Vinnie Longhi wanted to spend more time this afternoon talking about his band, The Semi-Supervillains, but he had to get to his class in Duquesne University’s Mylan School of Pharmacy.
You really don’t want to be late for Infectious Disease II.
Tonight, however, The Semi-Supervillains will be providing the cure — get it? — for what might otherwise be a boring evening. The prescription is music and dancing at Club Cafe on the South Side.
Like so many great things, The Semi-Supervillains got their start in a college dorm.
“I lived next door to the bass player our freshman year,” said Mr. Longhi, 22, who plays guitar and serves as the band’s singer-songwriter. “I heard him playing music in the hall of St. Ann’s Hall. Actually, we heard each other, and we started playing together.”
Which led to those five special words: “We should start a band.”
That was in 2010. Today, Mr. Longhi and bass player Ron Rekowski are joined by guitarist Kyle Yoho and drummer Jake Locke for gigs all around the city.
“Our first show was the freshman talent show in 2010,” Mr. Longhi said. “Our second show was the Barroom at Station Square the next week.”
Since then, they’ve played The Smiling Moose, Mr. Small’s, the Hard Rock Cafe, Altar Bar and numerous events on The Bluff, where Mr. Longhi still lives. Mr. Rekowski and the other three live off campus.
“We still practice in the bass player’s parents’ basement in Allentown,” Mr. Longhi said.
The music they play is guitar-driven garage rock. Poppy songs with hooks.
“It’s about my life and the stuff that people between 18 and 22 years old face,” Mr. Longhi said. “Falling in love and getting your heart broken. Typical things that people write songs about.”
The title of the group’s CD, which was released in October, is “Tricks.” But that has nothing to do with the trick of being in a band while trying to get through college. All the members of The Semi-Supervillains are seniors. Only Mr. Locke is studying music.
“I’m studying pharmacy and the others are in random majors like history and political science,” Mr. Longhi said. “The pharmacy is a good fall-back plan for music. It’s a steady career.
“I’m pretty good with managing myself, so I just schedule the shows around the tests. Sometimes I do play a show and the next morning I have a test, but I just start studying a week in advance for that test so I don’t fail it or anything.”
There’s another benefit of studying in Duquesne’s School of Pharmacy. You get the chance to meet Dr. Patrick Flaherty, who also goes by the name “Dr. Fireball” when he’s playing upright bass with The Allegheny Rhythm Rangers.
Did we mention that The Allegheny Rhythm Rangers are opening for The Semi-Supervillains tonight at Club Cafe?
“I’m going to class right now and I’m selling tickets to my friends in class, showing them pictures of me playing next to my professor playing the upright bass. And they’re like, ‘Wow, you’re playing with Dr. Flaherty’s band! That’s so cool!’”
There’s even a chance the two groups might jam together tonight.
Who knows? A good solid dose of music might be just what you need. It also might save the members of The Semi-Supervillains from depressing lives with normal jobs.
“I think we all truly aspire to make music as a career,” Mr. Longhi said. “The bass player is a political science major, so he’s thinking about grad school or law school. But if the music really starts paying the bills, you know, we’ll go with it.
“As long as I graduate pharmacy school first. That’s my dad’s rule.”
You can get into Club Cafe at 56 S. 12th St. tonight at 8 for just $8.
Dan Majors: firstname.lastname@example.org.