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  • Renee Collins Cobb

Vinyl Richie - They Play What They Mean and They Mean What They Play. The Rest... is History.

By Renee Collins Cobb, M.Ed. and Warren Cobb, Listen Locally and Overtones LIVE

"History is Brewing" as they say - once again on Manchester Street at The Burl on September 23, 2023 at 7:30PM as Lexington's own Vinyl Richie Presents "80's Vs 90's: Battle of the Decades" Concert where you can expect three hours of vinyl era music with over 40 familiar songs in an outdoor concert that is sure to make you want to pack your musical bags, put on your dancing shoes and your favorite 80s-90s outfit and take a trip back to an era in time that for Vinyl Richie fans...most likely meant a great deal to you.

When I caught up with the Lexington Music Awards 2023 Pop Band of the Year on Overtones LIVE, I asked them what we might expect on an evening like the one coming up. Founding band member Brian Spangler said:

"Oh I don't know, I haven't really thought about it every single minute of the day for the last 3-4 months"

Brian described on recent episodes of Radiolex's Overtone LIVE: "Working in Concert with Vinyl Richie" and "Off the Cuff with Adam Banks" how "The Burl", a famed music venue on Manchester Street had provided a wonderful opportunity two years ago of featuring the band in a 80's Night there and that success led to 90's Night one year later. In March 2023, the first 80's vs 90's show and it sold out. After the indoor March show sold out pre-sale, by the way, a fall concert was discussed and the decision to move the band to the outdoor stage with 1200 capacity and coin the concert as "80's vs 90's: Battle of the Decades" - was made.

"These are my two decades. This is a revisiting of my "hey day"- Brian Spangler

In revisiting the songs from these decades, the band has really dug in, practiced a lot of hours and are dedicated to a commitment to excellence in each song's arrangement and presentation. Brian adds "The songs were written perfect to begin with...but we try to make them more"perfect-ER"... if that is a word. If we do our job right, all of this should bleed through when we play.

The 90's March show at The Burl was the first one with then new band member Kirby Davis, who plays Keys and Tenor Sax for Vinyl Richie. Kirby had chipped in at the last minute and was immediately struck with how much work was put into the development and presentation of a musical review of this nature, and he suggests -that based on this aspect alone - is what makes Vinyl Richie so great.

In its 10th year as a band, Vinyl Richie was recognized at The 2023 Lexington Music Awards as "Pop Band of the Year". The band was truly thankful and grateful to be acknowledged by both peers and fans for something they have worked VERY hard for and to both EN"JOY" and as a result to spread "JOY" across the community. Brian added "when you win something like a Lexington Music Award, you KNOW that you are doing SOMETHING RIGHT and when you can have a blast doing that SOMETHING RIGHT - it is truly a WIN/ WIN.

By the way, we met for the first time at The Lexington Music Awards and before that time, I was a long time admirer from afar, seeing them engage an audience in special way at Keeneland and O'Neill's here in Lexington, KY. When the next episode of Overtones Special Edition Series "It's OK...I'm With The Band" was up on the schedule, I knew with all my heart and soul, this was the band to feature and show to our global audience in a different way than most here locally may know them.

"We are detail oriented - it is not a passive thing at all. We are digging into these songs to make them the best that we can make them. It was my first show also as a keyboard player and to play in a band like this one - was an epic way to debut my keyboard skills. Playing 80's music made it even more epic." - Kirby Davis

Band member Jacob O'Donnell who contributes his amazing gifts of alto sax, flute and vocals to Vinyl Richie adds that singing lead vocals for the band with some songs is "terrifying and exciting" at the same time but seeing the fans respond they way that they do with Vinyl Richie on the stage is not anything to take for granted. "Sometimes a band plays for large crowds but no one is paying attention to the band, but our audience tends to be more engaged, everyone sings along, we have a perfect set list for all to enjoy." Prior to playing with the band for the 80's Vs. 90's show, he realized most of this music was not familiar to him, this is not his era, but seeing that people in the audience, know this music, and sings this music from their era - really hit home to him after performing with the band for this concert.

What role has "history" played in the "brewing" of this band? Let's rewind the "cassette tape"a bit.

What role has "history" played in the "brewing" of this band?

Brian grew up playing punk and original songs in bands from Clarksville to Nashville eventually taking a break from music to do things like "work", "start a family" and to "raise children'. Once he found some breathing room in his life and schedule, he had an itch to play music again.

"I didn't really know if I wanted to start another original band - I did love writing original songs, but I didn't particularly love playing for three people and it takes a LONG time to build that following....actually it takes a LONG time to build what we have now as well. I had an early desire to begin a musical effort that would take after band called Me First and The Gimme Gimmes. So I had an early idea to take Vinyl Era music and play punk rock versions of that."

Brian put out an ad on Craig's List (a band origin story that is really familiar to hear in Central Kentucky) and he met the founding drummer, Shawn Bowy, who remains one of his best friends, as well as another bass player and started down as a 3-piece band playing stripped down versions of artists like Bryan Adams and Randy Travis, for example.

Fast forward that cassette tape...

"I am not the best guitar player in the world and that is no secret to anybody. I wanted to add a lead guitar to provide more texture to the music we were performing. In my opinion, we were not even a band until we got Mike Kirilenko." - Brian Spangler

After answering a Craig's List add and auditioning, Mike had "nailed it" as Brian describes. Mike loved what they were doing as Vinyl Richie and that one decision ultimately led to what the band is doing now. Brian added that after experimenting with the addition of a trombone, played by then bassist, Chase Fleming, for a show at Parlay Social one night led to another great decision.

