tafka VINCE

1.0 – It strikes me that the title to your latest CD, “On Display”, kinda sums up your approach; in your face. Is that fair? 

That’s fair. When we play or people here the music I want it to be noticed. Love it or hate it, but not background noise you can ignore.

2.0 – One may hear more New York or Detroit than Chicago in your rock, who are your musical heroes? 

Good ear you have. Big influences, The New York Dolls, The Ramones (70’s NYC punk in general), Stooges, MC5, Bowie, T Rex and coming back home the earliest influence is still Cheap Trick. The city of Chicago is a big influence. I love my hometown, the city and it’s music and people keep inspiring me.

3.0 – What track on the new disc are folks reacting to most? Is it your favorite too? 

“Laser Beam Precision” gets people dancing, always a good sign. “O” is another one of my favorites; it’s all drama and suited for the stage (like me).

4.0 – How do you write? does it start with a riff most often?

That varies. Sometimes I strum some chords or play a riff and build from there. Other times I have a phrase that is a great opening line or chorus hook and figure out how to build on that and add the music

5.0 – Who is playing and singing on the disc and what are your guys plans as a band?

On the record, Me-vocals & guitar, Lauren Kurtz-vocals, Brian Chinino-drums, Chris Geisler-bass with guests Ed Anderson(Backyard Tire Fire)-guitar, Aaron Lee Tasjan(Madison Square Gardeners)-guitar, Vee Sonnets(The Sonnets)-keys & guitar. Produced By Tony SanFilippo. Live we have Christopher Elam on lead guitar.

The record recently came out online and we should be receiving the LP’s soon, so we plan on playing as much as we can, wherever we can. Hoping to hit NYC again before the end of the year and possibly down to SXSW in the spring. Also trying to figure out how to get someone to pay for to go play in Europe.

6.0 – When did you settle on the moniker “The Artist Formally Known As Vince”? Do you feel it affords you more freedom to not be ‘Vince’?

I’ve had the name since the mid 90’s. I needed a name to put on a flyer for a solo show around the same time the other guy, whose name rhymes with mine, was using formerly and a symbol. Thought it would be funny yet a homage to one of my favorite musicians. I quickly made the adjustment to “Formally”, I liked the play on words, and it stuck. So I have actually stayed Vince all these years!

7.0 – What is the best guitar ever made for rock & roll and what is your favorite stage guitar?

I am partial to Les Paul’s especially Junior’s.

On stage I tend to play a Gibson Flying V that I had customized with a single vintage P-90 so it sounds like my Junior.

8.0 – Do you still believe in radio?

I do. I still listen to it in the van. I think you can still find new music on radio but you need to go to the college and community stations or listen to specialty shows on commercial radio to hear the interesting new music.

9.0 – Any new Chicago clubs or bars area rockers should check out?

LiveWire, is a cool new small rock club. It’s in my neighborhood, Avondale. A couple musician friends of mine run it. They like the Rock N Roll music. I love playing there. Late Bar is great for late night drinks. If out on a Tuesday night stop by Lucky Number, I sling the drinks and pick the tunes.

10.0 – It’s your ‘Dream Gig’…… who are you opening for? when? where and why? 

If I dream it would be going back in time to downtown NYC to open for The New York Dolls at Max’s Kansas City or The Ramones at CBGB’s, I think we would fit in the glam and early punk days, or close to home and open for Cheap Trick at The Brat Stop. Even these day I dream of opening for Cheap Trick or The Dolls anywhere anytime.


1.0  Is “Dusk Till Dawn’ your best record?  I think whenever you finish a new record you think it’s your best at that point in time or why would you release it?  I’m hands on with everything on my records from the first written chorus to the final touches on the cover, no stone is left unturned. At that point it’s really up to the people that buy and listen to the record to decide. This is my fifth released record and I’ve been lucky enough to have  fans point out each one as their favorite.

2.0  What song on the record are you most proud of?  My songs are like my kids, I’m connected to all of them and proud of them all in different ways. There’s two songs on “Dusk Till Dawn” that I’m really happy with. “Time Won’t Stand Still” hit # 1 at WMWX Cincinnati, Ohio in July 2010 and the production, performances, and amazing backing vocals on “Invisible” really make the song stand out.
3.0  How did you approach recording it – piecemeal or in one session?  I always record the bass and drums first at the same time and then over dub everything else.
4.0  Who are “The Kings”? do they play on the record?  The Kings are Dann Morr – bass & Erik Strommer – drums who play on “Dusk Till Dawn” and in my live band. A studio guitarist friend Brett Ratner also played some guitar on the new record. Johnny Million plays guitar in my live band.
5.0  What’s more important, the ‘Big Hooks’ or the ‘Crunchy Guitars’?
They need each other like hookers and crack.
6.0  How do you approach your song titles / lyrics?  I always have my song writer hat on and observe situations everywhere i go, I get ideas from books and articles i read, conversations i have the list goes on & on. I’m constantly making notes of a line or title or an angle to a lyric, there are song ideas everywhere. Songwriting is a zone and frame of mind you have to get into, so I never let myself fall out of it and work on new material everyday.
7.0  Do you have a favorite stage guitar?  I love Gibson guitars. I’ve been playing a black Les Paul Standard for the past few years. I recently bought a Gibson Les Paul Special that I can’t put down and is now my favorite stage guitar. The combination of the P90 pick ups and the Orange amp i use make for the best tone I’ve had to date.
9.0  What is your favorite club to play in Chicago?  There are a number of great venues in Chicago but my favorite is the Abbey Pub. It’s a great room to play and also see a show.
10.0  When was power-pop born?  There are a number of opinions on this subject going back to the Who, Big Star, etc. I think the band that defined power-pop was Chicago band Off Broadway with their first record “ON”.