Band brings back the ’80s

Drew Chalfant

They may look like Whitesnake, smell like Motley Crue and drink like Guns N’ Roses but the boys of Legal In Vegas insist they are here not to imitate, but to dominate.

“Each song is pretty much about how bad ass we are,” said Jarrod Buten, drummer for the band and a junior RTV major. Embodied in this single statement are the all the ideals associated with the brand of rock LIV is hoping to bring back to the world.

Forming in May 2005 with the addition of bassist Jeff Snyder, a Northern Kentucky University alumni with a degree in RTV, the band realized quickly the direction they wanted their music to take.

“We want to bring back the party that was lost,” Snyder said, referring to the glory days of 80s hair metal and all that it encompasses. The colossal egos, unending parties and break neck lifestyle associated with the genre are exactly what LIV are all about. “Live it up, ‘cuz you’re gonna die tomorrow,” said lead vocalist Kyle Harden.

The true essence of LIV is found in their live shows. Donning elaborate vintage outfits, more makeup than a Mary Kay woman and enough attitude to put you in your place with a single scowl, the band projects a distinct presence wherever they are.

“People want to see a show,” said guitarist Adam Flora, a junior RTV major. “Rock’n’roll is an escape from your everyday life.”

The band is quick to point out that they are not a novelty act, nor are they simply imitating the rock gods of yesteryear.

“There’s nothing fake about us. We’re applying a concept, not an image,” Harden said.

Included in this concept are even stage alter egos for the members. Bassist Snyder, drummer Buten, guitarist Flora and lead singer/guitarist Harden become DJ Vegas, Gunner, Goodtime and Rocky Rude, respectively.

Looking the part seems to be a central focus for the band. With many of their contemporaries fresh out of the seemingly cookie cutter ‘image factory for guys in a band,’ LIV strives to put a little more swagger in their strut. “If you walk and talk like a rock star, you’ll be a rock star,” Buten said.

They understand however that not everyone is going to be hip to their look or sound. “The people that get us love us,” said Snyder, who insisted that underneath it all, they are normal guys. “Crack open a beer with us and you’ll be our best friend.”

Pulling from a variety of influences, ranging from (of course) ’80s arena rock to modern day emo, the band’s sound is a nice blend of hard driving rock and carefully planned hooks. They are currently playing around Cincinnati with plans of world domination getting underway this summer.

If you want to catch Legal In Vegas around town they will be rocking out The Loft, above Tickets in Covington, Ky., Feb. 17 and the Mad Hatter in Covington March 18. Also be sure to check them out online at