2017-09-01 / Features

Chemtrail impacts local music scene

By Kristina Wright

The local music scene has had many diverse changes over the years. We’ve all seen bands start up strong, only to be left by the wayside due to lack of exposure or lack of venue.

We had the chance to sit down with local band Chemtrail on Aug. 11 at the Vinyl Music Hall in Pensacola. Now Chemtrail may be a band in its infancy, but its members have been around the scene for a long time. They are Jeremy Vignolo, rhythm guitar and vocals; Matthew Schwantz, drums; Chris Roberg, lead guitar and vocals; Bill Perez, bass guitar.

How did you all meet to form Chemtrail?

Jeremy Vignolo: “I used to play with Hell to Heroes. I was rhythm guitar. We did a few shows with Audio Intoxication, and I met Bill and Chris doing that. Hell to Heroes ended up parting ways, Audio Intoxication had their stuff going on, too. I ran into Chris at a Mushroomhead show at Club L.A. I mentioned that I had all this music I wanted to work on and get a band together. The next day, he responded to my craigslist ad. I knew it was him, because he said ‘I got this bass player, we come as a package deal.’ So, I just messaged his phone and said ‘Is that you man?’”

Matthew Schwantz: “So Chris, Bill and I played in a band called Chamber 13 and Loud Shell. Then we lost the singer and went through like 500 singers, and Bill and I just said we were done. Chris and Bill started up with Audio Intoxication, and I started playing with other bands. Just recently, they lost their drummer for Chemtrail, so I jumped on board.

What was your inspiration for your instrument of choice, and how old were you?

Jeremy Vignolo: “When I was 8 years old, my uncle Glenn Vignolo invited me to see his band, Civilized Natives, in Pensacola. I remember being a little kid, watching him play guitar while fascinated. I knew I had to learn to play. My dad got me my first guitar, my uncle taught me the “Cowboy Chords,” and I hit the ground running. I absolutely love the heavier stuff, like Mudvayne and Slipknot.”

Matthew Schwantz: “I was young, my favorite Muppet was Animal (and Scooter). I started playing the drums when I was in fourth grade. I played in middle school, pep band and jazz. I was way too cool to be in band in high school, so I joined a band with my buddies, Nefarius. I joined the Navy, played with some guys on my ship doing CCR, Rolling Stones, stuff like that. I didn’t play again until I moved to Pensacola. I was a recruiter, and there was no time to do anything. My inspirations are Lars from Metallica and Phil Collins.”

Chris Roberg: “I had always wanted to play something when I was real young, I did the ‘tennis racket’ thing to KISS. I enjoyed the Eagles, how intricate the guitars were. I picked it up when I was 16, and I couldn’t get my fingers to move, so I gave up rather quickly. Twenty-one came around, and I saw my friends had become really good at playing, and they said I should try the bass. I learned “Sunshine of Your Love,” and another friend showed me the blues scale. After that, I only wanted to play lead guitar. I pushed myself. I had never been in a band until I moved to Pensacola. I formed Chamber 13, with Matt and Bill, went through a couple, and now we’re at Chemtrail.”

Bill Perez: “I started out with the saxophone through school and couldn’t give up the music. I came to the US and met a fellow named Dave Augden over in Fort Walton, who said he could teach me to play guitar. I hooked up with him, I just couldn’t get the bar chords. He thought I had good timing, so he handed me a bass, and said learn these songs. Next thing I know, I’m in a band called Blackcreek. Work gave me a break from music, which I didn’t like. I picked the bass back up, and met Chris through a craigslist ad.”

Where would you like to be in 5 years?

Jeremy Vignolo: “I think the most important thing in what we do, is being together. There’s too many bands that come together that expect overnight to be touring with a major headliner. The most important thing you can do is continue to bring music to the table.”

Matthew Schwantz: “I would love if we were able to add additional songs, some covers maybe, and not have to practice weekly to get everything down. Maybe we could play a show every weekend and have that be our practice. I would like to have bands want to come and open for us, maybe headline a show, and incorporate more technology into our songs.”

Chris Roberg: “A lot can happen in five years. A lot can happen in three months. I’d like to set up a small US tour. It’s been my dream. I’ve always wanted to be a Rockstar. Ninety percent legwork, 10 percent talent is what they say. If you work every waking moment to promote your band, it might happen. If you don’t, you’ll stay where you’re at.

Bill Perez: “See us still having a good solid sound, a smooth flow and connected to the music. Maybe helped the musical flow in this town. I would like for us to have had an impact on the scene here in Pensacola.

If you’d like to hear more from the band, check out the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ Chemtrail-133141156733890, and at their shows on Sept. 2 at The Tank in Valparisio and Sept. 9 at The Green Door in Fort Walton Beach.

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