Thursday, December 25

Rock Vault Zine Interview

The Good News: Rock Vault Zine has just posted an Interview with me about my New CD "Re-Evolutionize"!

The Bad news: It's in Turkish.

Ok, that's only bad if you don't speak Turkish. For the rest of us non-Turkish readers, I do have an English version available - although I don't have all their cool graphics. Bummer.


Baran at Rock vault: Hi there Vyan, first of all how the life is treating you as well?

V--It goes how it goes - up down and all around.

Congrats for great debut "Re- Evulitionize". How did fans and press reacted songs?

V--The Fans have been great real supportive, and Press is good so far. I haven't started to formally make a lot of Press contacts, they've actually been coming to me which is unusual - but I think it's really cool. Normally you have to shout from the rooftops and really make yourself a near-nuisance in this business to get noticed, but I've already done a couple live on-air interviews with land and internet based radio like and the Autopsy Report from England, and it's been mostly through Myspace. If this keeps I'll be the Tila Tequila of Hard Rock - except I don't look quite so cute in a thong.

I think it's difficult for you to choose, but which track is your favorite? My personal favorites are "Wannabe" and "Not Like You"

V--I was really happy with "Wannabe" from the moment that my old band Planet X/Sacto first played it. We wrote it all together during a rehearsal, the other guys Darryl (Guitar), Ron (Bass) and Mitch (Drums) worked on the music and structure while I was doing the words at the same time. We finished both of them together, it was like "BOOM" this song has to be born right now! The groove, the energy and the depth of the subject matter came together perfectly, I don't think I've written another song that flowed so well. Although that group did put out it's debut CD in 1999 (which is now out of print, and we later sold the name to someone else from Dream Theater) we never did manage to record that song for a CD, so I had to do it now - it was my finest hour then and it should be heard.

"Not Like U' also came from the same PX lineup, and although Darryl and I did record a version of it for a second PX record, it was never released. One other song from that period is on the CD, "Harden" and there's even some video of us doing an early version of that song on Youtube from years ago on a Sacramento Cable/We Show called "Capital Chaos", but we didn't record that one either. I always felt those were the three best, unreleased songs, from that band. Everything else on my new record is either completely new and written for it like "All I Feel", "Wake Up", "Tumbling Down', "Say You Will", or old solo songs I used to do acoustically in Sacramento like "Faith", "Justified" and "Refugee" - sometimes at Open Mics, sometimes on the street corner for spare change during some tough times - only now they're fully electric and rocking the way I always wanted to do them. Technically "Faith" was also one I did with Planet X, but I wrote it myself and they just used it for awhile.

You have to worked really hard for this album. You composed entire album, played nearly all instruments, mixed album and designed memorable art work. Do you believe in "Do It Yourself!" motto?

V-I kinda *have* to, the way that my life has turned over the last few years. I had to move out of Sacramento because of economic issues. I was an IT consultant with the State government back in 1999, but after a perfect crap storm of Y2K, Enron ripping of California for $50 Million, the Dot Com Crash and 9-11 shutting down the startup company I was working with back then I had to pretty much quit music and move me and my family back to L.A. to live with relatives in 2004. It's been a rough bunch of years trying to rebuild after the bankruptcy and evictions from that time. A lot of people these days are looking at those kinds of times in their future.

This record reflects both that fall and, hopefully, a rebirth. I started it with writing and recording "All I Feel", using an old hand-me-down Macintosh I bought for $40, the one guitar I didn't pawn from the bad days, a strat-styled Yamaha that I bought because Ty Tabor recommended them, a 30-watt Line 6 Amp and a cheap Radio Shack/Realistic Microphone that was a gift from a local homeless drunk I became friends with here in L.A. No one else would even talk to the guy, he smelled horrible - could barely put sentences together - but he'd do little jobs for me for a couple dollars, sweep up, take out the trash - and we'd talk for hours. Most people here won't give you the time of day without thinking you want something from them. Tony was different. He knew I was a musician, so he "found" me a microphone. I didn't know at the time what I was going to do with it - now I do. It makes the vocals sound kinda distorted and scratchy, and I've had some people mention it - but I don't care. This record wouldn't have happened without that Mic I got from Tony, so even though I eventually bought a better Microphone by the time i was halfway done recording, most of the original vocals with this cheap piece of crap with electrical tape hanging off of it - are still on the record. They sound more "real" to me... if you know what I mean. I haven't seen Tony in a years couple since they tore down the creepy little hotel he used to live at. The sound of his mic will go on.

I think that this interview is your very first interview on Turkey. I know it's boring question but can you tell us brief bio of Vyan?

