The mass appeal of
ANY GIVEN SIN
"If you're gonna do this as your career, you've gotta do it nonstop and be prepared to fail for a really long time. If you're gonna do it just for the fun of it, you can do that, too. You can have both. But, only one will hurt a lot more for a while."
By Kreig Marks, January 2021
TRR: Hi Vic. Welcome to Tru Rock Revival Magazine. In 2019, before all this craziness happened with the Pandemic, you guys were ready to take on the Rock world with the release of your single, “Dynamite.” It got a ton of airtime on Octane and became the 29th highest rated song in 2019, out of 100. That must have been a thrill.
VR: Oh, absolutely. Octane has been amazing to us as a band and the fans who listen to our songs on Octane, and request to hear them has been incredible. We can't thank Octane for all they've done for us, and as an Independent band, it really means a lot to us.
TRR: Which brings me to the next question. To have a single on Octane as an independent band, and have it rank as high as it did, how surprised were you and the rest of the band at its success?
VR: We were pretty surprised. We put a lot of time and effort into our music and (being an Indie band) it's a lot more work, having that responsibility to not only do the music but to constantly promote it without the support of a label. So, all that hard work that we've done by ourselves makes it even more satisfying and surprising to us.
TRR: You guys released “Another Life,” which became the number 1 most played song on Octane. You were off and running! When the pandemic hit, what did your band think, when you still had many shows scheduled?
VR: We had to cancel a lot of shows and reschedule. When the pandemic hit, like many people at first, we believed it would just be for a few weeks, or maybe a couple of months. Now, we're about 9 months into it and it's been rough. But, we've rolled with it and made the most out of a bad situation.
TRR: So, in the middle of the pandemic you guys release the next song, “Insidious,” which is also getting a ton of play on Octane.
VR: LOL, Yeah. Our pandemic song! You know, the pandemic is awful, really awful but, we've tried to make the best of this horrible situation. Again, thank you Octane.
TRR: My son is eight and loves singing, plays drums, so, how young were you when you started singing?
VR: I actually started out on drums too. I really didn't start singing until I was in high school. I sang kind of on the side, mostly while in my car, LOL, but in my early 20's, I sang in some cover bands and kind of went from there.
TRR: Did you take any vocal lessons?
VR: I did take some, maybe about 6 or so with a woman who did 13 years with the Boston opera. Really to help with my breathing, you know, the anatomical aspect of singing. That helped and I learned some good techniques from that.
TRR: Who were you listening to? Who are some of your influences? Are there any that may surprise some of your fans?
VR: Once I started forming my own musical interests, I listened to Soundgarden, Alice In Chains, Pantera, some more obscure stuff. Jeff Buckley. Mostly the 90's Grunge stuff is what really got me in to music. As for my influences, I'd say Chris Cornell, Alter Bridge and Myles Kennedy. Myles has so many cool tools he can use and I just love him.
TRR: Have you heard Myle's version of "Hallelujah?"
VR: No! He did that?
TRR: Yeah. You mentioned Jeff Buckley. Myles actually did a live version of "Hallelujah," playing it on Jeff Buckley's guitar.
VR: Oh God! That's amazing. I love this. I have to check this out.
TRR: We have a Myles Kennedy interview in our archives, so check it out. What about when you were in the military. What were you listening to then?
VR: Let's see. Breaking Benjamin, System of a Down, Slipknot, Chris Cornell. Mostly this stuff. Kind of a mixed bag. Even some Country but most of the guys I hung out with then, it was this type of music.
TRR: For the women out there reading this...Is Vic married?
VR: Nope, not married.
TRR: Any kids?
VR: LOL. Nope, no kids. I do have 2 nephews who are really cool.
TRR: If your nephews said, "Hey, Uncle Vic, we're thinking of getting into the music profession," would you encourage them?
VR: Oh, yeah, absolutely.
TRR: What advice would you give them to help guide them?
VR: I'd tell them they've gotta plug away. If you're gonna do this as your career, you've gotta do it nonstop and be prepared to fail for a really long time . If you're gonna do it just for the fun of it, you can do that, too. You can have both. But, only one will hurt a lot more for a while.
TRR: Do you have another job away from the band?
VR: Yes. I work with people who have disabilities. I work with Autism Intellectual Disability, etc. I've worked in a lot of different areas, but mostly assisting with daily life, job skills, and academic skills. I help them to improve their independence for the most part. I've mostly worked with Community Service boards.
TRR: That's important work. Very cool. What got you into doing that?
VR: I have a brother with autism, so I grew up around it. For me, it made sense to work in that field, and I really enjoy it.
TRR: What songs do you listen to in your car, where nobody can hear the music and you just bust out and sing along? What are some of those songs your fans would be surprised that you like.
VR: Oh man, that's easy. "Chandelier" by Sia.
TRR: LOL. No way! Seriously? "123 123 Drink....Throw 'em back.."
VR: LOL. Yes, I swear to God, I really love that song. From a vocal standpoint, I really enjoy what she does with it. I kind of dig her. She's got those jailhouse tats, she covers her face. I dig the mysteriousness of it and her. But that song, I don't know what it is about it, I just love the melody. It's like watching someone cut soap on Youtube. It's like the most satisfying thing. I will belt it out when it comes on! LOL. I'm not embarrassed by it but if people saw or heard me singing along to it they'd probably look twice, and would start to laugh.
TRR: Tell me about the rest of the band.
VR: Mike Connor on guitar, Mikey Showalter on drums, Rich Stevenson on bass. Mike works for a nuclear power plant, Mikey is a master electrician. Rich does aerospace engineering.
TRR: Wow! This band has one high IQ. Nuclear power and Aerospace Engineering. Incredible.
