Vaganza

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Vaganza was a decidedly excessive/theatrical art-rock-pop duo consisting of multi-instrumentalists David Longworth Wallingford and Quigley.

Vaganza

Dressed in spangled, space-aged, "zoot suit" type apparel, singing in rather brazenly affected voices, and accompanied by more or less a full orchestra (plus much other extraneous instrumentation) on nearly each of the ten tracks on their debut album, the one thing that is for certain is that they were not "of" their time.

Their first unofficial release was a 1994 demo entitled "Are You Willing to Die for Rock 'n' Roll?" The recording cost only $5,000, but was an overproduced and excessive affair all the same. Circulating this demo to various friends and those friends' friends, while decked out in their full regalia Vaganza were eventually able to generate something of an industry buzz even while lacking a live band and being mostly unknown to all.

Their self-titled debut, and only official, album was released in May 1998 on Geffen Records subsidiary Outpost Recordings. The gleefully overwrought longplayer was in part self-produced by Vaganza, with their friend and engineer Greg Frey also producing. It featured in addition to Quigley (vocals, bass, guitar, synthesizers) and Wallingford (vocals, guitar, piano, synthesizers, percussion) many guest musicians, most noteworthy being drummer Joey Waronker who has played drums with Beck, R.E.M. and The Smashing Pumpkins (among many other accomplishments too numerous to list here).

Within six months of their debut album's release they were dropped by Outpost Recordings. After eight years together, two major label record deals (for a couple of years prior to their signing with Outpost they'd been signed to a deal -- by legendary A&R man Terry Tolkin -- with Elektra Records that never resulted in a release), and only about a dozen live performances with their 10 piece live band (which included Modern Drummer Magazine favorite Zach Danziger and former Walt Mink mastermind John Kimbrough), Vaganza decided to call it a day.

Wallingford, as a teenager, had been the driving force behind Boston area band Astronaut. Astronaut were signed to Rough Trade's U.S. label just prior to that label going out of business. As a result of Rough Trade U.S. going bankrupt, and then soon thereafter Wallingford dedicating all of his energies to the then brand-new Vaganza endeavor, they never did release an album. Some believe that, with their distinctive, irreverent, yet sincere, and extremely melodic take on 1970s style boogie rock (in the vein of ZZ Top and Aerosmith), combined with raved up Detroit style Rock 'n' Roll (ala The Stooges and MC5, et al.), they very well may have made a name for themselves had they stuck around.

More recent years have found Wallingford as a married father of two, cabaret performer, avid chess player, and music teacher, living in the swamps of Jersey.

Quigley spent his teens playing bass with Twin/Tone recording artists Skunk.

External links[edit]

  • Allmusic.com review of Vaganza's self-titled debut album: [1]
  • Vaganza website: [2]
  • Quigley's LiveJournal: [3]
  • Web Archive of Pitchfork.com review of self-titled debut: [4]