Vinx is as close as you'll find to a 21st century Renaissance Man. Known to music fans mostly as a percussionist and vocalist, he has lived a big life and has shown immense talent in multiple areas.
In the late 70s, Vinx was an aspiring athlete at Kansas State University, where he overcame incidents of local racism and became an internationally renowned track star, recording the world's second longest triple jump and qualifying for the unfortunately boycotted 1980 Olympics in Moscow. He went on to coach at the University of Texas and was later inducted into the KSU Athletic Hall of Fame.
In college, Vinx was also a DJ and a member of the KSU Jazz Band. His passion for music turned into a career when he stayed in Los Angeles following the 1984 Olympics (an injury forced him out of competition) and found work as a percussionist for Ernie Watts and later as part of the traveling bands for Rickie Lee Jones, Teena Marie and others.
Forming an all drum band, Vinx went on his own and toured with various acts over the next several years, ultimately hooking up with Sting for his Soul Cages album. This led to Vinx being signed to Pangaea Records and to the release of Rooms in My Fatha's House, a tribute to Vinx's father (who was tragically murdered in 1989 in the Detroit suburb of Inkster) and a truly breakthrough album. Fatha's House treated the world to the dynamic voice, unusual beats and percussion arrangements and risk taking that would symbolize Vinx's work. Classified by some as jazz, by some as world music and by others as soul, it was one of the finest albums of 1990 and certainly among the most distinctive. Most of the attention given to the album went to the infectious "Temporary Love" or the dance house classic "While The City Sleeps," but equally compelling were "Porchlight," "Tell My Feet" and the touching "A Little Bit More."
Over the next few years, Vinx released I Love My Job, The Storyteller, and Lips Stretched Out, all solid albums that displayed more fantastic percussion work as well as intelligent lyrics, though none reached the heights of his debut. He also continued writing songs with and for other major artists and performing session work, including work with Stevie Wonder. In the mid 90s he formed the dance band Jungle Funk and toured Europe for two years. He also had his first exhibition of his paintings.
Most recently, Vinx independently recorded a Christmas album (Little Drummer Boy) and The Mood I'm In, an impressive album of Vinx-ified covers of standards, including great versions of "Georgia On My Mind," "Everyday" and "You Are My Sunshine." Both are rather tough to find but are worth seeking out (you can find them on his web site).
By Chris Rizik