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The V Project features guitarist Dave Vaccaro plus some familiar vocalists including James Christian (House of Lords) and Robin McAuley (MSG).

1. What are you currently up to?

Right now I'm starting to write and record new ideas. Some are just riffs that still need to be worked into something. Others are complete arrangements. All they need are vocals. I've picked up some new recording gear, a Yamaha AW4416 recorder. It's a 16-track hard disk recorder and it sounds great. Now I can make some decent sounding demos to present to singers.

2. Who were your influences?

That's a hard one to answer really. There are so many incredible players that I used to imitate while I was learning to play. The biggest though were probably Jimmy Page and Joe Perry. But Peter Frampton, Keith Richards, Pete Townsend, were right in there too. And who doesn't like the lead melodies on Tom Schultz's first Boston record?

3. Which band would you like to see reform?

With bands getting back together, one fantasy has already come true, and that was Aerosmith getting back together. Zeppelin would be great...of course that will never be again. Not on this planet anyway. I think though, sometimes it's better if bands don't get back together. A lot of times it's better if the band members just move on, instead of reforming to recapture past glories, or even worse, just for the money.

Fantasy Band...I don't know, but I can give you a bizarre one. How about John Paul Jones on Bass, Dean Castronovo on Drums, Jimmy Page and The Edge on guitars, and Lou Gramm on vocals. Now THAT would be wild!

4. How did you manage to get such top-notch singers as James Christian and Robin McAuley to sing on the demos?

James Christian was a friend of Nancy Krasn. Nancy wrote the words to the song that James sings on the Lost Demos CD called, Rattle Your Cage. The original vocalist on the song however was Arthur Micheev formerly of the Soviet band Avtograph. Arthur and I had already cut a demo of Rattle Your Cage with a band we were doing called Siberia. Arthur's Russian accent was pretty strong on that demo.

Nancy, in the mean time, was shopping the song to people she knew. A music supervisor doing an HBO production heard the song and wanted to use it on the soundtrack. He asked that the lead vocal be rerecorded.

Nancy and I went into the studio and pulled Arthur's lead vocal and replaced it with James. Having James on the track was just a lucky break. The first singer who was hired just wasn't right for the song. As a last minute effort to save the recording session, Nancy said she could call another singer friend, James Christian.

As luck would have it, he was home and offered to help out. 2 hours later, all done.

Robin McAuley I met through singer Chris Post. Chris and I have been friends for many years and go way back. Having been in various cover bands back in Boston Massachusetts, we sort of learned our musical chops together.

When I moved out to L.A. from Boston I really didn't know anyone except Chris, who was already living in the San Fernando Valley. So whoever Chris knew, I eventually got to know.

Chris and Robin had already worked together on MSG's Save Your Self CD and had become good friends. Chris would often get invited to MSG parties and in turn, would invite me to go with him. That's where I met Robin McAuley.

After a while I got to know Robin well enough so that when I heard he was looking for material for a McAuley solo CD, I asked if I could send him some demos Chris and I had worked on. He was up for it.

The six Robin McAuley tracks on Lost Demos are, for the most part, those songs. All originally recorded on a cassette based 8-track at my house in North Hills, CA.

5. What has been the reaction to the 'Lost Demos'? The reviews I have read seem very favorable. Is it feasible to tour on the back of this CD release?

The reaction to Lost Demos has been a bit of a surprise to people in the respect that outside of the Boston area, no one has ever heard anything I've done. So when they see this CD with 2 well-known and respected melodic rock vocalists on the same CD, it catches their attention.

In all but James Christians case, the singers are writing their own vocals and lyrics to either my own, or Chris Posts and my arrangements. Lost Demos has been really helpful in letting people know I'm out here. Most people say, "Who is this David Vaccaro guy? And what is the V-Project?" "How come I've never heard of this guy before?"

I should point out that most people key in on McAuley and Christian cause they're widely known, but Chris Post and his band Dillinger had started to pick up a good following till Nirvana came along and....changed the musical landscape.

Dennis Gresham is a good buddy of Chris, Robin, and myself. I liked the John Cougar-ishness of his performance. Many of my friends who are not music people would often pick Coupe Deville out as one of their favorites. I'd give people a cassette with several cuts, and after a week I'd ask them which were their picks. Coupe Deville came up more often than not. Good enough for me.