It was determined a horn sound, provided by Chase, was beneficial and the evolution of the band ultimately building a 4-piece brass section, in which 2 of the members add another layer by "doubling down on the synth" would be the icing on an already great musical cake.

The members of the brass section have also been able to add lead vocals in the collection of their vast and appealing 80's-90's song list. The combination of talent in the brass section composed of Kirby Davis on Keys and Tenor Sax, Jacob O'Donell on Alto Sax, Flute and Vocals, Ryon Bean on Trombone, Synth and Vocals, and Michaelle Perros on Baritone Sax and Vocals. Kirby and Jacob have also been seen around town performing at Tee Dee's, with him and his son, Lee Carroll, The Baja Yetis, and The Tim Talbert Project. In addition, along with slaying that baritone saxophone which is something to see in its own right - Michaelle's powerful and mighty voice lends such credibility and incredible fun to the Brittany Spears, Madonna and Sheryl Crowe 80's- 90's setlist.

In addition to the brass section and all of the wonderful vocals, the band features Danny Cecil on Bass and Zacc Spangler on Drums.

Mike adds that this historical perspective provided by Brian was a great recap and validated that the decision to answer that Craig's list ad and audition sealed the deal with Mike. Mike, who at the time was a self-described "tinker-er" and buying up guitars and building his own guitar amp - adding that he really needed to do something with all of that effort. He saw the ad, sent demos and the rest...was history.

This is a great history by the way...and so is the story behind the name of the band.

"We were going to be called 'High Speed Dubbing' at first and after much discussion and brainstorming - then founding band member Shawn Bowy suggested 'Vinyl Richie' and as we can see - the rest of that history as well.

Vinyl Richie is a full on, rock and roll dance party rocket ship to Mars with the hottest dang horn section around! No genre or era goes untouched as we run it all through our super exclusive, rock and roll party machine to give you something fresh and upbeat to shake your booty to all night long!

"Simply put....They play what they mean and they mean what they play." - Renee Collins Cobb
Who Said What About You?

In our interview which can be accessed on the You Tube Link to the left, we played the game of "Who Said What About You?" and I described the task of asking about eight people to contribute their thoughts about the band. In what usually takes me several weeks to collect information from a band's fanbase, this particular question yielded eight immediate responses in a time lapse of about five minutes. This should speak to the fan love of this band. Here is a sampling of what Vinyl Richie fans had to say about them...

"Vinyl Richie is an incredible ensemble. Their horn section and male and female leads make them especially fun to listen to. Every show is packed with fan pleasing hits. They are so talented and my favorite band around." - Rosie Lanphere

My husband and I love Vinyl Richie and try to catch as many of their shows as possible! The high energy and entertainment they bring to stage is unmatched! They know how to get a crowd going and put on an amazing show every time! Love when Brian runs out in the crowd to get them pumped up. - Shyla McIntosh
Vinyl Richie is simply the best in person cover band around. They are high energy and high performance. When we want to go out and hear music we know and love we go to one of their shows, they always deliver. They were also incredible to work with at our wedding. We wanted them from day 1 and they did not disappoint. - Katie & Aron Harrington

Vinyl Richie is a dynamic, high energy, band, complete with a horn section. They get you moving on the dance floor. There’s something for everyone at a Vinyl Richie show, they put a unique twist to your favorite songs. I always have a blast dancing the night away at their shows. They love their fans, and it shows, as they are having as much fun as the audience. ~Lee Ann Taylor

"I have been listening to Vinyl Richie since they first started as a 3 piece band without a horn section. Covering 60s 70s 80s songs at bars all around Lexington. I was a big fan from day one. There have been members of their band come and go for the years since the first time I saw them, but every time I’ve seen them since, they get bigger and better every time. Now with a complete horn section, more vocal talents joining the band, and a band of now 7-8… it amazes me that they are able to learn and play new covers every show I go to! Every show I go to, they have several songs I have never heard them play before. Obviously the energy of Brian (lead singer) can get a crowd of ANYBODY on the dance floor. And biggest reason I love vinyl richie is because 9 years ago, I started an annual event as a celebration of life for my mom that passed away. Vinyl Richie knowing I was a big fan of them, agreed to play at my event only for what money people donated to the band. They did that annually for 5 years in a row no matter what size band they had, or how much they were charging for gigs at that time.. every member agreed to travel to Danville, KY for the night just to play for my group of friends and family in honor of my mother. They will be playing for this event next year too" - Adam Voth

I’ve been a Vinyl Richie fan/follower for years. The talent and extensive range of cover songs in their set is unmatched. Pair that with their lively energy and their shows are guaranteed to get everybody on their feet. I haven’t been to one show where I didn’t end up in front of the stage dancing, clapping and singing along. - Kasey Conder

Current Vinyl Richie band members are: Brian Spangler, Vocals/ Guitar, Michaelle Perros, Vocals/ Baritone Sax, Mike Kirilenko, Lead Guitar/ Vocals, Jacob O'Donnell, Alto Sax/ Flute/ Vocals, Ryon Bean, Trombone/ Synth/ Vocals, Kirby Davis, Keys/ Tenor Sax, Danny Cecil, Bass and Zacc Spangler, Drums.

You can find Vinyl Richie on Facebook and Instagram. Their website is under construction and we will be updating this article when it is up and running. Here is a promo video from one of their many amazing offerings!

Renee Collins Cobb, M.Ed. and Warren Cobb are Executive Producers of Overtones LIVE and Co-Owners of Listen Locally, LLC, as well as Executive Directors and Founders of Room 17 Productions, a non-profit 501c3 organization. We are also partners in Dreamland Entertainment Group and The Scribe TV Network.

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