singer/songwriter/guitarist VANGE DURST
Interview by Robert Urban for GAY GUITARISTS WORLDWIDE
VANGE DURST - Her sound is an original take on vintage chicken-scratch soul/funk/rock ala Curtis Mayfield meets Average White Band meets Sly & The Family Stone. She is gifted with a sassy, multi-octave, finely-tuned Tina Turneresque singing voice. In her presence the whole room feels at home. She spreads the LUV on good n' thick. She can jam with anyone and make 'em sound good. 'Nuff said?
Am talkin' 'bout one of my all-time fav heroes of LGBT music - Connecticut based singer/songwriter and distinguished electric guitarist VANGE DURST.
Vange writes: “I have been blessed with a funky soul, the ability to make people feel liked, and a whole barrelful of schmooze! After many years of trying too hard, I am now in the wonderful place where my listening comes before my playing. To me the best high in the world is being exactly where the note is, to catch the magic spiral and ride the circle of sound. That moment makes everything else worthwhile”.
Vange was a founding member of gurl-funk band Sisterfunk and is playing 5 shows this summer with Tina Jean and Denise Troy of the band. She is also finishing up a 13 song Cd with her trio, EV3, and is the lead guitar player with the R & B band D-Vine. (And this is her taking it easy!) Vange would like to thank Robert Urban for his support and friendship.
- What brand/model/year instrument(s) do you record and play out with?
I play a 1976 fender Strat, and I use a cheap little Godin as a backup guitar. That way when I travel I only have to really worry about one guitar.
- What brand/model/year amps & effects (if any) do you use?
I use a Fender Tube amp with Boss pedals and I like a clean sound with a little distortion and delay. I also like using the Wah for extra drama and funkiness.
- Who are your main influences as an instrumentalist? Which artists? Which bands? Instrumentalist? Which artists/bands were your favorites in your youth?
BB King, Santana, Clapton, Garcia are all favorites of mine. For songwriting I love Joni Mitchell, Patty Larkin, Bob Dylan and so many more. When I was a kid I loved Simon and Garfunkel and the Mamas and the Papas, and Crosby Stills Nash and Young. I grew up in the Hippie generation, and I have to admit my memory has suffered a bit! I really love all types of music, and am influenced every day by different styles.
- Tell fans about your luv for your particular style of music, as opposed to other styles - how it became your favorite style of rock, etc- I just came into my style over a number of years…it just developed as I played with different people. I would take what I liked about other players and learn from them , and over the years……..Voila!
- Do you play/compose/record only your own original music? Do you do any other work in music - e.g. teaching, recording session work, hired gun, producing, etc? Does your playing appear on recordings of any other artists?
I mainly record original tunes that I compose or that I co- write with other people. In my Trio Ev3 I co write with Michael Kurjan, the very talented keyboard player that I have been in several projects with. In Sisterfunk, we all helped with each others tunes and so we would share airtime, so to speak. I work for other bands on occasion; they might hire me to sit in and do a show with them. I also do session work in the studio for others.
- Is there a particular favorite solo or part you played on a recording, or a certain piece of composed music you wrote, that you feel represents your finest work?
The new Cd that I will be releasing in 2008 has some of my finest guitar work yet, I think. I am also very proud of my guitar work on the Sisterfunk CD “GIRL”, especially on the song “Crucify”. That song was nominated for Out Song of The Year in 2005.
Any special thoughts on your instrument, and what it's meant to you in your life?
My instrument has saved my life. I have gone through some major life changes, including getting clean and sober 10 years ago. The guitar has always been my dearest friend, always there, never questioning always an outlet for pain, anger and frustration, behind which is love, love love.
Can you relate any special feelings or experiences about being a glbt player in the mostly straight music world... especially regarding your formative/learning years on your instrument?
When I was younger I hid my sexuality, I was afraid to really rip it out. As I got older I realized that ripping it out was part of my style and I stopped caring about what other people think. That has been a beautiful release for me.- For a glbt player - how does the overall music scene differ today
from years ago?
-The scene today is so much more open, people care much less today about gender and sexuality, especially here in the beautiful blue state of Connecticut!
- How is the overall music scene in your locale?
The Scene here in Hew Haven is pretty good. We have a few all original clubs like Cafe Nine and The Space, and there a quite a few opportunities for gigging. We just did a gig at Cafe Nine (with you, as a matter of fact, Robert), and the week before we had a great show at the Buttonwood Tree in Middletown Ct.
(photo at right: Robert Urban and Vange Durst jam out on The Rolling Stones' MIDNIGHT RAMBLER - Cafe Nine, New Haven, CT May 2007
- Any advice for young glbt players?
- To thine own self be true, and follow your heart and instincts.
- What are your current and future musical projects?
- As I said, I will be doing shows with the fabulous girls from Sisterfunk this summer, including Boston Pride on June 9th.
I am recording and mixing a 13 song Cd with Ev3, which will be out in 2008, and I am a member of the R&B band D-Vine.
All this and I am getting married in September to the love of my life, Lori Michels. Yaaayyy! Life is so great right now, and I am very grateful for this opportunity to share with you all.
Thank you again Robert Love to you all Peace, Vange Durst
Robert Urban and Vange Durst impromptu jam at The Acoustic Cafe, Fairfield CT, summer 2004
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