Last Armistice, a Northern Virginia-based alternative rock band, was named the D.C. Area Deli magazine’s band of the month for April 2015. The band’s core group of fans, a collection of friends and family who have been supporting the group since it started, showed out to help them win the contest, which is based on a poll on the Deli’s website.
“It felt right. It was a long time coming in that contest because we were behind and then all of the sudden we jumped up ahead by like double the votes of the person in second place,” said Robbie Davis, Last Armistice’s drummer. “It was cool. It was another validation for what we think is a good band. For a lot of other people to agree and for us to even be considered to be running in the contest, it was very uplifting.”
The accolade is the latest momentum-builder for the band since they came together in late 2012, when the band’s lead singer and guitarist Patrick Garvey, Davis and original and former bassist Michael Holly were working together at the Guitar Center in Seven Corners.
Garvey was in a two-man band with Steven Polendey, Last Armistice’s other guitarist, after the duo met during a regular jam session at the Woodbridge campus of Northern Virginia Community College. According to Garvey, putting the band together was as simple as realizing that he was working with a bass player and a drummer and asking them to join the group.
Since then, they’ve been practicing out of Garvey’s house in Woodbridge. By Garvey’s description, they’re a garage band and spending some time with the group revealed that their morale reflects the description. They’re fun. They don’t take themselves too seriously. For example, as of press time the group’s Facebook page says that the band’s interests are “cigarettes, drinking, and crude humor.”
“I try not to take things too seriously,” Polendey said. “I mean, I take the band seriously, but as far as music….I feel like when people take music too seriously it loses the magic of playing.”
But there’s an earnestness to the group that can’t be mistaken. Garvey originally wanted to name the band Armistice, in the tradition of 90s bands Nirvana and Sublime, but since that name was already taken by a Canadian indie pop band, Davis suggested the name Last Armistice.
“I was kind of the proponent of saying let’s call ourselves Last Armistice,” Davis said. “If there’s going to be an armistice, let’s make it the last time we have to put down arms.”
Their band name isn’t the only suggestion that this group of twenty somethings are asking big picture questions, and suggesting big picture answers, with their music. Garvey said he wrote the song “Nostalziac,” which was first recorded for a collection of live music simply titled Live Collection, when he was a teenager. The song has an opening riff that’s reminiscent of the 90s and the lyrics and melody follows that tradition, too.
“That song specifically was about a lot of things and the funny thing about songs is that…the meaning changes but the feeling stays the same,” Garvey said. “That song’s kind of like therapy for me. Whenever I worry and I worry a lot about really nonsense things for hours at a time and if I can’t get can’t to sleep at night and I’m trying to figure out what’s going on with my life, that song’s a good example of me telling me hey, dude don’t worry about it. It’s going to be fine.”
One example of that problem of worrying that Garvey gave was the recent departure of Holly from the group. His departure came at a time when the band was building more momentum than they ever had and having to find a new bassist, which they have, kind of slowed that momentum.
Garvey, Polendey and Davis said they don’t have any hard feelings toward Holly – they said they were understanding of the circumstances surrounding his departure – and, in fact, they are all going to be groomsmen in Holly’s wedding this year. But their feelings were hurt.
“I also felt like betrayed/hurt because it’s like he’s giving up on us. I felt like oh, we’re not worth your time anymore and I know that’s not the truth, but I can’t help but feel like that,” Davis said. “We’ve been together for two years and all the sudden you’re going to leave us. Like damn dude.”
Last Armistice played their first show with their new bassist Brian Nagurny at a benefit concert at Jammin’ Java in Vienna on May 3. The group, who are working on some new music (though the release date has yet to be determined), is tentatively scheduled to play at the Relay for Life on May 16.
• For more information about Last Armistice, visit lastarmistice.bandcamp.com.