NEWS January 1, 2021
Happy New Years!! This is Ervin Williams owner of Dynamo Amplification and formerly known as the Guitarist and Founding member of Versital. Its been 20 years since the days of playing with Versital and our last Album A New Millennium. I regret the conditions and sequence of events that led to the break up of Versital especially as we were just beginning our way with attention of Major Label interest. I feel that had I continued on with a 3rd Versital Album to follow up An New Millennium, we would have been a major force to recon with over the last 20 years. But as you know Life happens, people move, get jobs, get married, we get old, and priorities and goals change. Over the years there has been talks of reuniting Versital and finishing the 3rd album and at some point even assembled a super group from YouTube artist but unsuccessful to get the ball rolling.
in 2009 I decided to take all my talents and business skills that would have been applied to another VERSITAL project and applied it to start Dynamo Amplification with only me to be accountable for its success and I vowed to one day use Dynamo to sponsor the return of Versital. 2020 was the worse year in the music industry with the pandemic shutting down live music and concerts and for the first time touring musicians are at home finding other things to do until the return of live music. People are hungry for new music and live performance and the playing field has never been so even and I feel its excellent opportunity to Join the rebuild of the industry once this pandemic ends. Its 2021 and I'm starting it off the year with the launch of Versital.com and I'm working to find more content to add. Soon I will start working with some other members of Versital to start recording production of new material to be release later this year. - Ervin Williams @ Dynamoamps
Ervin Williams – Guitar
David Shaw – Guitar
Paul Ritter – Vocals
Gilbert Pena (Gwibb)– Drums
Glenn Fukanaga – Bass Guitar in Studio (Versital & A New M albums)
Robert McRae – Bass Guitar Live 1999-2001
Daniel Medina – Bass Guitar Live 1996-1997
Paul Mitchell-Cooper – Guitar 1993-1998
Rick Vela- Guitar in Studio (Versital Album Paul M temporary departure)
Steve Parrish – Guitar (2001 Fill in for David Shaw)
Stacy Spencer (Stace the Ace)- Drums 1996-1997
David Walters (Bash) – Drums (2000 Temporary Gilbert Pena departure)
Michel Kindla – Drums (1991-1993)
Versital is a Progressive Metal band from San Antonio, TX that was formed in 1992 by Ervin Williams and was heavily influenced by Queensryche, Fates Warning, and Dokken/G. Lynch. In 1996 the debut album was released under VMI Records and distributed in Tower Records around the US while marketing coverage followed in Metal Edge Magazine to support in 1997. Versital obtained Rock radio play in several markets around the USA and Metal Magazine Press coverage around the world in such places as Germany, UK, Greece, and Brazil. Using a Metal fan database collected from Metal Edge Magazine and Social Chat groups on AOL dial up service, Versital was able to build a good national following which led to being approached by a concert promoter to accompany the band Great White on a 2 week east coast tour that was eventually cancelled. In disappointment of the cancelled tour, the band went into hiatus and during this time changes were made to the line-up leading into returning to the Studio to start recording new material. In 1999 the follow up album A New Millennium was recorded and released and started gaining momentum in US rock radio and Metal Magazines adding large write up reviews in Rock Hard, Metal Hammer, and Burn to name a few. To promote the album named A new Millennium as it was the going to be year 2000, a back Cover page Ad was taken on the January 2000 issue of Metal Edge Magazine and the band was bombarded with reviews, interview request, and performance opportunities. A west coast tour was in process of being planned when turmoil was created in the band as to much was happening too fast and some band members starting having problems with committing to taking time off from work and other Band projects to go on the tour. Soon the band started cancelling performances with temporary member changes and then went into another hiatus with hopes of producing a third album now under the eye of Brian Slagel and Metal blade records who’s roster was too full at that time to offer any new record deals on the label but very interested in what was to come. After writing 4 new songs the third Album never was recorded as Life Happens and the band went separate ways. Over the years there has been several talks about a reunion and several Jam sessions between Ervin Williams, Paul Ritter and Gilbert Pena. In 2009 Ervin Williams decided to take his Marketing talents, engineering skills, and love of Guitar amp gear to start Dynamo Amplification and make a grand return to the music industry with only himself to account for any opportunities to come. He also made a promise that one day Dynamo will reunite Versital and sponsor a new Album and Bus Tour.
