Shari Black Velvet: You have a new album out entitled 'Where You Are'? So where is Kyle Vincent right now, emotionally and physically?
Kyle Vincent: I'm sitting outside in a tent answering your questions, trying to avoid the mosquitoes. I recently had the bats in my attic evicted (politely of course), so the mosquito population has jumped up. Emotionally I'm relatively happy because it's summer and I'm able to run around barefoot.
SBV: The album packaging is eco-friendly - although you said it cost a bit more. How much more exactly does one of these CDs cost compared to if it had been in plastic packaging?
KV: I wanted the new CD to look and feel like one of those old big-sized record jackets. The only reason to really make actual CDs these days is for live show sales since most people don't buy CDs anymore--they either download them or ‘share’ them. I'm lucky in that I still have fans who buy my CDs, so I try and give them the best bang for their hard earned buck. I searched around for a place that would make them with recycled paper, little or no plastic, and soy-based inks. I only had half of the first run shrink-wrapped to keep waste down. Those are the copies that are used for mail orders like CDBaby or Amazon. I think the pricing for eco-friendly packaging is now about the same, as the demand is up for it, and more places are offering it, so competition has lowered the costs. When I gave the first copy off the presses to Barry Manilow, he remarked how much he liked the artwork and packaging and that he wanted to emulate it for his next CD. The actual recording of this latest CD was rather costly. I spared little expense on the production of these songs. Heck, my haircuts in the photos were done in Japan--now THAT'S dedication to one's art!
SBV: What's this album got that none of your others have, musically?
KV: I played this entire album naked. For all of my past CDs I was fully or partially clothed. Oh, musically. Sorry, about that. Well, I think this one feels more free to me. It flows very easily. The rhythm section is the best I've ever had. This one was a pleasure to record and mix from beginning to end. I also think it was put together like an old album was. It's thematic and takes you on a journey from the first song to the last. There's a message there. It's my favorite music I've ever recorded, and the best sounding tracks. It's also received the best reviews by far.
SBV: You're a singer-songwriter - although have played in bands in the past -most notably Candy with Gilby Clarke and Jonathan Daniel, and more recently you had a stint in the Bay City Rollers. What do you most get from being solo?
KV: Gilby who? Jonathan what? Ha ha. The best part of being solo on stage is that if, make that WHEN, I make a mistake, I can just make a change on the fly and not have to worry about the band following me. That happens a lot. I enjoyed my time in both of those bands. Candy was fun because we were so young and dumb, and our shows were packed with screaming teenage girls. We should've sold multiple millions of records, but things just didn't play out that way. Playing with the Rollers, or what was remaining of them, was very exciting, mostly because the pro players on stage were so damn good and made the songs sound exactly like the records that I grew up loving. To say I was a Roller was a cool thing. Of course, there have been about 100 members of that band, and the band has about 100 different versions, so I'm not sure exactly who I was singing for, but regardless, it was a blast. It's a shame we couldn't have done more shows, because the songs are so damn good and a blast to sing, but for some reason it's one of those franchises where drama seems to always squish the music.
SBV: You have collaborated with others for some of your songs. Does this never prompt you into creating a band - or even starting a duet?
KV: The idea has been tossed around a few times over the years. In fact, I have this recurrent dream that the band Chicago calls me to be their new singer, so you never know. I just love playing live, especially on big stages in front of lots of people, so if a big band needed a singer, I'd probably jump at it. You hear that, Robert Lamm??! Man, you know what I would love? I would love to be in the Bee Gees. I know it's not the Bee Gees without Maurice, but I would just die to be the 3rd wheel there. Heck, I'd love to be a background singer in McCartney's or Elton's band. Anyone need a singer? email@example.com These days I really pick and choose my own shows very carefully. I see no point in booking a gig just to play a gig. I've done that. I've paid a zillion dues. I'd rather stay home than play for three people checking their email in a Des Moines coffee house. But nothing gives me more of a high than looking out and seeing an audience fully into the show. I'm forever infected with the bug to play on stage. My absolute favorite moments in life are those moments of anticipation as you're walking on stage. Indescribable. I still get nervous, and I love every jitter.
SBV: Tell us about the living room shows you do and have you ever had any weird experiences in a living room?
KV: I've had many weird experiences in living rooms in my life, but if you mean at one of my living room shows, each one is unique and memorable. Since they are so up close and personal, the normal invisible wall that usually exists between performer and audience is a bit less opaque. This can lead to more personal questions and interesting comments about my hair or body parts. I try to assure the audience that my body parts are really nothing to write home about, but do they listen?
SBV: What's been the biggest audience you've had at a living room show and what's been the smallest? And what items do you need for a living room show?
KV: Biggest has been around 100. They were literally hanging from the staircase. Smallest? One. I've done many living room shows for my cat. She doesn't inquire about my body parts. I think she's frankly bored by them at this point, but I always try out my new material on her. To host a show a person simply needs to contact me, we pick a date, and then everything else is fiddled with. Sound, lights, money, travel, musical equipment, etc. Sometimes it's just me and an acoustic guitar in a corner of a little room, sometimes it's like a mini-Budukan. I'm currently seeking living room shows all over the planet, so if you're interested... firstname.lastname@example.org
SBV: You've also come up with the 'One Song Telephone Concert Special' where you will call someone and sing them a song - if you've been booked by someone to do so. That sounds like an ingenious idea. How did you come up with that idea - and how has the reception to the calls been? Again, any stand out calls?
