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Actor Michael Peña Rejoins His Rock Band Nico Vega, Drops New Music & Summer Tour!

Written by Ashley Parham. Published: March 29 2024


Nico Vega is an indie rock band that formed in 2005 that is unique and innovative while also exuding a classic rock appeal. They have a big, bold sound, but they have also produced beautifully melodic softer rock songs. They have taken a couple brief hiatuses in the past, but now they’re back with their original lineup. This return has been long anticipated, and we’re here for it! Here’s a band history and overview of their discography in case you’re not caught up.


The band is named after actor and founding member Michael Peña’s mother. Peña and guitarist Rich Koehler met Aja Volkman at an open mic event, and they recruited her as their singer. Peña left the band shortly after its formation, but Volkman and guitarist Koehler continued on with drummer Dan Epand. While the band went on to release two full length albums and several EPs, Peña focused on his work as an actor. You’ll probably recognize him from his work in Ant-Man, The Martian, "Narcos", or the most recent season of Prime Video’s “Jack Ryan”. Despite his acting success, Peña has rejoined the band as of last year. The band has found success over the years with their music appearing in various movies, television shows, and video games. We know they’re going to continue to thrive with Peña back in the fold. It’s always exciting when a band returns to its roots, so let’s revisit their discography and achievements!


chooseyourwordspoorly (2006)

The band’s first EP consists of 4 songs. The opening song, “Rabbit In The Bag”, was re-released as part of their debut album in 2009. The closing song, “Beast”, was reworked and re-released as a single for their 2013 EP Fury Oh Fury. This EP is the band’s only work available on streaming services to feature Peña on drums. Chooseyourwordspoorly is a solid debut and a good glimpse into their versatility between gritty rock anthems and softer classic rock influenced tunes.




Nico Vega (2009)

The band’s first full length album feels like a natural evolution from their earliest work. The album features a combination of fast-tempo, punchy rock hits and more low-key melodic songs. Volkman’s vocals shine on this album. The power and grit she is able to put into her voice makes her one of the most compelling modern rock vocalists. The band’s duality from song to song will keep you listening. The 3-track run of “Gravity”, “Be Giving”, and “Iron Man” is a perfectly executed showcase of the band’s sound exploration. The sound goes from making you want to dance, making you want to headbang, and making you sway to the soothing melody. Bands often change their sound from album to album, but Nico Vega succeeds in not limiting themselves to a single genre expectation on any given album.




Fury Oh Fury (2013)

This EP consists of 6 high energy singles, most of which were re-released for their 2014 full length album. The title track was featured in the launch trailer for the 2013 video game BioShock Infinite, and “Beast” was featured within the game. “Beast” was also featured in commercials for Jack Reacher and Pacific Rim, and it is part of the NBA 2K17 soundtrack. Most recently, it was featured in the 2020 Mark Wahlberg film Spenser Confidential. The strength in sound and quality that this EP achieves is masterful. 




Lead to Light (2014)

The band’s second full-length album is a consistent continuation of their style. Nico Vega is a band that has succeeded in keeping their sound fresh while staying close to their roots. Lead to Light features their danceable hit “I Believe (Get Over Yourself)”, which was featured in the Season 4 trailer for HBO’s iconic comedy "Girls". Another standout from this album is the band’s cover of “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down), a dark ballad inspired by Nancy Sinatra’s haunting cover of the song originally by pop sensation Cher.




Wars (2018)

The band’s most recent EP release was Wars, consisting of 5 songs. The lead single, "Little Operator", was featured in a 2018 Verizon commercial. It is a fast paced, guitar-driven single that stands out on this more ballad-esque EP. The other songs still have the rocking guitar and drums that you would expect from the band, but they also incorporate piano and drawn-out vocals. It is a beautiful collection of songs that served as a satisfying resolution while the band went on hiatus.




Now we’ve arrived back at the present. The band just released their comeback single, “$5”, their first release since Peña rejoined the band, and it is the return fans have been waiting for. The song has Volkman’s signature gritty vocals, and it is danceable without leaning too far into pop territory. It is a perfect reflection of the band’s sound, and it has us excited for more music to come out. The band has teased on social media about how special this year will be, and we believe them! 




In addition to releasing new music, Nico Vega is heading out on tour this Summer! If you’re as in love with their music as we are, try to catch a show!