I originally started this 3 weeks after Vinnie Value left us. I wanted to pay tribute to my friend, and brother who meant so much to us. I asked people who were close to Vin to write something about him. The wounds left by his leaving us were still very fresh and very painful. They’re still very painful.
Shortly after pulling this together, COVID-19 ate the world and long story short I lost the file and was gutted.
Lo and behold, I recently found an earlier draft in an old email and asked Marguerite if it would be OK to submit it to No Echo 20 months after the fact. Here it is.
Mike De Lorenzo (Kill Your Idols, SSSP, your humble narrator)
“He’s Gone” What do you mean He’s Gone?!
That’s how my day started on Tuesday, January 21, 2020. The day our world flipped upside down. The morning after our friend, our brother Vinnie left this world. In the three weeks since that day, the rollercoaster of emotions has been full throttle. Nonstop. I expect it will be this way for a long time to come. Goddammit it’s not supposed to be this way.
Vinnie meant the world to a lot of people. He was an amazing musician with a larger than life personality that his body could not contain. He was the light in every room he walked into. He was a brother to so many of us. He made everyone he ever came into contact with feel welcomed in his world. He was respected the world over. When Vinnie Stigma, the most revered person in our little world comes to pay his respects, you know that he was a very special person.
But most importantly, he was a loving father who lived for his children Gianna and Vincent.
Although he has left this world in his physical form, his spirit will live on forever in our memories and in our hearts. Tributes continue to pour in from around the globe. I’ve asked some people close to Vin to say a little something to memorialize him here.
I’d like to start things off with this recent memory. When my mother passed away in August of 2019, Vin came to the wake. He had only met her a couple of times, but his sadness was profound and his expression of love for my family and I in that moment was something I won’t ever forget. Before he left the wake he took me aside and gave me his St Vincent medallion and asked that we put it in the casket with Mom.
We did just that and told mom who it was from and that if she should see Vin’s mother wherever they may be, that she pass it on. Now Vin can reclaim his medallion and be at peace with his mother and mine, and hopefully be reunited with Ray and Todd.
I Love you, brother. Then, now, and Always.
My name is Marguerite. I am Vinnie's ex-wife and mother of his two kids Gianna and Vincent. Many people knew him as a talented musician, but I knew him in a little bit of a different light.
Mine and my kids’ lives changed forever on Martin Luther King Day of 2020. It started with a phone call from Vinnie's concerned boss as I was listed as his emergency contact, and ended with me pounding of Vinnie's door screaming for him. With my son Vincent asking if his dad was ok. It turned out he was not. I stood there in shock, and I didn't know what to do.
I drove my kids home and sat in the living room and cried with Vincent, wondering what the fuck we were going to do. Every single thing in life changed, within minutes.
We relied on Vinnie every day of our lives. He would bring my groceries in when I accidentally ordered them at the wrong time or pick me up because my car broke down in the driveway. He was always just there if we needed him, right down the block.
I can hear him with his very think accent saying my name "Marg." One of the last things he told me was how much he loved me and how sorry he was. He also told me to "fuck your job" all that matters is in this car (referring to my kids) and he was right. This has forced me to take a step back. To realize what is important in life.
I find myself talking to Vinnie daily, several times a day. I want so badly to text him the kids’ day, or what the plan is for tomorrow, etc. That's all I want to do.
Vinnie was on the PTA, he played Santa for the kids at our children's elementary school. He dressed up like a giant banana on Halloween and walked around with our kids. Vinnie was a father involved in every aspect of his kids’ lives. He loved his kids. I'm not sure how I'm supposed to do this without him. Every day is hard. I miss him.
The house was dark. That is what bothers me most of all. Because Vinnie was full of light, anyone who has ever met him would attest to that..... And he was loved.
Gary Bennett (Kill Your Idols, Deathcycle, Black Anvil, Sheer Terror, 64)
I know I’m gonna repeat a lot of what was already said, but here goes; Life is a circle, and many things happen for a reason. Being in a band with people is by far the most complicated relationship that can be had. It can make you bitter, or can bring you together like a family.
