Vega4: 4 To Watch

Vega4 - Not Your Average Life on the Road

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Vega4: 4 To Watch

Hometown: London, England

Members: Johnny McDaid (vocals, guitar—pictured), Bruce Gainsford (guitar), Gavin Fox (bass), Bryan McLellan (drums)

Fun fact: As a teen, Johnny McDaid took guitar lessons from John O’Neill of the Undertones. For tenpence a session, he “learned how to play ‘Teenage Kicks!’”

Why they’re worth watching: With Snow Patrol producer Garret “Jacknife” Lee behind them, their major-label debut You And Others echoes that band’s majestic vibe.

For fans of:   U2, Travis, Snow Patrol

Tink-tink-tink! Vega4 frontman Johnny McDaid is all too familiar with the sound—that of a billy club rapping on the window of his roadside-parked MG, waking him. The singer always had a handy excuse. “With the cops I’d say, ‘Oh, my car just stopped—it was overheating!’” he snickers. “And the car was a ’78, so it was totally believable.” Which was good, since no of?cer would’ve bought the truth: Fresh from a breakup and tired of paying exorbitant English rent, McDaid simply moved out of his ?at and decided to live in his car for a while. “And an old MG was a really stupid choice, ’cause it’s so tiny,” he says. “But I had my guitar and my suitcase in there, and I lived like that for a year, writing songs in the front seat of my car.”

Did the experience lead to such windshield-view chimers as “Traf?c Jam” and “Life Is Beautiful?” Absolutely, says McDaid, 30, who admits to a few spooky midnights “where the moon was full and I’d see shadows and think someone was right in front of me, some ghost. But I didn’t sleep in there every night,” he clari?es. “I had friends around the country, so I crashed a lot. Not the car. I’d crash at their houses.”

Paradise by the dashboard light? “Well, I’m certainly no bohemian hippie, and I do love luxury,” declares McDaid, who ?nally, happily, rented a new apartment with a stove and shower. Even his old busking life in Leicester Square was luxurious—he often raked in as much as $400 a day there and developed the vocal-projection skills he now employs in Vega4. The upshot? “Hey—a year in a midget car and look at me now!” he says, before going onstage. “I just live in a bigger car now—a tour bus!”

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