Introducing Vinnie & The Stars new line up for 2014….

Tom Shillito - Drums
Kath Perring - Keyboards/Vocals

With original members

Andy Precious - Bass/Vocals
Vinnie Whitehead - Guitar/Vocals

Check out this new song “The Thrill Of It” from out first band rehearsal with the new line up.

This song is taken from our forth coming album we are currently working on, as yet untitled and set to be released later in 2014.

Through 2013 since the moment Punkological Business was released I set to work writing and demo recording new material for a 3rd Vinnie & The Stars album. With a basic idea in mind I wanted to challenge myself to write a concept album that reviles a story in each song that progresses to tell a whole story across the album. 10 songs have been finalised and demo recorded for the album and we have began work on producing them for the final release as well as rehearsing them live. I feel this album is my most accomplished work so far and is pushing new boundaries lyrically, musically and production wise. Although we have retained the unique Vinnie & The Stars sound the general vibe of the album is deeper, darker, more thought provoking, and more challenging then any thing we have previously released. For now check out this camera phone video of us rehearsing new song “The Thrill Of It” We look forward to bringing you more Vinnie & The Stars music in 2014. And will be announcing some upcoming gig dates shortly. Keep an eye on our social media and website www.vinnieandthestars.com

Vinnie & The Stars 2013 RoundUp

What an amazing year 2013 was for Vinnie & The Stars! Here’s are a round up of some of the highlights. (In no particular order)

We released our second album Punkological Business, Which features the singles “I’m not from America… I’m from Hull” & “4 or 5 Canner”

We supported GOLDIE LOOKIN CHAIN at Fibbers, York. Played 3 amazing shows supporting Blackbeards Tea Party. As well as a couple of acoustic shows with Alistair Griffin, And many many more fantastic gigs and festivals.

I MC’d the Area 2 Wold Top Stage and Area 2 session on the main stage at Beverley Folk Festival. I also performed and ran song writing workshops at the festival . 

I performed in front of hundreds of Hull City AFC fans at the City Till We Die public meeting bringing awareness to the #NoToHullTigers campaign, which we also featured on BBC Look North and Sky Sports News with a clip of my performance. 

I Performed live sessions on BBC Radio Humberside’s The David Burns Show, and Vinnie & The Stars performed a full band live session on BBC Radio Humberside’s Introducing show with Alan Raw. 

I also celebrated 1 year of running open mic nights at The Red Lion, Merchantgate, York. As well as booking regular acoustic gigs at various pubs including monthly gigs at The Snickleway Inn, and The Yorkshire Terrier. 

I went busking to see if I could earn enough money to buy some new shoes and made a short film/documentary about it. 

There where so many special things happen in 2013 for us which we are so pleased to have experienced. We also massively increased our fan base which was evident from album sales and ticket sales for our major gigs! This was a fantastic achievement. We appreciate the support from everyone who has enjoyed our music through 2013.

And the great news is we have our eyes, hearts, and minds set on progressing even more in 2014. We have started the early stages of recording a new album, no title or release date is decided yet but all the songs have been decided, demo recorded, and the early stages of studio recording them are set in to motion. We’ll be looking for some more major support slots, summer festivals, and looking to arrange a UK summer tour. Things will be kicking off from March I can assure you that, and as soon as a few things are confirmed I’ll be announcing some amazing news!!! 

For now, keep following us on all our social networks, sign up to our mailing list, enjoy our music, and do all this via our website www.vinnieandthestars.com

If you haven’t already we’d love it if you could have a listen to our album Punkological Business on our website and if you enjoy it order a CD online or download the album, If you have the album share it with your friends and encourage others to purchase it. All funds raised from Punkological Business album sales have furthered the progression of Vinnie & The Stars and our equipment, and we are looking to continue with sales to fund the next album rather then using a pledge or kick starter campaign. So please show your support and check out our album Punkological Business, or even our 2009 album Swings & Roundabouts if you don’t have that one in your collection. 

 Thanks again, Peace & Love! Vinnie & The Stars

A couple of weeks ago I decided I needed some new shoes before winter really kicked in. I’d walked to a couple of gigs and open mic’s and my socks had soaked up some puddles through the soles of my shoes and it’s actually quite difficult too focus on your best live music performance whilst your feet are soaked through and uncomfortable. And there’s nothing worse then walking into a toilet with a soaked floor in a dive of a pub/bar knowing you have holes in the soles of your shoes. So that was it time for new shoes. 

