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vonray

When times got confusing during his college years, Vaughan Rhea turned to music. As a freshman, he never suspected it'd become his livelihood. However, Vaughan eventually dropped out of college in order to pursue a lifestyle less reassuring then engineering, the major he was originally preparing for. After recruiting his brother (Dave-bass/vocals), Vaughan got the rest of his band together (Garrett Coleman-guitar/vocals, Todd Hackenburg-lead guitar, Jeff Irizarry-drums) and so the "Vonray" was created! With a stint on the WB's Smallsville and an opening slot on the Creed tour, the group is well on their way...

Lindzi.com: How'd the Creed tour go?

Vaughan of Vonray: It was our first real tour. The Creed guys were super nice to us. To be in front of that kind of crowd, it was amazing. The Creed crowd is so diverse. We aren't hanging buddies or anything, but we hooked up with their management. We know the guys pretty well. Our guitar player grew up with Scott Phillips.

Lindzi.com: What's the craziest thing you did with the guys while on tour?

Vaughan of Vonray: Goodness, man. The craziest thing we did was drive all night. I know that Dave and Garrett went out with the Creed guys one evening. I don't go out much. I usually stay in after a show. They went out and tore up the town. I enjoy people and I love social stuff, but I don't party much anymore.

Lindzi.com: So, what do you like to do after a show?

Vaughan of Vonray: I hang out with the guys and chat about the show and upcoming shows. It's not a big party scene, but it's a lot of fun. We enjoy after show get-togethers.

Lindzi.com: You guys recently performed Inside Out, your first single, on the WB's Smallsville. What was that like?

Vaughan of Vonray: We played in "The Tavern," their coffeehouse [on the show]. I was surprised how nice everyone was. Everyone was easy to get along with and there weren't any egos involved. I'm a huge fan of the show so being able to see them shoot any episode was fun. They're as good looking in person as they are on TV. They're the best looking kids on television.

Lindzi.com: I understand that you dropped out of college to pursue music. What was that decision like for you?

Vaughan of Vonray: Within the second years of college I had written a bunch of tunes. I was staying up all night and writing. I was getting to my classes on time. I became nocturnal. Writing at night was my big thing. I knew by the second or third year of college that I was going to have to give it up and move on with music. "Life's too short, " I kept saying that in my mind. "Just go for it. Go for what you love."

Lindzi.com: How much pressure were you feeling?

Vaughan of Vonray: Terrible pressure. My family thought I was going to be an engineer. I had gone through three years of college and that was tough. There had been a lot of money spent on education. In retrospect, it was all worth it. I would've been sitting in a cubicle solving problems all day.

Lindzi.com: What sets Vonray apart from other groups?

Vaughan of Vonray: Originality in the sound of the vocals. We write straight up rock tunes. We don't use scratching or loops. We're a five piece rock band. We're heavy, but not really heavy. We're on the cusp of mainstream and rock radio. We're somewhere between Creed and Goo Goo Dolls.

Lindzi.com: You left Tennessee to pursue your dream in Orlando. Why Orlando? And how'd your brother get involved in the act?

Vaughan of Vonray: I was fifty miles south of Nashville and I knew there was so much going on there that I never would've made ends meat. I moved down to Orlando, where my mom lived. I started playing the solo shows and my brother enjoyed the music so much that he picked up the bass. We started writing songs together. He's quite the wordsmith, an amazing poet, and great musician. We grew together into music.

Lindzi.com: What's your favorite song off your debut album?

Vaughan of Vonray: Part of Me is one of my favorites. It's inspired by one of my best friends. She went through a painful time in her life when she was between twelve and fifteen. She was sexually abused by a stepfather. That's what it's about. I was done with the first verse and called her for help on the second verse. She was open to this because you want awareness to be raised by whatever means can get it down. She was able to give me a feeling of drowning. A feeling of having to separate yourself from what's going on. It made for an emotional tune. The first few times I sang it on stage, I teared up. It started hitting me the way I hoped it'd hit other people. It opened my eyes to the evil it is.

Lindzi.com: I think it's admirable that you put a song out there about something like that. Musicians today don't seem to be singing about anything. The message seems to be unimportant these days. Would you agree?

Vaughan of Vonray: I agree that there's not as many. It's all about the hook and delivery. Message doesn't seem to be as important these days. I think Creed did a fabulous job of portraying a positive message. There are plenty of bands that still do it, but they are few and far between.

Lindzi.com: What's your favorite childhood memory?

Vaughan of Vonray: We would make forts and do stuff all summer long. I think about that all the time. I wrote a song about it called "Small Things." It's about how things that look so large as children, everything looks so small when you go back. Most of the songs that I wrote back then won't see the light of day.

Lindzi.com: What were your high school years like?

Vaughan of Vonray: I was voted Class Clown. I wasn't into music. I loved it, but I wasn't playing guitar until the end of senior year. I grew up in a ho-dunk town, graduated with like forty-eight people in my class.

Lindzi.com: What makes you insecure?

Vaughan of Vonray: Sometimes the media makes me feel insecure. I worry about what they might say or think. In reality, I'm trying to address the people. I'm getting over it. That was one of my main downfalls. I worried about how we'd be portrayed.

Lindzi.com: What's something you've learned about yourself in the last year?

Vaughan of Vonray: I've learned how much family means. I've also learned that music runs a close second. I love what I'm doing so much that it's the only thing in the world that would take me away from my family. Family and music are the only things in my life. Sometimes it seems difficult to balance both, but you have to rely on the relationships. You have to perform the mental kung fu out here. Your own mind will work against you faster than anything. You start missing the people you love and make mountains out of molehills.

Lindzi.com: What's your life philosophy?

Vaughan of Vonray: My life philosophy is based on faith in God. I had a real bout with pride for a bit. I thought I was the shit. I ended up losing my voice. I wasn't allowed to speak for some time until I got my voice back. It grounded me so much. I now know where the credit goes.

Lindzi.com: What makes you happy?

Vaughan of Vonray: Knowing that I'm able to pursue this dream and having such a wonderful family keeping me grounded. I've always pursued this, but there were times where I wondered if I should pursue this. It feels good to have Elektra believing in this so much. I feel lucky.

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