V-I actually started playing music in elementary school orchestra. Trumpet. By High School I was in Marching Band and even played in the Rose Parade, but I didn't want to be some Jazz or R&B trumpet guy - so I eventually switched to Guitar, Vocals and Keyboards after seeing Purple Rain for the Tenth Time in a Row. I spent a few years trying to get into bands, Amalgam was one of the first - kind of a Funk/Rock thing where I was the backup guitarist when I joined the LA Chapter of the Black Rock Coalition. (I used my first name 'Frank" back then)

After that and a couple other horrible little groups I'd rather not mention I moved to Sacramento and joined Planet X (Vocals, Keyboards) and started using my middle name "Vyan". They put out one self-titled CD and I spent about 4 years with them.

Download Planet X/Sacto Mp3's

After they broke up some of guys who'd been in the later lineup of PX and some guys from one of my favorite bands from Yuba City named SHaLLOW got together to form GliTCHed.

Technically I left Glitched to move back to L.A. in 2004, but I kept in contact with them and kept working on the Glitched CD - which I plan to finish and release in a year or so - we managed to get one of our songs "Drown" onto a CD by local radio station
98 Rock and play a pretty big CD Release show.

Glitched Live 2004

In the meantime I'd also joined an L.A. band called "Silenced Within" on bass, so all the Silenced guys came with me up to Sacramento and we played a Glitched/Silenced show where I spent part of my time on bass and the rest on vocals. The other guys from Glitched who had been in Shallow were into another group too and that band - Zero Ground - finished the show. Me being 400 miles away ended Glitched, some of those guys eventually formed the band Ritalin Code. The guys who started Silenced moved to Texas - so I've been on my own since then, and now I'm finally doing something about it three and a half years later.

Silenced Within Live


Tell me your favorite musician and Top 5 albums?

V-Prince (Ha). With strong mention for Doug Pinnick. Ty Tabor of King's X, Nuno Bettencourt of Extreme, George Lynch and Jeff Pilson from Dokken. (I actually became real friends with a lot of these guys as we crossed paths in the music biz - except Prince, never met him, and Nuno - but I know his brother Paulo.)

Top Five Albums.

1. Sevendust (Seasons)
2. King's X (Their latest - each and every time one comes out!!)
3. 24-7 Spyz (Strength in Numbers)
4. Extreme (III Sides to every Story)
5. Dokken (Dysfunctional)

Are you still playing with Glitched and Silenced Within?

V--- Nope. (Oh look, a short answer). I would If I could, they're just too far away.

Over decades we saw (and still see) few but remarkable black rock/metal musicians such as godly Hendrix, mighty Rock George and Doug Pinnick. What do you think about that? Why do black musicians don't show interest on rock genres?

V-Ok, that's a long story and a lot of opinions vary - but I honestly think it has a lot to do with the Beatles and Little Richard. Rock N Roll, Blues, Jazz, R&B, Gospel and later Funk and Hip-Hop all come out of the experience of Black people in America. It came from being Repressed and Unfree in the "Land of the Free" - that conflict, and the passion for freedom is what drives all these types of music, but Blues & Rock are different because they're not like a whisper or a cry for freedom, they're a SCREAM. A scream that was first heard by English kids who had their own confusion and frustration after surviving the aftermath of the WWII Blitz without understanding what had happened or why. They NEEDED to Scream about some stuff, and Rock was the way they could do it. That music resonated with them, they were inspired and formed the Beatles, The Who, The Rolling Stones, Cream, Sabbath and Zeppelin.

But back in America Rock was still repressed, they called it "Race Music", "N---er Music", even when Elvis tried to play it. The first Rock DJ, Alan Freed went to jail over it. But once they heard British Rock in America - it went from being "Race Music", to the "British Invasion". Hearing that music from Black people was frightening, scary - hearing it from cute long haired English kids - transformed everything. Jimi James and the Flames coming from Seattle no one wanted to hear, but The Jimi Hendrix Experience coming from England was a HIT. A lot of people didn't even realize Jimi was even an American, or that he use to play with both James Brown, The Isley Brothers and Little Richard. He couldn't make it from here, but he could from there.

But other black artists who wanted to do Rock had to match that same intensity the Brits were getting and America simply wasn't giving it to them, plus it was pretty difficult for them to pull off that Beatles/Stones hair-style, so they didn't have the same "look" either. Jimi tried, but he never really got it - LOL. (Trust me, the hair thing was a big issue - it's why James Brown, Little Richard and even Prince processed their hair for years. We even went through it will Amalgam and me and the singer Chris Coshea used to have long talks about how the "Glam Brother" was considered so "dangerous")

Then the money got involved, artists like Pat Boone would re-record Little Richard (the original Glam Brother)'s songs and get a higher position on the same chart at the same time. Same song, but with a "safer" person = More money. Good bye black rockers.

With the Beatles doing it, and The Stones, and the Beach Boys, Aerosmith, KISS, Yes, Van Halen and everyone that followed, that original passionate scream for freedom from Rock was eventually heard in all of Europe, in Asia, even in Soviet Russia. Rock N Roll, Long Hair and Blue Jeans changed the world.

