Who is Vinx? Most people know him as…One man. One voice. One drum. As you will discover, Vinx is much more. Vinx’s music transcends languages and borders. This is evident from his international
touring schedule and cult-like popularity. Vinx has taken the wisdom of his
mother to heart. She often told him that "You can’t sing of life
unless you live."
So… the journey starts in 1976, when Vinx attended Kansas State University
on a track scholarship. In 1977, hate nearly took away Vinx’s athletic
career and his life when racists burned down his house, along with the home
of another black family living in his Kansas City suburb. Vinx was severely
burnt by the fire. He overcame his injuries and three years later made the
world’s second longest leap in the triple jump. This qualified Vinx for
the 1980 Moscow Olympics. When President Jimmy Carter called for an Olympic
boycott that year, Vinx’s athletic goals were put on hold.
A deejay in college, Vinx also performed with the Kansas State Jazz Band. In
1978, Taj Mahal invited Vinx to perform with him at the Montreaux Jazz Festival
in Switzerland. When Vinx’s Olympic dream was deferred, he turned his
back on track, but after two years returned as an assistant coach for the women’s
track team at the University of Texas. In Texas, Vinx rediscovered his Olympic
ambitions and began working toward the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. After
an injury at the trials took him out of the running for the ’84 Olympics,
Vinx stayed in Los Angeles and began working as a fitness trainer for the rich
and famous. His clients included Stevie Wonder, George Hamilton and Marisa
Vinx’s early years in Los Angeles brought him much triumph and tragedy
as he transitioned from his athletic past to his musical future. In 1987, Vinx
landed his first recording session with Ernie Watts on his Grammy awarded Musican
project. Following Tom Jones’ recording of Vinx’s ballad "Touch
My Heart," Vinx toured extensively with the likes of Rickie Lee Jones,
The Bus Boys, Teena Marie, Toni Childs and Robben Ford. His commercial agency
work included appearances in both Sprite and Levi’s 501 Blues ads.
In 1989, Vinx’s father, Leslie Jackson Parrette Sr. (Vinx’s greatest
musical influence) was mugged and murdered during a family vacation in Detroit.
Vinx left the United States for Europe with his all drum band. Vinx and the
Barkin’ Feet played to capacity audiences at the Montreaux Jazz Festival,
performing after Miles Davis and before Wayne Shorter. Back in the states,
Herbie Hancock invited Vinx to perform on his Showtime Coast to Coast TV Special,
where Vinx played with Bonnie Raitt, Bruce Hornsby, Lou Reed, B.B. King, Herbie
Hancock, Kenny G. and Woody Harrelson.
In 1990, Sting and Miles Copeland signed Vinx to Pangaea/I.R.S. Records. Following
Vinx’s performance on Sting’s Soul Cages CD, Vinx recorded his
first release (Rooms In My Fatha’s House) for Pangaea. The album featured
guest performances from Sheryl Crow, Sting, Herbie Hancock, Taj Mahal, Branford
Marsalis, Roscoe Lee Brown and Mother’s Finest. Vinx toured for 13 months
with Sting’s "Soul Cages" tour as the solo opening act and
the percussionist/background vocalist. The tour ended with a Carnegie Hall
taping of MTV Unplugged with Sting. Vinx’s "While The City Sleeps" was
used in the opening dance sequence of the prime time TV show In Living Color.
In 1992, Vinx moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico and released his 2nd CD titled I
Love My Job. The album featured Zap Mama, Patrice Rushen and Dan Kuramato. Vinx
toured the world jazz festival circuit with great response and returned to the
States for an appearance on the Arsenio Hall Show and The Tonight Show with old
friend Branford Marsalis. Vinx’s song "There I Go Again" was
chosen for the highest rated episode of the hit TV series Northern Exposure.
The network received so many calls about the song that it was chosen for an album
release of Northern Exposure’s most requested music. In 1993, Vinx released
his 3rd CD, The Storyteller, which featured Stevie Wonder, George Howard, Cassandra
Wilson and Omar. Vinx toured the world and recorded on Cassandra Wilson’s
award winning CD Blue Light Til Dawn.
In 1994, Vinx moved to Boston and started the year with the Stewart Copeland
and the Rhythmatists tour. The summer brought Vinx out for a three month tour
with the Spin Doctors, Cracker and the Gin Blossoms, an appearance on the Bertice
Berry Show, and performances and CO-MC work for all three days of Woodstock’ 94.
In 1994, 1995 and 1996, Vinx was invited by Miles Copeland to his 12th Century
French castle for a writer’s retreat. Vinx co-wrote at the castle with
such notables as Brenda Russell, Cher, Michelle Shocked, Jil Sobule and Patty
Smyth. 1995 brought Vinx to Africa for a five week tour of nine countries in
West and Central Africa. Vinx and his drum trio were cultural attaches for the
U.S. State Department. On his return, Vinx recorded on Stevie Wonder’s
Conversation Peace CD.
In 1996, Vinx was inducted into the Kansas State University Athletic Hall of
Fame. Vinx released his 4th CD titled Lips Stretched Out. Vinx-the-painter got
a rep and held his first gallery showing of his paintings. Vinx headed to Atlanta
for his performance at the 1996 Olympiad.
Vinx created an innovative Euro dance project called Jungle Funk which featured
ex-Living Colour rhythm section musicians Will Calhoun and Doug Wimbish. 1997
- 1999 brought Vinx and Jungle Funk to over 150 shows throughout Europe and Australia
with the release of Jungle Funk’s first limited edition disc; highlighting
the early days of the band. Vinx returned to the U.S. for work with the Baltimore
based dance guru’s "The Basement Boys" and some recording on
Crystal Waters’ track "Mama Told Me." In 1998, Jungle Funk got
signed to the German label, ESC Records (Zebra/Warner Brothers in the U.S.) with
a new release, recorded live in Austria. Vinx received a grant from AT&T
to work with Washington D.C.’s famed Eastern High School Choir.
In 1999, Vinx traveled to Berlin to record an album with Traumton Records titled
Big ‘n’ Round. Vinx relocated back to Los Angeles to co-write with
Brenda Russell, Stewart Copeland, and Darius Rucker. Vinx established his own
StankFish Recording Studio, Midnight Archer Publishing Co. and a film production
company -- Dreamsicle Arts & Entertainment. In 2000, Vinx’s recording
studio was robbed with a loss of over $100,000 of recording equipment