings in a graveyard dressed as ghosts from another era to the tunes with titles like “Dead Dance,” “Maniac Shuffle,” and the infectious lead single, “Stygian Night.”

VulGarrity are tough to pin down because there are elements of so many different rock formats going on including everything prog-metal to post-punk while still touching on everything from ’80s pop, synth-funk and classic rock riffs while circling the bases. This time around, they expand to include what I think is their first straight out acoustic ballad to the heavens in “Dear God.” It has more of a “We Are the World” feel than the XTC tune of the same name. Things shift fast in VulGarrity’s universe, though. The next tune, “Flight Simulator,” sounds like an ’80s funk recreation center dance floor banger in the vein of Morris Day. I’d love to quote the lyrics, but what I think I hear is usually wrong; Shawn VulGarrity is spitting gold here. “Wait Here for You” has a synth-tinged heavy rock verse before melting into an ’80s pop chorus.  Afterlife goes cover to cover without losing any momentum as the closer, “West Coast Broke,” is so simple and so damn catchy that it is my favorite of the bunch. Not since Tupac has any musician managed to continue to crank out grave rave and roll party classics in the Afterlife.

Records are nice, but the real measure of any band is to experience them live. VulGarrity has earned their stripes there, becoming the first band to win the WXIN and WBRU Rock Hunts against some pretty stiff competition in some of those rounds. VulGarrity is a trip because on one song Shawn will be drumming while controlling a guitar loop pedal that was recorded at the start of the song while Tracy is on bass. Next song, Shawn might move to keyboards while Tracy mans the drums. It makes for different sounds on different songs that keep everything fresh. I asked Shawn VulGarrity a few questions about what is shaking in the VulGarrity universe and also about School of Rock: Seekonk where he is music director. School of Rock is another must-see act. They played the Motif Music Awards not too long ago and the sight of these 15-year-old kids slaying Earth Wind and Fire was mesmerizing!

Marc Clarkin: Afterlife is VulGarrity’s fourth release. Is there anything you tried to do differently on this release?

Shawn VulGarrity: We added an electronic drum pad into the mix while writing/recording this album with the intention of adding it to our live show. It didn’t pan out because we found we were getting all the electronic drum sounds we needed from our keyboard and the drum pad wasn’t adding much, so we took it out of the live show.

MC: VulGarrity songs and photos have always played with a horror/paranormal theme. What are some of the things that influence your songwriting?

SV: Horror movies and novels are a huge influence on a lot of what we do. Even the personal experiences we write about tend to be colored by the horror genre because we grew up fascinated by (maybe even obsessed with) it. It continues to be a large part of our lives.

MC: Does being a two-piece ever affect your songwriting as far as creating something that can be performed live by just the two of you?

SV: Absolutely. All of our songs start out live. We add very little to them in the studio so that our live show is not too far off from the recordings. I imagine our music would be wildly different if we had more people in the band.

MC: How did you get involved in the School of Rock?

SV: I was toying with the idea of opening a school and then I was approached about coming on board as the music director for the School of Rock: Seekonk in September 2012. I took what turned out to be my dream job — a challenging but highly rewarding job. We teach our students songs and then book performances for them at real venues so they get to experience all that goes in to putting on a concert — lights, sound, hair, makeup … the works. They perform on the same stages as some of their heroes and become better musicians in the process.

MC: There are some amazing musicians in School of Rock. What has the experience of mentoring been like?

SV: Being a part of the experience is truly amazing. Many of our students barely say a word when they first sign up, and by the time their first show rolls around they are different people. Spending several months preparing for a performance with your peers changes you, makes you better at your instrument, communication, social interaction, and life in general. I get to see that every day. Words can’t express how awesome it is.

MC: Do you have one favorite moment or moments that stand out as a musician?

SV: Winning the WBRU Rock Hunt, and all of the shows that came as a result of that, was pretty special and probably had a great deal to do with Tracy and I continuing down this road. Playing Foo Fest in 2013 was pretty amazing, too, as it was the biggest audience we’ve performed to thus far.

Midday Records Release features releases and performances by VulGarrity, Latin Metrics, Hwuevo, Nate Cozzolino, Global Crash, and Far Below at Firehouse 13 on July 25.

- See more at:



It’s one thing for a musician to loop a guitar riff once in a while so they can add a cool touch to a song, but it’s another thing when a duo loops together a classic rock set up of drums, keys, guitars, and bass all at the same time to create a full on audio assault. Enter Providence rock act VulGarrity, consisting of talented siblings Shawn and Tracy Garrity who always have a knack for bringing innovative music to the ears of many. The duo will be celebrating the release of their fourth studio album Afterlife atFirehouse 13 this Saturday as part of the third Midday Release Show, a multiple album release escapade organized by local label and booking organization Midday Records.

Shawn and I had a chat recently about the underlying themes in the group’s music, teaching kids how to play at the School of Rock’s Seekonk branch, the changes in the Providence music scene since Vulgarrity’s inception in 2008, and the sudden rise of looping among musicians.

Rob Duguay: With VulGarrity’s past few releases there have always been these underlying themes that are being explored. 2013’s Funkeology is about aliens from the future coming to you and Tracy on a quest to save rock music in a very Mad Max inspired fashion while 2010’s Dance 2 The Gravehas a lot to do with Halloween and horror films. Afterlife seems to go along with the theme of death, so what made the both of you want to go this route with the new album?

