Photos by Randy Jarosz at the Rex Theater
Continuing on with our preview of Deutschtown Music Festival we had the chance to interview singer/songwriter and guitarist for “The Big Bend,” Chet Vincent. Along with Vincent is Daniel Dickison on guitar, Andy Voltz on vocals and keys, Madison Stubblefield on bass and Abe Anderson on drums. Chet Vincent and The Big Bend play Deutschtown Music Festival at Allegheny Elks Lodge at 10 PM Saturday, July 12th. Be sure to catch this set. Also, you can hear the guys performing live on 102.5 WDVE morning show at 9am Thursday, July 10th to promote Deutschtown Music Festival!
Sound Scene Express: What’s the name of your band? What’s the origin of that name? Have
you changed the band’s name before?
Chet Vincent: Our band is called “The Big Bend.” I’m not exactly sure how we settled on this name — some of our early songs were inspired by a trip I took to the southwest and Big Bend national park. However, more importantly, when our lead guitarist Dan joined the band one of his song notes was “big ass bend” and we all kinda liked that.
SSE: What are your day jobs? If any.
CV: I work at a small market in my neighborhood. The other guys in the band are programmers/archivists/writing teachers/odd job doers.
SSE: What genre of music do you consider your work to be? Who are your
CV: We are a rock band, and like a lot of rock bands we pull from many genres: rock, blues, pop, country, alternative, folk, and on and on. We listen to a lot of different kinds of music, it all gets processed into our songs one way or another. Honestly, these days a lot of our influences are other Pittsburgh bands. The most recent album is more heavy blues, alternative rock inspired than our previous projects.
SSE: How long have you all known each other? How did you meet?
CV: I met drummer Abe and keyboardist Andy when I was playing in my first band just out of high school. We were all in different bands. When I got back home after college I ended up moving in with them and we started the Big Bend. Dan, and our first bass player Tad Wissel, joined the band not long afterwards.
After a few years Tad left the band, and we were lucky to get Madison to replace him. Madison’s old band, The Slow Reel (which was awesome), had recently broken up because some members had moved out of town.
SSE: Who writes your song lyrics? What is your inspiration?
CV: I write all the song lyrics for the band. I like to write about all kinds of things — coyotes, drinking, love, politics, death. Whatever sounds good, right?
SSE: When did you form your band? What inspired you to make music together?
CV: When I moved back to Pittsburgh after school I had this album of songs I had recorded. I was looking for a band here to play with, and Abe and Andy were kinda looking for a new musical project. We had some history together with our previous bands, and they had a room for rent at their place. So we decided to give it a shot… and this is how the band was formed.
SSE: Where have you performed? What are your favorite venues?
CV: We’ve played just about everywhere around town. I don’t know if we necessarily have a favorite venue, but Howler’s and Thunderbird are always fun. Recently I’ve really enjoyed playing the two neighborhood music festivals: Rock All Night Tour (RANT) in Lawrenceville, and the Deutschtown Music Festival on the North Side. They’re really great because it seems like every band in Pittsburgh is playing.
SSE: What are your rehearsals generally like? Do you have a set time each
week in which you practice or are rehearsals more spontaneous?
CV: We try to play two or three times a week. Recently it’s been every Tuesday and Thursday, but sometimes life gets in the way. We are actually pretty good about sticking to the schedule.
SSE: What’s your ultimate direction for your band? Are you seeking fame
CV: We’re always trying to make our music better, and play as much as possible. It would be cool to be famous and rich because of our songs.
SSE: What prompted the change in your sound on Unconventional Dog?
CV: We went for a heavier sound with Unconventional Dog. We had been thinking about, wanting to do an album like this — and I had written a number of songs that fit the style. The final piece of the puzzle was when Madison joined the band. His old band, The Slow Reel, had been going heavier just before they broke up. Basically everyone was on the same page.
SSE: Do you have a favorite song that you have written?
CV: I think my favorite song I’ve ever written was actually for my girlfriend’s band, Molly Alphabet. The song is “Let’s Make Love with the Lights On.” But as far as Big Bend songs, my favorite is “Desert Gold.”
SSE: What are your thoughts of the Pittsburgh music scene?
CV: The Pittsburgh music scene is rare and amazing. I have met so many talented and fun people in other bands, at shows, and open mics. Almost all my friends are involved in music in some capacity and that’s so sweet. I think, as a band, we are very lucky to be a part of this. I hope it keeps getting better!
SSE: How can fans-to-be gain access to your music? Do you have a website
with sample songs or a demo CD?
CV: You can hear all our music at our website: www.TheBigBend.net, or at our Facebook page www.facebook.com/chetvincentandthebigbend
SSE: When is your next show?
CV: Our next show is Saturday, July 12th at the Deutschtown Music Festival. We play at the Allegheny Elks Lodge at 10pm.
SSE: Is there anything else you would like to add?
CV: We have a new single coming out this month (and a music video to go with it) so keep an eye out for that!