MILTON, Ga. – Forming a band is the dream of just about every teenager who can pick up an instrument. For the guys of Voodoo Visionary, it was never so much a dream as the next logical step in their progression.
With several former Milton High School students as members, the band of six guys in their 20s began doing as musicians do – simply jamming.
“We have been playing together for a long time,” said Michael Wilson, who plays guitar. “We would just jam together with all our friends, hanging out and having a fun time playing music.”
The beauty of funk, as with so much music, is the ability to just play whatever comes to mind and make it work. It’s a fluid style similar to jazz where each member of the band can add in their flavor. Improvisation is the name of the game.
“There were so many people playing, we had to be loose,” said guitarist Zach Robinson.
It was only in the last two years the guys have seriously thought about setting their jams to paper and solidifying as a real band.
“A friend asked us to open for them at Smith’s Olde Bar,” said vocalist Scott MacDonald. “That was our first show and it was very successful.”
That was just over one year ago – Aug. 1, 2013.
They had brought in MacDonald barely a month before that first gig, and they were excited about it, pulling it off well. Only after did they get a shock.
“Only later we found out that gig was Scott’s first time on stage,” said drummer Mac Schmitz.
“They we so excited about their first gig I couldn’t tell them,” MacDonald said.
But it didn’t matter. They had their first show and it was successful.
During their shows, Voodoo Visionary plays a variety of songs from a wide spectrum of music genres, from rock and jazz and funk, cover songs as well as their own music.
“We want blues or funk, diversity and variation. We want to make you dance,” said Schmitz.
“We will be jamming and Scott and Zach will be writing lyrics as we go,” said Wilson. “We never sacrifice the looseness even when we are more organized.”
It’s the collaborative process they like, they said, everyone bouncing ideas off each other, seeing what works and what doesn’t.
Not being in school anymore, the guys have to juggle the music – both rehearsals and performances – with their real life, that of work and bills and other distractions.
“We all have our jobs, but the biggest challenge is getting together at the end of the day and we’re tired,” Wilson said. “There will be moments when you want to kill everybody, but some of the best stuff comes from that.”
“What started as always fun is now a lot of work,” said Schmitz. “We were always in the grind and music is our escape. But we now have deadlines for new songs for a gig or covers to learn.”
But just like anything worthwhile, you get out what you put in.
And that effort is paying off. They are playing more shows than they used to, and now venues are asking them to play, rather than the other way around. They are gaining followings in Alpharetta, Cumming, Atlanta and Athens. They will soon play their first out-of-state gig at Clemson University in South Carolina.
“We wouldn’t be doing it if we didn’t enjoy it,” Robinson said.
For more information on Voodoo Visionary, including music and touring dates, visit them at www.voodoovisionary.com.