The Van Orsdels
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One hit wonder band hailing from Miami, Florida. Formed in 2003 by "George Graquitena." They were a Misfit knock-off band.
- George Graquitena (a.k.a. George Van Orsdel) - vocals (2003–2010)
- David Carbonell (a.k.a. Ichabod Van Orsdel) - drums (2003, 2007)
- Alexx Morales (a.k.a. Alexx Van Orsdel) - drums (2003–2004)
- George Graquitena (a.k.a. George Van Orsdel) - drums (2004)
- Richard Robinson (a.k.a. Hoggin' Dick Van Orsdel) - drums (2004–2010)
- Upright Bass
- Bruno Esposito (a.k.a. Bruno "The Butcher" Van Orsdel) - upright bass (2003–2006)
- Eric F.F. (a.k.a. Eric "The French Fry" Van Orsdel) - upright bass (2007)
- Steve Sacchetillo (a.k.a. Steve "Satch" Van Orsdel) - upright bass (2008–2010)
- Todd V.W. (a.k.a. Todd Von Wankenstein Van Orsdel) - guitars (2002–2005)
- Tomas Bringas (a.k.a. Tomas "The Meatball" Van Orsdel) - guitars (2006)
- Orlando Garcia (a.k.a. Orlando Van Orsdel) - guitars (2009–2010)
In 2002, founding member and vocalist George Graquitena was in the process of organizing a show, a one-off Misfits tribute band, to play a Halloween show in October 2002. He eventually met up with guitarist Todd Von Wankenstein and drummer David Carbonell. Along with a friend, Brian, who was the bassist for a local Miami band named Underpaid, they formed The Braineaters, a Misfits tribute band that played on October 28, 2002. After the show was done, George, Todd and David decided they wanted to continue playing together, but they wanted to do something original. George had already been hoping to start a psychobilly band, so the members decided that would be a good idea. They all had shared interest in the genre, as well as a love for horror movies. George and Todd eventually decided on a name for the band after kicking around a few ideas. They decided to name the band The Van Orsdels, and they also decided to adopt the last name of Van Orsdel, in tribute to The Ramones, and also as a sign of unity within the band. They then began their search for an upright bassist, which would prove to be hard. The genre was non-existent in the south Florida area, and musicians who were willing to play psychobilly were just as non-existent. Eventually they found bassist Bruno Esposito. The band was now complete and they immediately began writing songs and preparing for their first show.
Performing and recording
In Spring of 2003, the band was now ready for their first show. They spent months preparing, promoting, and exposing their name all over south Florida. On June 19, 2003, at a local south Florida venue called The Alley, they played their first show, to a great reception. Immediately following their first show, they began to receive requests for bookings. They then decided to record some songs to release as a CD. They recorded songs that would eventually be their first CD release, a 7-song EP titled "Ain't Life A Drag?".
Shortly after recording the songs for their first CD, the band was struck by a dose of bad luck. Their drummer, David, decided to leave the band. Shortly after, guitarist Todd was constrained by a few legal issues. This put a big strain on the band, especially after months of preparation, a great debut show, and their first CD on the verge of being released. The Van Orsdels were forced into a 6-month hiatus, which nearly ended the band. Without a drummer the future of the band was grim. Fortunately George and Bruno saw something in the band that made them tough it out.
The "Spinal Tap" syndrome
The search for a new drummer proved to be harder than expected. The Van Orsdels went through a series of auditions and drummers. They tried a few drummers (8 to be exact) but none of them worked out like they had hoped to. With show dates just around the corner, the band found themselves in a situation where it was sink or swim. Fortunately George was a drummer as well as a vocalist, so he decided that the show must go on, and decided to take up the lack of a drummer by playing drums, as well as singing, for several months. The band was determined to make it work, and as much as the strain was on George, both playing drums and singing at the same time, he knew that it had to be done.
In Fall of 2004, The Van Orsdels finally found their missing link, a drummer named Richard Robinson, who had been an old friend of the band's, and who was actually asked to play for the band several times before, but due to a prior engagement playing in another band, he could not join The Van Orsdels.
The new album
In 2005, The Van Orsdels finally got their break. German record label Crazy Love Records agreed to sign the band, and release their second CD. The band immediately began recording tracks for their second CD release, their first full-length titled "Miami Morgue Riot!". This was a turning point for the band. They were finally recognized for their talents, and the release of Miami Morgue Riot helped spread the band's name on a worldwide scale. Record distributors worldwide were now selling their music. The Van Orsdels were getting recognition from fans globally. In Fall of 2005, the band decided to book a short 2-week East Coast U.S. tour to promote Miami Morgue Riot.
Screamfest Horror Conventions
In 2003, a company by the name of Spooky Empire, held their first annual Screamfest Horror Convention in south Florida. Every year since then they have had The Van Orsdels appear as a special musical guest. They performed at Screamfest 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007. They were booked for Screamfest 2003, but as a result of their guitarist being in rehab, the band unfortunately had to cancel that performance. As a result of their participation in the Screamfest Horror Conventions, they met famed artist/illustrator Gris Grimly, who created the artwork for the band's second CD release Miami Morgue Riot!
The Van Orsdels were the main featured artist on the soundtrack to the short, independent film titled "It's A Gate To Hell, Cecilstein" which was released in 2006. The Van Orsdels will also be featured on the soundtrack to another independent film, a full-length horror genre motion picture titled "Shadow Grove" which should see a release late 2008.
The final years
In 2007, The Van Orsdels saw a major face-lift in the form of new members. The band also released an EP titled "Leftovers" in October 2007. The CD contained a collection of previously unreleased tracks and demos, as well as some acoustic songs. Also in 2007, George recorded a song for the Gris Grimly DVD release of his debut film Cannibal Flesh Riot!. The DVD was released featuring a bonus CD which included songs inspired by the movie. George's contribution was a song titled "The Ballad of Stash and Hub". October also saw the return of Richard Robinson on drums. March 2008 saw the inclusion of Steve Satch (a.k.a. Steve "The Bruiser" Van Orsdel) on upright bass. The band also recorded a version of "You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch" for an "Psychobilly Christmas", a compilation album which was released on Cleopatra Records in October 2008. Since August 2009, The Van Orsdels have been taking a forced hiatus, due to some personnel problems. The band never officially stated that it has broken up until August 11, 2010. On that date, George posted a blog on The Van Orsdels' official MySpace page stating that the band is officially done. There was an indication that there might possibly be a Van Orsdels reunion show in the future, but the group has officially broken up.
The Van Orsdels have performed with such notable psychobilly and punk rock acts as:
- Mad Sin
- Th' Legendary Shack Shakers
- 45 Grave
- The Quakes
- Koffin Kats
- The Rocketz
- Dwarves (band)
- The Independents
- U.K. Subs
- The Vibrators
- Green Goblyn Project
- Voltaire (musician)
- The Chop Tops
- Dr. Chud's X-Ward
- 7 Shot Screamers
- The Cryptkeeper Five
- Ain't Life A Drag? (CD) 2004
- Miami Morgue Riot! (CD) Crazy Love Records 2005
- So Fla, So Good, So What Vol. 1 (CD) SoFla Records 2004
- Cannibal Flesh Riot! - The Jams (as George Van Orsdel on "The Ballad Of Stash and Hub")(DVD/CD) Mad Creator Productions 2007
- Leftovers (CD) TVO Skeletunes Records 2007
- Psychobilly Christmas Compilation (performing "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" (CD) Cleopatra Records 2008
- Rockabilly & Psychobilly Madness Compilation (performing "Grenade") (2-CD set) Cleopatra Records 2011