Villain band returns for one-night gig at Kathy's Pub


If you knew your way around Rochester's late-night scene about a decade ago, your ears may detect familiar rumblings coming from inside Kathy's Pub on Aug. 2.

Villain, a band whose loud rock n' roll has not graced the eardrums of Rochester-ites in 10 years, has re-formed for a one night stint on the bar's stage.

The band, which consists of bassist Jay Gielow, guitarist Jared Jones and drummer Craig Rasmussen, was a constant presence on the Rochester music scene 10 years ago, with a reputation for bringing lots of noise with them.

"As far as what people should expect from us? We play rock n' roll music and put it all on the table for people," Gielow said.

"I think the best description of our band that I heard is — somebody at our show said that they called us 'Punk Floyd,' which I thought was pretty spot on," Rasmussen said. "Jared the guitarist can do some spacey, transcendent stuff, and Jay and I definitely have the punk, in-your-face rhythm section going on… from a drummer's point of view, whenever I play, I try and do two things. I try to give it teeth and I try to make it sexy. That's what I'm after."


After a decade-long hiatus, they are regrouping to play at the wedding of Troy Meyer and Jennifer Dukart. Meyer, a former Villain roadie and close friend of its members, according to Gielow, has dreamed of a reunion since the band split up.

"That was really the big thing, just coming back together to play for him," Gielow said.

The band will have a day or two of rehearsal at most, but seem unfazed.

"We'll see what happens," Rasmussen said. "It's been 10 years since we've played, but there's a lot of muscle memory in there, so it should come right back."

Villain's connection to Kathy's is an old one. Gielow worked at the now-closed Broadway Records downtown and would pop into Kathy's after work. He developed a rapport with the people in charge of booking bands and told them that, should they book Villain, people would come.

Back then, Kathy's only hired cover bands, something Villain was not. Regardless, they were hired for a Friday and Saturday night gig and given a week to work on a set of covers.

"It was right after Dee Dee Ramone had died, so we did a whole bunch of Ramones songs, and then we did our own set to finish off the end of the night with," Gielow said.

"We packed the place. They were just blown away," he said, "They were really mad at us for being so loud, but we packed the place. After we got through the first 30 minutes, they were over the fact that it was loud, they were fine. The bar was filled to the brim. The next night, we did it again."


From there, the band went on to play around Rochester and other Minnesota towns before members went their separate ways.

"As a musician, especially in this town, there aren't very many venues to play at, and 10 years ago, Villain exhausted that. We played some of the places in Minneapolis, Rochester, St. Cloud, Duluth... you feel like you're just spinning your tires, you know?" Rasmussen said. "But that was the best band I've ever been in. I think it had a lot of potential, and I think we just got tired of being mid-level."

For Friday night, though, one corner of Rochester will revert to the loud sounds of a decade past.

"One thing about us is there's never been a shortage of passion. We bring it. If you like something that's intense and in your face, you don't want to miss it," Rasmussen said. "It's a power three-piece that Rochester just doesn't have."

What: Villain, Zed on Arrival, and RLC

When: Aug. 2 at 9 p.m.

Where: Kathy's Pub


Admission: Free

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