Vittorio and Vincenzo are 17-year-old brothers from Santa Rosa, CA. Both began playing guitar and drums, respectively, at age 7 and have not looked back since. As the duo V2 (V Squared), they cut their musical teeth at age 11, performing regularly in their hometown at Rock Star University’s House of Rock. It was there that the twins caught the attention of legendary producer Ron Nevison. Nevison, whose credits include Led Zeppelin, The Who, KISS, Heart, The Rolling Stones, etc. was immediately taken by their talent and took the young lads under his wing.
Working with Nevison, V2 have amassed six independent recordings. While each audio document is a milestone in its own right, the current focus is on their unreleased 2019-2020 output. Those albums in order are Rock Show Girl, So Long My Love and The Originals. Each album has a conceptual and musically thematic component to it.
Rock Show Girl was released when Vittorio and Vincenzo were just 15 years old. The overall theme is girls and it includes an impressive treasure trove of iconic songs and rock classics. It kicks off with the title track. The V2 original basically espouses the joys of performing on stage and making an impression on the ladies in the audience. It’s a timeless message peppered with catchy hooks and great harmonies. That sets the pace for a lion’s share of choice covers. It’s a murderer’s row of diverse material, including works by The Kinks, Aerosmith, Poison, Queen, Montrose, Eric Clapton, Led Zeppelin and others. The duo’s ability to capture the essence, and faithfully interpret, the style and nuance of each artist is jaw-dropping. The Kinks’ “Lola” is letter perfect, as Vittorio’s lead vocals capture the humor and irony of Ray Davies’ lyrics. The duo also nails the intricate harmonies of Queen’s “Fat Bottomed Girls” and the dynamic arc of a song like “Layla” by Derek and the Dominos. Overall, Vittorio’s acoustic and electric guitar work is very accomplished and Vincenzo’s beats are tasteful, robust and in-the-pocket.
So Long My Love is the next album in the unreleased series. Its theme is one of softer songs and places a spotlight on V2’s more melodic and acoustic side. Staples like The Black Crowes’ “She Talks to Angels,” Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Tuesday’s Gone,” James Taylor’s “Fire and Rain” and Skid Row’s “I Remember You” are the diversity of musical fare you’ll find here. The boys are 16 years old at this juncture, but play with a professionalism and refined panache reserved for established recording vets. The duo’s vocals really step up to the plate across the board with this material. The title track “So Long My Love” truly begins to tell the tale of this band’s potential. It deals with the very relatable topic of love and longing. There is a rich thematic tone and production that fits in perfectly with this entire collection.
The Originals is V2’s most recent release and appropriately shows you what they’re all about. It features a dozen future contemporary rock classics that draw heavily from their influences, yet offer the listener a window into their unique musical personalities. “Long Live Rock” opens the disc and plays like a band bio. A clever semi-classical arrangement blended with muscular guitars and shifting tempos tells the story of the boys’ journey to finding themselves and embracing rock & roll. “Let Me Go” follows and is a good natured slice of youthful rebellion. Eddy “Summertime Blues” Cochran as well as contemporaries like Brian Setzer could certainly appreciate this one. “Rock Show Girl” returns and gets a slight remix, with a punchier chorus and hooks as big as a Cadillac. “Insidious” is one of their newest singles and shows a darker side of the band. There is a real development in terms of lyrical content and vocal delivery here. Their inclusion of a track like “The First Time I Ever Tried” shows their affinity and love for the blues.
And Vittorio’s tale of meeting Buddy Guy and jamming with him at age 9 is engaging and a lot of fun. The kid can certainly play with soul, as his soaring, creamy leads can attest.
Again, as with “Insidious,” their song “Never Meant for You” shows a giant leap in this duo’s songwriting. Vittorio’s solos really flow and the smooth mix of acoustic and electric guitars place this liberally at adult contemporary or alternative radio. “Guitar Man” is a rocker, pure and simple! Vittorio’s slick legato phrasing, matched with Vincenzo’s mid-section drum breaks, certainly make this an album standout.
They highlight the latter part of the album with more autobiographical material, like “Girls Stars Money Cars” and “I Like Doing This the Best.” But, perhaps their mission statement could be best summarized by the song “Pass the Rock ‘n Roll Torch.” In it they pay tribute to their musical heroes, with the emphatic no-nonsense chorus, “We’ll play it loud, we’ll make you proud.”
V2 seems to capture that independent rock & roll spirit that a magazine like Music Connection was founded upon. The group has come a long way since their initial “New Music Critique” in 2017. Vittorio and Vincenzo have certainly done their homework. These three releases reveal two burgeoning artists looking to forge a new chapter in the direction of modern rock.