Everclear/ American Hi-Fi/ Mayfield Four/ Flipp
@ Trump Marina, Atlantic City, NJ
*Text by Debi Taylor
*Images via Debi Taylor Collection - used with kind permission - thanks, Debi!
*Dedicated to the memory of Flipp fan Vinnie Amato.
"I actually flew over to the US just so I could follow Everclear around for 16 consecutive nights (where they headed to the next city by tour bus and I caught planes). The first Everclear concert I went to, where I first saw Flipp was on the 10th July 2001, in Grand Rapids, MI.
This was about the 5th night (I recall it Friday July 13, 2001) and I arrived in Atlantic City all pumped up to meet a bunch of fellow Everclear fans that I had met online over the past few months. When I got there, they didn't seem very enthused or excited that I'd flown 10,000 miles to finally meet up with them. Granted, I discovered they were mostly 14-19 year olds and I was a bit older.
Before the show, I managed to get right down the front. Stupidly of course, because the night before in Pittsburgh I'd been in the moshpit and was actually black and blue all over. But I could not resist the excitement down the front.
There was this mouthy guy in face-paint on the stage, Brynn. All I could remember was him constantly yelling out, "Rock out with your cock out". Apparently, Flipp was chosen to be the opening act because Art Alexakis had seen then previously and liked what they did.
The audience was getting a bit boisterous and there was this random guy standing next to me shouting stuff back to Brynn. He was annoying me, so I told him to shut up or something like that. Every one around us all looked back at me with weird looks on their faces. I didn't know why, until the guy called back while laughing at me... "hahaha.. listen to her funny accent!" That was the beginning of my friendship with Vinnie.
I later found out that Vinnie was a huge Everclear fan and that he had been following them for years all up and down the east coast from Miami to Maine. He was a real character and it seemed that everyone who also was a hardcore Everclear fan knew Vinnie from at least a concert or two in the past. Apparently it was Vinnie's thing to try and get noticed in the audience down the front and then get called up on stage. I was even lucky enough that evening (July 13th in Atlantic City, NJ) to get up onstage with Everclear and sing local god... with a dozen other girls.
I recall seeing Flipp again the next day at Asbury Park (July 14th) and then maybe a day or so later in Hartford, CT which was a show at the Webster Theatre.
Flipp fan Vincent Amato joins the band on stage in Atlantic City, NJ
Their best concerts I think were at Atlantic City and at Asbury Park. Must have just been the crowd that day as I remember they had the place pumping. But at the other places the crowd was somewhat subdued.
I actually bumped into Vinnie again at the Asbury Park show the next day, and again a day or so later in Providence RI where met on a Greyhound bus heading to Hartford. Vinnie told me that he had been to hundreds of concerts all over the place and that it was his 'thing' to try and get up onstage and either play with the band or just act like an idiot and jump around. He was only 18.
The next day was my last day in the U.S. and before I caught my plane back to Australia I visited NYC and Vinnie met up with me and took me to see the World Trade Center, just 3 months before 9/11.
From 2001, Vinnie kept in touch and rang me at least every month and told me what concerts he'd gone to lately. I recall he later attended a few Flipp shows and managed to get up on stage a few more times. He was just really persistent.
In Sept 2007, I won a Google scholarship which included a trip to Disney in Orlando, FL. I decided to take the opportunity to make a side-trip on my way there, and go visit Vinnie in New York. At the time he was stationed in North Carolina and said he would drive up to meet me. He'd since joined the marines and was due to go to Iraq the following January so this would be our last chance to meet up in person for a while.
A couple of days before I arrived, one of his Facebook friends contacted me out of the blue to tell me that Vinnie had been killed in a car accident in NJ on his way to NYC. There's not a day that goes by that I don't think of Vinnie and how he would somehow just be up on stage rocking out. He was a great person and everybody's mate.
Vincent Amato meets Brynn Arens backstage. This photo was taken by his friend Debi Taylor either on July 17th in Providence, RI - or on July 18th in Hartford, CT.
R.I.P. Vincent Amato