The latest single from the roots rock band Vakili Band, for “Father’s Son,” recaptures that spirit of the 70’s guitar rock era, and repackages it into a crowd-pleasing effort. The song comes from their new album, Walking Sideways, that hits the streets on February 25th, and you can pre-save it here. I was able to get a hold of lead vocalist, Lily Vakili, to provide some in-depth context on the new single. She mentions a strong Rage Against the Machine influence among many other insights. If you’re enjoying the new track, you can learn more about the band here.
Ben St. Jack – lead guitarist – sent me the main riff in a text. I hit him back immediately with, ‘Oh, yeah – I can work with this.’ We got together in my basement (that’s where the magic happens) and worked out the structure. Listening to Ben play the riff, I kept coming back to a phrase that seemed to resonate with the sound: ‘I’m not your father’s son.’ Those words, repeated over and over, are about rebellion. Zacarías Manuel de la Rocha put it another way at the end of a Rage Against the Machine song (‘Killing In The Name’), ‘FU, I won’t do what you tell me.’
My lyrics include references and nods to what it is to be an outsider, loner, non-conformist – an artist, a son, a woman, a person that doesn’t accept easy categorization. There’s anger in being in that place of otherness, and self-doubt too: ‘I find myself in an indiscriminate rage over misperceived aggression and slights.’ My reference to the establishment comes from being asked to ‘follow the path of reason.’ The thing is, what’s reasonable to a person with power and resources might make exactly no sense at all to someone without. My nod to RAM is an aside in the middle of the song, ‘I heard about Cassius and fascists, and guys popping into a mic.’ I’m a fan of Rocha’s audaciousness, passion, and poetry.
Pulling it all together – the band knew what to do with this song when Ben and I brought it out in rehearsal – they just got it. Matt Jovanis (bass) and Gordon Kuba (drums) locked in on the intense percussive drive. Joel Dorow’s harmonica gave the song a melancholic lyricism, and Ben practically spoke in tongues for the guitar solo. When it works this well, I feel completely unconstrained and can be more experimental with vocals. The horn section came to me in a dream; I dreamt I was singing the horn parts, ‘pah, pah, pah, pah, pah, pah, pah, pah!’ — and then Gordon made a horn section appear for real. Horns just knock the song out of the ballpark and into some kind of Rock n’ Roll power realm.
Even though the lyrics are introspective and antagonistic – once paired with the music – it all catalyzes in a way that makes us intensely…happy.Lily Vakili
Vakili Band have toured the states extensively over the past couple of years, and their next show will be at the Mercury Lounge in New York City on January 31st. Thanks to bands like Vakili Band, Rock n’ Roll appears to be very much alive and thriving.