"A Basic Vacation"


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While Third Eye Blind may stir ‘90s nostalgia for Homecoming audiences Friday in the IMU Main Lounge, opening act Basic Vacation hopes to add its own fresh touch to the night. The New York alternative rock band consists of Pennsylvanian Chris Greatti, New Jersey-raised Mike Montalbano, and Palm Beach, Fla., native Jon Paul. After signing with Capitol Records in May and recording an EP, Basic Vacation is an up-and-coming band with enough energy and vintage influences to entice students and alumni alike.

DI: What are your influences as a band?

Greatti: We’re definitely a rock band, but we were raised on pop music, so we have pop sensibilities. We were all brought up on classic rock and the stuff our parents liked, including ’80s new wave bands such as Tears for Fears and Michael Jackson, and we grew up in the ’90s, so a lot of weird grungy shit our parents would hate has influenced us. It’s apparent in our music that we’re influenced by pop-ier bands, too, such as the New Radicals and Jellyfish. Our styles are definitely diverse but they end up complementing each other.

DI: So where does the name “Basic Vacation” come from?

Greatti: It actually stemmed from something strange. In this story I read in middle school, there was this one weird line that was, “and at that point we took what was deemed a basic vacation,” and that stuck with me. We thought it was kind of a funny combination of words.

Paul: It’s kind of self-deprecating in a way because if you had a really great vacation you’d bring back memories and great stories. If you have a normal one, it’s just kind of plain.

DI: But I hear your shows are far from plain.

Montalbano: Definitely. At all the live shows, it feels like people enjoy themselves, get really energetic, and are moving around having a good time. We definitely do stage dives, so I hope you guys are OK with that.

Greatti: We got to play at a few other colleges, which is awesome because we get to see how an audience that isn’t 13-year-old girls or 30-year-olds with their arms crossed responds to the show. When we played at Cornell, it was the craziest show we ever played. We’re hoping Iowa’s even crazier.

DI: Do you think you have something to offer both UI students and alumni at Homecoming?

Paul: I think we bring a lot to the table. With the last set, we’re going to be playing our EP in full, but there are lots of transitions and plenty of things older audiences could easily relate to that go back to classic rock or ’80s. And there’s obviously plenty of stuff for younger college crowds, like catchy pop hooks.

DI: What has it been like playing alongside Third Eye Blind?

Greatti: I think we do make a good pairing because we’re good at making a crowd excited. They are a rock band at their core, but they’ve had great hits that everyone knows, and that’s the same with us. We’re definitely a different kind of band, but we work together well, which has proven to be in our favor. It’s been a really, really great feeling, and we’re looking forward to this weekend.

DI: You released the single “I Believe” in August and are about to drop your first music video. Do you feel like Basic Vacation is on the rise?

Greatti: We’re definitely making things happen right now that haven’t been possible in the past. I think it’s because we put everything on the table at live shows and in the studio. We don’t hold anything back, and people are taking notice.

See Basic Vacation for free at 8 p.m. Friday in the IMU Main Lounge.

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