Vision
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  • Vocals: Dave Franklin
  • Guitar: Paul Famula
  • Guitar: Pete Tabbot
  • Bass: Todd Hamilton
  • Drums: Matt Riga

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Detonate

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It started innocently enough. Four angry young men agreed in 1986 that the hardcore-punk scene needed a serious kick in its collective ass. On that note, Bridgewater, NJ natives Dave Franklin (vocals), Pete Ventantonio (guitar), Brian Boucher (drums) and Garrett O'Brien (bass) formed Neurotic Impulse. Playing largely to New Jersey straight edge kids, the boys built a small local following, recording a demo that included the anthemic and timely posi-tune "Damn Straight."
A short time later, the band picked up guitarist Sean Brazel and renamed itself Vision, in the spirit of positivity, optimism and affirmation which the band members together espoused. Vision recorded its self-titled debut EP in 1987, which featured textbook hardcore speed along with melodic hooks in the vein of Dag Nasty. Songs like "Friend" and "Snap" showcased the band's maturity, while the timeless "You and I" remains a crowd pleaser even ten years later.
In September, 1987, Garrett, Brian and Sean decided to continue their progression into the quieter side of alternative music, moving on to pursue a more commercially viable sound. Left alone was Dave, still very much committed to the angst and intensity of hardcore-punk. Having founded Vision, and having funded the first record and much of the band's equipment, Dave was determined to continue playing Vision music however he could.
Lady Luck smiled on Dave without hesitation. Local hardcore scenesters/musicians Chris McGill (bass) and Pete Tabbot (guitar) shared Dave's vision (pardon the pun) of music that was at the same time intense, heavy, fast, melodic and intelligent. Chris and Pete teamed up with Dave, and the three hit it off immediately. Professional skater and part-time drummer Derek Rinaldi signed on and completed the picture. Within a few weeks, the new unit had six or seven songs written and were ready to play out live. But Derek's skating commitments soon proved too time-consuming, and the band needed another drummer.
With just three weeks to go before its first big show opening for The Exploited in Trenton, NJ, Vision picked up beatmaster Matt Riga. Like manna from the heavens, Matt the Miracle was jamming out Vision tunes in days, and the band had a solid lineup for years to come. The band wasted little time in recording its breakthrough EP, aptly titled "Undiscovered."
The "Undiscovered" EP was incredibly well-received by the hardcore community, selling out its press of 1,700 units in short order (100 on green vinyl). The record not only showed off the band's talent for writing catchy songs, but demonstrated how varied Vision's influences really were. The band's pseudo-theme song, "Vision," featured melodic guitars and ska/reggae drum dubs. The tracks "Hopefully" and "The Only One" raged uncontrollably, establishing what would become one of the band's trademarks - speedy riffs with killer breakdowns. "Falling Apart" became the immediate crowd favorite, with its melodic hooks and irresistable sing-alongs.
Though the "Undiscovered" EP was not distributed far and wide, its success was far-reaching. The record got rave reviews in countless fanzines, and Vision were soon playing every weekend to responsive crowds. In the spring of 1989, the band picked up a tour with O.C. hardcore's Insted and played the nation's midwest and northeast with them. The tour went well, and Vision soon became labelmates with Insted on California's Nemesis Records.
Vision's first album, "In The Blink Of An Eye," was recorded in September, 1989. The album was virtually a continuum of the band's previous effort, with breakneck speed, heavy mosh parts, melodic hooks, ever-present sing-alongs and tempo changes ad finitum! Vision displayed the rare ability to string together songs that were alternately brutal and soothing without ever missing a beat. But beyond the intensity of the music, the songs were deeply personal with their heartfelt lyrics about friendship, responsibility and pride.
"In The Blink Of An Eye" sold well, remaining Nemesis Records' best-selling album for several years. In the wake of the release, Vision arranged its first national tour for the summer of 1989. But with the start of the tour just days away, promoter Johnny Stiff reported that in light of a "bad touring summer," only two of the shows were confirmed. After spending a substantial sum on merchandise and leaving their respective jobs, the band members were miffed. One bright spot, however, was a show with 24-7 Spyz the following week at Trenton's City Gardens. With a crowd of 600 people in attendance, Vision nearly sold out of their merchanise - not only earning back most of the money they'd spent, but more importantly showing who the crowd was really there to see. As their set ended the electrified crowd cheered for more. The venue's promoter tried to end Vision's moment by shutting off their power...but the band played on.
Despite the setback of a lost tour, Vision continued to play wherever and whenever possible, all the while writing songs for what would become their second full-length album. In the meantime, Nemesis Records flew Vision to California for their first West Coast visit. They traveled there with their long-time New York cousins Sick Of It All and Killing Time, for a hardcore event that would become the "East Meets West" EP. This hardcore classic, released by Nemesis in 1990, featured a live-version of the new Vision song, "Animosity Overkill." With regular exposure in magazines like Thrasher, Flipside and Maximum Rock 'n Roll, Vision continued to turn heads and gain converts to the band's no-nonsense approach to catchy hardcore music. In fact, Thrasher was so taken by Vision's sound that the magazine featured them on their release 1990 release "Skate Rock Vol. 7."
