Members: Kurt Vile (Vocals, Guitar) Jesse Trbovich (Bass, Guitar, Sax) Rob Laakso (Guitar, Bass) Kyle Spence (Drums)
Kurt Vile was given a banjo from his father at the age of fourteen. He began learning chords and writing songs on the banjo the same way he would if it was a guitar. The first song he ever wrote was, as he describes it, "a joke song. It was a good instrumental; I knew all these chords, but then I was quoting a cartoon as the lyrics on top of it. I had seen this cartoon about Superman and Lex Luthor; it was like the back history of why Lex Luthor hated Superman. They used to be friends, and then some giant stone of kryptonite fell and it made Lex Luthor's hair fall out, and he was like, "You made all my hair fall out!" It was a really stupid cartoon, but that was my song, 'You Made All My Hair Fall Out".
At seventeen he created a his first tape, hoping to get signed by the label Drag City, saying "I really thought I could be on Drag City. I really wanted that. I heard these people that made good music but it was still pretty raw, and had this real cult quality." Trying to make ends meet he worked a job as a forklift operator in Boston, while making his home recordings in the early 2000's.
Kurt moved back to his hometown of Philadelphia in 2005, and started making music again with long-time friend Adam Granduciel, thus creating The War On Drugs. In 2008, Vile released his debut album, Constant Hitmaker, on Gulcher Records. While Vile and Granduciel's band The War On Drugs released their debut album, Wagonwheel Blues, and went out in support of the album. Vile opened many nights in support of the band, that's when he decided to walk away from The War on Drugs and focus on his solo material. Vile and Granduciel still remain friends and say there was never any kind of falling out or resentment.
In 2009, Kurt Vile released God Is Saying This To You, on Mexican Summer,a collection of home recordings from 2003-2009 exclusively on vinyl. Vile then signed to Matador Records and released Childish Prodigy on October 6, 2009. He gained popularity opening for Dinosaur Jr., Fucked Up and Thurston Moore.
In 2011, Vile was busy releasing his fourth LP, Smoke Ring For My Halo. The album reached #154 on Billboard 200, spiking more of a popularity. He released a companion EP So Out Of Reach . He also helped his old band The War On Drugs record their album Slave Ambient.
Kurt released his fifth album Wakin On A Pretty Daze. Getting excellent reviews and topping a lot of year end list. Vile changed up the Violators lineup before the tour started saying "I’m playing with Jesse and Rob. Rob Laakso is the newest member and Jesse has been a member forever. They’re steady members. Our drummer is no longer with us, but other than that, different friends played drums on the record and we’re doing rehearsals with that right now. But other than that, the Violators are me, Jesse, and Rob and we’ll see how it evolves."
On September 25, 2015, b'lieve im goin' down was released. The album received great reviews and was number 2 on Still on Rock's year end list.
"Wakin On A Pretty Day"
Live on KEXP
Recent Setlist: Dust Bunnies Im An Outlaw Pretty Pimpin Jesus Fever Wheelhouse Goldtone Runner Ups On Tour Wakin On A Pretty Day KV Crimes Freak Train Wild Imagination Peeping Tomboy Hunchback
I have been waiting for Kurt to come back to Bonnaroo since I stupidly skipped his set in 2012. He puts on a great show I suggest not to miss this one.