The ladies of the Dayton, Ohio, indie-pop band Vanity Theft are young and pretty. Their songs are mostly about past romances and when they talk, guitarist Brittany Hill, singer-keyboardist Alicia Grodecki, drummer Elyse Driskill, and bassist Lalaine Paras tend to giggle…a lot.
However, Lalaine, would like to clarify one thing: “We may have vaginas, but we’re not pussies.”
With a moniker that sounds like the name of a Joan Jett B-side, the foursome fit right into the storied legacy of all-girl bands bent on debunking benign all-girl conventions. For instance, “we’ve gone through a lot of breakups,” says Elyse. “So for me, a lot of the lyrics are really sarcastic.”
Not surprisingly, the group takes pride in churning out an ear-drum-beating live show. For years, the women have booked their own tours, during which time they’ve picked up some critical life lessons while paying their dues. First, don’t try to carry your food in a cooler: “It ended up growing algae. So we got rid of that,” says Elyse. “A lot of times people you’re staying with will cook for you instead.” Speaking of, try to crash with friends whenever possible. Says Alicia: “In Chicago, I literally gagged when I entered the hotel room because it smelled like stale cigarettes and curdled milk. I think it was just a rust stain in the shower, but everyone insisted that was blood….” Lastly, beware older dudes offering you weird favors. “This one guy wanted to put our music in pornos,” says Alicia. “That’s just creepy.”
Though they’re pretty harmonious these days, Alicia can remember the band members’ first fight. It was back in high school, when she, Brittany, and Elyse snuck out of their respective houses to hit a bonfire party outside of Cincinnati. The drive home was long and dark, the roads desolate. “We were all freaking out,” Alicia says. “I think we were all trying to figure out where the heck we were going.” With the release of their latest album and numerous tours under their belts, they can now all agree that they’re headed in the right direction.