By John Benson
Local rock act Deo Vindice — Austintown Fitch High School seniors Alex Welsh (drums), Kane Yak (vocals, guitar) and Zach Warmouth (guitar), along with Boardman High School senior Danny McMaster (bass) — may have come in third last weekend at the High School Rock Off Final Exam at the House of Blues in Cleveland, but the quartet is feeling like a winner.
“It was bittersweet, you wanted to win, but then when you look at everything like being the top three out of 66 bands who played, we were very pleased,” Warmouth said. “When it gets to that point, you can’t get down about not getting to first, just a couple more spots. It’s something you can’t control.
“I would have been more upset if there was something that went wrong during the performance, but I thought we played our absolute best. We have no regrets. We don’t look at it as getting third anymore. When we talk about it, we talk about how good we did overall. So it’s definitely a win in our books.”
The winning 2012 Rock Off band was heavy metal act Phaylinx (Nordonia and St. Ignatius high schools), which took home $1,000 cash and $200 for their high school music program. Second place went to jazz/hip-hop act The Natives (Chagrin, Kenton, Walsh Jesuit and Aurora) with $250 cash and $100 for their respective high school music program.
With its third place finish, Deo Vindice received $150. As a finalist, it recorded one original track for the Rock Off CD, which is a free download on www.kisscleveland.com (look under “Music”). The foursome decided to record its set closer “Wild Wings.”
Warmouth said another song that went over really well was its arena-rock sounding “The Town,” which the band debuted at the Rock Off.
“Being the first time we played the song live, I was a little bit nervous at first to introduce it, but it turned out to be a big success,” Warmouth said. “We didn’t receive the score sheets yet from the finals but from the semifinals we had good feedback. They all loved the sound. Somebody mentioned our sound was like old school Kings of Leon mixed with old school rock ’n’ roll. That’s what we’ve always been shooting for, so to hear that it was very pleasing. That made me real happy.”
It’s been a good run at the Rock Off for Deo Vindice, which at last year’s competition made it to the finals but didn’t place. Considering the group placed in this year’s Rock off, Warmouth said that’s the momentum the foursome needs moving into the future.
“Getting into the top- three spot really separates us from the rest,” Warmouth said. “It shows that there’s something above and beyond, and one thing people are starting to understand that we are trying to be more than just the average band. I’ve noticed a difference in just people that we know around us, and how they’ve been treating us. I think they realize now how much this really does mean to us.”
While college does loom for the members of Deo Vindice, Warmouth said the band members plan on staying together to pursue their collective dream.
“We’re going to keep pushing forward and playing as many shows as possible,” Warmouth said.
“Right now, it’s just get our name out. I know no matter what we’re going to keep playing for the rest of our lives together.”