HAGAMAN, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A Hagaman native rocked the stage with his Nashville-based band “True Villains” on “America’s Got Talent” (AGT) on Tuesday, August 1. Lead guitarist Tim Venerosa and the True Villains performed a cover of Billie Eilish’s hit “Bad Guy,” giving it a rock twist that brought not only the crowd, but the judges to their feet, earning four yeses.

At the top of the band’s audition, Venerosa, a graduate of Amsterdam High School, was quick to credit his mother, Joan, as inspiration to audition for the show. Venerosa said his mother has been a fan of the show since day one.

“It took her a couple years to persuade me,” said Venerosa about auditioning to judge Simon Cowell. “But here we are, and it’s a huge blessing to be able to have this audience.”

When I asked Venerosa what the reaction has been like since performing on AGT, he described it as overwhelming, but the best feeling in the world.

“[It’s been] overwhelming, honestly! I’ve been a full-time musician in Nashville for over 10 years now, and we have been a band grinding it out in Nashville since about 2017. It’s honestly been the best feeling in the world to see the positive feedback for True Villains after having a platform like AGT to get the band into so many people’s living rooms. We’re excited to see what the future holds!”

Venerosa says he first moved to Nashville in 2012, and as he entered the music scene there, he was always on the lookout for musicians that shared the same passion for rock and roll as he did, despite Nashville hosting predominantly country-based music artists.

“The drummer of True Villains, Matt Carter, and I met while we were attending Musicians Institute in Los Angeles,” said Venerosa. “We reconnected once he moved to Nashville a few years after I did and discovered we both had a passion for having our own project in the rock genre. We originally had a few different band members in the very early days before the band even had a name, and ultimately ended up finding our singer Beau Lastavich on Craigslist through a post. That was our final attempt to find a great vocalist. He replied to the ad when he was still living in Minnesota and moved down to Nashville a couple of weeks later. The combination of guys we have is great honestly. Everyone brings something unique to the table! It takes quite a while to find people who are serious about pursuing this as a career, especially in an original project. It is a rollercoaster trying to figure it out.”

True Villains

The payoff has been a long time coming for the band and the longtime guitarist. After graduating from Amsterdam High School, Venerosa attended Musicians Institute in Los Angeles to obtain his associate of arts in guitar performance. He says he’s been playing guitar for “probably” 24 years now, roughly 11 years professionally in Nashville. I asked Venerosa if playing music was always his goal, and it was clear his sights were set on music ever since his mother bought him a guitar for Christmas many years ago.

“My ‘B’ dream, if you will, has always been to play music, period. Since my mother bought me a guitar for Christmas many years ago that’s all I’ve ever wanted to do since then. I’ve worked really hard, and been very blessed to be able to wake up and only worry about playing music for many years now which comes with its own set of challenges. The ‘A’ dream has always been to be in a rock band with my friends, playing the music that we love and [creating] together. That aspect of what True Villains is is why we all started playing instruments in the first place. Playing along to Guns N’ Roses and Metallica tunes as a teenager in your bedroom, just dreaming about one day being able to do the same thing.”

With four yeses, the band advanced to the next round on the popular TV talent show, which airs every Tuesday on NBC. The live shows of the competition begin Tuesday, August 22.