VR: LOL. You wouldn't know it by listening to some of our conversations.
TRR: In the band, who just doesn’t give a fuck and speaks his mind?
VR: LOL. That's Mike Connor, definitely. LOL.
TRR: The first time you heard “Dynamite” on Octane, what’s going through your mind?
VR: Well, we knew it was going to be aired but we didn't know when. When I did hear it, it was pretty surreal.
TRR: How many calls did you get that first day when the song aired?
VR: Oh man, a bunch, messages, DM's. Especially after it really started going, I got tons of them. Calls from old Navy buddies, friends.
TRR: What about your parents?
VR: LOL. They don't have Satellite radio. My parents are very tech-unsavvy.
TRR: What about the first time they saw your video?
VR: LOL. I have no idea what they thought. They were and are very supportive. It's not new to them, the music, but the success of all this is.
TRR: Do you still get that same excited feeling when you hear it on there today?
VR: Oh yeah. But, sometimes you hear it and think, "Why is the band's CD playing?" LOL. It's always a thrill because it's something we've worked so hard for as a band, and we are so fortunate. We probably hear it more than other people but it's always a thrill and even surreal sometimes.
TRR: How do you guys write your songs? Does everyone contribute ideas?
VR: With Dynamite, that was for the most part me and Mike Connor. Rich did the piano stuff. Generally speaking, Mike and Rich write the music and I do the vocals and lyrics. I might throw in some chord change ideas but that's the extent of my musical contribution.
TRR: Have you guys been writing a lot during the pandemic?
VR: Yeah we have. We just finished in the studio and put 2 more songs down and we're still writing more and should have those out near the beginning of 2021.
TRR: Any album plans or just releasing singles?
VR: I don't think we'll do an album yet. We have a few things in the pipeline. I can't get into any details here. We're looking at some other things that we might do ahead.
TRR: Easiest song you guys have written?
VR: Dynamite. We had basically written 80% of that song in an hour and a half. It just kind of showed up easily.
TRR: The most challenging song you’ve written?
VR: For me lyrically, it was Insidious. That was a hard one, at least for me.
TRR: Have you guys heard from a lot of labels?
VR: We've heard from some. We just don't know if we want or will want to make that commitment. If we do, it will have to have a very good goal, a common goal. I can't really get into it, there are some things we are considering. We'll have to see where it goes.
TRR: What intimidates you most about the music industry?
VR: I think it's the touring. At least from a business standpoint. Trying to make it work out in a way that pays the band, and pays the band well. We're at this spot where we have some capital but if we spend it incorrectly, it's all we have. We're constantly having to make some decisions where I'm on the edge of my seat. And, the touring aspect, trying to pay for that and making sure it's done well, that scares me the most.
TRR: Do you guys have endorsements?
VR: Mikey has endorsements with his drums and cymbals. He's the only one right now. But, we're always open to more! LOL.
TRR: When the pandemic ends and you can start touring again, where would you like the first show to be?
VR: I'd say here locally, in MD. We had to cancel a big local show so we'd like to make up for that here. There were a few dozen shows we did, just before the pandemic hit, so we'd like to start with a local one and go from there.
TRR: What's the craziest story you can remember about a fan interaction?
VR: Oh man. LOL. There's a guy we know, I won't mention his name. We did a show with Buckcherry. This guy broke out of the hospital to come to our show. Here he is with his wife in tow, still wearing his hospital bracelet, with a cane! LOL. He comes up to the merch booth. I grab him and say, "Maybe you should have a seat." LOL. He still had the cottonball taped to his arm, where the IV was. LOL. Hard core!
TRR: Hopefully this guy didn't break out from a psych hospital where he was Baker Acted. LOL. This is hard core. LOL.
VR: LOL. No. But, he's a big fan and really great. Yeah, he's definitely hard core.
TRR: What’s your sin?
VR: Hmm...my sin. I would definitely say my addictive personality. I've got to watch that all the time. I've got to keep the discipline and control.
TRR: What about the other guys in the band? Anything odd?
VR: LOL. Our guitarist Mike is into feet, but that's not that weird. LOL. That's a band inside joke, too. We were thinking about getting him a guitar sticker that said "Show me your feet!" Everyone is kind of pretty laid back.
TRR: How often are you guys able to get together right now to write or record?
VR: The other guys all live pretty close to each other, so they are able to get together pretty often. I'm about 3 hours away, so for me, it's every couple of weeks. I'm in Virginia on the Western side, so it's a few hours to drive to get together with the guys. It's mostly backroads and not a bad drive.
TRR: Do you find yourself coming up with a lot of song ideas while driving?
VR: Yeah, I do. I keep garage band on my IPhone so if any ideas pop up, I'll record it while I'm driving.
TRR: Anyone you’d like to thank or give a shout out to?
VR: Hospital Guy! And, anyone working in a hospital for that matter. They've put it all on the line these past several months. The guys in the band. They're my brothers. Definitely want to thank all of our fans. Our "Any Given Sinners" fan group. They kick ass. They are the reason why we've done so well on Octane. A lot of fans have come together in that group and they are just awesome. Definitely Jose Mangin of Octane. He's been great.
TRR: When can we expect some new music from the band?
VR: We're hoping by the first quarter of 2021. For shows, we have all the festivals that were scheduled and hoping they still go on.
TRR: The staff and I really enjoy your music and as soon as more of the band's music is released, we'll promote it all over the place.
VR: Thanks, Kreig. I really appreciate it and thanks for speaking with me today. You be safe.
Kreig Marks, Founder/Publisher of TRR
Kreig Marks is the Founder/Publisher of Tru Rock Revival Magazine.
Rock music has always been his passion, and to promote musicians. In his spare time he is a top neuro-fitness trainer, kinesiologist.