Going into my first interview, I had no idea what to expect. I had never interviewed anyone, and I wanted it to be perfect. I had no recorder, no computer…just a legal pad and a pen with sixteen questions written on the front page. I felt like it was my first day of school, and I had a point to prove. It turned into the feeling of having coffee with an old friend. Dustin Liggett (or Dustin Danger to his fans) has a vision – and it is to inspire – and inspire is exactly what he did to me.
Dustin grew up with music surrounding him. His dad sang in the gospel group Vision and he would tour with him on the weekends. At the age of 10 he began drum lessons, at 15 he received his first guitar, he majored in music at Greenville College, and in 2001 he began a band with his brother, Jason. The Villens started out as a 5 man band inspired by the likes of Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, and Snoop Dogg. Today, The Villens are a two man show, Dustin and Jason, who are taking the local punk scene by storm. Although they write their own music, The Villens sometimes do “jukebox” covers where they will take 20 songs and condense them into 5 minute segments of awesome. The latest “jukebox” consisted of Taylor Swift, Weezer and Chuck Berry.
Here are The Villens covering The Beach Boys with a “jukebox” thrown into the mix at Vintage Villains in Danville during Cover Up for the Holidays:
While Dustin’s heart is in producing music, he plays multiple instruments. He told me all about his “string instrument addiction” that ranges from the ukulele to the cuban tres guitar. He likes to learn 20 – 30 minute segments on each instrument to be able to pull out different strings at any given moment at his shows.
The Villens have toured all over Vermilion County as well as 7 different states. While he says he cannot pick a favorite venue outside of the VC, some of the amazing places he’s played include CBGB’s in NYC, Sudsy Malone’s in Cincinnati which is a laundromat/bar where you can have a drink and listen to live music while doing your laundry, a pirate house party in Decatur, and the base at Ft. Campbell. Inside the VC, Dustin says he loves playing at Vintage Villains, but wherever the venue may be in our town, the crowd is always what makes the show.
Dustin has a passion to inspire the people of Danville and is excited about the underlying hope and “rumbling” that has been happening in our area for the last year or so. He is excited to see that people are really trying to change the outlook of our town. “Bad times define you just as much as the good times.” He takes advice from the inspiring messages from Les Brown about how circumstances do not dictate the possibilities. Even though Danville can be overshadowed by Champaign and Chicago, there is a buzz happening that is making the Danville scene explode with opportunity.
Dustin’s vision is to be “more than a band.” Like most musicians, he started out dreaming big about having a record deal and making it onto the big scene. That dream has changed now that he has two daughters and is more grounded living in Oakwood. He now plays music and does what he does to make sure people know they can do it too. He wants people to come to his shows to participate and feel like they are a part of something. I really enjoyed his insight that there are two major moments in life: the first one is being born; the second one is realizing the “why” we were born. His realization is that he was born to inspire.
A big part of that inspiration right now is focused on Vermilion County. In his upcoming show at Cowboy Monkey in Champaign, he is planning on “hijacking” their county and showing them that “something is happening” in Danville. This show will be February 20th at the Coco Butter Kids’ CD release party. Part 2 of The Villens Vermilion County takeover will be March 11th at Bently’s from 9:00pm – 1:00am where they will share the stage with The Third Wheels (who are also from Danville).
You can visit The Villens here and hear all of their music from 2003-current for free here. Dustin is also working on a book project called “Rebelsfare Collective” where he gives local writers a creative outlet and a space to publish their work. You can purchase Volume 1 on Amazon here, and you can also check it out here. While Volume 1 showcases 3 different local authors, Volume 2 (due out later this year) will showcase 7 local authors. The project is growing and is giving Vermilion County writers a place to call home.
So listen, friends – check this guy out! He makes me so excited about what people are doing here in the VC and is a beautiful reminder that the power of positivity is a force to be reckoned with. Get inspired!
Peace & Love,
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