Andre Vanchot is a true rock/metal vocalist with that primal scream that can be heard across a stadium. He’s also quite imposing in height and his jet black long locks reak of metal.
Examiner caught up with Vanchot at a recent show at Berklee College of Music, where he performed with, shred guitarist Joe Stump, an associate professor at Berklee. Their band is, Black Knight’s Castle, and they play the music catalog from Deep Purple and Rainbow. It’s metal, it’s loud, and it’s a great show! A night of Richie Blackmore’s greatest hits from his work with David Coverdale of Whitesnake, and Ian Gillan, formerly of Deep Purple.
Vanchot is every bit the rocker and nails each and every song. The Black Knight’s Castle band is: Stump on lead guitar, Jay Rigney on bass, Jeff Hale on drums and, Vanchot on lead vocals. Stump and Rigney had performed in two other bands together, Holy Hell and Reign of Terror and Vanchot toured the Netherlands with Reign of Terror in 2004.
Black Knights Castle is about to set sail on board, Axes and Anchors, which leaves from Florida in February. It’s four days of metal magic with 25 plus guitar clinics and music workshops, meet and greets, and 40 plus live music concerts. For more info: (310)849-3444
Vanchot has a show with Black Knights Castle on Saturday, November 14, at the Cannery Music Hall, 12 Crane Street in Southbridge. For ticket info on this show: (774) 318-9497
Examiner spoke with Vanchot to find out more about his career.
Examiner: How did you wind up working with Joe Stump?
Andre Vanchot: It all started back in 2004 when I sat in for Mike Vescera on the Reign of Terror tour that he could not do. He had suggested me as his replacement to Stump and after a couple of rehearsals, I went off to Europe with the guys. After the tour wrapped, I’d see Stump every now and then and come sit in on a couple songs at a gig here and there but nothing on any permanent basis.
A few years ago Stump bounced the idea to me about putting together a Richie Blackmore tribute band, something he had always wanted to do. I thought it was a great idea. So, he and I started booking shows.
AN: I understand that you have also played with Eddie Ojeda, one of the two guitarists from Twisted Sister. Which project did you work with him on?
AV: I played with Ojeda in his solo band project, Eddie Ojeda’s Band of Steel and also played some live dates with him. Also, with Mark Mendoza, the bassist of Twisted Sister, Skid Row’s drummer, Rob Affuso, and House of the Lords guitarist, Jimi Bell.
I’ve been fortunate to have played with so many great musicians over the years. There is so much talent out there.
AN: Do you also play in other bands besides Black Knights Castle? That seems to be a theme among musicians these days.
AV: Yes, I’m the lead vocalist in a band called Saints and Sinners, which is a Whitesnake Tribute Band. Also, the Big 4 Tribute, covering the music of Anthrax, Metallica, Megadeth, and Slayer.
X Factor X, is my original metal band that has released one full length self titled CD and an EP of covers called KUVRS.
AN: Did you go to school for music? Do you play any instruments?
AV: I never went to school for music and fell into it by accident. A friend asked me to fill in for their singer who up and left prior to a scheduled performance at a high school talent show. I said I am no singer but I’ll give it a go. So the first time I ever set foot on a stage to sing was in front of a few thousand people. After the first song was over and the applause broke out a crazy rush came over me that I will never forget. I just said to myself, “WOW, I like this. I could get used to this.”
AN: Were you nervous getting up on stage that first time? How do you think you did?
AV: I was nervous as hell, and sounded like crap I’m sure. My stance was stiff like a statue. But, hey it was my trial by fire. I eased up a little song by song but it was still definitely amateur night.
AN: Have you only done metal? What about rock?
AV: I’ve always preferred metal. It’s in my blood, I just love it. I’ve done a few rock and party cover bands for a few years just as a way to make some extra cash, but metal has always been my wheelhouse and what I feel I do best. I’d say with the projects I do, I try to get the tone and feel of the original vocalist while putting my own stamp on it.
AN: What kind of music do you listen to in your car and who are your idols?
AV: The music I listen to in my car varies. I’ll go through phases where I’ll listen to one band’s CD or catalog over and over, or I’ll mix it up a bit amongst many bands. Iron Maiden or KISS are always welcome to come through my speakers at any time!
My musical idols and vocal idols are two different things. Musically, I love Iron Maiden, KISS, and Judas Priest. Vocally, I idolize Steve Perry, Michael Kiske, Freddie Mercury, Bruce Dickinson. Im a big melody guy. I want that flow, that feel backed up with power.
AN: Besides working as a vocalist, do you have another career?
AV: I actually went to school for illustration and have my Bachelors of Art Degree in illustration from Paier College of Art in Hamden Connecticut back in 1993. I’m also a graphic designer and have done work for some large companies as well as all of the bands graphics on our Facebook pages.
Over the years I’ve also worked in the school system as a para-professional, working with special needs children and children with a lower level of learning capability.