Phil Vincent best known as vocalist with Legion, D’Ercole and many more expands on his singing career and what the future holds with regard to new music and live gigs.
Who were your influences in the early days and have you always wanted to be a singer?
The Beatles were the band that made me want to be a musician. I’ve always wanted to be part of a band but things worked out quite the opposite. Then Black Sabbath entered my palette, then Priest, Queen, Thin Lizzy, Sammy Hagar, Boston, Chicago, Foreigner,…the list goes on But the common thread in all those bands and artists were GREAT songs.
Paul McCartney was my vocal inspiration. He had so many characteristics and shades to his voice. Soft voice on “Yesterday” and screaming rock vocal on “Helter Skelter”. Robert Lamm and Peter Cetera, circa their Chicago I, II, and III albums, were great influences vocally.
Have you ever auditioned for the vocal spot in any notable bands?
Legion was the band that I formed with Vince O’Regan but I never auditioned. So the answer to this question is a “no”.
You have appeared on a great number of albums. Do you have a favourite and why?
All the music I create holds a special place in my heart. The most recent album “Mass Formation” by D’Ercole and the to be released solo album “Divine Intervention” include the most personal lyrics I’ve ever written. I lost a lot of family, including my mom last year and being an only child makes it very difficult to handle.
Do you still get the same buzz out of singing live as you did in the past?
Oh yes, I love singing now more than ever. It’s always a learning process and the more I sing the more comfortable I become. I’ve been doing a lot of backing vocals on my recent stuff and I think it makes the songs resonate a little more.
Some vocalists are on strict dietary regimes or gargle with special liquids. How have you kept your voice in tip top shape all these years?
Since I don’t play live too often I don’t have a set routine other than singing scales before I record. I don’t smoke or drink and I work out every day so I think that helps my lung capacity which directly corresponds to my vocals. Plus, I get a lot of sleep. THAT is the most important thing, I think!
Are there any musicians that you have not worked with, but would like to in the future?
Sir Paul McCartney would be a dream come true, but realistically I would love to write with Sammy Hagar. His music always made me feel good. From Montrose to his solo work to Van Halen. I think I’ve seen him perform live 11 times and he just gets better and better but the thing I love the most are the songs he writes. “Turn Up the Music”, “Love or Money”, “Heavy Metal”, “Stand Up and Shout”, ……great stuff.
You’re a prolific songwriter. Where do most of your ideas come from?
Life, TV, movies, books, other artists, ….I remember seeing an interview 30 years ago with Chris Degarmo, former Queensryche guitarist, and he said something that made so much sense. He said “music is a continuing recycling process where each individual artist tries to be a unique derivative of their previous influences”. That says it all. There’s only so many different chord progressions we can create and only so many notes we can put together to make something that hasn’t been done before. He was spot on.
Is there any unreleased recorded material from your days in the many bands you’ve been involved with that could be released?
They would need to be remastered since they are on either DAT or cassette. I go back and listen once in a while just out of curiosity to see what I was thinking at that time of my life.
I would need a good month just to pick out the songs that are worthy.
You appear to be a very busy man. What do you enjoy doing on your downtime?
Work out, spend time with family and friends, go to as many shows as I can. Rhode Island isn’t exactly a “hot spot” for bands to tour but they do come around to the Connecticut Casino, which is fairly close by.
Do you have any plans to release another solo album?
Yes. “Divine Intervention”. The mastering was just completed by Jacob Hansen and Rock Company Records. Should be releasing it this August or September.
With the live circuit opening up again, is there a possibility that we could see you performing some live shows in the UK?
Vince and I talk about it so it is a possibility that Legion might play in the UK but only if it would NOT involve previous management 😊
You appear to do a lot of production work , is this something you enjoy?
Yes. I love being in the studio and I think I have a good ear for what sounds good. It’s been something I’ve worked so hard at and whether it is a technique I read about in a recording magazine or a tip I get from another artist, there’s always something to learn. Paul Sabu taught me a lot while we were working on the Cranston albums. I think we will do a third album at some point.
Do you have anything in the pipeline at the moment that you would like to share?
The new solo album, I will be recording vocals for the next Forest Fields CD, I am finishing up a new project with guitarist Curtis Myers which is very exciting. Writing for the next Tragik CD has commenced and we are three songs into that. No title yet.
Interview by Stuart Dryden