Scene & Heard

Punk rock never grows old: Vampirates celebrate 20 years

SPRINGFIELD – There was a time when The Vampirates used to get a little wild onstage, and “sometimes even beat the (heck) out of each other a little bit,” recalls drummer Dave Masud.

“We were playing a show in France, and someone there said they liked our music but they couldn’t describe it,” Masud said Thursday night at The Spot, where The Vampirates played as part of their 20th anniversary tour. “So someone wrote it out, and it said we were ‘Zappa Violence.’ I thought, that’s awesome. We’re all Zappa fans anyway, so I said we’re adopting that as our genre.” 

Now that the band is celebrating its 20th year, this hardcore punk rock band still delivers with a bang – but also treads with caution. 

“We have two guys now on crutches,” said Masud, who turned 40 on Monday. “We’re more reserved now. The music is just as ferocious, but the stage antics have toned down a bit.”

Unfortunately, in 2014, they encountered one person in Florida who thought the musicians themselves were ferocious. He actually accused them of being terrorists. 

In 2014, the band went on a European tour in the middle of a U.S. tour. They were going through Florida and stopped in St. Petersburg, where they were staying with their promoter after a show. They carried in a few boxes of records so they wouldn’t melt in the Florida heat. 

“The next day we were carrying our records back out to the van, and there was a neighbor who was very inquisitive and we weren’t very conversational with him,” Masud said. “We just left, and this guy got so suspicious that he got the idea we were terrorists who were going to bomb the gay pride parade that was happening. He called the police and told them we were Middle Eastern-looking guys with beards and we had boxes with explosives.

“The van was in my name and I had a Palestinian last name. They came out and tore the promoter’s place to shreds looking for bombing materials. There was a reporter who picked up the story and then kind of misquoted me, so there was all this misinformation going around. They even used a picture of us in front of the Eiffel Tower, so people thought we went to jail in Europe. It was very unfortunate for the promoter, we felt really terrible for him.” 

Bass player Pat Mayfield echoed Masud’s sentiments. 

“We felt really bad about it,” Mayfield said. “A very generous person who had just helped us out had his whole place turned upside-down. And there was a different time in St. Pete – not the same year – when one of our band members had guns drawn on them for no reason.” 

Mayfield lives in Sweet Home, where he and his partner Kate have been raising organic pork and chicken since 2018. 

“Kate has been in agriculture for a long time, and I do construction work, building houses in Eugene,” Mayfield said. “I’ve always said that music is not a job –  it’s a lot of work but it’s a lot of fun.”

Mayfield says he sees no reason why The Vampirates can’t keep playing for another 20 years. “We’re all very passionate about being in a music project and taking this thing seriously,” Mayfield said. “We’re very aware of that and the three of us have something very special and every time we get together and play we can feel that and people tell us the same thing.

“We love doing what we do, and we don’t want to stop.”

The Spot caters to all age groups, all types of musical tastes, and also features special events and a full gameroom. 



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