The Dirt & The Details
In 1989 Ervin Williams was a Freshman at Highlands Highschool in San Anotnio, TX when he met Chris Boss (AZIZ, Snake Dance) an up incoming local hair metal guitar legend who was working at Alamo Music teaching guitar lessons. As part of a deal on purchasing a new guitar amp arranged by Ervin’s Dad, Chris agreed to a month of free lesson showing him the tricks of the trade learning songs from Winger, RATT, Dokken, Lynch Mob, Bullet Boys, Whitesnake, Metallica, and AZIZ original songs by Chris himself.
After only 4 lessons Ervin started challenging other guitar players at school to eventually become top dog. Over the next year he would master most songs from Metallica, Anthrax, and Testament as he was heavy into Thrash Metal from being a former BMX Freestyler. He also liked popular Hair metal music from bands such as Dangerous Toys, Bang Tango, Skid Row, Lita Ford, Dokken, and Motley Crue. In 1991 during his Junior year while in Algebra class sitting next to senior Mike Kindla who played drums he notice miniature drum sticks on the key ring and they started a conversation about him playing drums and possibly jamming together. After school one day Ervin went to Mike’s house and Mike had a large collection of Records from RATT, Dokken, and Stryper and the two became best buds immediately jamming with only just Drums and guitars until Mike brought another older friend named Donnie from down the street who played Bass. Using only a boom box tape recorder the song Expiracy in a basic riff form was recorded and noted as the first song written. The band name had not yet been decided but the name Expiracy was being floated as a possible band name years later to become the name of the first original song. One Day Mike gave Ervin a tape from Loudness called Lighting Strikes and told him to learn to play it because it has some cool time changes. After learning all the Loudness songs the band continued to jam songs from loudness, Shotgun Messiah, Alice in Chains and other popular music. Ervin started getting into Queensryche after seeing the video “I don’t Believe in Love” song that was recorded on a VCR tape recording of MTV Head bangers Ball. It hit home because he was dealing with frustration and heartbreak with a girl that stood him up on a date. Already loving the Progressive and melodic technical style of Fates Warning and the song “Through Different eyes”, Ervin Fell in love with Queensryche Operation Mindcrime as it had a harder edge and good energy that was motivating. He also attended their concert on the 1991 Empire Tour featuring the full Operation Mind Crime performance.
In his Senior year Ervin became top Guitar dog on campus after his rival Jason Kahanek aka “Boots” (of Wicked Temper and Smoke Wagon) graduated class of 1991 with Mike Kindla. Ervin started working at the Ft. Sam Army Commissary bagging groceries for tips and averaged about $200 a week and after saving up with addition to a $500 loan from his dad who worked at the Randolph-Brooks Credit Union, He bought a brand-new Black ESP M2 DLX guitar from 48th St. Custom guitars NY,NY for $1,000 at a discount after a similar discontinued M2 model that was on hold was accidently sold. ESP advised him he had one of the first two black guitars in the country as this was the first shipment of the new model version. Ervin then Joined the Jazz band as an elective and that provided a valid excuse to carry his band new ESP M2 guitar around school to jam during lunch break. By association with the Marching band he was invited to travel with the school band to Orlando Fl to perform the Back to the Future Theme song for the Grand opening of the Back to the future Ride at Universal Studios and while on the road he woke up at 4AM in a Bus stop to the smell of diesel fumes and the growl of the Bus engine and it was then he decided he wanted to spend his life on tour. Only a week later he took another bus trip on the senior school trip to six flags to confirm he loved being on a bus on the road. During this same Time was the Peak of major Concerts coming to town back to back with multiple shows during the week and weekends including Ozzy Osbourne playing a double 2 night show to celebrate his first return to San Antonio after being banded for years for pissing on the Alamo. La Semana Alegre was another huge concert event with three large stages hosting concerts 7 - 10 days pulling in all available major touring acts in the US during Fiesta during the spring. Completely energized by the peak of Rock concerts in San Antonio, Ervin continued to jam with Mike while planning to take the band to the next level.
After Graduation Ervin went to Frankfurt Germany for the summer to visit his sister who was a Captain in US Air Force who came home on leave for his graduation. While there he read books on the music business and with a fresh eye and world view after being exposed to the European environment he started planning the band Versital and filled two notebooks on plans for going into the studio, touring, and marketing the band internationally.
