Last month (Aug. 1), a Big Lake native rocked the stage with his Nashville-based band “True Villains” on “America’s Got Talent.” Lead singer Beau Lastavich and his True Villains band performed cover hit songs and originals to advance to the semi-finals on the popular TV show.
“Our guitar player’s mother watches the show religiously, and was always saying that there aren’t any rock bands (on the show),” said Lastavich. “So we submitted and made it all the way to the semi-final. It was an awesome experience and we’ve had a lot of great things come from it.”
The band consists of Lastavich (vocals), Tim Venerosa (guitar), Barry Conaway (bass), Matt Carter (drums) and Greg Herndon (keys). Carter and Venerosa met while attending Musicians Institute in Los Angeles and after a few years, re-connected in Nashville. It was these two members who developed the True Villains name that has been around for the last six years.
Lastavich, who studied music at SCSU after graduating from Big Lake High School in 2010, has been playing music for many years after learning to play the piano at a very young age. But he really fell in love with music when he purchased an electric guitar and started learning about rock music.
“I was lucky enough to have some other classmates that were amazing musicians and started jamming with them,” he said. “We would just play a lot of cover songs in my parents garage, eventually we got good enough to start gigging around the area and we were all only about 15/16 years old.
Lastavich, who calls Nashville home now, visits his family home now and then where his mom and dad (Natalie and Nick) still live. He also has a younger sister who also graduated from Big Lake.
Beau one day was searching Craigslist and came upon a band searching for a vocalist for their group. Beau was still living in Minnesota at the time, but he replied to the ad and a few weeks later, moved down to Nashville to audition. Though the guys from the band had hometowns all across the country, Nashville became their home base and according to Lastavich, the band just gelled.
The band plays a good mix of modern rock music as well as throwback sounds.
“(We have) no inspirations as far as the sound. It’s just the culmination of five very different people throwing their sound/vibe in,” said Lastavich.
Some of Lastavich’s vocal inspirations are from famous bands like Aerosmith, Dead Poet Society and BRKN Love.
“I’m really into the singers that are extremely proficient in their instrument,” Beau says.
True Villains has been working with Producer Nick Raskulinecz, who has produced for world famous bands including the Foo Fighters, Rush, Korn, Alice In Chains, Halestorm and a many more great rock bands. Lastavich and his bandmates have been releasing singles of their own music for now with the hope of producing an album in the future.
Many youngsters aspire to gain musical fame, but few get to the level of True Villains. Lastavich has some advice for those looking to break into the business.
“My advice would be to only pursue this career if you truly are in it for the music,” he says. “Because the industry is ever changing and has gotten a lot harder to make money off of. You have to be more strategic. Also become as proficient as possible so that you can adapt.”
“Gelling” as a band can be challenging also.
“The most difficult aspect is being in a band and trying to get five people to agree on the same path to meet a particular goal,” Lastavich says.
Besides being able to see True Villains and Lastavich on National TV shows, the band is touring and has made a few stops in Minnesota over the last year or so including Big Lake’s Spud Fest this past June. They’ve also played at McPete’s in Big Lake, Route 47 in Fridley, Mortimers in Minneapolis and Red Carpet Nightclub in St. Cloud.
“I come home to visit a handful of times every year, but usually only play a couple of shows in Minnesota each year,” Lastavich said.
For those interested in buying the band’s merchandise (hats, t-shirts, etc.), their website can be accessed at: truevillainsnashville.com where one can click on “shop”. Their tour information is on their home page and they have social media pages as well.