If, by any chance, you read the print edition of the Sunday New York Times, as I did around two in the morning, perhaps you, too, were arrested by the full-page advertisement on A23. 11-YEAR-OLD, TWIN ROCKERS, VITTORIO AND VINCENZO OF V² SWEEP LOS ANGELES MUSIC AWARDS! blares the headline. There are seven accompanying photographs. “V² rocked the Avalon Theater, leaving no doubt that they owned the night and their 7 nomination categories,” reads one caption. “Standing ‘O’ for Vittorio and Vincenzo, 11-year-old superstars!” says another. The picture is of a bunch of grown-ups; one of them is sort of standing up.
The text is laid out like a news story:
Rock N Roll history was made by Santa Rosa, CA home grown rock sensations, Vittorio and Vincenzo of V² (pronounced V Squared). The boys, who only started playing music a few years ago at Rock Star University, Santa Rosa, became the youngest artists to ever perform at the Los Angeles Music Awards, thrilling the sold out crowd of Hollywood celebrities, music industry executives, and music fans lucky enough to secure a ticket to see these future Rock N Roll Hall of Famers perform. Vittorio and Vincenzo did not disappoint.
Who are these future rock-and-roll hall of famers? Who are their parents? What’s Rock Star University—and who had they beaten out for LA Music Award domination? Naturally, I switched on my phone to find out. After all, by this hour, I assumed, this weird vanity project would have at least put a dent in the Internet.
But the answer was silence. Okay, not total silence—the band has a Web site featuring videos. But that was pretty much it. (To hear their original composition “We Want to Rock You Hard and Fast,” you have to watch twenty-plus minutes of fog-heavy concert footage.) The “news” network, Rock News Around the Web—where the boys get interviewed by an anchor called Natalia Alexander—does not even have a dummy address.
To me, a full-page Sunday ad still felt impossibly momentous; if nothing else, it was expensive. And yet, like the provosts of Rock Star University, I had apparently taken my finger off the pulse. This feels like a new paradigm: we now live in a time when you can take out a full-page ad in the paper of record, heralding twin rock sensations, and not even rate a mention from Gawker.
Here is how one of the video promos starts: a trick driver races a classic car with the vanity plate V 2 ROCKS around some back streets. Two teenaged hotties in stripper cop costumes pull the car over; inside are Vittorio and Vincenzo, dressed in sort of mobster outfits. After refusing to provide a license and registration, they bribe the “cops” with a million-dollar bill, and give them VIP passes to their concert that night.
It looks like the kids may have had a strong hand in writing and directing their material; this is clearly what a ten-year-old would do with a budget. I’m just glad the kids still know the value of print.