Like Don Henley, Phil Collins, and Dave Grohl, Jeff Vitolo has joined the ranks of these seasoned artists by taking the role of front and center. This is something new for this talented and diverse guitarist, and he is tackling it with gusto. Starting his career in the Tampa Bay live local music scene in 1986, Vitolo worked his way through the industry, having the opportunity to work and perform with numerous talented individuals, crews, and set ups. Catching up with this versatile singer, songwriter, guitarist, and DJ, he was happy to spend time for some Q & A, talking about his new project and reflecting on his past endeavors.
|Photo Courtesy of JeffVitolo.com|
Q: How has your past experience in the music industry brought you to this new direction in your music?
A: I look back on all the bands I’ve been in with great adoration for the experiences and memories I’ve had, and I cannot put a price tag on those experiences. However, growth is necessary as an artist. I was never the type of person to be stuck on one decade. I’m not that same kid. This music now, it’s more convincing, going back to the roots, like southern rock, blues and rockabilly, really reaching out to the roots of Skynard and Ted Nugent with blues-based rock-n-roll like Hendrix, Chuck Berry, and Muddy Waters. They were the first rockers, and by playing roots rock stuff, and not getting hung up on waiting for the record deal, this is me. This is what I am, and where I’m happy. I thought, why not instead of putting a band together, I just put my own name out there and build my own brand, and do my own thing.
Q. How would you describe the sound and the feel of an average Jeff Vitolo & The Quarter Mile Rebels’ show?
A. We are a rock n’ roll revival band with a whole subculture of fans that live within the rockabilly and revival lifestyle. I gravitated towards that market because it is a part of my lifestyle as well, and after nine years it was just time to move on. It’s a breath of fresh air to the music of today, with a surprisingly diverse audience appeal. It’s pretty cool to have the potential for universal appeal, and break down the age barriers. We have grandparents, parents, and the young generation out there moving and grooving with us. Sometimes these kids don’t know who the greats are, and when we cover a Rolling Stones tune or something from Chuck Berry, they don’t realize what they are hearing. There’s a generation of kids these days that are going back and getting into the musical roots, they are sick of what’s being force-fed to them, and we enjoy helping educate them.
|Photo Courtesy of JeffVitolo.com|
Q. Tell us about the group itself--what brings you all together?
A. The group that I have put together, Talon Balque on drums and vocals, Garrison Collins playing stand-up bass and vocals, Lindey Mercer on harmonica and vocals, Jana Vitolo and Jessica Colon as back-up singers; we are all torn from the same cloth, we think alike in our feelings about this mature new step, and it makes writing and performing a memorable experience. It’s all about this experience because once the money is spent from the gig, that’s all you really have left.
Q. Since forming under a year ago, the band has been busy. What are some of your recent accomplishments?
A. We have had many great opportunities to play several local and regional events just since we started this whole project last year. January was our first gig for the Full Throttle Magazine Florida Motorcycle Expo and later that month we opened for Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, and in April came the chance to open for the legendary Dick Dale along with many other performances at various car shows, local festivals and anywhere else we could get our name out to. We released our first single, “Keep On Moving” in March and it’s available on multiple digital distribution sites such as iTunes, Rhapsody, Google Play, Amazon MP3, and many others. We are always working on new material to keep the show fresh and fun.
Q. What is the one thing that sets you apart from other artists out there today?
A. As I have evolved, so has my music. As we move along, I want to continue to do things that are fresh and original, or have a new spin on an old classic. I’m all about yesterday is yesterday, we got that poster on the wall, so tomorrow lets make a new one. The biggest bands are special, there’s no bands that sound the way they do, and that’s also what sets this project apart from anything else. It’s a new picture to be painted as an artist, and if you ain’t paintin’ no new pictures, then you ain’t no artist.
Keep tabs on Jeff and all the Rebel fun at his website, JeffVitolo.com. Check out the pages on our favorite sites, Reverb Nation, Sound Cloud, Facebook, and Twitter for all the newest news on the band. Be sure to catch Jeff and his Rebels this Friday, September 6, at the grand opening of the Cloud Nine Hooka Lounge in Holiday, Florida. Showtime is 7 pm, so break out your rockabilly gear, grab some friends, go enjoy the music, and tell ‘em Betsy sent ya!