Lance Lipinsky is not the epitome of what many think of when describing an act competing in a Country music contest. There is no country twang or fiddle playing; instead you will have your eyes riveted on the lead singer and his band, who are full of energy and surprises as they brings a 1950’s style to Nashville to compete in the National finals of the 27th Annual Colgate Country Showdown on January 15th. I sat down with Lance and his band as they prepared for the finals.
Bev: Welcome to Nashville and what a pleasure to sit down with all of you. Please tell me a little of the history about the band.
Lance: I play the piano and Nat Thompson plays drums. He and I have played together since I was 13. Aaron Covington is on stand up bass and Adam Reynolds is the lead guitar player. They have another group of their own, but also have joined Nat and me about a year ago when I moved from Las Vegas.
Bev: Is there anything in particular that made you want to enter this contest?
Lance: A friend suggested it and I initially was not interested at all. I feel that society has been over exposed to all the reality contests. I found out shortly after the intial push that we could play our own instruments, sing original songs, wear our stage apparel and my attention was directed towards winning a little more. When I was 13 I entered a talent show and won, and there was another contest following it called the Jimmy Dean Talent Search or something like that – which is actually the same contest as now, with a different name and sponsor. I believe I ended up in second place back then.
Bev: If you were asked to classify your style and genre of music, how would you name it?
Lance: Our sound is unique and we are very proud of that. I would say we are 40% Country and 60% Rock n Roll. Rockabilly like late 50’s and early 60’s Little Richard, Ray Charles and Fats Domino. The direction we are taking is Dwight Yoakum meets Jerry Lee Lewis. Dwight has a country classic groove and Jerry Lee is powerful on the piano. We have a juke joint swing with a rockin’ edge to it. I would not hesitate to classify it as Country Rock.
Bev: You mentioned your stage costume earlier and now with describing the sound, does this mean you will be dressed the part?
Lance: Oh definitely. We will have full Nudie Tuxedo’s. I always have been a believer of dressing up for the opportunity of being on the stage. To me, anything with a platform and stage lights is the same as the Holy Grail to me and I want to honor this privilege and have always taken it very seriously.
Bev: Have any of you ever played at the Ryman before?
Lance: No, and it is so unbelievable to have this chance. When I was here for some interviews and taping earlier last month was the first time I was ever here and I videotaped the whole experience. This is a huge honor to be on the stage where so much history has taken place. We are super excited to play up on that stage.
Bev: Have you ever met LeAnn Rimes, who is hosting the show?
Lance: No, but I saw a made for TV movie when I was about 12 and remember saying I wanted to meet her. I am excited to finally have that chance.
Bev: What kind of venue or particular stage is your favorite place to entertain?
Lance: I have played a lot of casinos and I can say without a doubt, I do not like casino stages. (laughing) I think I speak for all of us when I say that we prefer any stage that the audience is up close to the stage where we can see them and interact with them. When you have a dance floor between you and them, people tend to stop and watch us and not dance, so I like it when they are right in front of us where it is intimate and you can see them. The Ryman is going to be the pinnacle in my career.
Bev: Do you or any of the group write the songs that you perform or do you do cover songs?
Lance: Yes, we all write. Turbo 350 is the name of the other band Aaron and Adam are in and they write most of the songs they perform. Nat writes, and I write, but as a group we have not really had time to sit down together as we have been so busy preparing for this competition.
Bev: Is there any artists that inspired you and compel you want to do this as a career?
Lance: Elvis Presley on the Rock n Roll side, Dwight Yoakum on the Country side. Both made music exciting and Dwight still does. We all grew up on the same kind of music and liked similar styles.
Bev: When you think of winning this contest, have you come up with a strategy to walk away with the grand prize and title of winning this years competition?
Lance: We have thought about it a lot and talked about it. The main thing we think that is going to make us win is this; we are ONLY using Colgate toothpaste. (big smiles and laughs) In all seriousness, we decided it is half strategy and half luck. We know we need a great original song and we want to give the audience something high energy, full of stage presence and the choreography that is not only planned, but that allows for spontaneity. My hero’s of the past and those I admire had a natural ability to feed off the audience and I think that is a big part of entertaining a crowd of people.
Bev: Do you have a large group of people coming to support you, cheer loud and hold signs?
Lance: We have some people, probably just enough, but I do not consider it an overwhelming and large group that will be a distraction to the other contestants. I want the cheering to be natural and not planned or screaming to just get attention.
Bev: Do you have an acceptance speech ready if you win?
Lance: We have jokingly said what we want to do that would be funny, but no, I am scared to think about it seriously. I do not want to jinx myself. In the original contest, I fainted and that went over really well.
Bev: Any funny stage moments other than fainting?
Lance: At the State contest I had used a different keyboard than I normally do and I forgot the feel was different too, and I pushed a button bringing out an organ sound and did not have a clue what I hit, so with my finger I am punching all the buttons while I am singing trying to get it off and right as I needed to start playing, I found it. That was a little added pressure.
Bev: I am very excited to see you perform at the competition and I wish you best of luck. I am sure we will visit after the show and again in the near future.
Lance: Thanks so much and we all appreciate your time and your support as well. We look forward to seeing you too.
For more information on Lance Lipinsky check out his website at www.myspace.com/lancelipinsky