5.18.2000
Melodic guitar rock recalls '80s hair metal bands
By VAUGHN WATSON
Journal Pop Music Writer

Who he is: Singer-songwriter Phil Vincent

What he plays: Melodic guitar rock. Vincent's influences are The Beatles, and such '80s hair metal bands as Dokken and Whitesnake. "I still love that stuff," he said. "And that's still huge overseas. That's why my stuff is selling so well over there."

Vincent recorded Thunder In The East , his latest album, in a style similar to such rock artists as Trent Reznor and Moby, the techno DJ. He played every instrument -- guitar, keyboard, bass and drums.

"I took about 10 years of piano lessons; I picked up the guitar and drums without formal training," Vincent said. "With rock music, you don't need formal training. It sounds too sterile if you do that."

Because he recorded the songs on his latest album live, rather than piping in digital instrumentation, several of them, such as Friend or Foe , sound like they were recorded at a concert. There's an element of Footloose here, but Into Temptation , with its prophetic keyboard intro, does a good job of capturing the full orchestration and arena-rock vibe of the hair metal bands that Vincent grew up with.

History: Vincent played in a cover band about 10 years ago. He decided in 1996 to go solo. "When I saw the movie The Wedding Singer, I said, 'I don't want that to be me,' " Vincent said. "I'm just making the best of it right now, because it can all be gone in a second."

Recording: Vincent records at night in his basement studio in Cranston. "Usually," he said, "I do most of my writing at night and the loud stuff -- drums, guitars -- on the weekend."

He recently signed with Song Haus Music Group, a label based in Utah. The label is selling Thunder In The East in Europe through AOR Heaven, an Altheim, Germany, distributor. Thunder In The East , released in March, is Vincent's fifth album. He plans to release his sixth, Tragic , in January 2001.