The reviews on Lost Demos have been really good. Which is the best part. I say that because the music is standing on it's own. I don't care who is on a CD, most music reviewers these days don't cut anyone any slack. If a CD sucks they're going to dog it.

I've been lucky. Only a few songs on Lost Demos have had a mixed reaction. And what's interesting to see is if you read through enough of the reviews, one review will dog one or two songs. The next review will say those same one or two songs are great!

6. What are your views on the current state of rock music? Is radio still supportive of rock music in the US? Has the Internet helped or hindered rock music at all?

I feel that rock is starting to make its way back ever so slowly. Right now it seems that pop music has become so big that some people actually think that Britney Spears and Backstreet Boys and bands like that are "rock acts". You know, I'm not a rocket scientist but I can safely tell you that those bands/artist are not Rock. And either are the hardcore rock/rap bands. I think I change the station faster on those bands than I do on the Pop acts.

Bruce (The Boss) is back with a new CD. U2, still happening. Aerosmith, still happening. Nickleback, good songs and writing. POD, Youth of the Nation, great song. (That song had my attention the second I heard it) Puddle of Mud, good songs. Those are the type of bands I consider rock. I think people are growing tired of the artists who are just performers and don't really write much of the material they sing. It seems people are starting to look for artists with a little more substance and vibe to them.

Even in Pop, artists like Michelle Branch are starting to pull fans from the Britneys and N'Synchs.

I don't know about radio in Europe, but radio here is a joke. There's plenty of info on the net about what has happened to radio. Radio likes to lead the public into thinking that they are always on the lookout for the hottest up and coming acts to play on their station. But the truth is, that every new song you hear is basically a paid advertisement for the artist.

The Internet I feel is both good and bad. It's great for new people like me. V-Project is known more in Europe than here. Lost Demos did well at about 20 or so colleges here in the US but almost all sales and airplay have been in Europe and a little bit in Japan. That would have never happened had it not been for the Internet.

The bad side of the net is file swapping. I'm not going to sit here and tell you that I didn't pull my share of tunes. But I will say this, in the long run; I think it's hurting everybody who is in music. Not just the record companies, but the artists too. And who wants that? Isn't the artist the one we want to support so they can write more music that we can all enjoy? You can't really write much when you're getting robbed blind. Think about it, whatever it is you do for a living, would you go do it for free? That's what people are asking musicians to do when they rip music off the net through Napster-like software.

7. What music are you currently listening to? Any new bands (or bands that have been overlooked) that you would recommend?

To be honest with you I really have not been listening to much of anything lately. I've been trying to get new material down. It seems I never get a chance to put a CD on and just listen. I wish I could play CDs in my car, but my 96 Taurus has a nice radio and cassette, but no CD. And with 110000+ miles on the car I'm not going to get a CD installed. It would probably be worth more than the car!

Sometimes I'll listen to the radio in the car but half the time if I hear a song I like, I never seem to hear the name of the band. Oh well.

I have been listening to the Zeppelin catalog of late however. For some reason I always listen to them more around the fall than any other time of year. Don't ask me why cause I have no idea. Must be a primal thing.

8. Who would you like to work with in the future?

Robin McAuley of course. Robin has such a distinctive sound to his voice and he's such a great writer. Who else??? Well, I'll tell you, if I could manage to get in touch with just a few people who live in the Boston area and get them on a CD I'd be doing all right. Think about all the bands that are near here, Aerosmith, Boston, Extreme, The Cars, J.Geils, Til Tuesday. Most of those bands are no longer, but many of the members still live in the area, I'd be happy to do a few songs with any of them.

9. What was the last thing you read?

Walk This Way, by Stephen Davis

10. Message for your fans...

Yes, a sincere thank-you to all. I really appreciate the interest people have shown in V-Project and the response to the Lost Demos CD. The reaction has been great and it has certainly helped to build some awareness of me as a guitar player/writer etc. That always helps when you're trying to get your next CD out there, and I'm workin that right now. Until then, Peace to all and keep it rockin. See you soon!

Interview © 2002 Jason Ritchie/
Format and edit: The Music Index.

All rights reserved.

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All Over Again (from the CD 'Lost Demos')
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V Project enlists Robin McAuley and James Christian for demo debut