“I played the show with my back turned to the audience the whole time.
“That was my first show ever. And we rocked it.”
He paused to reflect on the statement.
“No, we sucked.
“We were kids, we didn’t know what we were doing. I was scared.
“It was fun though.
“I guess that time passed.”
Vasquez was in junior high when he and a set of friends decided they wanted to join the rock ’n’ roll ranks of the high school bands that were numerous in both Skidmore and Beeville in the mid- to late 90s.
There was a passion burning inside of him that to this day hasn’t flickered.
He’s been from Texas to California, played the same stages as The Doors, Pantera and Jimi Hendrix.
Visited the gravesites of his heroes. Crossed desert plains and been through cities that he’s only read about.
All for the love of music.
Small town scene
The band Full Scale Riot came on to the scene shortly after and became the local band to watch.
All the older kids in bands graduated and took off to bigger cities, leaving a void FSR quickly filled.
But uncontrollable band members and alcohol made the shows unpredictable, and, slowly, fans would just show up and watch their drunken antics instead of to enjoy the music.
“Then, Chapa (singer) left. And Drew (guitarist) and Bob (bass) came to me and asked me if I could sing for Full Scale Riot,” Vasquez remembered.
“So that’s when Full Scale Riot started playing heavier music with my vocals, influenced by Korn and Pantera.
“Then we had a couple of drunken shows, and I stopped playing for almost six years.”
There was a few glimmers of hope sprinkled throughout those years.
He joined a band from Mathis and played one show before they decided to go in a different direction, preferring nu-metal to Vasquez’s now classic style of heavy metal.
A new beginning
“I was going to college to be an electronic technician.
“So, from 2002 to 2006, I was completely out of music. And Drew was playing bass with a country band.
“And I came back from Dallas, and then he decided to reform the former band because he was tired of playing country.”
And, in 2006, SEED was born.
The biggest band you’ve probably never heard of.
They toured constantly, and every weekend was booked in venues all over Texas.
“SEED. It’s my baby,” Vasquez grins while thinking back on a distant time.
“When we first started playing, it was like a brotherhood. There was unity, loyalty, respect.
“Being the first band to show up and the last band to leave. That’s what put our name out there.”
And in a few short years, they played more than 250 shows any and everywhere they could.
“We were hitting it hard for a good four years at least. Playing just about every weekend.”
And for a band of relatively young men crossing the countryside every weekend, it seemed to be the life.
“We did a lot of partying. Playing shows every weekend, getting drunk all the time.
“Nonstop. It was awesome.
“We were living like rock stars. Playing shows all the time. Having tons of people come out to the shows.
“We’d give any band a run for their money.”
But all good things come to an end.
After four years of heavy touring and tearing up stage after stage and seemingly getting nothing but tired, the band slowly began to unravel.
Several member changes throughout the years left Vasquez and Drew the only surviving members of the original lineup.
“SEED’s always been able to play a show without practice and go out there and put on a show and people know what’s up.
“So, we had one of our last shows, and the whole band was into it, but Drew was just there going through the motions.
“I saw that.
“People in the audience saw that.
“It’s one thing to not practice, but if you play a show, and it don’t matter to me if there’s three people or 300 people, you should always give them your full presence.
“Drew played that show, and I felt his presence wasn’t there; he was going through the motions.
“I just told him his heart wasn’t there pretty much. He just said he was busy, and he had to make money for his kids, this and that, and he had to get his life organized pretty much.
“He had to grow up. We all had to grow up and move on.
“I don’t blame him. There’s nothing wrong with making money, but I play music because I like to get lost in the vibe of it and feel some sort of soul release.
“When you’re on stage for 30 to 45 minutes you’re free from everything.
“You’re free from politics. You’re free from B.S.
“You’re free from home life, fears, death, life. You’re free from everything.
“You’re just up there for the moment, and that’s it. And that’s the moment I live for.
“For that piece of freedom.
“That’s why I play. To get my soul free.”
A new beginning
One of the bands that SEED befriended were San Antonio hard rockers Kin of Cain.
They were local legends and had been playing for years all over Texas.
About two years ago, they had lost their singer and had a huge show at the famous music venue The White Rabbit in San Antonio.
“They didn’t want to cancel the show, so they contacted me two weeks in advance to see if I could learn their set, and I learned 10 songs; we went and played the show.
“The show sounded good, and I asked them if they wanted to continue on playing as a band, but at that time, they said they were going to continue to search San Antonio for a singer because of the 80-mile difference.”
So, within those two years, Kin of Cain tried out about 15 other singers, but none of them quite meshed well with the band’s eclectic metal sound.
The band’s drummer, Ronnie, and Vasquez had a very close friendship that lasted even after SEED’s demise.
“Ronnie called me up one day and said Victor, the guitar player, was getting tired and fixing to call it quits.
“He was on his last leg and getting down about the band, and they wanted to give me another try.
“So, I set up a practice, got sick the weekend I was supposed to go up to San Antonio, and I ended up in the hospital.”
Vasquez ended up near death and was laid up for almost two months in the hospital and at home.
“Then, we scheduled our first practice for the end of October, had our first show Nov. 10. I practiced twice with them and played a seven-song set.
“We did good; we had a good crowd. They’re an established band, so they had a lot of people there.”
And at the same time, Vasquez had a local band called Delirium which played a few shows.
The band called it quits in late 2012.
“There was too much bickering within that band, so when Kin of Cain came up and I had to sacrifice driving every two weeks or as much time as we can practice until we’re tight enough to play shows every other weekend, I decided to do it.
The 200-mile round trip surely takes its toll on him and his wife, but for Vasquez, he wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.
And after their first official show as a band, it was well worth the tiring drive and sleepless nights.
“Had a big packed crowd, and they were into us; all eyes were on stage.
“It was good, especially after almost dying again.”
No end in sight
With a handful of shows with Kin of Cain under their belt, Vasquez looks to the not-too-distant future with humility and hope.
Bands come and go, and Vasquez knows this all too well.
But the stage still beckons, and the crowds still wait. The speakers still blare, and the blood and sweat still pours.
So, until the day he walks away and the microphone grows silent, he’ll be standing in front of an audience, doing what he does best.
“This year should be the best year, I think ever.
“If I stop doing it, it’ll be after 10 years.
“Or until I’m dead.”
You can check out and follow Kin of Cain at www.facebook.com/KinofCain1.
Paul Gonzales is the entertainment writer at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 116, or at thescene@mySouTex.com.