South Shore–based band the Quins will come to the Vineyard to perform a concert at the Ritz in Oak Bluffs on Saturday, June 1, as part of their See Ya Never summer tour. The Quins have been making a name for themselves in New England for the past few years playing throwback rock influenced by blues, punk, classic rock, and soul.
“Sometimes it feels like a dead format,” says singer and guitarist Quincy Medaglia, “but we really believe in this music, and the people who are on board with us are all the way on board.”
The band started as a studio project when Quincy gained access to a Boston University recording studio via a friend who was a student there. After a few false starts, the lineup was solidified with Quincy’s cousin Donny Hayes on bass, Dave Petti on drums, and Robbie Sturtevant sharing guitar and vocal duties. At the time, Robbie was only 17 years old.
“I’d dropped out of school,” he said, “and my dad happened to be laid off, so he and I went on a monthlong trip to Texas, over to Nashville and back. I recorded a solo EP in Florida and busked on the streets of New Orleans and Nashville. When I got home, I joined the Quins. I’m 24 now. Crazy times.”
The band has been grinding ever since, playing both small dive bars and festivals like Levitate and the Boston Freedom Rally. They’ve released two albums, the most recent being 2017’s “Beach Hill.” They have a new album slated for this fall.
“Playing in a band with my cousin is so fun and rewarding,” Donny said. “Quincy and I grew up together. My dad was an integral part of us both learning guitar and bass. We have been playing in several projects together since we were teens. We have great energy and chemistry. Same with Dave and Robbie, who grew up playing together.”
When you talk to the Quins, family is a subject that comes up a lot. Quincy fondly recalls his father’s collection, which introduced him to music at a young age: “He had this giant walk-in closet dedicated to his entire collection, which included vinyls, reel-to-reels, and cassette tapes. He had everything, I mean everything. He listened to anything that caught his ear, new stuff, old stuff. He didn’t discriminate, any style or genre. He would listen on these big fat headphones or speakers with one of these receivers from the ’70s with the tubes. I remember bringing him heavier music that I was into in middle school like System of a Down, and he would say, ‘I can see why you like this’; it was never, ‘What’s this crap?’ He was always open, especially with music.”
The band members all share a love of classic rock. Dave Petti lists Led Zeppelin as an early influence alongside ’90s acts like the Foo Fighters and Rage Against the Machine. Robbie name-checked the Rolling Stones, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Jimi Hendrix as early influences. “I also really like funk and soul like Bill Withers, P-Funk, and Kool & the Gang,” he said.
While the Quins have their sights set high, they’ve developed their sound and stage presence in an intimate Wednesday-night residency they play in a Plymouth bar.
“We can set up and play for three hours with our eyes closed at this point,” Quincy said with a laugh, “and the crowd that shows up has new people every week. That’s really encouraging. By the end of the night, nine times out of 10 it’s completely packed, and we do an epic half-hour set to close it out. It’s so encouraging, it gives us hope for what we can do. It also serves as our practice time, which we don’t really have time to do. Donny and I both have kids, and Dave works full-time, so most nights we are all free we are playing a gig.”
They recently debuted a music video for their song “Bright and New” that captured some raucous dive bar antics. “This music video is really special to me,” Donny said. “Biddy Early’s is my favorite bar in Boston. My close friends the Moylan brothers own it. A lot of my friends go there, and also work there. My 10-year high school reunion was there. So when they approached us about doing a shoot there, I ran with it and never looked back.”
The band is excited to be hitting the road for a run of shows that will take them from Vermont to Pennsylvania. While the road can be rough, the band is optimistic. “What drives us as a band is following our dreams, doing the thing that we love the most,” Donny explained, “and making great friends along the way. The New England music scene is a special thing, and we are proud and lucky to be a part of it alongside so many great acts.”
As far as the Island, Dave put it pretty simply: “I love playing on the Vineyard. There are a lot of cool people there, and everyone is at the Ritz to have a good time!”
The Quins play at the Ritz, Saturday, June 1, 9 pm. For more info, go to thequinsband.com.
This article by Luke Vose originally appeared on mvtimes.com.