Vinyl Vault – Interview – Thanks for Asking

Written by on February 22, 2024

Vinyl Vault – Interview – Thanks for Asking – by Liam Sweeny.

RRX: Who all is gathered by the hot mic today? What are your name(s) and what do you play?

Tara Jurczak and Derek Slate, founding members of Vinyl Vault. Thank you so much for having us. Tara is the lead singer, and Derek plays rhythm guitar and slide guitar. Currently we’re a 6-piece band with Paul Dorado on lead guitar, John Van Luyk on bass, Thom Meyer on drums, and we just welcomed our newest member, Jolene Sierra on keyboards.

RRX: Every artist’s first song is a milestone. But so is the latest song. Describe the first song/album you recorded, and also the latest song/album you recorded; what are the differences?

Tara:  Well, I wouldn’t say we have a particular song that is a milestone.  In my opinion our biggest milestone was getting the courage to form a band. Derek and I met at open mics in mid 2019. We performed together numerous times, and after some encouragement from my husband, Paul Jurczak,(also our sound engineer) I got a hold of Derek and asked if he was interested in starting a band.  We decided after much consideration it was a great idea. Our band at the time had no name yet, and only 2 members. Got together for our first practice February 14, 2020. By the second week of March, when we had a name and other band members the world shut down. I think our milestone is being able to sustain having a  new cover band through the pandemic with social distancing, limitations, criticism and multiple player changes. We were ambitious  enough to become the Vinyl Vault we are today, and continuing to evolve.

Derek: As the band evolves, we continue to challenge ourselves to learn new songs. It’s exciting to hear the progress as we develop – and to see audience enjoy the results of our work in the studio.

RRX: What was the very first reaction to your music, from the first person to ever hear so much as a practice jam or the demo of your first song?

 Tara:  My first reaction to hearing something that we played that was recorded? Well I was proud! Like wow we just did that! We’re pretty good. Now, when I look back at early recordings from four years ago – speaking about myself – I think some of those earlier performances are a little cringe worthy.. hahaha. Regardless I’m still proud, because I can see how much we have improved as players and singers, and the quality of our performances and the way we entertain now. Our latest recordings can be found on our website

Derek: Our first public performance as Vinyl Vault was at the Rustic Barn open mic in March of 2020, just before the pandemic closed everything down. I just remember having so much fun performing live as a band!

RRX: We have to play somewhere, and sometimes those places have more going for them than a stage and a power outlet. What is a memorable place you played, and bonus points if it’s not a well-known place.

Tara: For me one of the most memorable places we played was a customer appreciation festival in Paris Hill, NY, at Lincoln Davies Lumber. It was the first time that Vinyl Vault had to travel for a pretty big gig. We were on a huge mobile stage and it was for a large community event! We had a great time!!! I felt like a Rockstar.. haha!

Derek:  The Rustic Barn Pub in Speigeltown is a special place and we consider it to be our birthplace. All of the original members and most of our current lineup are veterans of its open mic. The owners, Jody and Jason are salt-of-the-earth wonderful people. And the sound system is top-notch. Jason and Danny have that PA dialed in. Vinyl Vault has always felt at home there and we always look forward to playing at our birthplace! We’re hosting open mic at the Barn on February 29th, come out and join us!

RRX: Sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Or so they say. Whether you’re off the wagon, on it, or never been, there’s something you got a thirst for. What are some of your basically harmless vices?

Tara: Oh my, sex drugs and Rock n Roll! Well the first couple years were pretty crazy!! Haha it’s safe to say I learned a few things about what not to do at a gig😂. What happens with the Vault stays in the Vault. We do have one crazy story we can tell. Straight edge Derek gets a ride in a cop car!! Rewind back to our first year. October 2020, Halloween gig! Lake George, What a night!!! We had a great show, played a whole extra 45 minutes.  People were really digging it. We pack up and most of us finally can cut loose and have some drinks. We were staying at the hotel across the road. It was freezing out, we let the truck warm up. I went outside to get something out of the truck and it wasn’t there!!! WTF! I came back in asked my husband Paul, where’s the truck?  He said out front. NO IT’S NOT. Started looking all over . My truck with the band trailer and all of our band gear was gone !!! The bar owner called the cops. We pulled up the camera footage and saw a drunk chick get in my truck and drive away. It was an old acquaintance that I had known about five years prior. She had come to see our band. Long story short I don’t know how but our vehicle made it all the way to her mother’s house in Hudson Falls. Her  mother called the bar.  Thankfully, nobody was hurt.  The truck and  gear were fine. Derek was the only sober one now at 3am!! So he had to ride in the cop car to go retrieve the truck in the trailer. Crazy huh??!! Tales from the Vault!

RRX: With the exception of singing, everyone has an instrument, an inanimate object that has the distinction of being a lifelong friend. Smooth or temperamental, these objects have a character. So can you tell us something about your instrument’s character?

Tara:  As the lead singer my Voice is my instrument, it can be both smooth and temperamental.. haha!

Derek: I use my ‘88 Les Paul custom, “Red,” for slide guitar. It has a solid mahogany body and a 3-panel carved maple top with red sunburst finish, black knobs, pickup rings and pick guard. I bought it in ‘91 from a teenager in Niskayuna for 700 bucks. As everyone knows, it’s difficult to keep a Les Paul in tune. But I switched to Grover locking tuners. Once Red has had a chance to acclimate to its environment, she has a warm round tone on the clean channel and a crunchy growl on the dirty channel. For most non-slide songs I use the ‘23 LP Standard, “Baby Blue,” a precision-built beast of a machine.

RRX: We let it out differently when we play music. The happy, sad, good and back; it can all be put out musically. Overall, do you feel better when you sing about the better times, or the worser times? Is there a difference you can describe?

Tara: When I’m singing I put myself into the character of the song, whatever my interpretation is of the lyrics of that particular song we are covering. I put all those emotions into my performance. Whether it’s happy, sad, angry, fun or sexy. I dive into the emotional end of the music.  I find it really engages our crowd. So with that being said, I don’t think I have a favorite. I love to sing all the emotions of the music.

Derek: I’m just happy to be playing in a band. To me, music is connecting with my bandmates. It is the life force that keeps me going



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