While V05 the brand has fallen on hard times, V05 the band is more vital than ever.
The ‘70s brand of hair spray no longer sells at Walgreens, but you can pick up its hot oil treatment for $3.99. Meanwhile, V05, the Madison dance groovesters, are busy getting booties shaking most every weekend all over the Madison area.
The nine-member funk and disco band is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year and is putting out its first-ever album of original music.
And fortunately for band members, Alberto V05 has never come after them for copyright infringement. After all, a Google search finds the band on top, one above the hair-product company.
“We kept thinking that the company would stop us from using their name as our band name, and we’ve never gotten a letter from them,” said band frontwoman Catherine “Cat” Capellaro. “We’re waiting for our cease and desist because it could be good publicity.”
V05 is hardly in need of publicity, particularly in the summer when it draws thousands of fans in dance mode to all the marquee local festivals.
“We are a festival band,” Capellaro said. “We like for people to stretch out and be able to dance in the streets.”
Friday, they play Dane Dances, which they’ve been doing for the past six years, and consider one of their favorite gigs.
“Dane Dances is Madison at its best,” Capellaro said. “It’s the most multi-racial, multi-generational, just free-spirited event that we play.”
The Dane Dances organization has consciously cultivated interracial cooperation, she said. They will usually book a predominantly African-American band opposite V05 “so we can cross-fertilize our audiences. I love that,” Capellaro said.
Dane Dances (with the Christopher Project — R&B and jazz groove — joining V05 Friday) is probably V05’s biggest show each year, said the band’s founder and keyboard player Andrew Rohn. “It’s the most diverse. And it’s just a thrilling setting.”
Likewise, Capellaro calls the setting exquisite. “You’re overlooking the Capitol on one end and the lake on the other. It’s sometimes beastly hot, but the sun goes down and you are just in a little slice of paradise.”
Then you add 3,000 people, most of them dancing, and “it’s a semi-religious experience for me anyway, to see that much joy,” she said.
V05 has done Atwoodfest, in its various incarnations, for seven years. And Memorial Union Terrace — usually UW-Madison’s graduation weekend — all 10 of the band’s years, although one show was near the Terrace, not on the Terrace, Rohn said.
“Those three are sort of landmarks for our summer season,” Capellaro added.
The first configuration of the band came together in 2005 as an offshoot of the theatrical work Capellaro did as a member of Cherry Pop Burlesque, a dance-comedy-striptease-aerial dance group active at the time. Rohn, who is married to Capellaro, formed a band to back up the group.
“We just discovered that we all agreed Madison needed a dance band and there was music out there that we didn’t want to let die,” Capellaro said.
The band plays mostly music from the ’70s — the Bee Gees, ABBA, the Jackson Five, Sly and the Family Stone. Songs like “Fire” by the Ohio Players, Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive,” Kool and the Gang’s “Celebration,” or the more recent Daft Punk hit “Get Lucky” get most everyone onto the dance floor.
Lately they’ve been sprinkling in originals from their upcoming album, “Dance Originality,” which is also a track on the CD.
John Feith, the band’s guitar player, produced and engineered the album in his basement. Feith said while band members have had ideas for songs all along, it’s come together in the last six months, with five of the band’s nine members contributing songs.
“It’s been a challenge getting nine people coordinated to come and record, but since we did it in our home studio, we were able to take our time and fit everybody’s schedule,” he said.
They also had to work around the schedules of the four extra horn players who played on the album. “I think everybody’s really happy with all of the songs,” Feith said.
Trying to complete the project this summer has been difficult since summer is V05’s peak season and they often play gigs every weekend, said Feith, who wrote three songs on the album. Rohn wrote two, as did bass player Drew Szabo.
Ready or not, the band is holding a CD release Oct. 24 at the High Noon Saloon.
“It wasn’t the perfect process,” Rohn said, noting that the group workshopped some of the songs but didn’t figure out a way to help band members who really hadn’t written songs before. “Hopefully we will try again.”
The band originally came together to play covers and is proud to play the hits of others, Capellaro said.
They first appeared in public at the Mad Cabaret at the now-defunct Slipper Club and did a few numbers there, she recalled. Then they started playing at the Weary Traveler and on small stages.
“And we found that wherever we went there was a happy feeling and a happy party going on,” Capellaro said.
They now have about 150 songs in their repertoire, Rohn said.
In terms of the band’s longevity, it has stayed together through the years because of the love they have for each other and the music they’re making, Capellaro said, noting that the experience can feel profound.
“We make people dance and I think they’re happy,” she said. “And I think we’re all a little better for it.”