Q&A with Paultergeist of Viva le Vox; CD Release Party on Saturday at Respectable Street

Come check out Lake Worth's closest musical act to a Vaudevillian freak show, Viva le Vox, Saturday, June 19 at 9 p.m., at Respectable Street Cafe in West Palm Beach. The band is headlining the release party for their newest CD, Wayward Ones, along with South Carolina duo, the Royal Tinfoil, and South Florida's own, Everymen.

Viva le Vox has been known to put on jaw-dropping performances which often include band members drooling, making suggestive hand gestures, and falling on the floor. The band's grisly appearance and upbeat swamp rock sound ensure that this night will not leave you uninterested. Tickets cost $10 at the door, which also includes a free CD.

We were able to catch up with Viva le Vox's Paultergeist to find out a little more about this less-and-less obscure South Florida band. Paul (a.k.a. "Paultergeist") plays the accordion and washboard and, according to the band's MySpace page, is responsible for creating an 'intimidating presence'. His intimidating presence most definitely comes across is this Q&A:

New Times: I've asked several people to describe Viva le Vox's genre and everyone seems to come up with something different. 'Ghoulish punk' was my favorite answer. How would you describe the band's genre?

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Paultergeist: We've always had a hard time with this. Some people want to throw us into the rockabilly genre simply because they see an upright bass. So far, the one that sits best with us is Vaudevillian Swamp Rock, yeah. Our friends in the Goddamn Gallows suggested "Skiffle Swamp Fever Dream Death Stomp Folk Psychosis". Although accurate, we thought it was just a little prolix.

How long has the band been together and was vaudevillian swamp rock always the original intent of the band? If not, can you explain how it originated?

Viva le Vox has been together for almost 300 years. It's always been about that latex-free rock n' roll, baby. Vaudevillian swamp rock has just kind of evolved over the past year. Originally, Tony Bones and Antoine Dukes met on a lonely road in what is currently southern Alabama. The rest is history. Ask them for their take on it.

What inspired a distinguished accordion player to pick up the washboard? Also, what's with the spoons?

(laughter) You referred to me as a distinguished accordion player. My mother was a member of a tribe of Romani drifters, she spent most of her early youth playing accordion in South America, however I didn't know this until a couple of years ago. The greatest washboard player in the universe taught me what I know about washboard and frottoir. He knows who he is.

I have been to several shows and have found my jaw dropping quite frequently throughout. What is the weirdest (or most recurring) thing you do to shock the crowd?

Well if I told you, who the hell would show up to see it?

You guys seem to enjoy crowd participation (I was pulled on to stage to play the tambourine once and have seen the band playing in the crowd). Is this something you try to include in every show?

It ain't somethin' we try to do, it's somethin' we do do. If anyone ever dares refuse my invitation to play onstage with us they have a surprise coming.

Jim Bob "Scarecrow" Jenkins literally scares the shit out of me. Was this a premeditated decision by the band for him to be that creepy or is this just what happens when he gets on stage?

It ain't half as fucked up as his off-stage antics.

Can you tell us what to expect with your new CD Wayward Ones? And will you be performing old songs in addition to new ones at the CD release party?

Wayward Ones is a few songs we had but didn't get to record on our last album, Desperation Alley. They were songs with no home, hence we chose Wayward Ones for the title of the album. We also have several live tracks from a show we played at The Crooked I in Erie, PA that are on the album as well. Rest assured to everyone, we have new stuff cookin'.

What can both fans and newcomers look forward to at the CD release party?

We have a kickass dynamic duo known as the Royal Tinfoil opening up for us, they're comin' down all the way from South Carolina to hang with us. Do not miss this band. They are incredible and our dear friends Everymen are going to help get people shakin' their shoes by playing with us as well. The spirit of John Fogerty will be present. We got giveaways, contests, and a damn good time waitin for y'all.

You are gearing up for a several week long tour throughout the East Coast and Southern U.S. states. Is this Viva le Vox's first tour outside of Florida? And will you happily return to South Florida quickly so your fans can continue to be astounded?

One time we did a tour from here to Portland and back playing nothing but Laundromats the whole way. This time around we're very stoked to play a couple of festivals and also do a six week stretch with the cockabilly roadshow, which will also be coming through Miami and Fort Lauderdale. It's gonna be fire breathers, sword swallowers, freaks, geeks, tits, trapeze, real burlesque, all kinds of great shit. The real deal, people. And yes, we're going to be just thrilled to come home.

-- Ashley Pearson

Viva le Vox CD Release Party. With the Royal Tinfoil and Everymen. 9 p.m., Saturday, June 19 at Respectable Street, 518 Clematis St., West Palm

Beach. Call 561-832-9999, or visit here.

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