George Vjestica’s Bandante
Nick Cave’s Guitarist Starts Own Band
“We’re an alternative English rock band. Kai Stephens is on bass and Sammy J Stopford is playing the drums. I want to experiment, make it kind of underground. No two gigs are the same, anything can happen. A friend of mine, collage artist Timothy Shepard, has been involved with the visual side of things. I really love his work, he adds another dimension to what’s going on live.”
UK Tour 2017
Brighton - 10th March @ The Prince Albert
Best known as the guitarist in Nick Cave’s current line up of the Bad Seeds, Vjestica is a relative newcomer to the renowned Australian band. What most people don’t know is that his association with Cave goes back much further than the 2013 album, PUSH THE SKY AWAY and the subsequent tour to promote it.
He appeared on the soundtrack to Cave and Warren Ellis’s first collaborative film score, ‘The Proposition’, released in 2006. He’s featured on ‘The Rider Song’ and the films’ closer, ‘Clean Hands, Dirty Hands’.
In 2011 he worked with Cave and Ellis on the soundtrack to another John Hillcoat film, ‘Lawless’, featuring an array of luminary guest singers including Emmylou Harris and Mark Lanegan. Vjestica’s guitar playing can be heard on bastardised bluegrass takes of John Lee Hookers’, ‘Burning Hell’, Captain Beefhearts’, ‘Sure ‘Nuff ‘n Yes I Do’ and a raucous cover of the Velvet Undergrounds’, ‘White Light, White Heat’.
“It was great working on that soundtrack, it was the most spontaneous thing I’ve ever done!”
The following year Vjestica was invited by Cave to play on the ‘Push The Sky Away’ sessions. 2016 saw the release of the Bad Seeds 16th studio album ‘Skeleton Tree’.
Born on 2nd of May 1967, Vjestica first picked up a guitar after seeing Jimi Hendrix on TV, “I was nine years old and that was it, something just really connected!’ His early teenage years were spent arched over his beloved Hagstrom-Kent Futurama guitar.
“I’m from Stoke and looking back now it was a wonderful time. I’d hang out in record shops listening to all kinds of music. Mike Stone’s Clay Records (home of hardcore punks DISCHARGE) was a great place. I saw so many amazing bands during the late 70’s and early 80’s but still, even then, I knew that I had to leave. I moved to London’s Portobello Road, it still had that bohemian thing going on back then. You’d see Joe Strummer all the time in The Warwick Castle, Van the Man and Lou Reed in Notting Hill Gate. It all became very real, culturally it was just so rich and exciting.”
“I was in a few bands in the 90’s and had record deals but things fucked up one way or another so I decided to write songs just for myself…I kept that side of me hidden and I didn’t want to be a session guitarist either so I played with people I respected or were trying to do something interesting.” The intervening years have seen him work with artists as diverse as John Squire (Stone Roses), Barry Adamson, Groove Armada and Du Blonde. He’s been on the catwalk for Alexander Mcqueen, performed in Nova Scotia with Rai singers from North Africa, shared a stage with two Sex Pistols and Mick Jones from The Clash.
“Writing songs and playing the guitar is what I love doing. I’m working with the Bad Seeds and doing my own thing with Bandante. Who knows…Let’s see what the future holds.”