Generations of Good Vibes
Music festivals bring together an array of music, people and entertainment. The Gathering of the Vibes in Bridgeport, CT in particular is known to bring some of the greatest bands from around the country. I had the pleasure of talking with two of these talent-filled acts.
Jen 'Pipes' Durkin lead singer of Deep Banana Blackout (below) wowed me with her passion and love for jam rock. The Connecticut native told me about her 19 year journey performing at Vibes since the very first show. Her love for music gave me goosebumps!
Image by Chad Anderson
Bobby Paltauf, a 14-year-old guitar prodigy started his own band (below), rightfully named after himself. This kid will blow your mind with all that he has accomplished in 7 short years. With no guitar lessons -- ever, this musician followed in his dad's footsteps to the big stage.
Image by Mike Thut
Without further ado, let's learn more about these two musical gems!
What made you get into music?
J - Since I was 5 years old, I have loved music and performing. I would literally have dreams about performing on stage. There was always a spotlight on me. I guess that was sort of a premonition; it was my calling! I performed in every play possible at school. I was a 70's kid so I was obsessed Jesus Christ Superstar!
B - My dad is a musician. He plays the guitar. I got interested at age 7 and kind of just picked it up. I started playing with my dad... and just never stopped.
Who is your musical inspiration?
J - I'd say my number one is probably Fly and the Family Stone because of it's blend of soul and rock, they have a full orchestra. Then classics like Grateful Dead, Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin. Like I said before Jesus Christ Superstar was huge for me too. I actually started in a gospel group, Voices of Joy.
B - My dad obviously. Derek Truck is up there too. He's an amazing guitarist. But right now I'm listening to Snarky Puppy, Phish and other jam bands!
How did you get involved with Gathering of the Vibes?
J - I have been actually performing there since their first show 19 years ago. That was with Voices of Joy. Then Deep Banana Blackout started performing the next year. It has been an awesome experience.
B - I was playing at a place in Bridgeport called BRYAC. They have open mic nights and I've done a bunch of gigs there. Stefanie Lacoff kind of just found me and introduced me to the festival. I owe her so much for my career taking off.
How has performing at Vibes changed your career?
J - It is one of my favorite festivals we perform at. I've been involved for 19 years. You meet people, other bands, it opens doors. Everyone becomes like family. You really look forward to seeing them year after year.
B - It's my second year performing at Vibes. Your fan base grows, you meet other bands. It's a great festival.
What has been your biggest challenge?
J - We are a big band... with lots of equipment and people. It gets expensive. We have the budget of, say, a 4 piece band. But we are so much bigger than that. We have more mouths to feed, transportation costs, travel. It gets expensive. Also, DJ's are becoming most popular. That's definitely becoming a big competition for live bands.
B - School. (laughs) I'm only a sophomore. So planning gigs around my schedule is tough. The school gets mad when I take too many days off.
Okay, last and most important, what do you want your audience to get out of your performance?
J - The uncontrollable urge to dance! Like that James Brown quote "The one thing that can solve most of our problems is dancing". I want them to forget their problems. I want them to feel like they can face anything, face their lives after leaving our show.
B - Moved. I want them to be moved. Emotionally and physically!
One more thing...
J - I do it for the love. When you love what you are doing, nothing else really matters. You'll face problems, get negative reviews, but just stay positive. I love music. I'm doing what I love.
B - I just love music. I am young but I have such a great support system. I owe many thanks to Music Guild of Danbury for donating me equipment. And Source Audio for peddles on my guitar. I've also been involved with Spread Music Now, Rich Wenning runs it... they educate children from low income families about music.
Well, there you have it. I loved talking with these two great people. If you can, get out to the festival this weekend and check them out!
(feature image by Marc Millman)