What does it take to stand out from the thousands of other musicians struggling to make it? Many bands try to blend their sound to fit into several genres, often describing it as “pop-rock-jazz” or “country-blues-rock.”
Queen V calls her sound rock, but that hardly describes her self-titled band’s heart stopping vocals, the high-energy guitar rifts, and aggressive drum beats.
Queen V is a sexier, female version of Mick Jagger. The sultry lyrics and hard-edged rock sound are a powerful combination at a live show. Queen V is more than just the lead singer for the band; she is the driving force behind it.
This year could be the last year to see this Jersey City band at local venues like the Whiskey Bar, because industry people are taking notice.
Queen V and her band opened for Bon Jovi last month at the Continental Airlines Arena. They got the gig by entering the competition, “Have A Nice Gig,” which was run by XM Radio and Bon Jovi. Out of hundreds of bands that entered, 24 were selected. Three were from New Jersey, including Queen V. The finalists were given a night to open for Bon Jovi.
The band submitted the song “Right or Wrong” from Queen V’s self titled album that came out last spring. They also performed that song at the Meadowlands.
According to the band, it was an incredible experience. The show was sold out and filled up when they got there.
“I could definitely get used to that kind of gig,” said Tommy Diehl, the new drummer for the band. “It was awesome.”
They met Bon Jovi before the show. According to Queen V, they were really nice, particularly Richie Sambora. Before they went on, Queen V said to Sambora, “We’ll get them all warmed up for you.”
Sambora responded, “Don’t worry about that; get them for yourselves.”
The band played three songs, which were filmed.
More to go
There is still more of the competition to go, as the 24 bands will compete for four weeks on the radio. Each week, six of the 24 will air songs on The Radar Report on XMU radio. Listeners can vote for their favorite. The top four bands will make it to the finals, and then Bon Jovi picks the winner, who will receive a record deal from AEG Records and open for Bon Jovi at Giants’ stadium this summer.
The contest is from Jan. 9 to Feb. 5. The week that Queen V competes is Jan. 16 to Jan. 22. Fans can also vote online at: http://www.xmradio.com/bonjovibands/ballot.jsp.
What’s in a name?
Four years ago, when Veronica (who doesn’t want to reveal her last name) was getting a band together, she tried to come up with a memorable name.
“I knew I didn’t want to be just another female singer-songwriter,” said Queen V. “So I came up with the biggest name I could think of – Queen V – and the name stuck.”
Chris Altenhoff, who plays Bass and was the co-producer on the last album, has been with Queen V since the beginning. Altenhoff co-wrote most of the music on the last album with the band’s producer, Phil Schmoll. Queen V writes the lyrics to the songs with some help from Schmoll.
“I like to let the singer write the lyrics,” said Altenhoff. “Whatever sounds best to her. We put egos aside and let her pick.”
But essentially, the effort is a collaboration, with each member coming up with an idea and then working on it until it is a song.
The other two band members are new. Tommy Diehl, drummer, has been with the band a little over a month, and the guitarist known as B Stone (who only goes by his industry name) joined in December.
Queen V and Altenhoff are happy with the current line-up, which includes Tony Lewis, a producer they pulled out of retirement. Together, the band will record a new album this month.
“There are about 50 tracks to choose from,” said Altenhoff. “We’ll get it down to 20 and then to 10 to get the best album.”
Queen V is used to touring. In the spring of 2003 they toured with Twisted Sister, and in the fall of that same year they toured with Billy Idol.
In the spring of 2005, they beat out 400 other bands in WDHA’s “Homegrown Spotlight Battle of the Bands” competition, which awarded them with daily airplay and the opening slot for this past summer’s “Rock the Park” concert. The summer concert was at Yogi Berra Stadium at Montclair State University and featured performances by Twisted Sister, .38 Special, and Sebastian Bach.
In addition to numerous tours, Queen V has appeared on television shows including, MTV2’s Rock, AM Buffalo, and others.
For the next few months, the band will be in the studio recording their next album, and then onto a guitar festival in June. Queen V is hosting and performing at the Sixth Annual North American Rock Guitar Competition in Buffalo, which V hosted last year.
Then the band plans to tour Europe.
“The market over there is very appealing,” said Altenhoff.
“There is a huge rock scene over there,” said V. “It never died there.”
“I just want to reach as many people as possible with the music and the message,” said V.
For them, live performances are what make the whole process worthwhile.
“Getting people pumped up. At the end of the day that’s what it’s all about – playing live,” said Altenhoff.
“My personal favorite part [of live performance] is sharing something with the audience and seeing how people react to it,” Queen V.
For Queen V show dates or more information, please visit: www.queenv.com or to cast a vote visit: www.xmradio.com/bonjovibands/ballot.jsp.