“PrettyUgly never just gets on stage and plays songs. We always make sure to put on a show.” – PrettyUgly’s Jake Small.
A mix of alternative, pop, and old school rock, PrettyUgly hails from right here in Virginia Beach, VA. Consisting of Andrew Frenkel on lead vocals, Jake Small on guitar and backing vocals, Daniel Crider on bass, and David Johns on drums, the band plans to release two singles this summer and to hit the road quite a bit, including a stop in New York City.
As part of AltDaily’s Long Live Local Music concert series, PrettyUgly headlines the NorVa this Friday, July 1st. We got to know the band a little better in anticipation of their show.
AltDaily: Where did the band name come from?
Small: Honestly we had written a song called “Pretty Ugly,” and while struggling with coming up with a band name our singer Andrew suggested that would be a cool name and it kind of just fit.
What is a metaphor for each member of the band, and how you all work together?
Well every great group has the brains, the muscle, the looks, and the wild card. As creative center and founding member our lead guitarist Jake Small, myself, fills out the brains. I constantly brings songs and ideas to the table and provides the foundation to what makes PrettyUgly the band it is while utilizing a background in rock, jazz, and pop to keep things constantly fresh. Our bass player Daniel Crider fills in the muscle role quite well, holding the band together with his thunderous yet smooth bass lines; as the band seemingly threatens to tear itself apart in unbridled musical expression the bass holds it all together while driving it home. Then there’s the looks, Mr Andrew Neal. A man whose glorious allure and charms are truly the work of a greater artist; the pretty to our ugly. Not to mention he sings really well, which is definitely a plus as a front man. Finally we come to drummer David Johns, our wild card. Will David get naked this show? Will he have you get naked this show? How can a drummer have so much charisma? Just some of the questions one must ask themselves of this enigmatic figure. He truly is the special sauce in our musical stew. With such a formidable foursome of personalities PrettyUgly manages to be greater than the sum of its parts.
What do you think sets your music apart that will help elevate you beyond regional crowds to the national level? Are there other local bands whose path you feel like you’re following?
Ultimately what I feel sets us apart is the unique sound of the band. We have a sound wholly our own which mixes elements of rock, pop, and various styles of fusion. Our songs are catchy and musically engaging, equally fun and meaningful for the average listener as well as the seasoned musician. Each member of the band brings expert level musicality to PrettyUgly; there isn’t a single weak link when it comes to instrumental skill. This gives us the edge in what we can accomplish on a technical level as well as on stage. Concert goers can expect a performance that stretches far beyond the scope of playing the songs like the recordings and offers a unique experience at every show, including improvised jams, musical embellishments, crowd/band interaction, all while feeling organic to the band and our music.
There isn’t another local group whose path I feel we are directly following in or seeking to imitate. This hearkens back to our unique sound and lends itself to an independent path for the band.
What have been some of your high points in terms of audience interaction?
Having the intense energy of the band embraced, magnified, and reflected back at us by the audience has always been the best experience. Be it fans dancing on tables, playing along with the bands jokes and games, or actually disrobing. Due to the lack of a second stage at the Colley Ave Music and Arts Festival brought on by logistical issues and after much frustration we played on the patio of University Pizza. The audience however brought it all home when from song one of our set; finally our fans rocked out and gave it everything they got, turning that small patio into a true feast of entertainment. Another notable experience occurred at FM Backstage when we opened for Grammy nominated artist Highly Suspect. Winning over a packed house and having audience members show us so much love both on stage and off was amazing.
Of the other bands on the bill, who are you excited to hear, and why?
Honestly there isn’t just one band on the bill we’re most excited to see. We’ve played shows with these bands before and can’t wait to see what new material and performance they have to bring. It’s always a pleasure watching your friends and fellow musicians grow and share their musical experience.
Also on the line-up this Friday are Friends with Monsters:
and Writz Lang:
July 1 at the NorVa. Doors at 7pm, show starts at 7:30pm. Advanced tickets are $10; $12 at the door. For more info or tickets, click here.