Interview with Vin Mott
By Patricia Rogers | Posted Wednesday, January 11, 2017
I met Vin Mott years ago when he and his blues band, then-called “Hott Mott’s,” performed at Hat City Kitchen. It was a memorable blues weekend, and his band rocks! I recently reconnected with Vin when he performed with Dean Shot for a Howlin’ Wolf Tribute at HCK last year. When I learned he was recording a solo project, had a slew of shows with Vin Mott’s Rhythm & Blues band, as well as being selected for the HCK Blues Jam at SOPAC, I wanted to get a profile! I must say he is also a really nice guy.
Patricia Rogers: When did you know you wanted to be a musician?
Vin Mott: I was 7-years-old when I first started taking drum lessons. When I was about 13, I quit all the sports I played because I was really only good at playing music. I did everything music-related throughout school: marching band, choir, jazz band. I also went to Berklee College of Music in Boston. So I guess you could say my whole life. It's all I've ever been interested in.
After graduating from Berklee College of Music in 2011, how did you continue on your musical journey?
When I came home from Boston, I honestly didn't think music would be my main thing. I was going through a lot of life changes as most 20-somethings do post-college haha. I was working for a plumbing company, and I was basically the lowest rung of the ladder there. I hated the job. I started playing in a band as a drummer with some younger kids from town, one of them being Sean Ronan, my guitarist in my band. He convinced me to try teaching lessons for a living instead, which I still currently do. We also began brainstorming ideas for the band that would basically become Vin Mott's Rhythm & Blues Band. The original name was "Hott Mott's." So for like 2 years I began booking gigs around North Jersey and building a network of young musicians to play with in my band. While that was all going on, I also began to freelance as both a drummer and harp player as well as frequent some of the Blues jams in the area. Last summer, Sean and I along with Dean Shot and Andrei Koribanics recorded my first debut album as a solo Blues Artist called Quit the Women for the Blues, being officially released on February 3rd.
Nice! Cannot wait to listen.
Yeah, it’s been all about building for these past couple of years. Building a fan base, taking steps forward in my career, stuff like that. A house needs a foundation right? Haha.
Tell us more about “Quit the Women for the Blues.”
The album is being release under my name "Vin Mott.” It contains 10 original blues tunes written, arraigned, and produced by me. Sean Ronan on guitar, Dean Shot on bass, Andrei Koribanics on drums, and Phil Silverberg on keys. It's being digitally released on iTunes, Amazon, CD Baby, and virtually everywhere else you can get music online on February 3rd.
What are some of your musical talents?
Vocals, blues harmonica, drums, a little guitar and bass, and even less (but some) piano. Oh, and sometimes I break out a kazoo in my live act haha.
Who are you some of your musical influences?
Howlin’ Wolf, Little Walter, Muddy Waters, Steve Guyger, Johnny Copeland, Kim Wilson, William Clarke, basically a lot of harmonica blues.
You mentioned performing with Dean Shot. How did you connect with him?
I met Dean when I started going out to The Great Notch Inn jam almost 3 years ago. He was so nice to me, and I think he really appreciated that I could actually play harp. He's been both a mentor and a great friend to me.
How did you discover the live music venue Hat City Kitchen?
My mom, actually, haha. When I came home from Boston, she told me about the Sunday blues jam and even took me there once. At the time I was too intimidated to get up and play so we just watched and enjoyed. Eventually I had a gig there with a band called South Mountain Blues Band who had hired me to play harp with them there for a gig. I think Ed introduced me to Ashley who booked my band there a few times. I have since been back to the jam a few times to do my thing.
What do you like about performing at the open jams / gigs at Hat City Kitchen?
I dig HCK especially because of Ed the sound man. It's rare to get a sound man who's good at what they do AND are really nice too. Also, it's rare for me at this point in my career to play at a place with an actual stage, lights, sound, and backline. Plus, the wait staff is the best haha.
Thanks, I enjoyed working at Hat City Kitchen. How did it feel when you learned you were chosen for the Blues Jam show at South Orange Performing Arts Center?
Excited! It feels really good to know that people are starting to recognize both my own efforts as a blues artist as well as the local blues scene as a whole. The other finalists are mostly musicians who I've met and respect already. It should be a really fun show!
What can we expect from Mr. Vin Mott’s during the competition?
My A game, of course, haha. I think my ability to lead a band without ever rehearsing and my stage presence are two things that will shine in this competition.
Where do you want to see your music career in 5 years?
I would love to be traveling with a band. Hopefully my own. Bringing the blues to the people around the country and around the world. Nobody said being a blues musician would make me a millionaire. But if I can figure out how to play the blues forever, build my career to a point where I can sustain myself, I think I got a lot of years left to really hit the road hard, and I'll be rich with experiences.
What more can we see from Vin Mott’s this year?
CD release parties are Feb 3 at Underdog Bar in Haledon, NJ and Feb 5 at Great Notch Inn in Little Falls. I also got a cool gig March 25 at Artie's in Frenchtown called the NJ Youngblood Blues featuring Sean Ronan, Adam Najamien, Joe Benendetti, and myself, which will be a lot of fun. And you can check us out on Facebook and Reverbnation for dates and news and stuff!
About the Writer
Patricia Rogers, #ValleyGirlNJ, lives in New Jersey's Valley Arts District. The native New Yorker works as a writer, blogger and community activist. Starting Masconsumption Media in 2012, she has been passionate about capturing the stories of the vibrant up and coming Valley Arts District neighborhood through her blog, zine, events and more. She blogs for Jersey Indie, Luna Stage, and Hat City Kitchen and offers many creative media services. Visit her blog www.masconsumption.com and keep up with your favorite Valley Girl on social media at @valleygirl_nj (Twitter / Instagram).