The Dads are back in town: Legendary RVA band takes the stage this Friday

A triumphant return for the Dads, a beloved anchor of the Richmond music scene in the 1980s. Their new album is here, and it’s a perfect excuse to celebrate a golden age of RVA music.

Original — November 23, 2015

Often, when describing Richmond to out-of-towners, people will mention what a great music scene we have. They say that for a mid-sized city, there’s a lot of diverse talent. Though certainly true, the fact that the music coming out of here is pretty special has been bragged about by locals for more than 30 years.

In the early ’80s, Richmond had a perfect combination of the VCU art crowd, lots of local clubs catering to the students–who could legally drink at age 18–and plenty of musicians. Fueled by New Wave, Punk, and Rockabilly styles, all sorts of music began to happen. Such bands as the Orthotonics, Bopcats, Good Guys, and Beex, though all stylistically different, played together at places like Hard Times1, Stuffy’s Upstairs2, and Benny’s3. We had such fun!

The Dads were a crucial part of this scene. On a lark, they had been busking on the streets of Georgetown, mainly for fun and quick money. It was here that they first caught the attention of a “big record producer,” and after a couple changes to their lineup, they debuted in Richmond over a weekend stand at Stuffy’s Upstairs.

I was not there that Friday night, but the next morning, Mike Rodriquez, who lived across the hall from me at the Chesterfield building (and happened to be the godfather of the punk rock that would one day make Richmond known as RVA), started going on about how great the Dads were. He told me “They’ve raised the bar” for every band in town. And he was right. We all had to tighten up our acts to look half as cool as the Dads. They had good looks, their lead guitarist David Ayers was even a model. They wore cool clothes and had just the right amount of rock and roll charisma that makes the girls swoon and the guys jealous. They also had chops. And of course, they played really well–and tightly, not wasting a minute on stage. Song after song, they were never out of tune, and always looked like they were having the most fun of all.

This Friday, some of the Dads will be joined by lots of their friends to both pay tribute to how wonderful they were on the 35th anniversary of their founding, to celebrate the release of their second album, Redemption, and to commemorate the lives of Bryan Harvey, Victor Benshoff, and Peter Bell. So come on out and dance like it’s 1982, I guarantee that you’ll have fun!

— ∮∮∮ —

The majority of the ticket sales, CD sales, and silent auction proceeds will be donated to the Harvey and Benshoff families for them to contribute to the charities of their choice.

The Dads — Tribute and Redemption CD Release Show

  • Friday, November 27th • 7:00 PM
  • Canal Club, 1545 E. Cary Street
  • $10 (buy tickets online)

  1. A location you may know now as “Elephant Thai.” 
  2. A location you may know now as “Edo’s Squid.” 
  3. A location you may know now as “the VCU Engineering building on Main.” That is, the building is on the site where Benny’s used to be. 
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Mark Brown

Mark’s a native Richmonder. He loves his home town, most music, and most people.

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