“Absolutely! Positively! No smoking!”
Who would ever have guessed that a disagreement over the proper grammatical punctuations of a high school poster would turn into a title of a band?
Vinny Vassallo, currently a junior education major at Temple, never would have guessed.
But Absolutely!, a shortened version of the sign he and his friends read on the wall of their high school, now boasts the title of the determined attitude and energy found in Vassallo’s and his band mates alternative punk rock band.
Absolutely! is full of surprises, however, for even at the beginning of his band’s career, Vassallo never expected to meet his future band mates while cleaning his school one Saturday morning.
Working as a janitor for his private Catholic all-boys high school, curiosity led Vassallo to his school’s music room upon hearing the notes of the still not-so-popular Blink 182. Creating the musical sounds were Vassallo’s future band mates- Steve Sucharski, Adam Reif, and Mike Fitze.
It was love at first hearing.
With Vassallo leading vocals, Sucharski behind the drums, Reif on the guitar, and Fitze on the bass, Absolutely! was created. The band’s true moment of triumph did not come until March of Vassallo’s senior year, during which Absolutely! signed up to be one of the bands featured at his high school’s end-of-the-year dance mixer. With all the members extremely busy with prior commitments, opening night Absolutely! had yet to practice together.
But it seems Vassallo’s band had nothing to worry about. Opening with a smash, the rest of the night the audience yelled suggestions to the band, pleased with their ability to conjure up a performance almost equal to that of the bands suggested which included Jimmy Eat World, Newfound Glory, and Mest.
“We had no mess-ups and it was as if we were doing it all along,” said Vassallo, in regards to his band’s unforeseen potential.
Upon reading an ad, Vassallo and his band headed to the Music Training Center at Plymouth Meeting to record a five song extended play. What came next fit along with Absolutely!’s record of surprises. Winning a Battle of the Bands which featured three other bands recorded at the Music Training Center, Vassallo and his band gained exposure to 94 WSP- a local rock station.
The next day an Absolutely! song ended 94 WSP’s show. The following day, an impressed listener requested the song. Not once, but twice, Vassallo and his band mates basked in the glory of hearing their song played over public airwaves.
Now with high school appearances, sweet sixteen parties, and 26 college shows behind them, Vassallo hopes for more than a solid fan base.
“I would love if we would just focus for a year. We are not your average band,” Vassallo said. “We don’t just play the same old tired songs.”
Vassallo writes the lyrics to Absolutely!’s songs, including “To Be A Kid,” “Open Your Mind,” and “Part of Me.”
“If we could reach one person for every song we have … I would be flattered, or satisfied I should say,” Vassallo states.
Not a surprising comment from a student whose aspirations for himself are well above that of an average college student.
“I’m just trying to be as well-rounded as possible,” Vassallo said- a goal he is successfully in pursuit of. Should Temple students check out Vinny Vassallo and his band?
“Absolutely!” he would say.