Vlad's Skeletal Circus

Creating Theatrical Magic With a Mix of Musical Mayhem & Tongue-in-Cheek Humor

    icon Aug 10, 2023
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Ladies & Gentlemen - I am pleased to report the circus is back in town and it isn’t your traditional variety of Big Top Entertainment. This is a Rock ‘n Roll circus where spooky, sardonic, and cleverly crafted music collides with colorfully costumed characters.

This is the one-and-only Vlad’s Skeletal Circus and their primary goal is to deliver unexpected thrills in a musical and visual spectacle guaranteed to bring joy to all those who gather in search of a rollicking good time.

Reminiscent of earlier pioneer shock-rock bands such as Alice Cooper, Marilyn Manson, and The Tubes, the Ringleader of this posse of musical misfits is none other than lead singer & songwriter Robert Nilsson (aka Vladimir Van Nilsson).

Along with bassist Adam Emmendorfer (The Creature), drummer/sometimes guitarist Connor Zolinski (Buzz Pumpkins), and occasional singer Zob Rombie, the group started gaining traction earlier this year at their colorful appearance at the REVIEW’s 2023 Music Awards Ceremony, where they were nominated in several categories, including Best New Artist.  Most recently, they took first place at The Vault’s Battle of the Bands competition, and have been turning heads and perking ears ever since.

When asked how and why they joined forces and what they are out to achieve, the answer comes down to the pure joy of entertainment. “I moved to Bay City from Florida four years ago and had already been doing that spooky niche rock ‘n roll down there, so wanted to find a band and some dudes to indulge me in the chaotic stuff that I do,” explains Vlad. “As a band our number one goal is to entertain and music comes second to us. We love to entertain and put on a show. It’s a circus and what do you do with a circus but have a good time.”

Because the circus is designed to appeal to all ages and interests, the group’s influences are all over the board. “I enjoy artists like guitarist Dick Dale, the country songs of Johnny Cash, and Cuban-American artist Aurelio Voltaire, who’s a big favorite of mine,” he continues. “We also take stuff like The Stray Cats and mash it up, because our bass player is a metal head to the core, digging into Metallica and Megadeth and those kind of bands.” Additionally, all three members are big Classic Rock fans.

“This is the first group I’ve been in and wasn’t sure how it would go, listening to some of Vlad’s recordings, but decided I’d give it a go,” explains Connor. “My favorite thing is that he gives us creative freedom when making music, so we can come to the table with whatever we create and he’ll go, ‘Hell, yeah!’ He’s never given me any crap about what I play and that’s my favorite part about being in this group. I’m actually a guitar player, but I drum in this band because they needed a drummer and started out as a two-piece.”

“Although we have multiple musical influences, we try to be consistent with our theme,” explains Vlad. “Everything is tongue-in-cheek and the lyrics are kind of silly and spooky. I like to say our sound is like Alice Cooper meets The White Stripes.”

While Adam compares their sound to a 1980s B-Horror movie with music in terms of being campy and a lot of fun, Connor clarifies it more by noting, “Our originals consist of story songs with a theme, but musically we keep it pretty simple. We’re not playing King Crimson here, but we play to our strengths and try and write fun catchy songs and not be taken too seriously. We’re not technical guys.”

While the group says they have composed about 40 originals, they perform about 25 live on a regular basis, and thus far have recorded seven. “The way I see it, because we’re a circus every song we write and perform is a different act, continues Vlad. “I ride a unicycle, I juggle, I ride the rollerball, and we do circus tricks. Anything to catch the eye.”

“We do all this while performing everything from Punk Rock to 3-piece Classic Rock, and sometimes we’ll throw a keyboard in,” interjects Adam. “We do what we can, but don’t do samples or any looping stuff. Usually we play anywhere that will have us, but up to now usually stick to the Tri-Cities. We’ve played in Detroit a couple times, and are regularly booked at places like Bemo’s, White’s and the 702.”

“We’ve been getting a lot of traction especially over the last few months because we’re such a head-turner,” notes Vlad. “People go where it’s fun and we’ll throw candy out to people because we treat our fans right and they treat us right. We play Country and Rap shows and regardless of the musical genre, all the audiences really like us and have a lot of fun. We like each other’s chemistry and people can tell if you care.”

When asked if there was anything else awesome about the band they would like to share with readers, Vlad notes that in addition to the band, he also performs as a comic regularly at the Hamilton St. Pub, and wants to thank all the fans that support the group’s endeavors.

“We love that all our fans share our photos and videos, and would also like to give a shout out to Creativid, who has helped us a lot. We also want to thank all the fans for getting us nominated at this year’s Music Awards. We didn’t win any trophies because expectations run low for us, but we had tons of people telling us what a blast we were mingling with the crowd and gooning on the dance floor.”

“Our next big goal is to start performing at any and all horror conventions that we can.”

Be sure to check out Vlad’s Skeletal Circus on their facebook page, YouTube channel, Spotify, and all streaming services.

And here's some of their links to check out:










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