The Verve Pipe lead singer Brian Vander Ark has been building a pond, painting the house and doing “artistic stuff” during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now it’s time to get to the music.
The Michigan-based outfit has brought together two of its favorite venues, The Ark (Ann Arbor, Michigan) and The Listening Room (Grand Rapids, Michigan), to co-host a livestreamed experience to be filmed at The Listening Room on Saturday, October 10.
The event will feature the band grouped in the round with multicamera HD video and concert-quality audio, allowing fans an insider look at the band’s creative process and friendship as it plays recognizable hits from its discography—such as 1997’s No. 1 single “The Freshmen”—and share the stories behind them. The act will debut new material, too.
“This will be a livestream like no other, an inside look at the band’s creative process,” Vander Ark says.
“In addition to playing the favorites and telling some of the stories behind them, I’ll be introducing two new songs to the band for the first time, and we’ll work them out live in front of the virtual audience.”
The Verve Pipe formed in 1992 and is known for its radio hits “Photograph,” “Happiness Is” and “Hero,” as well as being featured in the movie “Rock Star” with the song “Colorful.”
The pandemic has been somewhat creative for Vander Ark. He and his brother, Brad, a former member of the Verve Pipe, have written songs for a different kind of Police tribute band. They’re songs that sound like the Police would have recorded them—not direct covers.
“It’s more of a ‘nod’ than a ‘tribute,’” Vander Ark says with a laugh. “Brad never leaves the house anymore. He’ll come up with a musical idea and send it to me. I’ll have to try to get Sting’s voice in there. It sounds like the way he would write a melody. We have three songs that sound pretty Police. It’s a definite nod to the Police.”
In early September, Vander Ark had given up on the notion of touring in 2020. Then, the Verve Pipe signed on for a performance in front a crowd at Orpheum Theater in Omaha on Saturday, October 17. It is a socially distanced event with strict COVID-19 safety protocols enforced. The venue will be reduced to a limited capacity of 450 from 1,100 to comply with local regulations and provide a safe environment for the audience, staff and artists.
“Like most of our peers, we’re creating, creating, creating—songs and videos mostly,” Vander Ark says.
“It’s also been a good time to revisit our instruments, better ourselves as players for when the pandemic lifts. We’re tweaking the live show, finding new ways to make performances more interesting and impactful for an intimate audience. I, for one, am looking forward to the new challenges we have to face.”
These days, the band is lead guitarist Lou Musa; keyboardist/backing vocalist Randy Sly; bassist Joel Ferguson; drummer/percussionist Sam Briggs and backing vocalist Channing Lee. They plan to release a new album in 2021.
Fans who subscribe to Vander Ark’s Patreon page for $3 to $25 per month may have been introduced to the songs already. He has 176 subscribers so far.
“The Patreon page has kicked me in the butt,” says Vander Ark, who’s writing a book. “It’s this odd collection of fans from little kids to guys who are retired. For $3, they get certain things. For $10 they get VIP tickets when we’re back in session doing live shows, birthday shoutouts. It helps pay the mortgage, which is fantastic during these times.
“I’m tied to creating content until I die, frankly. I don’t see any reason to stop.”
The Verve Pipe livestream, tickets start at $20, thevervepipe.com or https://bit.ly/3mTwTxQ.