What is Little Vicious?
Little Vicious is a three piece riff-rock band currently located in Asbury Park, NJ.
Known for their electric live sets that usually end in spilled whiskey and broken strings, LV has toured across the states and garnered authentic praise from seasoned industry members and new fans alike.
They have opened for Supersuckers, Gang of Four, Ruby the Hatchet, the Yawpers, Demob Happy, Endless Monster (OFF!), Bask and In the Whale.
The constantly mutating project is the creation of frontwoman Marguerite King. And it doesn't suck.
It came from the ocean.
Moved west to the mountains, through deserts - and came back more rock and roll than ever.
Little Vicious was formed in late 2015.
Marguerite King’s previous, Colorado-based punk band of all star females, the B.A.B.E.S., dissolved upon the departure of their primary front woman, Steph Jay.
Jay was main hook-slinger for live hip-hop group, Wasteland Hop, and upon pairing with King under the B.A.B.E.S. name, the product resulted in a band that was half Fleetwood Mac, half Black Sabbath - with giant, female balls.
King moved from drums and vocals to lead guitarist and vocalist for the newly formed Little Vicious - at the time, just a two piece with Colorado native Eric Pierce on drums. Within the first month of the band, Little Vicious went on to win first place in the Colorado Fresh Talent Showcase, recruiting bassist Brian Miller and opening for bands such as the Supersuckers, the Yawpers and In the Whale. They recorded a full length debut album and released it at a sold out, highly acclaimed show consisting of two 45 minute sets in their first hometown - Fort Collins, Colorado.
This was within their first four months as a band.
Gaining momentum quickly and genuinely, Little Vicious looked East to bigger opportunities. King, as a New Jersey native, decided to move the band back to the Tri-State area.
King had been performing as a classical pianist since the age of seven, and had been in and out of countless outfits whether it be pop-punk, folk, hip-hop or heavy metal. Her history in New Jersey (which she left at the age of 20 for Colorado) was still very relevant, and King knew Little Vicious would have incredible potential to grow in a highly creative, venue dense area that she was already connected with.
Little Vicious made the move in September 2016 to Asbury Park, New Jersey. Their bassist, Brian Miller, did not join them.
King and Pierce proceeded to carry on as a two piece. Their most common response from fans was (and still is) - “For two people, I can’t believe how huge the music sounds.”
Shortly after their transition to the East Coast, Little Vicious began taking over venues and hearts throughout the area. They co-headlined the Bond Street Basement New Year’s Eve Bash 2017 in downtown Asbury Park, and immediately dove into recording their next album and playing as many shows as possible.
The Wonder Bar, the Saint, Millhill, The Delancey, Bowery Ballroom, Our Wicked Lady, The Barbary, Mercury Lounge, Kung Fu Necktie - Little Vicious kept getting offers and they rarely turn down a gig. The attention the powerful force of two people commanded turned heads in every venue they visited, and Little Vicious quickly became the band to call if you wanted heavy, dance inducing rock and roll.
Eventually the band enveloped bassist Dan Kazcak and became a power trio once again. After playing a cover set as Cream for the Asbury Park Zombie Walk at the Wonder Bar, they unfortunately parted ways with Kazcak as their lifestyles were not initially as close as the band members thought.
It was mid 2017.
King had been running a tequila bar on the boardwalk when her old co-worker, Jon Stolpe, came in complaining of how he just wanted to play bass, but his band was on hiatus. King complained of how she couldn’t find a bassist. As per usual for the LV chronicles, Stolpe melded into the now three-piece as auxiliary bassist while his other project, NJ pop-punk heroes, the Moms, were on hiatus.
By January, Little Vicious was playing the Stone Pony as local support.
The upcoming album, Dark Country, was completed at this point. Produced and engineered by Pete Steinkopf, guitarist and primary songwriter of the Bouncing Souls, the band was itching to get the album out as soon as possible.
Fate, or whatever, had other ideas.
Eric Pierce and Marguerite King’s relationship as friends had deteriorated to bandmates and only that.
King felt the self-induced strain of running everything and not accepting help; Pierce was grappling still with the relocation across the country. After the first Stone Pony show, they made the choice to part ways.
Two months prior, Little Vicious had played a show at Our Wicked Lady in Brooklyn. A young man named Matt Lauritsen had approached King with sheer excitement of seeing LV live. He mentioned he was a drummer and simply wanted to offer his genuine happiness of seeing a band create rad music for themselves, and affecting others in such a profoundly positive way.
As Pierce was exiting the band, King found herself in a position of question. Powerhouse bassist, an amazing following of fans - and an album waiting to explode, but now no drummer. She reached out to Lauritsen, the bright eyed, six foot five, goofy and pure-hearted drummer she met once at a show. With no guarantee or even promise of what was to happen, King sent Lauritsen the unreleased album and asked him if he might be able to do it - and if he even dug the music.
Two days later, Lauritsen sent back twelve GoPro videos of himself drumming perfectly to every track on the album.
Little Vicious was now an even more charismatic unit.
