Beyond the Music: Dr. Tom: Fixin’ what ails ya, through music

Outer Banks chiropractic rocker Tom Vinick, right, with saxophonist Dave Kreiselman at Mulligan's Grille in Nags Head.

So, I get to the Outer Banks nearly four years ago, and I’m perusing the music listings in COAST and online, and I keep seeing “Dr. Tom” and/or “Pairadocs.” My first thought was, “If this guy is a real doctor, why would he be working as a musician?”

Well, I did a little online research and discovered Dr. Vinick is an actual doctor — chiropractor, to be exact — and he’s working as a musician because, well, he’s a natural. He’s got a great, soulful voice; plays an amazingly solid rhythm guitar; and whups out tasty fills and solos on an “as-needed” basis.

Put that together with him being an extremely engaging feller and very sharp, to boot, and you have a no-miss option when searching for live music on the Outer Banks.

He took time out of his busy schedules to answer my many questions:

Q: If you’re not a native, what brought you to the Outer Banks?

A: We came to the area in 1995, after I graduated chiropractic school, to start a practice and raise our kids. Claire and I are from New England, and we liked the climate, cost of living, and proximity to the ocean.

Q: How would you describe your music?

A: I play popular tunes from a wide range of genres from the '50s up to current hits.

Q: Who is/are your greatest musical influence(s)?

A: Motown, Marvin Gaye, James Taylor, Carlos Santana.

Q: What is it about music that touched you?

A: The euphoric natural buzz you get from listening to great music.

Q: What was the first concert you attended? Did it inspire you to perform?

A: Mitch Ryder and The Detroit Wheels at The Bushnell Concert Hall, circa 1966. It definitely inspired me to play music.

Q: Are you self-taught?

A: Self-taught with a little help from my big brother.

Q: How many different musical projects are you involved in?

A: I play quite a bit with Dave Kreiselman as a duo. Dave is an amazing sax player. I also have a trio, quartet or quintet where I play electric guitar. Dave plays sax, Jacob Richardson or Darick Felter on drums, Jason Ribeiro, Ed Tupper or Bill Jolly on bass, Ray Evans on keys, and sometimes Leslie Buck on vocals. The gig I probably enjoy most is playing with Jeremy and The Generations. Jeremy Russell put the band together a couple of years ago. Jeremy is the front man lead singer and plays acoustic guitar; Jason Ribeiro is on bass; Jacob Richardson is on drums; and I play lead guitar and sing a few tunes. For bigger gigs, we add Ray Evans on keys, Dave Kreiselman on sax, and Leslie Buck on vocals. It’s a great event/wedding band; definitely keeps people on the dance floor. We play every Wednesday from 8 to 11 p.m. at Fish Heads Bar and Grill (Nags Head).

Q: Musicians usually play for those “moments” when everything clicks to the point where you sometimes play above and beyond what your normal capabilities are. Do you have a favorite moment?

A: I don’t have a particular moment, but anytime you see and feel people connecting to the music you’re playing, it is certainly magical.

Q: What do you do in the off-season? Do you have a day job and if so, what is it?

A: I usually play a few gigs a week in the off-season. My day gig is being a chiropractor. I like to ride my bike workout in my free time.

Q: Was there a person in your life that motivated you to pursue music?

A: Early on, my big brother motivated me. I wanted to be just like him. My sister and I listened to a lot of music together, and my parents put up with hours of band rehearsals in the basement, which I’m sure were brutal. In recent years, my wife Claire has always encouraged me to play and has been incredibly supportive.

Q: If you could perform with anyone — living or dead — who would it be, and why?

A: Actually, I don’t think I could play with any of my heroes; I’d be way too intimidated. I probably would be like a deer in the headlights...no thanks. Rather just watch.

Q: If you could choose a time period in which to perform music, what would it be and why?

A: I think being in a big band in the roaring '20s would’ve been cool.

Q: Do you listen to new music, and if so, what are you listening to now?

A: it seems like I’m usually listening to learn a song for a gig, but I’ve been listening to The Travers Brothership Record a lot, after hearing them last summer; a killer band out of Asheville.

Q: The music business can be tough. Did you ever consider quitting and doing something else?

A: Yeah, I quit about 30 years ago, when my wife and I started to raise our three sons. I started playing again in 2005, when the boys were a little older and less labor-intensive.

Q: McCartney or Lennon?

A: Gotta say McCartney, even though I know Lennon is the right answer.

Q: Where were you the first time you performed onstage and how old were you?

A: I’m pretty sure I was eleven years old in the sixth grade. It was live in concert with The Cavaliers on the Bridlepath Elementary School Stage during the Spring Festival Day. It would have been 1967. We rocked.

Q: When you write a song, is it positive or negative inspiration that drives you?

A: Positive.

Q: Your favorite album?

A: No favorite album, but I probably would still choose anything Motown first.

Q: Your favorite song?

A: “No Good To Cry” by Al Anderson and The Wildweeds.

Q: How do folks find out where can you be heard this season?

A: I play every Wednesday with Jeremy and The Generations at Fish Heads; every other Friday at Mulligan’s Grille (Nags Head); every other Sunday at Morris Farm Market (in Maple on the Currituck Mainland), and every Tuesday at Berret's Seafood Restaurant (Williamsburg, Virginia).

Transplanted to the Outer Banks from the wilds of the L.A. area, singer-songwriter Scott Sechman has shared stages with Bill Medley, Tom Rush, Al Wilson, and the Grass Roots during his ongoing music career. His column, Beyond the Music, appears Fridays in COAST.

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