Shawn Garrity: It wasn’t really a preconceived notion, it just kind of happened that way. A lot of our material is inspired by horror movies and similar things so it just presented itself that way to us and it’s just kind of what came out. It wasn’t like we went into it thinking “Ok, we need to write another album about death”, it just always seems to be the direction our material goes in.

Pretty much you’re just writing songs about what you’re into and what you’re influenced by.


Along with playing music, you also teach it as the Musical Director of the School Of Rock’s Seekonk branch. What do you enjoy the most about teaching these kids how to play?

The biggest payoff for me is seeing the kids prepare for a performance, continuously get better and better and just blow people away while they’re performing and it’s all happening. It seems to be the way it works when we do live shows and stuff like that, everyone is always amazed that the kids are so talented for their age. Seeing that happen and being a part of it is so awarding and awesome. It doesn’t feel like work for me, it’s just an amazing experience that I get to have. I feel very lucky to be able to do it.

I’ve been to a few School Of Rock shows myself and I can attest to how talented the students are, they always manage to put on a fantastic performance and they’ve always wowed people. Since starting VulGarrity with Tracy back in 2008, so much has changed in the Providence music scene. At the time the band started out, Providence was still trying to reestablish a musical identity. A few years later, the folk scene took off and the noise scene made a bit of a comeback. Now the city has become a big nucleus of various types and styles of rock music; in your opinion, what has changed the most in Providence’s music scene over the past seven years?

Oh gosh, that’s a pretty good question. That’s tough to answer because so many things have seemed to change one way and back again. I will say that it does feel more like a community than it did before. The Providence music scene has always been kind of cliquey and with VulGarrity being what we are we never fit in to any of the cliques so we always kind of felt on the outside. Everyone is pretty much cool with each other and it seems like more musicians go to each other’s performances now than they did before and seem to be more open to doing more shows together and just hanging out together in general. There seems to be more of a sense of community maybe because of the fact the music industry has changed so much that musicians feel like they have to stick together in order to make any sort of traction, which is true. I absolutely feel like that dynamic has definitely changed since we started the band back in 2008.

I can see what you mean with more musicians hanging out with each other and going to each other’s shows, hanging out and having a drink or whatever it is. One trademark of VulGarrity’s style has always been the looping of the guitar, keys, drums and bass to create a very rhythmic sound. When you and Tracy started doing it you both were ahead of your time. People would first go see VulGarrity play and they would be astounded at how the band would meld these sounds together to make something really cool happen while no one else was really doing anything like that. Nowadays, regardless of genre you’ll always see at least one musician using a loop pedal. What do you think of more musicians making the loop pedal a part of their sound now?

I think it’s cool, people are exploring different things in different ways of filling out the sonic landscape so to speak and loop pedals definitely work for that. Over the years we’ve had numerous musicians come up to us and say “You guys have inspired me to do different things by using a loop pedal and I use it because I saw you guys using it and it was cool.” I feel grateful to be part of that whole change in whatever little way that we have been and I think it’s awesome that people are using it in different ways now. I still haven’t seen anyone use it the way that we do as far as looping multiple instruments and then playing over them but I’m sure that there’s got to be someone out there that does it.

There’s bound to be an act that’s either in the Midwest, the West Coast or down South that’s doing it and we just don’t know who they are yet. What are VulGarrity’s plans after the release show on Saturday? Does the band have anymore shows on the way? Any music videos we should expect?

We do have several shows lined up through the end of the year, we’ll probably do some sort of Northeast tour. There’s one music video in the works for “Flight Simulator” off of Afterlife and we’re also in talks with the producer of VulGarrity: The Series to do a second season.

VULGARRITY + HWUEVO + NATE COZZOLINO & THE LOST ARTS + GLOBAL CRASH + FROM BELOW :: Saturday, July 25 at Firehouse 13, 41 Central St. in Providence, Rhode Island :: 8 p.m., all ages, cover TBA :: More information

Afterlife is here!!!

New single: Stygian Night

Here's the first single from our new album Afterlife. It's called "Stygian Night". Enjoy!

A Behind the Scenes Look at The Making of Afterlife!

New England Music Awards Nomination

We were nominated for "Best in State: RI" in the New England Music Awards! Cast your vote here... and tell your friends to do the same!

sit down series: vulgarrity


VulGarrity is a highly skilled and cool rock band consisting of siblings Shawn and Tracy. The two put on an incredible set before Electric Six went on stage in Providence last week. After their inspiring performance, I had the chance to interview the superstar siblings to not only get to know more about their band, but I learned about a very special story regarding Queens of the Stone Age, their influences, and more.
Alex Obert: How did VulGarrity begin?
Shawn: We’re brother and sister, we’ve been playing music together since we were kids. We’re in a bunch of different bands together. We got sick of going through other bandmates, having people in our band that weren’t as committed as we were to playing music. So we just came up with a way to play music without having to rely on any other musicians by using loop pedals and stuff like that. That way, you can pretty much get away with making a full band sound with just two people. That’s how we came up with the idea for VulGarrity. And we’ve been going at it ever since....
Video Jam Interview

Check out our interview on Video Jam! It's going to air tonight and tomorrow at 9pm on WCCA TV but you can stream it here (interview starts around 5:19)

"Karma's Got A Gun" official music video