It’s the end of an era for Savannah’s premiere dad-punk band, Jeff Two Names. Founding member and drummer Kevin Vettinger (AKA Rev Kev, and an Episcopal Priest) is moving away this month to take over a church in New York.
The band, which also features co-founder Jeff Storey-Pitts (Executive Director of Vocals / Chief Lead Guitarist), auxiliary lead-guitarist Michael Lewis (AKA Michael Doctor, MD) and bassist Daniel Garrick (AKA Prince D) are making the most of the COVOD-19 lockdown with a send off show for Quarantine Concerts.
“I’m kind of sad,” said Vettinger. “We were working on having a big party — we were going to rent out a venue, have a big, fun party, do some karaoke, have some bands that we like. Things change, but we were excited that we can at least do this quarantine concert before I move. It offers a great opportunity for us to have a little closure in this chapter of playing together. It’s not the last chapter. Jeff and I started the band seven years ago and it’s been a fun, long ride living here and writing music and playing music with Jeff.”
Besides being a streaming concert, this performance will be unique for Jeff Two Names since it will be their longest show ever.
“We’re doing more songs than we’ve ever done ever in any show,” said Storey-Pitts. “I think we’re one of the only punk bands that are doing it, so our usual set is 30 minutes, maybe 35 tops, and they’re like, ‘Try to play for an hour.’ We told Kev he can basically pick any songs because we have time for everything. He put together a set list and he has all his favorites in there, so we’ll try to send him off the right way.”
The band aren’t too concerned about playing for an empty Tybee Post Theater, either.
“Luckily, on our ‘international world tours,’ we’ve got plenty of experience playing to a tiny crowd, so we’ll be alright,” Story-Pitts joked.
The band may be digging into their back catalog for material to play, but they still have some new songs up their sleeves. They recently recorded two new tracks at Hidden Audio Studios, and want to release an album with 100% of its proceeds going to the charitable organization Giving Kitchen.
Jeff Two Names also just released an extremely DIY quarantine single (with a low budget accompanying video that you can view on their YouTube channel) at the behest of a local radio station.
“They’re getting people to record a quick one from the couch, but that’s a lot easier if it’s just a couple of people and an acoustic guitar,” said Storey-Pitts. “For us, it’s really hard. Dan has the only decent microphone, so we recorded the whole song using that one microphone and just took turns doing our part…It took me about four minutes to come up with it — it’s not like it was a complicated one — and then just recorded one-by-one and went for it.”
The funny music video features the band laying around their homes, bored and playing Nintendo 64 until they die.
“To do a video I just told them I’ve got plenty of time to kill, so everybody just film themselves on the phone a little bit and I’ll chop it up and try to put something together. It came out alright,” explained Story-Pitts.
Just because Rev Kev is moving away doesn’t mean the Jeff Two Names is going to stop playing. The band members will still be able to write new songs by sending tracks back and forth to each other. And their famous ‘World Tours’ will also continue.
“One of our guitar players is actually a professor in Connecticut,” said Vettinger. “He still has his house in Savannah, so he comes back and forth to play shows with us. He and I will be able to travel together, but most of our shows will be short tours in the future.”
Playing music has been a huge part of Rev Kev’s life, so he has no intention of changing when he moves to a new city and a new church.
“They definitely knew about it,” said Rev. Vettinger of his new congregation. “I guess it’s part of my persona, that I’m the ‘punk rock pastor’ guy. I certainly don’t hide it in any shape, way, or form.”