Meet the Band: Gypsy Asylum
What names flood your thoughts as you put the words ‘popular music’ and ‘New Jersey’ together? For some of us the biggest names stand out like Frank Sinatra, The Four Seasons, Frankie Valli, The Shirelles, Madeline Bell, Ann Cole, and Connie Francis. Depending on when you made a connection to music, some of you may not recognize the previously listed renowned music icons. However, I am sure you will know The Fugees, The Rascals, The Jonas Brothers, Whitney Houston, My Chemical Romance, The Lumineers, The Smithereens, Kool and the Gang, George Clinton, Deborah Harry, Gloria Gaynor, Donald Fagen of Steely Dan and two of my favorites–Bruce Springsteen, and Bon Jovi. If you’re like me, you just flashed about a hundred songs through your head. Although these music greats are not only well-known throughout the music industry, they have made impressions on music lovers around the globe.
With this being said, Standing Room Only (SRO) Magazine would like to introduce to the world a band that will certainly capture your attention. This band is called Gypsy Asylum. They like the other formerly mentioned music greats hail from New Jersey. Their musical stylings are a mixture of Classic and Contemporary Rock.
Meet the Band:
- Stephen Hawley – Lead Vocals
- John Przybycien – Lead Guitar
- Vinnie Rios – Bass
- John Heinisch – Drums
- Michael Roman – Keyboards
Once you experience Gypsy Asylum you will certainly understand how their music has been heavily influenced by the iconic musicians and bands such as Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, Robin Trower, Allman Brothers, Marshall Tucker Band, REO Speedwagon, Mountain, Aerosmith, Black Crows, Doobie Brothers, Buck Cherry, Alice Cooper, Ronnie James Dio, Black Sabbath, Fabulous Thunderbirds, Nazareth, Santana, Elton John and the list goes on.
Stephen Hawley – Lead Vocals
Stephen soulfully sings lead and backing vocals for Gypsy Asylum. He is not just another pretty face behind the mic, he commands the stage with his wide vocal range and impressive larger-than-life but laid back style. He is a ‘self-proclaimed’ raconteur; always ready to capture the audience’s attention with his light-hearted and witty anecdotes (again, self-proclaimed [sarcasm added for emphasis]).
Music was infused into Stephen long before he could speak. His love for music comes honestly and naturally. This strong musical connection that he possesses is thanks in large part to his mother. She would pack her kids up in a sporty convertible Mustang with the top down and drive around town as they all belted out cherished songs of the 1970’s (Can’t you just picture that?). If you ask Stephen he would say his singing style resembles that of a “screeching cat in heat.” As you can tell, he is a tongue-in-cheek type of person and very humble when it comes to talking about himself. However, I will tell you after hearing Stephen sing, his voice is chiefly influenced by Geddy Lee (Rush), Rik Emmett (Triumph), Jon Anderson (Yes), Russell Hitchcock (Air Supply), Perry Farrell (Jane’s Addiction) and a young Rob Halford (Judas Priest).
When asked what his goals were with regards to singing and performing, he let it be known that he is focused and aggressively challenging himself daily to improve his vocal prowess while writing his own music. He also goes on to say he aspires to play on the World’s stage with Gypsy Asylum.
John Przybycien – Lead Guitar
When most 8-year-old kids were playing Freeze Tag, Hide and Seek, and Kick Ball, John was plucking away at his guitar. During the Disco era of the 1970’s and the Punk & Pop era of the 1980’s John cut his teeth with bands such as: Rage, Travesty, Silent Reign, Rude Awakening and Nightchild while playing venues such as the Galaxie, Bonnie’s, Dick Lee’s, Bullwinkles, Cell Block, and JR’s, etc. His 42 years of grinding his ax and honing his skills becomes very clear to anyone who sees the video below. Please note from about minute 3:45 you will see him actually channel Jimi Hendrix. He is a superb musician and brings his high-energy to the stage. John is not only a masterful guitarist, he is an accomplish song writer as well.