KYI is a family. Past and present. We are brothers and we never forget the places we’ve been together, the adventures we’ve undertaken, the failures and the success.. we share that for life.We’ve broken up and found ourselves looping around this circle of life to share more adventures. But we’ve never lost a member of our family this way before.
Vinnie befriended us when Grey Area started up. The band was really special to us.. the lyrics as well as the music was something real to us, and we felt we had much in common with Grey Area. Vinnie wrote a good deal of the lyrics. Those 2 albums are so important to us. Vinnie even wrote a song inspired by KYI. Vinnie was amazed we were touring with no AC in the van, “They’re in Tennessee with no AC!”
At one point, we had asked Vinnie to fill in, and he regretted that he could not. But later, Raeph actually needed to take leave of us for a bit, and Vinnie called me out of the blue, “Hey, if you guys ever need me again, I’m available,” as if he was psychic. KYI may have broken up a lot sooner had Vinnie not joined. He injected us with something we were running very low on.. enthusiasm and positivity. He totally took on a very prominent leadership role in KYI. We really needed that at the time. A lot of the music and lyrics on From Companionship to Competition were written or co-written by Vinnie.
When we retuned in 2013 with Raeph and Paul in the lineup, Vinnie was there cheering us on. He sang songs into my mic. He put his arm around me. He was kissing my sweaty face. “Love you brother, I love this”. We dipped in and out like a sea monster for a couple of years, but our most recent return, our final return, for reasons ill punctuate this with later, had Vinnie back in the fold. We agreed we would do this on our own terms and keep this going as long as life will allow us.
Family comes first for all of us these days. And Vinnie was no exception. He was a Father and a Husband. Marguerite, Vincent Jr., and Gianna.. I cannot imagine how this loss affects you, and we won’t forget you.
Vinnie was a sincere person. He never undertook any action without thinking of how it may effect someone else. Vinnie was always aware of how much meaning each thing we do encompasses. His love for art and music was deep, and his creativity was without limit. Vinnie was friendly, and inclusive. If he was in conversation, and someone new was on the sidelines, he’d reel them into the group and introduce himself. Vinnie had a contagious laugh and a sense of humor that was infectious.
Vinnie struggled with life as of late, and it occurred to me, looking at pictures of him from a few years ago, that I hadn’t heard that same laugh in quite a while. As we get older, life doesn’t get any easier. But maybe I should have taken notice.
I’ll miss our friend and brother, and I do not think I’ll get over this for a long time. But I know he loved us, his family, his wife & children. And we will honor him by remembering all the good he’s done and the light he’s shown by just being himself. Vinnie loved hardcore, and he loved KYI. He got the skull on his Knee only a couple of weeks after joining.
We decided a long time ago that KYI was, out of all the music we’ve all done collectively, very special. And has special meaning to us and the people who have become our friends and follow what we do. So, what would be the point of not doing this? Vinnie was a big part of that feeling. We will continue to do this until we no longer can. And we will always honor him by doing it.
We will always miss you, but your light will always be a part of us. See you when we get there, Brother Vinnie.
Andy West (Kill Your Idols)
Was Vinnie a great guy? Do you still have to ask?
The outpouring of love for him and support for his family is beyond anything I’ve seen. All the stories, the amount of just little things Vinnie did for any and every person he could, is staggering. The amount of times I saw Vinnie give away his rare records to someone we met once for 5 minutes is more than I could count. It wasn’t the fact that he was giving away records he could’ve sold for a lot of money, but him remembering like everything that every person we met, in every little town we played, said.
It didn’t have to be a record, maybe he would remember that someone was going through a hard time for some reason, or a good time for something. No matter what it was, Vinnie would remember and bring it up to that person. And you could see how truly happy it made these people that the guy in the band that they loved actually listened to them when they spoke.