Vision's second full-length album was named "Just Short Of Living," which would become a euphemism for the band regarding it's future record label difficulties. Released in 1992 on Criminal Records, the release featured more complex rhythms, heavier production and somewhat cerebral lyrics. The band had matured musically and it showed in the layered melodies and precise musicianship. Though similar to previous Vision releases in its blend of heaviness, intensity and melodic sensibility, the record was a departure of sorts for the band with its darker sound and more worldly messages. To convey the depth of the new songs live, Vision picked up second guitarist Vin Villanueva for added crunch and harmony.
A short time later, Vin (unable to tour) was replaced by guitarist Tim Glomb and the band hooked up with Philadelphia's Dandelion for a successful 21-date summer jaunt. But Vision suffered another major setback when Criminal Records jumped into financial limbo and stopped pressing "Just Short of Living." Consequently, only 1,000 copies of the album made it into the hands of listeners. In addition, longtime bassist Chris McGill left the band at tour's end, citing personal differences, replaced by local bassist John Longo.
Vision's record label debacles didn't quite end with "Just Short Of Living." Criminal Records not only ceased production of all label products, but also made it difficult for the band to be dispensed from the contract's four album option. Thus, a catch-22 for the band - Vision records were not being produced, distributed or marketed by Criminal Records, yet the boys could not be freed to pursue other label interests.
Though their hands were tied creatively in the studio and the band couldn't get new product on the shelves, Vision continued to play out live and write music. After a couple of years of legalese and failed attempts at severing all ties with Criminal Records, Vision "won" their battle as the label finally folded. The band could now record new material and pursue another contract. Corrupted Image Records, based out of Lancaster, PA had been in conact with Vision for some time and quickly jumped at the opportunity to work with the band in releasing their material. CI's first endeavor was to reissue Vision's classic 1988 "Undiscovered" EP in early 1996.
With the seven-year core of Dave, Pete and Matt intact, Vision then picked up long-time friend Paul Famula on guitar and Nate Gluck from the band's New Jersey hardcore colleague...Strength 691. Vision wasted no time going into the studio to record its "One And The Same" EP for Corrupted Image. The four-song record marked a return to the more familiar Vision sounds of old, with added vocal harmonies to boot. Songs like "Folk Hero" and the title track harkened back to the great days of mid to late-80s hardcore, while songs like "Disguise" and "No Mistake" added flavors of pop-punk and metal without losing the distinctive Vision sound. During their recording session, Vision pumped out two covers that would eventually become contributions to two different hardcore compilations: "The World Still Won't Listen," a Smiths tribute album on Too Damn Hype Records, and "Let's Try Something Newer," a Corrupted Image Records 10" EP sampler. With two releases in stores and selling at shows, Vision began playing live more regularly, attracting new fans and bringing back old ones.
When Nate Gluck left the band for a full-time stint with Ensign in late 1996, original Vision guitarist Sean Brazel eagerly joined back with the crew, nine years after departing - this time playing bass. In the spring of 1997 Corrupted Image released the "One And The Same" Maxi-CD, a 14-song barn-stormer that contains the eight songs of the previous two CIR 7" EPs, the two cover songs, three live tracks recorded at CBGB and a previously unreleased version of "What's Inside", recorded for the "Undiscovered" EP that never made it to the final press. You might say that in ten years, Vision has come full circle both musically and internally.
Good fortune shed light on Vision once again when Cargo Music, Inc., who had inherited Nemesis Records' rights to press "In The Blink Of An Eye", contacted the band with an offer to rerelease their classic 1989 album on compact disc and vinyl. Along with the deal came an option for further collaboration on all-new material. The "In The Blink..." repress hit the stores in the summer of 1997 under the Tacklebox Records label, a division of Cargo Music. Vision then wrapped up a session at New Jersey's famous Trax East recording studio, pumping out over a dozen new songs.
With their third full-length album about to hit the stores, Vision contacted their long-time friends in Agnostic Front who had just reunited after a five-year hiatus. Tours of America and Europe were soon worked out and Vision found themselves opening up for AF in front of packed crowds. After ten years of hard work, Vision was re-introduced to thousands of fans on both sides of the Atlantic in November and December of 1997. Vision's latest album titled "The Kids Still Have A Lot To Say" was just released in January of 1998, on Cargo's Grilled Cheese Records. The band will soon be hitting the road once again, heading out to Texas in March for the "South by Southwest" music seminar, touring the west coast in the spring, then heading back to Europe in the summer for festivals and club dates. With a whole new live set, three recent releases and two new tours in the works, Vision is a bomb waiting to explode...

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