Matt Lauritsen on drums: calmly, strongly, passionately driving the beat forward with cognisant focus, finally able to play in a band to the music he loved with expert technical skill.
Jon Stolpe: holding down the bass and occasional backup vocals. Sometimes loud, always stoned - and quietly keeping the songs rooted in the blues while helping develop the new singles seeping out through the walls at practice.
And of course, Marguerite King: the dynamic, unapologetic, wild-woman of a songwriter, performer and musician whose strength and drive alone ignited an entire town to follow Little Vicious on their mission to save the world with rock and roll.
The band was skyrocketing.
They teamed up and signed to GrindEthos Records based in Brooklyn, NY, after owner and founder Meghann Wright continuously begged King to let her help the band after one beautiful show at Sunnyvale a year prior. King agreed, now that the band fully formed - after all, she doesn’t make a habit of wasting anyone’s time.
Little Vicious re-released their prior album through GrindEthos, as well as a three song EP recorded at Firehouse Studios in Oceanport, NJ that garnered airplay on 90.5 the Night (Brookdale College Radio) and 95.9 the WRAT (NJ’s Number One Alt. Rock Station).
And then, shit hit the fan.
King underwent a very public, very nasty split from her husband and long-time prominent NJ musician, Ron Santee of NJ rock group, The Battery Electric.
Nothing less than a dumb ass high school gossip war exploded throughout Asbury Park, NJ, as the King and Queen of rock and roll decided they were not, in fact, a team any longer.
Amid the chaos of trying to play guitar and not acknowledge taunts, Little Vicious had to let the rock-solid bassist Jon Stolpe go.
As true heroes do, Stolpe approached King on the grounds of torment, reiterating the pain that was exacerbated by the pull between the two very strong bands Stolpe was involved in. The Moms were in their tenth (yes, tenth) year as a band and were gearing up for a long tour - a tour at the same time Little Vicious was supposed to make their first tour through the east coast.
Everything was spinning.
Because on paper, everything was there: the music, the image, the following. But somehow, simultaneously, the entire core of the band was falling apart. King found herself, again, missing an integral part of the band with the absence of Stolpe.
King had filled in, on a whim, with a local band as a rhythm guitarist. Shit, she didn’t even know proper chords, being self-taught on guitar. But she could follow a riff.
Tara Elliott and the Red Velvets were performing, and before King knew it, the other guitarist, Scott Rescigno, and herself were drinking tequila at the edge of the boardwalk, lamenting about how difficult it was to play for such a stickler of a singer. How badly they wanted to get out of Asbury Park, NJ.
The question left King’s mouth before she realized it:
“You can play bass if you play guitar, you wanna fill in on bass for my band and tour down to New Orleans and back?”
The first time Rescigno played with Little Vicious was at the Sea.Hear.Now Festival’s official afterparty. It was such a raucous event, King was fired from her job over it - and she was happy about it. Now free to fully pursue music, the newly reformed Little Vicious left on tour - the Voodoo Tour.
The Voodoo Crew was a beautiful, irreplaceable, moment-in-time lineup.
King on guitar, Lauritsen on drums - and the charismatic, wonderfully sardonic Scott Rescigno on bass.
For three weeks there was magic.
Little Vicious left for three and a half weeks over Halloween on the Voodoo Tour, sharing eight dates with touring warriors Black Magic Flower Power (FKA Black Pussy). They played everywhere they could, and developed a financially sound merch business as the love from fans grew down the coast like wildfire. Ending at House of Independents back in Asbury Park, the Voodoo Crew was an absolute rock and roll machine fueled by whiskey and riffs.
Winter came, LV was offered New Year’s Eve at HOI for an extravagant event: the house band for four hours at the 90’s vs 2000’s themed event. Covers? LV doesn’t do covers, let alone Miley Cyrus or Ke$ha.
Except they did. Bringing in auxiliary guitarist and long time friend Casey Bowen for guitar, vocals, percussion and song/set composition, the strange spin off of Little Vicious dubbed POP VICIOUS was created. They played four, hour long sets non-stop, mashing up every type of artist from Run DMC to Cake to Queens of the Stone Age to Fall Out Boy to Britney Spears - the total track list of samples was 58 songs.
POP VICIOUS rang in the New Year to over 700 people; the venue was at capacity the entire night.
Everything was great. Little Vicious ruled the city as rock and rolls bad asses with no question.
And then - you guessed it, a band member had to pursue a different road.
Matt Lauritsen bluntly told King and Rescigno (who was now a staple member of LV) he couldn’t commit to the March tour King was already in the process of booking. Lauritsen and his woman, photographer Shannon Thomas, were in the middle of deciding whether to move to Nashville, TN.
King was devastated.
The core band, newly hired tour manager and friend Ryan Harrington, and Casey Bowen flew down to Orlando, Florida where they proceeded to record a live, outlaw country album. You read that right, I promise.
Country Vicious was born, the greatest outlaw country band that existed for roughly two weeks. A Spinal Tap-esque mockumentary is currently in production that was filmed on site while the band recorded and lived in a motorcycle shop - Standard Motorcycle Co.