I decided I could possibly turn over a little money by going busking. I’d tried busking a couple of times in Hull before but mainly to pass the time when waiting about and never for any serious length of time. So this was to be my first attempt at really making some money busking. The whole thing was inspired by one of, if not the first song I ever wrote. It was called Busking For Shoes and came to life in about 2005. I once said in a conversation I should go busking for shoes, And wrote a song about it. Truth is it’s only taken me about eight years to get round to actually trying to go busking for shoes. So I called my friend Neil from flaming pint productions, he popped round with his camera and we hit the town filming the day as we went. 

The introduction of the video actually features me performing a small section or at least the chorus of the old song Busking For Shoes, There may even be some demo’s of it kicking about on CD with another long lost song called too much TV from about 2005 or 2006. 

We found a Busking Spot on Coney Street in York after discovering a couple of the best spots where taken up by a pan pipe playing native american and his merchandise store, and a transformer robot offering photographs. There was also various other buskers and street performers out that day, So a lot of competition I thought, given that I have no portable amp or microphone system and was relying only on my voice and guitar unplugged. 

I met some great people and often stopped to chat, we did our best to make everyone aware we where filming, And from 2 hours worth of street performing busking footage, And more footage from the day we edited the whole thing down into a 10 min documentary. 

Because I mostly played covers whilst busking we also over dubbed the audio with a couple of new acoustic recording of some new material I’m working on and recording in my home studio. So you’ll get a little peak of two new tracks “Cracks & Dreams” and “Got Enough”

Anyways, without giving too much more away, I’d like to thank Flaming Pint Productions, The People of York, and I hope you all enjoy the short film Busking For Shores. 

 

Hi Everyone,

Recently Vinnie & The Stars recorded a live session for BBC Radio Humberside’s Introducing show, we took an audio recording of the live session and have made it available for free download on our soundcloud page, please check it out on this link. It was a great session and lovely to chat to Alan Raw the presenter. So we are more happy to share this recording as a free download with you. 

If you enjoy the live track, you should also check out the studio recorded album version, on our album Punkological Business, which for the month of June is available to download for just £3 from our bandcamp website http://vinnieandthestars.bandcamp.com/ 

I’ll keep you all updated with some interesting goings on at camp Vinnie & The Stars soon, including a festival diary from our appearences at Beverley Folk Festival in June and Staxtonbury Festival in July, I’ll look forward to sharing those with you

Vinnie. 

I’m from Hull, The Northern Thing Polarises People

Recently I’ve been sending my music out to a number of UK radio stations in search of air play, In particular for my band Vinnie & The Stars single “I’m not from America… I’m from Hull” One reaction from a radio station producer was…

“Honesty being the best policy - we don’t like it very much, I’m afraid. Also, the Northern thing polarises people I think.”

I find this comment quite disturbing. Then it dawned on me that a mass of my favorite bands and songwriters from all over the world have wrote songs about our capital city London, which have been filling radio stations airwaves for years. Immediately I think of “London Calling” by The Clash, Then I think of a favorite songwriter of mine Jamie T who puts endless amounts of London references from street names to tube stations in his songs. Then a few more artists who have sung about London spring to mind, and they just keep on coming… The Streets, The Kinks, Billy Bragg, Ed Sheeran, Warren Zevon, Ian Dury, Pet Shop Boys, T-Rex, Elvis Costello, The Jam, Madness, Lilly Allen, Adele, and the list could go on and on.

So why is it that we can reel song after song off about the capital city that can be deemed suitable for radio and not bring attention to a north south divide in music and people. But a radio show producer can claim that northern content in a song can polarize people.

I think of one of my favorite albums of all time ever “London 0 Hull 4” by The Housemartins they must have had reason to come out with such a title to knock the capital city and make a stand for northern music. The Housemartins claimed to be the 4th best band from Hull and the title is actually a reference to their claim there are 0 good bands from London and 4 from Hull. Did this album create the bitterness towards northern music and divide the north from the south, It was released in the middle of Thatchers reign where a great divide was also taking place in industry.