Vinnie Rios – Bass
Vinnie’s style of playing is deeply influenced by the likes of Tim Bogart (Vanilla Fudge), Getty Lee (Rush) and Flea (Red Hot Chilli Peppers). With more than 40 years of seasoning, Vinnie brings that hard-driving in-your-face bass line. You may have seen him in other bands such as Drink & Holler, Stolen Time, Corp. Crime, FM Kill, and AM Heroes in the past. However, the list of his accomplishments and the number of bands he has played with has prepared him extremely well to hold the stage in any venue. Vinnie will have you on your feet as he pushes the speakers to max load with his deep bottom end and thunderous hard-driving bass lines.
Michael Roman – Keyboards
Mike really captures the audience’s unwavering attention with his finesse and talent at the ivories. After seeing him perform you will come to understand how his style was influenced by Jazz and Blues legends such as Jimmy Smith, Billy Powell, Jon Lord and Pinetop Perkins. Former Keyboard player for Friendly Fire and October Sun, Mike has brought his unique talent center stage with Gypsy Asylum as he masterfully covers a large repertoire of music.
John Heinisch – Drums
John or “Badscene” as his friends affectionately call him was a member of the Badscene Band that later morphed in today’s Gypsy Asylum. One thing you will notice when you see this band is his drum kit. I miss the days of huge kits like Alex Van Halen or Neil Pert from Rush. If you do too, you will love his kit! It is a monster compared to more minimalist percussionist. This Vintage Ludwig Vistalite kit; complete with an awesome double bass kick! (Yes, I am a drummer at heart). John’s talent behind the kit is derived from Mikkey Dee (Motörhead), Nicko McBrain (Iron Maiden) and Ian Paice (Deep Purple). I would be remiss in my duties as a journalist if I did not give a nod to John’s mentors, friends and personal musical influences such as Tom Brennan (Hostage & Orfan Annie), Jim Mitchell (Bar Code and Fac-tory Black) and Ray Joseph (Diamonds).
One of Gypsy Asylum’s recent professional accomplishments was earned as they took 2nd runner-up in the Rock Band Search held on august 27th, 2013 that was sponsored by 103.7 WMGM.
If you are in need of a good time and a ‘real’ rock experience, you HAVE to go see Gypsy Asylum Live! With that being said, you are in luck! Their next two shows are in South New Jersey.
• Bianca’s Kids 1st Annual Poker Run. Will be held Saturday, October 5, 2013 Steakouts Homeplate 85 Harding Hwy, Elmer, New Jersey 08318.
• Halloween costume party. It will be held on Saturday, October 26th from 9:00pm until 1:00am at the Jamison’s Bar – 6 Fort Dix Rd., Pemberton, New Jersey 08068.
SRO Family, in the spirit of Love, Respect and Support, I am asking you to go over to their Facebook page and give them a ‘Like’. Not only will you find out more details on these and future events, you will be connected to one awesome band!
For press information or booking for this band contact them at: GypsyAsylum@verizon.net
I hope you have enjoyed getting to know South Jersey’s finest rock band—Gypsy Asylum!
See you in the pit my Friends! \m/(>.<)\m/
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Special Thanks for Your Support:
- James Morrissey who was one of the founding members that laid the foundation of Gypsy Asylum (We love and miss you Brother!).
- Kathy Heinisch – For your unwavering support of Gypsy Asylum. Additionally, your photography and public relations support.
- Barbra Przybycien – For your photography and public relations support. Moreover, your never-ending support of Gypsy Asylum.
When you come to see Gypsy Asylum you will be entertained with great tunes such as:
Rock n Roll
Day of the Eagle
Can’t Ya’ see
I’m a Man
All Along the Watchtower
Good Lovin’ Gone Bad
Stairway to Heaven
Hair of the Dog
Take it on the Run
Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’
Highway to Hell
Shook Me All Night Long
We Will Rock You
Tie Your Mother Down
Sunshine of your Love
Listen to the Music
Long Train Running
We’re an American Band
Long Cool Woman
Hard to Handle
The One I Love
Cat Scratch Fever
And the list literally goes ON and ON…