A particular obsession for Vernam is the intersection of technology and inspiration (divine or otherwise), and hence his nom de guerre. Vernam's original songs combine irreverent lyrics with memorable tunes that are informed but never constrained by traditional music. "Older music is endlessly fascinating to me, but I'm not one to romanticize the past," Vernam says. "I'd rather be alive today than just about any other time, despite it all. I'm just as ambivalent as the next person about what technology is doing for and to us. You just take the good with the bad and try to keep your bearings, no matter how much the altimeter spins."
His new SWEET SCIENCE CD kicks off with "Robert Ryan," inspired by the Chicago-born actor whose dark, ambiguous presence elevated films such as Crossfire, Billy Budd, and The Wild Bunch. On "If You Hadn't Told Me, I Never Would've Guessed," Vernam poses and occasionally dares to answer rhetorical questions like: What's it take to get used to being taken for granted? Is there any truth, or just consequences? And did you ever feel like some debutante in reverse? Finally, if "Pigeon Toed Girl" is unabashedly gleeful, it's also too lustful to be just a kids' ditty. All lyrics are included on the CD insert. As a bonus, the CD Baby version of the disk includes three live tracks: "I'm Not Like Everybody Else" by Ray Davies of the Kinks, "Pigeon Toed Girl" by Vernam his own self, and "There Goes My Heart" by Kostas and the Mavericks' Raul Malo.
Band members include multi-instrumentalist Joel Batty (fiddle, mandolin, harp), bassist Mike Marsden, drummer Holly Pintozzi, and lead guitarist Sal Salvato, all veterans of such bands as Freakwater and I-Spy. Vernam handles the vocals and guitar. They're returning to the studio for a full-length CD that will be out later this year. On-stage, they're a tight and rockin' unit that pays little heed to artificial distinctions between musical forms.
Managed by Single File Productions (630-667-4434 or email@example.com), Vernam Cipher is available for bookings in the Midwest and beyond. For a calendar, photos and updates, see http://www.cipherdom.com.
Check out the artist's website:
1. Robert Ryan
2. If You Hadn't Told Me, I Never Would've Guessed
3. Pigeon Toed Girl
4. I'm Not Like Everybody Else
6. There Goes My Heart