He was a great, proud, caring father. He used to call me sometimes at 5 in the morning, panicking about his children in such a dangerous world. Worrying about protecting them. Vinnie and I had an agreement, no matter what time day or night, if one of us called the other and left the message “I need you” we’d get right back to the other. We knew we could talk about anything, ANYTHING, and neither of us would judge the other. It was something we both took advantage of more than once. In hindsight, seeing how many friends he had it means that much more to me that I was one of the people he chose to have that type of trust with.
When I moved to Florida, Vinnie drove me down. I called and offered him some money to rent me a truck, help me load what I was taking with me, drive us down here, then help me unload everything. He was gonna stay a day or two and head home. By the time he left ten days later, he was Uncle Vinnie and there were plenty of tears. Nobody wanted him to leave. He even tucked a bunch of the money I had paid him into the backseat because he refused to accept it. That was him though, he left an impact wherever he went. We were already tight friends and had traveled a lot together but the drive and time we hung out down here really made us even tighter.
Truthfully I can’t think of the right words to describe how solid our friendship became on that trip.
The first time we bonded, Grey Area was playing with KYI on a hot summer night in Virginia Beach, our (KYI) next show was somewhere in TN for like $50 or something like that. We were in an old van with no seats in the back, no loft, and most importantly, no air conditioning. Vinnie was so impressed, so moved, to know we loved and lived our band, and hardcore in general. We had a long talk that night about the days when Hardcore was truly rebellious, an alternative to what most people did.
Back then it didn’t matter if you were working, eating dinner, or going to a show, hardcore defined who we were at all times. It ended up inspiring a Grey Area song. And also inspired Vinnie enough that he made it clear if we ever needed a drummer he was all in. Vinnie was very passionate about it all til the day he died. When he joined the band, we just got closer. He had no animosity that he didn’t play our reunion shows, and the truth is we knew we’d play together again. Vinnie and I spent many nights just talking til dawn. We saw the sun rise in several countries and states.
He was a truly generous, kind, funny, passionate, real person. I know it’s easy to say because he was a friend, but he really was better than average. I miss him more than I ever thought I could. Knowing how many close friends he had, I’m more then proud to be on that list, I’m honored.
Paul Carlucci (Black Anvil, Kill Your Idols, None More Black)
I don’t even know how to start writing this, because I never would’ve imagined in a million years I’d ever be asked to. So rather than try to figure out what to say/make sense of anything that could never make sense, I will just wing it.
Mike De Lorenzo asked me to contribute to a piece he’s writing. Much like Mike, I got the same call that morning. From him. It went exactly like Mikes text above. It took a few minutes of pacing, repeating it to myself, contacting a few other people close to us. When I notified my mother is when it all just hit me in the face. She immediately recalled Vinnie being at my grandfather’s service when he passed.
I’ve known Vinnie since, 93-94? I don’t even know. More than half of my life. He was one of the few to break through the chains sort of speak, and elevate himself musically. Not just being local. No Redeeming Social Value toured Europe, he joined Warzone and brought that band back to life in my opinion. Grey Area is the most important one for me, because Vin was handling a lot of the lyrics and they were very, very personal and relatable. Too relatable. Through every moment in his musical career we were at each other’s shows, or our bands playing together, OR .. playing together, as I had the honor of standing alongside him in KYI.
To fill Raeph’s shoe as a musician, as an individual is an impossible task. Vinnie showed there was a way to look beyond shoes. He brought a life back into KYI that was much needed, in all of our opinions. Mike ended up taking over my role, and that much more kerosene was thrown into the fire.
I luckily got to play guitar in the band alongside both on a tour that was very special for me, to return to the fold for. I keep going back to a lot of those memories specifically these last few weeks. The laughs, the meltdowns, and on top of it all, the laughs. He was a true brother to us, and also not limited to us.
I hadn’t seen Vin as recent as I would’ve liked to, Although luckily it wasn’t so long ago we did get some time together. We talked frequently enough, and this makes me realize “enough” is never enough.
Vinnie was larger than life. Even typing “was,"I should not be used to a past tense.
I don’t know how to end this, but I love Vinnie deeply, and I miss him dearly.
From beyond the beyonds, eternal may you rest.