KV: Thanks. I like being called ‘ingenious’! I've done many of these so far, and as with the living room shows, they are each unique. I have to constantly come up with new ideas, not only to survive in an ever changing music business, but also to keep me on my toes. So far it's mostly been boys wanting me to croon to their gals. Kinda sweet, really.
SBV: If YOU could have a phone call from anyone, who would YOU most like to have a phone call from?
KV: Hmm, let me think about that. Kevin the carpet cleaner who keeps calling me with an automated message about how he could clean my carpets for less. I haven't heard from him in days and I'm kinda missing him. Also, the guy in my town who's in charge of paving the roads. I've got so many potholes on my little street I'm getting bruises on my thighs. Perhaps former president Jimmy Carter. He was one of the most misunderstood and maligned presidents in our history, but if he had been re-elected in 1980, the U.S. would have been a very different country. You would have probably seen solar panels on most roofs by now. He was very ahead of his time in many ways. Oh, and a call from Robert Lamm about that Chicago gig would be nice too. Oh, and Isla Fisher as soon as she loses that Borat guy.
SBV: If one of your songs could be used anywhere (that it hasn't already), where would you most like a song to be used and why (and which particular song)?
KV: Any of my songs anywhere would be nice. Please pass the word. Much appreciated.
SBV: You've been vegan for nearly 20 years and have performed at vegan and animal rights events. What have been some of the best events you've played at and why?
KV: I've done a lot of these. World Fest in Los Angeles was a lot of fun because it was an outdoor festival in front of thousands of people. The Vegetarian Summerfest in Pennsylvania is always a warm and spirited crowd. I've done heaps of charity events for causes I believe in, which are always nice. Playing for like-minded people is very satisfying. You know they're on your side and pulling for you from the get go. I don't really consider myself a ‘vegan musician’ or an ‘animal rights musician’, those labels sound limiting to me, but if you search you will certainly find messages in some of the songs. I'm really just a singer songwriter who tries to lead the most compassionate life I can. If I can affect people through my music or appearance at an event, that's an amazing bonus, and that's a great way to use one's stature.
SBV: You've said you won't do diners or drive-thrus. Even vegan diners? Why not? Are you a very healthy vegan that likes healthy food - rather than vegan junk food?
KV: Did I really say that? Man, I've gotta pick my words more carefully. I'd have no prob eating at a vegan diner. Do you know any? There's a drive-thru in L.A. called Orean's that claims to be vegan. I used to love going there. I've studied nutrition since I was about 10 years old, no lie. I've read and continue to read the latest studies all the time. I try to be as healthy as possible and consume as many real whole foods as possible, rather than salted junk that comes from a bag or a box. I don't see eating junk food as a ‘treat’. I've never understood that. How is putting junk into your mouth a treat for your body? Even "’vegan’ junk food is bad for you. Simply because a dessert is ‘vegan’ doesn't mean you should eat it. Fat is fat, sugar is sugar, flour is flour. Not good for you. That's not to say I don't indulge, I do, but nowadays that usually means I consume HALF a watermelon instead of just a slice. Now where'd I put that hunk o' frosted triple layered deep-fried extra crispy chocolate cake?
SBV: You have a song called 'Animal'. Can you tell us about that? What are the lyrics about - for people who haven't heard it? Is the song online anywhere?
KV: Ah, ‘Animal’. The long lost song. I've recorded it twice, two different versions, and I didn't really get knocked out by either, but I think I might put it up somewhere for people to download. Thanks for reminding me. It's a pretty literal, short little ditty about the senseless consumption of animals. Whether or not humans were ‘meant’ to consume animals is no longer relevant. It's an illogical thing to do to one's body and to our ecosystem. We have absolutely no biological need to consume dead animals. I truly believe we would become a more caring and compassionate human race on all fronts if we were to stop the animal genocide. It's really a case of education, motivation, and personal accountability. Sadly, the world is upside down and I'm a Jimmy Carter loving freak.
SBV: You set up a fund after your rabbit Tofu died linking to Great Lake Rabbits Sanctuary donation page - a sanctuary you visited in 2007. What did you like about Great Lake Rabbits Sanctuary and do you visit a lot of sanctuaries?
KV: Tofu was a such a great fella. I really miss him. He brightened up everyone's life who got a chance to interact with him. He was never in a cage, just ran around the house anywhere he chose to be. I had never shared my life with a rabbit before, but now I look forward to the next pointed eared friend. Someday soon I hope. I feel a real kinship with rabbits. They don't prey on anything, but they are the prey of many. I
feel the same. They are vegans, herbivores, who would choose affection over food. They show their glee by leaping in the air and clapping their feet together. I do the same when a big slice of watermelon comes my way. I visited the Great Lakes Rabbit Sanctuary a few years ago, and have been back a few times. It's like bunny heaven--they rescue rabbits from all over the U.S. and give them a nice life. There are so many similar places throughout the world where incredible people have chosen to dedicate their lives to give voices and comfort to critters who are often times abandoned
and abused. If I sold a gobtrillion records, I would just write cheques all day long to all of these wonderful places. All I need is a place to hang my hat, and I don't even have a hat, so I welcome the chance to help out, but since I'm no Bill Gates, I usually have to show my support through my songs and shows.
Visit www.kylevincent.com for more info.