From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
The VSS live in London, England, 1997
Background information
OriginBoulder, Colorado
Experimental rock
Years active1995–1997
LabelsGold Standard Laboratories
Hydra Head Records
Gravity Records
Honey Bear Records

The VSS was an American rock band from Boulder, Colorado.


The VSS formed in 1995 after the breakup of the hardcore group Angel Hair.[1] Vocalist Sonny Kay and guitarist Josh Hughes had both played in Angel Hair; the rest of the lineup consisted of bassist Andrew Douglas Rothbard and Dave Clifford.[2] They quickly released several 7" records and toured the United States, achieving nationwide notice among the underground punk scene with acclaim from publications like Maximum Rocknroll and Flipside.[3] Midway through their career, the band relocated to San Francisco.[4] Their only full-length, Nervous Circuits, was released on Honey Bear Records in 1997, and the group broke up shortly thereafter.

Sonny Kay went on to sing with Year Future and founded the label Gold Standard Laboratories, which re-released their Gravity 7" records as a CD entitled 21:51 in 2000.[5] Dave Clifford, Josh Hughes, and Andrew Douglas Rothbard formed a new group called Slaves, which changed its name to Pleasure Forever, and released two full-length LP's on Sub Pop records.[6] Dave Clifford later played with Red Sparowes. Josh Hughes went on to form the band Rabbits, and Andrew Douglas Rothbard has released several solo albums.[7][8]

Their use of synthesizers and keyboards in a hardcore punk setting was uncommon for its time,[9] but has been recognized as an influence on bands such as The Faint and Death From Above 1979.[10][11] In 2008, Hydra Head Records re-released Nervous Circuits on CD with a bonus DVD, as well as an additional bonus CD with the first 1,000 copies.[12][13][14]


  • Sonny Kay - vocals
  • Josh Hughes - guitar
  • Andrew Douglas Rothbard - bass and synthesizer
  • Dave Clifford - drums



  1. ^ The VSS at Epitonic
  2. ^ Unsung Heroes: The VSS. The Fix, June 5, 2008.
  3. ^ The VSS Enterprise. Westword, August 16, 1995.
  4. ^ Review of Nervous Circuits.
  5. ^ Review of 21:51. Allmusic
  6. ^ Allmusic[1]. Allmusic
  7. ^ [2] San Francisco Weekly, November 22, 2006.
  8. ^ [3] Discogs.
  9. ^ Ahead of Their Time Archived 2008-06-14 at the Wayback Machine. Colorado Daily, June 6, 2008.
  10. ^ Daily Lick: The VSS. East Bay Express, July 4, 2008.
  11. ^ Review of Nervous Circuits. Pop Matters, August 19, 2008.
  12. ^ Hydra Head Reissues the VSS's Nervous Circuits Archived 2008-10-11 at the Wayback Machine. Pitchfork Media, March 26, 2008.
  13. ^ The VSS Nervous Circuits. The Fader, May–June, 2008.
  14. ^ Review of Nervous Circuits. Scene Point Blank, June 18, 2008. In 2013, Sargent House issued a remastered version of "Nervous Circuits" as a limited-edition double vinyl LP. The second LP consists of tracks from "21:51" and other rarities.