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Elizabethtown, Kentucky, United States | SELF

Elizabethtown, Kentucky, United States | SELF
Band Rock Alternative


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Still working on that hot first release.


Feeling a bit camera shy


Vinyl records were the inspiration for the name of Elizabethtown rock group Vinal (pronounced the same as its namesake), but the group has not lasted 12 years on their name alone.

Vinal“I believe to succeed as a band, in any genre, the members have to have great chemistry, and as with any relationship, communication is key,” Nick Glass, vocalist and guitarist, said.

Glass moved to Elizabethtown in 1996 and had joined The Heartland Song Writer’s Association, playing music at the now defunct Piccassos.

The Elizabethtown resident started Vinal in 1999 when he met some fellow musicians. The original band lineup consisted of Glass, Jason Burkhead and Tim Speakman.

“Music has been a life-long passion of mine,” he said. “I recall singing in chorus as a child and instantly developing a love for all things music related. I actually began playing the drums at age 8, and at age 13, I picked up the guitar.”

Over the years the Vinal lineup changed. Named for Glass’s love of collecting and listening to vinyl records, the band now consists of, Glass, Traver Wilson, vocalist and lead guitarist; Jeff Lawson, guitarist and bassist; and Zenon Garcia, drummer.

“To be considered a good rock band you have to embrace all styles of music and let each member’s influences become a part of the music you create,” Glass said. “Letting yourselves get boxed into a certain sound or style prevents growth, in my opinion.”

Lawson, an Elizabethtown resident, recalled being in a music store at a young age, holding guitars and knowing he wanted to play them.
“Guitar players like Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Billy Gibbons and Stevie Ray Vaughan, with their sweet bending notes, made me want to pick up the guitar,” Lawson said.

Lawson met Glass about the time the band originally formed.

“I met Nick at a birthday party for a friend, and we've been jamming ever since,” Lawson said.

Wilson met Glass during his high school years. Back then, he was recording “demo-version-quality CDs” for local bands in a home-studio and was introduced to Glass and his band, Vinal, which then consisted of Glass, Travis Mitchell, and Speakman, for whom he recorded a four-song EP.

“I instantly recognized Nick’s inherent potential for writing and playing heartfelt and honest music,” Wilson said. “Through the process, and afterward, Nick and I developed a personal friendship despite our differences in musical tastes.”

Wilson, a White Mills resident, described the ensuing bond that emerged.

“Possibly because of Nick’s unwavering and steadfast attitude toward musical progression, and partly because of my own need to conquer crippling stage fright, the two of us began to write and record music together, a kinship likened only to brothers, and matched only by blood type,” Wilson said.

That strong bond is a necessity, as far as Garcia is concerned.
“Successful collaboration is crucial for sustaining a successful band,” Garcia said. “A band is a family to a degree.”

Respect for each other’s musical ideas is important, he said. In the three months he has been playing with Vinal, he feels his opinions have mattered.

Garcia said he first played a drum set when he was about 7.

“Despite my inability to actually play well, I thought the noise I was making was music and I loved it,” he said.

The first drum set was child-size, he said, and didn’t survive his and his brother’s knives. Later, as a freshman in high school he became more serious about being a drummer when he got a full-size drum set.

“There is a wide spectrum for dynamic energy when playing any kind of percussion,” Garcia said, explaining he involves his entire body while playing drums.

Energy also is a component of their performances, Wilson said.

“We want each person in the room to feel alive,” he said. “We want to see heads bobbing, teeth clenching and legs stomping because life is only precious because of the way we live it. Throw down. Feel it. In your guts.”

Though Glass primarily writes the original songs for Vinal, the other band members “elaborate” on and “complement” the founder’s vision, Wilson said.

The results from such collaborations are part of what makes Glass proud of what the band has accomplished, he said.

Garcia said being in a band with members as passionate about their music as Vinal is is also rewarding.

“Everybody in my band has long hair except for me,” Garcia said. “The greatest reward is seeing them rocking out so hard that their hair is going everywhere.”