Then I think of The Beatles, They predated The Housemartins and came from the north aswel. Did their songs ever polarize people? What about “Only A Northern Song” by The Beatles? The more I think about it, I come to the conclusion that, although there are a lot more songs about London, then there are about the whole north of England, broadcast on radio, this comment about my song is simply one comment off one human being. And it just proves that even in the music industry today their still must be some kind of north south divide remaining.

But at the end of the day “I’M NOT FROM LONDON… I’M FROM HULL” so I’ll also take influence from my southern musical influences choice to sing about where they are from in their southern accents, and make it my choice to sing about where I’m from in my northern accent.

Listen to Vinnie & The Stars single “I’m not from America… I’m from Hull” and watch the music video on the website www.vinnieandthestars.com

Album Art

Old York, Cracks & Dreams in a week!


The life style of a musician can be pretty chaotic at times, not in a drug taking alcohol induced party frenzy type of way, more in a weekends become week days, days become weeks, days become night and night becomes day type of way. Sleep patterns and rest periods become warped. This past week I’ve had a pretty amazing week. 

Saturday 6th April - The Duchess York

My band Vinnie & The Stars supported the amazing Blackbeards Tea Party on their album launch night to a packed out bouncing crowd. Andy Doonan got things kicked off early and treated the crowd to some acoustic band versions of his mellow pop songs to warm up the ears. Soon it was our turn to take the stage. This was The Stars first gig with new drummer Carl Chilton who did an excellent job learning the new album material. It was also our first chance to really perform the new album material live. We’d been practicing hard for months before and it paid off on the night, in this case practice did make perfect. As a performance goes it felt tight! We where on it. By the end of the set we’d won the folk acoustic crowd over with our blend of Hip-Hop Funk and got them bouncing! Then the headline act. Blackbeards Tea Party, these guys know how to folk rock a crowd, there music is like traditional folk, with more thumping percussion and a barrage of heavy rock riffage on from Martin on Guitar. It’s intense, you don’t even have to like folk to love it. And that’s no surprise these guys attract such a wide range of audience. Front man Stuart is an excellent entertainer, He brings a massive energy to the band. They where great when I first saw them in 2009 or 2010 at Beverley Folk festival with their old front man, but now they are just something else, with so much energy and stage presence. Anyways I don’t want this to turn into a review I’m just biggin them up so you go see them. If your anything like me you’ll end up shouting “Hey Ho, Chicken on a raft” at your cats for the foreseeable future. 

Sunday 7th April - Open Mic Night Red Lion, Merchantgate, York 

Another lovely evening at The Red Lion, It’s a cosy atmosphere where by the end of the night everyone knows every one and the music community spirit is really there. This week we brought a cake for my girlfriends birthday and all sung happy birthday and shared cake. It was grand. We even welcomed people we’d met for the first time that night to share with us! It was a pleasure to also have Dylan Brierley come over, Dylan is a 15 year old singer songwriter with bags of talent, he’s one to keep an eye out for the future for sure, his song Black Sheep gets stuck in your head for days. 

Monday is my usual day off after a weekend of gigs, I got bored and went to the Red Lion after a walk round town, ended up drinking about 8 or 9 pints at 2pm. Tuesday was my girlfriends Birthday, she shares her birthday with York singer songwriter Benjamin Sherwood, So we headed to the Red Lion for their curry night, I couldn’t seem to get enough of that place this week. I had a Dizi Lamb, with a little extra spice, it was delightful. I love curry and I’d highly recommend it. We had a lovely evening. 

Wednesday 10th April - The Fulford Arms, York

The Fulford arms is another one of my local pubs, I love this place. great ales! Wednesday night I supported Henry Cluney Ex Stiff Little Fingers, Along with one of my favorite singer song writers who it’s a please to be able to see so regularly Mark Wynn, Mark is like a poet, lyric genius who speak sings over intense guitar blues and country picking. He songs are tales, social commentary and just general observations of his surrounding translated into his own chain of thought. Me and Mark swapped sets so he could get off to his Wednesday Open Mic at Habit on Goodramgate. I absolutely loved playing my set at this gig, the crowd where brilliant, engaging and switched on to every lyric that I put out into the room. I felt so comfortable performing even though full attention was on me. Henry Cluney was fantastic, when he kicked off with Alternative Ulster I knew it was going to be a cracking night, this guy really can hold a crowd. Rocking out on solo electric guitar with all the crowd singing along to the classics. His set was so fun it just seemed to fly by. I had a great night and scoffed a chinese chicken curry on the way home to celebrate. 

