Vengeance is comprised of a core of dedicated musicians who are true believers in the transcendent power of music. For them music is more than its component parts. It is more like an aural landscape that shifts form and content, always growing and changing as the muse strikes. It is no wonder that they were finally noticed and validated by their legion of fans. Vengeance won Review Awards for Best Rock Band and Best Variety Band.Matt Hyatt won the honor of Best Guitarist (heavy praise indeed) and Dave Banks got the nod for Best Keyboardist. It was a musical coup d'etat. Review was able to chat with leader Adolph Borrego as well as Dave Banks and Matt Hyatt. Adolph is truly a modest soul with a big heart and a keen vision for the future.
How long has Vengeance been performing?
Adolph: Vengeance was formed in the late 90's. I had just moved back to Michigan after living in Syracuse, NY for about 6 years. When I got back of course I looked up my old musician friends and Vengeance was formed. I had been in a few bands before leaving Michigan and had had the honor of playing with some of the area's top musicians including extraordinary guitarist Mike Fink and the drummer/sax player/singer Bobby Pyman to name a few.
The original line up of Vengeance was me on rhythm guitar and vocals, Pat Cherry on drums, Rodney Trumble on Lead guitar and Ron Arrington on Bass. We played all over the place strictly as a cover band and we had a set list of material that was more deep cut or album cut kind of stuff that none of the other local bands were doing. We have always wanted to be a bit different.
How has the band evolved?
Adolph: As most bands do, we have gone through our share of personnel changes and as a result Pat and I are the only two original and founding members left. Throughout 2012 our lineup was Pat and I, Terry Kasper on Bass, Matt Hyatt on Lead Guitar, Dave Banks on Keys and the little lady with the big dynamite voice Dani Vitany on vocals. These are some of the most talented musicians I've ever played music with.
What was your reaction to winning Best Rock Band and Best Variety Band?
Adolph: Complete surprise mixed with a sense of pride. I would be remiss if I didn't give credit where it's due. If it were not for this lineup we would not have won the awards we won at the Review awards ceremony. Dani has since moved on to bigger and better things with the newly formed rocking country band Ten Hands Tall. We wish Dani and THT the best of luck and want to Thank Dani for the time she put in with us.
Matt: Both times it was a moment of confusion, then shock and wondering "did they screw up? Real soon after that I guess it kind of felt like I dunked a basketball for the first time -- and for a short guy that's a pretty awesome feeling. We were surprised just to win the Best Variety Band award and had even said if we went home with just that, then it was more than we expected and we were content. Then Dave won, then I won and then we won Best Rock Band and I think we were all completely elated.
Matt, what was your reaction to getting best guitarist?
When they called my name for best rock guitarist I was speechless. I have such a passion for music and this is just a wonderful byproduct. I am humbled and honored by our fans and supporters for their faithfulness and support
Matt, were you inspired by anyone in particular. Did you take lessons, have a mentor?
I was first inspired to play guitar when I fell in love with Led Zeppelin. I was 10 years old. I started taking lessons at various places and eventually took lessons from Jim Pagel out at Bay Music. I took lessons with him for two years. Since then I had times where I hardly even played until I married my current wife Gaymarie Hyatt who has supported me at every step of my music career
Adolph, how do you describe your music?
Vengeance has gone through a number of musical tastes and flavors in our shows and we are a unique blend of everything from Rock to Blues, to R & B, to Country. Our ages range from middle thirties to late fifties so we have a boat load of experience and a very diverse ear and love of music. Our influences range from George Jones and George Strait to George Thorogood and the Georgia Satellites. Seriously though we all love a very broad range of music and we all believe that the music is not in our instruments, it's in our hearts and in our souls.
You must have a loyal following. Did they get the word out?
Adolph: Yes, the word definitely got due to our wives and girlfriends as well as many loyal friends.
The band wishes to thank everyone that voted for us and we want everyone to know that it is not lost on us what this means. We were up against the best bands around and we are humbled and honored to have won. A special shout out to our wives and girlfriends for their undying support and encouragement
Adolph, you are from Birch Run - does it have a growing music/arts scene?
It really appears to. With the talent that has come from such a small town there must be something in the water. We perform around the Clio, Montrose, Saginaw, Flint area. We've played at Bob's Bar in Fosters, Bus Stop in Birch Run, Backwoods in Burt, Cloverleaf in Clio, Prime Event Center in Bay City, Dow Event Center as the Spirit hockey games band and a number of Eagles and VFW Halls.
Dave, what was your visceral response to winning Best Keyboardist
I just couldn't comprehend it...I sat there for the longest time trying to figure out if I should be so bold as to really go up. Pat finally nudged me and said "you better get your butt up there or they're going to give it away!" Just looking around as I'm walking up thinking about how crazy talented this room of people is and here I am going up for an award -- and also that most of those same people are thinking "who?!?!?" Then I think, "holy crap...they want a speech of some sort." I went blank after that.
Did you have a mentor?
Dave: Definitely - my cousin Terry. Amazing piano player in whatever style was called for. He started showing me how to really play with chords and use blues scales, and also to pick out parts by ear. I appreciate those tips a ton. Later on I learned a ridiculous amount by playing dueling pianos with Jeff Lehman out of Warren. He clued me in to really playing the whole keyboard to fill up the sound. Also showed me what songs most people want to hear on a night out.
What are your plans for the future?
Dave: We're absolutely in a time of change and evolving. With Dani moving on to another band - who are freaking awesome by the way - we are feeling our way to the best mix for us and also the places we play. It's been trying, but it's also been an energy shot coming up with different songs that work with who we are now
Adolph: Our future is always evolving because of the broad spectrum of music we all enjoy. We plan on being around for a long long time.