Little Vicious had hooked up with the motorcycle crew when they played a secret show at SMC with Black Pussy. Other notable events at the moto co-op turned venue, barber shop and media production group include performances by Eagles of Death Metal.
As a hail mary, King hoped the team could convince Lauritsen to stay with the band while in Orlando.
It didn’t work, and now they had a two week tour booked with guarantees but no drummer.
King could feel the pieces pulling.
She herself was dying to leave the North and stay on tour. King had become involved in media and production with Standard Motorcycle Co., stepping in as an integral liaison for the company’s ventures into the music world. In the fullest form of a cliche, King had fallen in love with founder/owner/producer at SMC, Jason Paul Michaels - in Florida, on tour. Her life quickly split between both New Jersey and Florida, managing bands and artists after joining GrindEthos as now an employee. Dark Country was still unreleased and now they had another five song LP of essentially an unplugged Little Vicious session.
There still was no drummer for tour.
By complete luck, King and Rescigno were in Florida at SMC when a local band, Mansfield, held practice right outside the shop.
Austin Scott, a young and charismatic guitarist and songwriter, clicked with King and Rescigno almost immediately. He was a musician, through and through, and was happy to leave at the drop of the hat so long as it was to play music.
King and Rescigno jammed with Scott exactly once before they went back to Jersey and knew they had found their man for tour. It didn’t matter that he wasn’t a full time drummer - Scott knew songs and how to follow them, and his energy on stage was undeniable.
The Stay Vicious Spring Tour started in Asbury Park with Lauritsen’s last show as Little Vicious’ drummer. Teaming up with Brooklyn based glam-garage rock group, Damn Jackals, LV took off down the coast. Effectively flying Scott up to NJ and driving him home to Florida - just “playing a couple shows” along the way.
LV Tour Manager Ryan Harrington met the band in Atlanta with about a week left on tour.
Tensions were building between King and Rescigno - she couldn’t place why. His mocking sarcasm had turned from joke to real meanness. King already knew she just had to finish this tour and then re-assess the entire band, again.
The palpable anxiety between the two took care of itself. With two dates left of the Stay Vicious tour, Rescigno’s role in Little Vicious was effectively terminated when he, in a tequila induced, blacked out rage, engaged King in verbal assault outside of the venue they had just played in Orlando.
Scott Rescigno left Little Vicious after King’s partner, Jason Paul Michaels, had to restrain the bassist physically after Rescigno crossed too many lines.
Ryan Harrington left with him.
King now had a gig to play, and her entire support team was non-existent in a matter of 24 hours. The mental cost of betrayal from her once closest allies was suffocating - paralyzing.
So in true vicious fashion, King pushed on with Austin Scott on drums and finished the tour a two-piece once more.
They went back to Jersey and were direct support for the Supersuckers in a twist of deja vu.
Meanwhile, the gears were already turning on how to resurrect Little Vicious properly once more. The band had gigs booked through June along the coast, there was the idea of hiatus, there was the idea of ending the project finitely.
Marguerite King is a woman who does not stop.
It is a tangible quality that exudes every room she steps into - it is addicting.
Tom Morrison of Jacksonville, FL bands Cardinal Slinky and Audio Hive, recognized that in her when their bands played together on the Stay Vicious tour. King had been equally impressed by his live performance as a drummer, and the shit-eating grin on his face the whole time from pure enjoyment.
Much like herself, Morrison had made the very concrete decision that he would be a professional musician as his career, one way or another. They both had the same level of goals - Wembley Stadium or bust. Give everything along the way.
Rehearsals started in Orlando and Jacksonville, the vibe was there and the magic was real.
As it always does, Little Vicious had a real drummer again. King felt the energy returning to the band with the vitality Morrison brought. His headstrong, unrelenting push to greater things pulled King directly out of her stabbing depression over the loss of her previous band mates; her friends.
Morrison had been waiting for the right project, the right people, to go all in with - and now united with King, it was the perfect match. Hiatus? No longer a necessity. Morrison brought in Greg Black, another guitarist turned bassist. Black heard the new record and immediately was hooked. As a long-time veteran of live music, he too recognized the drive that is King and the opportunities that would come out of the band.
They would continue on - there was no stopping Little Vicious.
The release of Dark Country finally in sight, continuing to tour and book shows, already having gigs opening for Demob Happy, BASK, Cleopatrick and Greta Van Fleet.
Little Vicious started as a two-piece, messy and genuine dream in a garage in Colorado. The band has evolved into a beacon of unrelenting drive, leaving everything it touches better than it was first found.
Marguerite King - vocals, lead guitar
Tom Morrison - drums
Greg Black - bass, vocals
Jon Stolpe - bass (the Moms, NJ)
Austin Scott - drums/vocals
Eric Pierce - drums
Brian Miller - bass
Dan Kazcak - bass
Alex Rodriguez - drums
Matt Lauritsen - drums
Scott Rescigno - bass
Casey Bowen - bass