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Music Notes: Mended music

Band picks up pieces after its van, equipment are stolen

 by Heather Wells  published on Thursday, February 3, 2005

<em>Danielle Peterson / STATE PRESS MAGAZINE</em><br>Mike Counts, Vince Oleson, Nick Raminez and Erin Elliot are the members of Vistalance, a local hard-rock band that recently had $10,000 worth of equipment stolen from it./issues/arts/691794
Danielle Peterson
Danielle Peterson / STATE PRESS MAGAZINE
Mike Counts, Vince Oleson, Nick Raminez and Erin Elliot are the members of Vistalance, a local hard-rock band that recently had $10,000 worth of equipment stolen from it.


What would you do if your livelihood were stolen?

For members of Vistalance, a local band, the only choice was to start over.

During one of its shows in November, Vistalance’s van, which was filled with $10,000 worth of equipment and merchandise, was stolen.

The loss was devastating to the band. Its members, one of whom is an ASU student, say when the van was stolen, so were their lives.

“I would leave college for this,” says Vince Oleson, an undeclared sophomore and singer for Vistalance.

“We tried to sit down and think of someone who might have done this, but we don’t really have any enemies,” he adds. “We treat everybody how we want to be treated. Everybody has a lot of respect for us, and we have a lot of respect for everybody else.”

Oleson says the equipment in the van was his and the other members’ livelihood.

“If you make something your life, regardless of what it may be, imagine that being stolen from you,” he says. “It’s the worst feeling in the world. You don’t even have a purpose anymore.”

The band, which plays hard rock music heavily influenced by Rage Against the Machine, the Deftones and At the Drive-In, has been together since the summer of 2002. Three of its four members, including Oleson, have been playing together since junior high.

Oleson says the loss of the van and equipment was particularly devastating to Vistalance.

“The thing is, we don’t have rich moms who bought all this equipment for us,” he says. “We know plenty of bands that have that, and they take their stuff for granted. If they got everything stolen, they’d just get it bought again for them.”

He adds, “We had really nice equipment, and we worked for the past two-and-a-half years to get that.”

Although Vistalance’s van was recovered last week, the equipment and merchandise are still missing.

The van, which was returned with an additional 55,000 miles on it, needs a lot of work.

“[It] needs a lot of Febreze and Lysol,” says 20-year-old Mike Counts on the guitar.

Despite its losses, the band hasn’t given up.

On Feb. 25, it is holding a benefit concert at downtown Phoenix’s The Old Brickhouse, where it was playing when its equipment was stolen. All proceeds from the concert will go toward new equipment for the band.

“We’re really making it a big event and just focusing all of our effort on doing that,” says 19-year-old Nick Ramirez on the drums. “We’ve booked 15 bands on two stages in a venue that only holds one, so it’s kind of a rarity that they do that.”

The 15 bands will play rock, hip-hop, screamo and hardcore. Vistalance also will play its music with borrowed equipment.

The event also will be the band’s new CD release. Vistalance previously released its CD after recording it last August, but most of the copies were in the van. The band is having them duplicated, and they will be available at the concert for $6.

In addition to selling merchandise and CDs at the concert, the band has organized a raffle. Items include $300 worth of free skate passes to Phoenix Skate Park, iPods, $300 in tattoo work and, for those having trouble in the love department, a date with the band’s members. All the items in the raffle have been donated.

The band also has been receiving support from places like Zia Records, Mad Industries, Strange Pursuit clothing and Budweiser, which are all helping organize and publicize the concert. Erin Elliott, the bass player and an ASU employee, says other bands have been helping them by playing in the show for free.

“We’d do the same for them,” he adds. “You find out who your friends are.”

The benefit concert is an all-ages show. Tickets cost $10 and can be purchased at the door or by e-mailing the band at Doors open at 6 p.m.

“It’s going to be a good time all night until 2 a.m. when the bar closes,” Oleson says.

The Old Brickhouse is located at 1 E. Jackson St. in downtown Phoenix. For more information, call (602) 258-7888.

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