I think that after Hendrix died, a lot of Black artists just decided (or were TOLD) to swim in safer waters - stick to what they had more control of - rather than fight against the tide in Rock, which was like trying to stop Niagra Falls by holding up your hand. Not gonna happen. The money issue just killed it by the mid-70's, particular as radio become just as segregated and as niche marketed as Jim Crow had been. Black artists would be played on "Black Radio", White artists on "Rock Radio" even if it was the same song. Buy the late 80's it was so bad that Living Colour's first record didn't have their pictures on it, just so that Rock Radio wouldn't send it to the Black Radio Dj's out of habit. They weren't even shown in their first video "Open Letter to a Landlord", but eventually it actually worked in reverse - because it had been so long since anyone had seen a Black Person doing Rock the video for "Cult of Personality" got everyones attention and it became a huge hit. You never know how it's going to all work out.

I'm just doing the music that's now become an International symbol, a world-wide powerhouse, not because of what anyone else tells me I should be doing (and yes, I've been told I should do R&B or something even by people who just think they're giving me "good advice") but because - it still inspires me. That's where my passion is, so that's why I do it.

What does future holds for Vyan?

V-Next year after really getting the Press and promotion going for this record, I hope to recruit a rhythm section and form a Power-Trio for some touring. I might add another guitarist if I can find someone good enough without them being an ego-maniac. (Like making a solo record entirely by yourself isn't egotistical - HA! I got enough for both of us!) Then record some cover songs of my favorite artists, particular great black rock bands that never got heard like Subject To Change, Civil Rite, Nicklebag, Lock Up and Super 8. (I have a special Myspace friends category for a lot of these bands, the ones that are still around) By 2010 I might be ready for a second solo record.

What do you do to kill time beside music?

V-What else is there? Ok seriously, lots of TV and Movies. I just bought a DVD of "The Dark Knight" I have a ton of favorite shows like Connor Chronicles, Life, Heroes, Numb3rs and SCI-FI Stargate. Good stories with interesting people/characters all keep me thinking, and wondering.

Let's discuss recent election? Do you think that Mr. Obama can keep his promises? At the dawn of new world order do you still believe in Revolution? ( I think you do friend :)

V-We'll see. I'm hopeful that a lot of the damage that the previous Administration did to the U.S. (which like I mentioned, I suffered personally) and the rest of the World just might begin to get fixed. America's in bad financial shape right now, and a lot of people are looking at losing everything they have (just as I did). We're all going to have to rebuild, to re-invent - to "Re-Evolutionize" ourselves - which is why I called the CD what I did. it's not just about me, it's about everyone. Obama will probably be a big part of that for all of us. He hasn't done anything "yet" to shake my faith in him, because mostly he's going about things exactly the way he said he would. He's reaching out to people that disagree, letting them all get a voice at the table, then making decisions based on *ALL* the facts, not just what he wants the hear (the way that Bush did). Bill Clinton used to do that too, and it turned out pretty well during his years - he ended the wars in Bosnia, Kosovo, helped bring peace to Northern Ireland by taking a chance on Gerry Adams. Bush didn't listen and nearly lost a war he never should have started. Listening helps. If Obama does half as well as Bill, and keeps his pants on, we should all be alright.

Here comes traditional Rock Vault question. Tell me your favorite drinking memory?

V-If you can still remember it, you weren't drinking enough!!

But I did once run into Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine) at a Dio concert at the L.A. House of Blues, and oddly enough he recognized *me* (from the LA Black Rock Coalition) and we talked about his old band Lock Up, who I loved. He rushed off to watch the show and I went to talk to the guys in the opening band, Atomic Opera, who were who i'd come to see in the first place (They were friends with King's X and had the same producer) Jonathon from Atomic Opera got all excited when I mentioned that Tom was there and made me show him where, but he was deep in the middle of the mosh pit by that time and we couldn't find him.

I later got to tell that story to Ronnie Dio himself at Jeff Pilson's house, and I was dumb enough to say "If I'd known that Jeff (whose been my vocal inspiration forever) was playing with you... I would've been in the pit too" - but Ronnie was really cool about it. My wife saved my butt by mentioning that she'd been a Dio fan since Rainbow and he really felt appreciative of that. He's a great down to earth guy. Growing up and Living In L.A. you do just plain RUN INTO a lot of famous people if your in the right place at the right time. I met Eddie Van Halen at a guitar store once, and Steve Lukather (Toto) at the Baked Potato. Most of them are cool if you don't act like an idiot and freak-out around them. I did that once when I met first Neal Schon of Journey - never again.

What do you know about my country? Have you had a chance to listen any Turkish bands or singer?

V-Not that many, I admit - it can be difficult for artists to break though in this market. But I do try to listen to everything i can, everyone has something worthwhile to contribute and say. Some just say it better, it just takes practice....practice....practice.

Thanks for your participation.
Here is your turn for last words?

V-I think I used them all up. Thanks for oppurtunity to share with everyone. And don't stop ROCKIN!!

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