Monday, May 2, 2016

The Passion Never Leaves

When you’re young and passionate like Jordan Sommer, your dreams become goals, and your goals become your fate. Former band member Rick Vice knows, that life can sometimes have a different plan in store. Making it big isn't likely nor easy. According to Nilna Ulloa, author for “Digital Music News,” 91 percent of all artists are undiscovered. 

Rick Vice is one of these artists. 

But, this is not a sad story, in fact it’s quite the opposite. Over a span of 11 years, Vice played bass in three bands. The first was “Siren” (1983-1986). He considers his time in this band as a learning experience. “A bunch of ‘green’ musicians and one crazy ass lead singer that eventually self destructed and left the band. We never were able to replace him,” Vice explained gratefully. 

His second band, “Tantrum” (1986-1989) embraced the showy nature of “Glam rock,” that was all the rage at the time. Vice said, “This band had the big-glam-high hair-eyeliner all about the show mentality. We were flashy, loud, and had a great following. Within one week the drummer and the lead guitar player left for what seemed to them greener pastures.”

Rick Vice(left) Playing in "Tantrum"
By the time “Tantrum” ended Vice had gained a lot of experience, and the third and final band “Vice Versa” (1983-1993) was created. Vice refers to this band as, “The most talented group of mature musicians.” He recalls writing a lot of original content, and recording sessions at the University of Pittsburg. After the band released its first EP, they lost two drummers in one summer. After that, a lack of funds convinced the remaining members that it was time to end the band. 

During his time in “Vice Versa,” Vice’s family expanded. He and his wife Donna had their first child Zakk, who was followed roughly three years later by his sister Kristen.

When reflecting on what could have become of the band, Vice says he has no regrets. “My priorities changed for the most part. It was time to settle down and start a family. I did not see myself being able to do both,” he said. 

Now that his daughter Kristen is able to fully grasp the selflessness of her father’s choices, she looks up to him now more than ever. “I loved my life growing up. I felt secure in a stable home environment, surrounded by a family that loved me,” she said. “My Dad could have easily said ‘no, I want to keep perusing the band,’ but he chose to stop chasing his passion just so he could be as involved with our lives as possible. To me thats all you can ask from a Dad.”

Vice now works as a vice president in a family owned machine shop. Much like Sommer, he still finds ways to quench his thirst for music. “I love collecting, tweaking and playing my basses and guitars to this day. Also, I built a small home studio,” he says with a smile on his face. 

Both Rick Vice and Jordan Sommer have something in common. They are both passionate musicians who refuse to leave music in the past. “I believe that being a musician is in your blood, either you have it or you don’t,” Vice says. “The passion never leaves, it just gets redirected.”

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