There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
After seven years and three albums of genre-defining bubblegum noise-pop, Velocity Girl is slowing down—and then bowing out. Citing poor sales of its latest album, Gilded Stars and Zealous Hearts, and intraband tensions, the quintet intends to play a few more shows, including a farewell gig at the 9:30 Club Oct. 4, before breaking up for good.
“Over the last year we’ve grown mildly dissatisfied or bored,” says drummer Jim Spellman. “[Guitarist] Brian [Nelson] was the instigator [of the breakup]. He decided he didn’t really want to go on. So instead of trying to drag it out and milk stuff or do new lineups, we just decided to go out with some dignity.”
“Jim asked me what I wanted to do about the next record,” Nelson says. “I just said, ‘I don’t want to do it.’ I had been thinking about it a lot, and I was going to wait until things were pretty much done with this record but before we started getting any money or anything for the next one. Plus, there had been tensions between [guitarist] Archie [Moore] and kinda everybody else. Creative differences—that was an issue. Jim wanting to get out from behind the drums [and play guitar] was an issue. The fact that this record kinda bombed was an issue.”
“This record was definitely not doing as well as the others, and everyone was aware of that,” agrees Moore, who will now spend more time working with his other band, Heartworms. “This record hasn’t been happening saleswise, even though the tours have been going really well.”
But Nelson says, “I can’t get excited about going out [on tour] again. Just the idea was really putting me off. Just being in a serious band—it’s bringing me down. If I’m going to do [another band], I’d rather be quiet. And much less serious.”
None of the bandmembers I spoke to was particularly distraught about the split. In fact, Spellman has already organized a lineup for a new band featuring Velocity Girl members bassist Kelly Riles and singer Sarah Shannon, along with former Jawbox and Shudder to Think drummer Adam Wade.
“It’s too early, but I almost feel nostalgic. Because as a band we’ve gone through a pretty major part of our lives together,” Spellman says. “We’ve done a lot of amazing stuff….Parts of it make me sad, but I pretty much have nothing but good memories.”
“It’s sad, but it feels much less like a tragedy and much more like this is what should have happened. It’s right,” insists Nelson.
And Moore’s biggest regret? “Mainly it saddens me, because if the band really was going to do anything it would have taken more time. With each record, we were trying to settle into something. Three records—for some bands that’s a lot, but I thought that we were just experimenting at that point trying to find our sound.”—Christopher Porter