- Matthew Thorsen
- The Medallions
Is Madaila? Is Not Madaila.
The controversy has been raging for ... at least a week or two: Are the Medallions, the disco-funk band that claims to have time traveled to Vermont from the 1970s and is headlining the Rusty Nail in Stowe on New Year's Eve, really just local dance-pop band Madaila? But with more hair, toothpicks and enhanced bulges?
In an official statement regarding the issue, Madaila have vehemently denied the claim, despite the striking physical similarities between the two quintets and the bands' names, and the fact that time travel violates all known laws of physics.
"We categorically deny that Madaila is connected to the Medallions," the band wrote. "We do admit that the five members of the Medallions look a whole, whole lot like our five members — like a lot, lot. The resemblance is so striking that we can't blame our friends and fans for assuming that the Medallions are an alter-ego band we thought of, like, a few weeks ago, and created to have an awesome time playing party music from all eras at events that call for epic, universally loved covers; events such as weddings, private parties or a New Year's show at the Rusty Nail in Stowe with Smooth Antics in a few weeks."
While that statement satisfied most suspicions, not everyone was convinced. Namely, unemployed rock journalist — and Lester Bangs' red-haired second cousin — Chester Bangs. Chester, who is best known for his definitive 2012 interview with Aussie cock-rockers Led LO/CO — and is definitely not Seven Days music editor Dan Bolles — recently caught up with the Medallions' Vincent Nanners for the inside story.
CHESTER BANGS: A lot of people have been saying that you guys are really just Madaila in snazzier outfits. However, Madaila have flatly refuted the rumor. For the record, can you confirm or deny that claim?
VINCENT NANNERS: At first we were disturbed by people's claims that we hadn't time traveled from the '70s. Everyone said that we were really a present-day band, Madaila, that had created an alter-ego act to play new kinds of music in new kinds of outfits and create existential confusion around themselves (having finally settled on a name after 14 or 15 tries). It's frustrating to be misunderstood.
But since we found out how hand-some and charming all five members of Madaila are, we've started feeling OK about the confusion. Chester, this band is astoundingly delightful on all fronts; delightful to a degree that seemed impossible until we stumbled upon our current Madaila hypothesis — that John F. Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe had quadruplets, and then one more son, all of whom got in the wrong elevator at some point in early childhood and ended up in loving families in 1990s Vermont. Like us, they could have time traveled in an elevator. Wherever they came from, they have impeccable taste. While preferring people to believe our narrative, we are honored to be inaccurately associated with Madaila.
CB: What has surprised you the most about the year 2015? Cars? Music? Food? Yoga pants? The general aversion to body hair?
VN: The strangest part about the transition has been seeing all of the people in 2015 looking at what we call Small Glowing Pants Rectangles. Nobody seems to be talking or jiving or getting groovy like they did back in the '70s. There's not nearly enough body hair for our tastes, both in terms of quality and quantity. The butts are just as good, though! In Bulge Land, it's a bit of a trade-off. Less downtown bulge-age, but all of that is made up for at the gym. The fondue here is not as good.
CB: What sort of time machine are you guys driving?
VN: We arrived in the present in an elevator. Can't remember the exact model — think it was an Otis, possibly with gearless traction? Anyway, we got in this elevator at our show at the Philadelphia Spectrum arena in 1977 and, when the doors opened, it was 2015. It was a shock. The arena didn't exist anymore. We were expecting to see our helicopters on the Spectrum's roof but instead saw a vacant lot in Philly. We are currently raising money to build a new time machine. We're not picky about the type. We just want to get back to the '70s for fondue reasons, toothpick reasons and some other reasons, as well.
CB: Do you have plans to stick around for a while? Or will you be time travelin' on after the Rusty Nail show? If so, where?
VN: Our goal is to get back to the '70s as soon as possible. It was nice there. We were famous. People looked after us — cleaned up messes, disposed of our used toothpicks, brought us new toothpicks, picked up toothpicks that had fallen on the floor and handed them back to us because we weren't done.
CB: Last question: What's the key to a good fondue party?
VN: Like anything, a good fondue party is only as good as the cheese. And the birds. Gotta have the birds. Having a quality pot that maintains a consistent temperature is key. Otherwise, the oils are likely to separate out from the cheese(s) and cause all sorts of mess on your gold chains and/or chest hair and/or box of toothpicks. A classy variation is to use the Swiss cheese Raclette and add boiled potatoes into the fold. An even classier variation is to have a small team of expert chefs making sure all of the culinary tasks are taken care of, so you can focus on the most important part of "fondue party" — the party. Back in the '70s we had that.
What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?
- Husbands AKA
Thanks, Chester. Dynamite stuff, as always.
Moving on, the Medallions aren't the only big show on the docket for New Year's Eve. The local scene is positively bursting with fun stuff to ring in 2016.
Local sons of Death, Rough Francis, headline a NYE bash at the Monkey House in Winooski. That's cool news on its own. But the real story is the return of local fourth-wave ska punks Husbands AKA, who open the show following a years-long absence. Welcome back, gents.
- Gang of Thieves
Speaking of ska, Gang of Thieves' 2015 EP Mantra had a bit of a skankin' vibe amid the band's typical funk-fueled bombast. They'll be getting horny (and funky) at Nectar's. However, if reggae is more your speed, head upstairs to Club Metronome, where the Mi Yard crew celebrates nine years of irie grooves.
At the Skinny Pancake in Burlington, local soul man Josh Panda and DJ Steal Wool present A New Year's Eve Thriller. No, it's not a mystery dinner theater — though that would be pretty cool. Rather, it's Panda deploying his phenomenal pipes to cover Michael Jackson tunes.
Over at Higher Ground in South Burlington, local jam band Twiddle have inherited the coveted three-night NYE Ballroom run. That's great for the band and its legion of fans. Though I have to add that I'm a little miffed because I predicted Waylon Speed were next in line. Still, I'm calling my 2016 shot now: The Medallions will somehow still be stuck in the future (or the present, I guess) and will co-headline the Ballroom with Madaila this time next year.
Last but not least, First Night Burlington has a particularly strong local lineup this year. Highlights include Kat Wright & the Indomitable Soul Band, Ray Vega & Tales From the Boogie Down, Gregory Douglass Band, the Bluegrass Gospel Project, Myra Flynn, Francesca Blanchard, Prydein, Red Hot Juba, the DuPont Brothers, Cricket Blue, Kat Wright & Brett Hughes, Gracie and Rachel, the Leatherbound Books, Old Sky, Queen City Hot Club, Audrey Bernstein and Madaila. (See? the Medallions can't possibly be Madaila.) Visit firstnightburlington.com for specific venues and show times. Oh, and happy New Year!
(Disclosures: Rough Francis' Bobby Hackney Jr. is a Seven Days employee. Queen City Hot Club's Tyler Bolles is the author's brother.)
A peek at what was on my iPod, turntable, eight-track player, etc., this week.
- Father John Misty, I Love You, Honeybear
- Courtney Barnett, Sometimes I Sit And Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit
- Beach House, Depression Cherry
- D'Angelo and the Vanguard, Black Messiah
- Sufjan Stevens, Carrie & Lowell