Thursday 11th April - Open Mic Night The Rose & Crown, Lawrence Street, York 

Thursday was my regular open mic at The Rose & Crown, This week was very chilled indeed, but a lovely night all the same, It was also a night of people coming along to try new things! Harrison Rimmer came along to try out some songs from his forth coming EP, Daniel Lucas of Boss Caine came to road test a song he’d wrote the night before in Hull, which was superb. And we had a new performer called Paul, who cam along to try out a new ukuele he’d bought that day. He played some comedy songs. We rapped the night up around 11pm and this gave me a chance to pop across the road to the Rook & Gaskill to watch Dan Lucas perform again. Dan is one of Yorks most well known and distinct singer songwriters, He has got such a great voice and guitar playing style to match. His songs are absolute quality in every way. This man knows exactly how to knock out a tune. Dan from the Rook even asked me to get up and play which was nice. So I played a couple of songs to some new faces. 

Old York (Cracks & Dreams) live recording.

So after a lovely week I’ve decided to also share with you a song about living in York and making it my new home, People seem to think New York are where dreams are made, but it’s Old York England where the more real dreams are made, despite it’s battles with floods, Old buildings that seem to be so wonkey it’s a wonder they are standing. But as well as it’s beauty it’s real, there’s still litter on the streets and lost items of clothing from drunks to bring you back down to earth. I hope you’ve enjoyed this blog and I hope you enjoy the live recording of this track from my Rose & Crown Open Mic night on the 4th April.

Tomorrow I’m back to the Fulford Arms for The Fox’s Den all day fund raiser which I’ll be comparing live music from 3pm until late. And performing at 10pm.  

ArtistVinnie Whitehead
TitleOld York (Cracks & Dreams)
AlbumLive at The Rose & Crown

Punkological Business

Punkological Business is not only the new album by my band Vinnie & The Stars, It also marks a serious turning point in my life. A decision to turn my life around and embark on a career of full time music. A chance to express myself and go my own way, with the help of “The Stars” and a few others of course.

In the build up to the release of the album I quit my 70 hour a week job as a delivery man lugging kitchen furniture and appliances across the UK and into peoples houses. Before leaving my job I moved to York and saved enough money to buy the musical equipment I needed, and to see me by for a few months while I establish a way to pay the rent.

I found myself out there with my guitar, my voice, and my band. I quickly learnt enough cover songs to see me by, getting the odd Friday or Saturday night gig to make some money. As luck would have it I also found two pubs in York city center willing to take me on and give me a shot at running my own open mic night. Every Thursday at The Rose & Crown, Lawrence Street, and soon after Every Sunday at The Red Lion Merchantgate.

After a steady start, Six months down the road I’ve built up a good reputation on the gig circuit, A great atmosphere, crowd, and ever increasing amount of performers at both my open mic nights. Things are going well.

Then came the release of the album Punkological Business which I’d been working on since just after the release of my debut album Swings & Roundabouts in 2009. Now it’s time to really kick things off. So far the promotion has been going great, we’ve had support from local BBC Introducing shows on Radio Humberside, and Radio York, David Burns (BBC Radio Humberside Hull City AFC commentator and morning show host) as well as support from BBC 6 Music’s Tom Robinson who spoke very highly of the single “I’m not from America… I’m from Hull” quoting “John Peel would have adored it” live on air. And of course the fantastic Fox’s Den Show on Market Weightons Vixen 101.8 fm.

The band have been booked for a number of UK summer festivals to support the release of the album, where we’ll be performing a new live set consisting of mostly songs from Punkological Business. Which I’m really looking forward too, as the last three years we’ve spent gigging Swings & Roundabouts across the UK. Our first gig of 2013 will be on Saturday 6th April Supporting one of our favorite bands Blackbeards Tea Party. I’m absolutely buzzing with excitement about this gig and really looking forward to kicking it live.

For a full biography on the band, live listings, music videos, links to listen to and purchase all my music, links to social networks and some free downloads check out my bands website www.vinnieandthestars.com

Peace & Love for now, I hope you look forward to my next blog as much as I am looking forward to blogging about summer festivals, love for music, great artists and musicians I meet on my travels and other things I find interesting that I feel the need to share with you.

Vinnie Whitehead