The Retrospective

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  • A Night of Danger with the Virgins

    May 19th, 2009 by


    The Virgins recently released the video for their single, “One Week of Danger.” The vibe of the video recalls frontman Donald Cumming’s teenage years growing up on the Lower East Side, complete with tooling around in pimp rides and the *cough* ubiquitous hot dog fight.

    “The idea for the video, we came up with in, I think, a minute,” he tells Spinner. “We were just sitting in the van on tour just completely crammed and squished together, and we were like, ‘Remember when we used to like going around in big vehicles, like when we were younger?'”

    Cumming also told Spinner that back in high school, a “big night out” would be chipping in $30 and spending the night driving around in an Escalade, listening to music.

    “The drivers would always have whatever the newest, most popular hip-hop single was. We just wanted to make video exactly that: a mellow, fun evening hanging out with friends.”

    Director Kai Regan, in collaboration with Greencard Pictures, crafted a perfect party night out for the boys, shot around various parts of the Lower East Side. The video was filmed entirely in one night, wrapping up at around 6:30 a.m. An Escalade was rented out for the night for filming, but most of the shots weren’t as easy to film as you might think. For the majority of the Escalade shots, the vehicle was secured onto the a trailer with cameras and lights all around it. A 15-passenger van packed with producer Gina Bevilacqua, hair & makeup, crew, and craft services followed the Virgins’ whip around Alphabet City to Chinatown.

    The hot dog fight was filmed at a Papaya Dog on Avenue of the Americas and West 4th. Thompkins Square Park served as home base for the shoot, with some of the Escalade scenes being filmed there, as well as a few shots around the park. In the video, the band stumbles out of Ruby’s Bar, a local dive bar on Avenue A, and band member Wade hits up the ATM outside of Niagra, located down the street on East 7th.

    Watch the video here:

    The Virgins formed in 2005 in New York City. Donald Cumming and Wade Oates met while modeling on a shoot for Ryan McGinley in Mexico. They recruited Nick Ackerman on the bass and Erik Ratensperger on drums and together created an EP called The Virgins ’07. Shortly there-after, the songs were hitting the New York club scene hard and began to gain a lot of buzz.

    The band’s ties to the fashion word have helped their popularity soar. Despite just forming, the band’s third gig was opening up for Patti Smith during Paris Fashion Week. It also didn’t hurt when model Jessica Stam was photographed wearing their shirt backstage at New York Fashion Week. The band recently got some mainstream exposure when CW show Gossip Girl showcased five of their songs in an episode even as the band was featured on HBO’s Entourage. New York Magazine profiled them for Spring 2009’s Fashion Week. All of  images in this post are from their shoot for NYmag, by Guy Aroch.


    In terms of their musical style, think the perfect party soundtrack that you can get down to. Ackerman tells that “We wanted to make a light, party record. When we made the record we felt like a lot of bands were sort of very earnest and serious and doing a sort of like lo-fi indie thing.”

    The album has a deeper layer than the typical party album. Lyrics like “Is there something that you like about her? / Yes, I like the way she bends in half” and “Don’t let a good night’s fun come to a bitter end / let’s have a cocaine brunch” reveal a darker side that catches at the corners of its light sound. Band member Donald sat down with and discussed how he wanted to write catchy songs with filthy lyrics. He says, “I wanted to see if we could make our actual album as pop as possible but really foul.”

    For me, all it took was one listen to The Virgins’ album and I was hooked. You won’t be able to rid your head of their infectious songs and the album is sure to easily take the spot in your record collection for the soundtrack for your 2009 Summer of Fun.

    The Virgins just finished a European tour are are currently playing stateside. Find tour dates here.

    All photos by Guy Aroch for New York Magazine.

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