Kimberly Yount, aka KimPossible (2005 California Tour Mom)
Finding the words to sum up Vinnie doesn’t seem right. Vinnie was one of the funniest, kindest, weirdos I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. We could go without seeing each other for a few years but as soon as I’d see him again, I was greeted with a huge hug, a joke and a feeling of inclusion; like no time had passed. That was one of Vinnie’s gifts; in addition to the gift of gab, humor and musical talent, he had a way of making anyone he met feel like they were longtime friends.
He wanted to hear and know about your life, your band, your family; he genuinely wanted to be your friend. Grab me a cold one, Vinnie
Brian Gorsegner (Forward to Death, Night Birds)
It's weird that I got to know and spend the most time with Vinnie through him being in a band called Kill Your Idols, because he was exactly that to me. I idolized him for being part of these bands I held, and still hold, in such high regard, but more importantly by doing it in a completely genuine, ego-free way, that made weirdos like me and my friends feel not only accepted, but welcomed and supported.
I knew when we'd run into each other and shoot the shit, and he'd ask how I was, that he actually wanted to know, I knew he really meant it, and that meant the world. He was a sweet, loving, real-deal human being, and I'm going to miss the hell out of him.
Andy Scarpulla (Forward to Death, Tear it Up)
When I first met Vinnie in early 2004, I had already known of him through his music. I legitimately had most of the records he played on from his previous bands and spun them regularly, often drumming along on a table or my legs. You could say I was a fan. So when he joined Kill Your Idols and my band at the time (Forward to Death) got asked to play some shows with them, I was pretty excited. Vinnie was immediately warm and friendly to me, which was very impactful because I looked up to him.
Over the next couple of years, we wound up playing together a ton, including a fly out tour on the west coast.
The KYI guys always looked out for us like brothers. It meant so much to me that Vinnie took a liking to our band. I mean, here was a guy from WarZone telling me how much he liked us! And it didn’t end there. Vinnie would even go as far as checking out bands I had done before we met! I remember him coming up to me randomly around 2007 or 2008 and telling me he checked out Tear It Up (who broke up in 2003) and he really dug it. That’s the kind of person Vinnie was.
He was real. He was a lifer. Warzone and Raybeez were always known for being welcoming and helping out younger bands and kids. That Warzone spirit is something Vinnie kept alive and will always be a part of his legacy. Miss you, Vinnie!
Dean Miller (No Redeeming Social Value)
There are so many memorable stories about Vinnie I could recall. However, this simple story speaks volumes about what we meant to him, and he to us. In the early 1990 (and for many years after) our usual rehearsal routine always took place on Saturday nights. We would meet up at my Mom’s house, grab some ice cold 40oz’s and a couple buckets of hot chicken wings and ‘get ready’ while watching our favorite show: COPS. Then it was off to the Backstage Rehearsal Studio to ruin their evening with our drunken foolishness. Of course, we stopped for more 40oz’s on the way.
One such night we arrived to find the studio owner at the desk where we usually received the room key and rented cymbals. The owner told us about the new policy that we had to pay in advance and provide ID as collateral for the cymbals, microphones, etc..in case they broke. Vinnie didn’t have ID.
I don’t think he was even old enough to have a driver’s license yet, so one of us provided ours, but he signed for the equipment— “Vinnie Value."
We all had a good laugh about it thinking we had fooled the studio. What the hell kind of last name was ‘Value’ ?! Well, that name stuck with him forever. Vinnie is probably better known for bands like Warzone, Kill Your Idols, Grey Area, to name but a few—he was so prolific. But he kept that moniker his entire life to honor our friendship. Now we carry on in his honor. We won’t forget our brother, Vinnie Value
James “Tinman” Anton (Tinman Films, Splattered Plastic Podcast, Chugga)
Vinnie Value was a little guy with a huge heart. He called you brother whether He knew you 10 minutes or 10 years, it didn’t matter. I have never felt more welcomed than when I was in his presence. His musical legacy will long be remembered and revered, but his personality and warm friendship towards others will last a lifetime.
Follow the Vinnie Value Forever page on Instagram.
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