Upon returning home Ervin continued by enrolling in the fall semester in Community college taking courses in Music and Theater Production. Ervin started looking for a recording studio and his Dad found a small recording studio near his job at Randolph AFB via a co-worker and set up a personal loan to pay for a 10-hour studio time package for $350. Ervin and Mike went into the recording studio called Studio Center in October 1992 to record the song “Come Back to me”. After laying down guitar and drum tracks, Ervin played the bass and sang vocals to complete the song. Before mixing the song, the studio offered additional time to mix the song at a higher rate and Ervin challenged issues with the studio engineer eating up the studio time claiming he didn’t have the ability to punch in parts on tracks requiring a lot of re-do that ate up time, Ervin pulled the plug to abandon the project and search for another recording studio. Two months later Ervin booked Emerald Studios known to be the best high tech million-dollar studio in town with ties to country singer Clint Black and started recording the song “So Long” to be completed in January 1993 at a cost of $1,100. Again Ervin recorded guitars, bass, and vocals and was not happy with the finished production of the guitar tones, drums and vocals. Prior to the recording session, Ervin had issues with Mike's Drum set and his lack of ability to repair or replace broken cymbals and drumheads for the studio so Ervin rented cymbals and snare drum for Mike to use in studio with addition the studio provided an electronic kick drum pad to replace his kick drum that also sounded horrible. Mike also rehearsed the song with broken drum sticks and Ervin offered to stop and buy him new sticks on the way to the recording session and Mike insisted that he would get new stick himself and at some point said he had the new sticks in is possession. When Ervin got to the studio, Mike walked in and started Recording the session with the same broken sticks. Upset with the lack of professionalism and waste of money to rent drum equipment to only be played with broken sticks, the door was now open for the departure of Mike from the band. The final straw was when the owner showed up to pick up the rented equipment, Mike knew him from somewhere and after a brief conversation catching up, an agreement was made for Mike to return the equipment the following day from which a week later the owner contacted Ervin complaining Mike had not returned his equipment and he was in desperate need of it for a gig he was playing. After this incident and prior incident involving Mike claiming to have bought a double pedal to play the song Versital requiring double bass kick was later found out to be not true causing further delays in recording plans. Ervin decided to part ways with Mike Kindla.
Days after the departure of Mike Kindla, Ervin walked into a local music store looking to buy new equipment to start over such as upgrading his Guitar amp, getting a drum machine, and 4 track recorder to continue working on material when he met Paul Mitchell-Cooper who was the salesman helping him. After a conversation about what he was looking to do, Paul invited Ervin over to hang out and jam and the two started working on new material to be recorded on the future Versital album. Paul contributed the riff for “I Dreamed It” originally called “N.A.F.T.A” and the riff for “Paradise”. Ervin and Paul hung out almost every day and started going to concerts together checking out other bands. Paul introduced Ervin to some other friends who was putting together a Cover band and they both joined for a short period jamming cover songs from Queensryche, Megadeth, Savatage, and Alice in Chains.
One night Ervin’s mentor Chris Boss was performing a big show at the Rock club Sneakers with Snake Dance. A band from Austin called Catch 22 was opening and had a very good sound so Ervin bought their 4 song demo and noticed the recording quality was outstanding and sounded like a major label production. He let Paul listen to it and Paul suggested that Ervin find out where and who recorded the demo and hire them to record Versital.
Ervin called ARS studio in Austin, TX and spoke to studio owner Wink Tyler and booked studio time and hired John Vieweg to engineer. Ervin’s Dad took out a $1000 loan for the first session and in January of 1994, Ervin and Paul went into the Studio to start recording the songs Versital and Expiracy. ARS put them in contact to hire Glenn Fukanaga to record Bass. Then Ervin requested the number from John to hire Mark Tracy who was the lead singer of Catch 22 to see if he would also sing on the project and he agreed. When it came time to record vocals, Mark Tracy became very sick with a bad cold and lost his voice and was unable to sing causing further delays in the studio project.
Paul Mitchell was talking to his co-worker at the music store Emilio Garza who was in a band called Sidewinder and he suggested asking his singer Paul Ritter if he could possibly fill in for Mark in the studio. Ervin Met Paul Ritter at the music store and made arrangement to meet at his house to go over the details and songs material. Paul Ritter came to Austin and started laying vocals down for the songs Versital and Expiracy and it was set in stone to become the vocalist for Versital.
Shortly after the recording sessions Paul Ritter introduced Ervin to his old Drummer Stacy Spencer from a band called Teaser who was quick to say “I’m Stace the Ace with the double bass in your face” and he was invited to jam at a rehearsal studio going over material that would also be recorded on first Versital CD.
A year went by, Ervin was working a part-time job at the Commissary on the Military base held since high school saving funds for the studio recording time and meantime still attending college full-time now taking the core curriculum for Radio, TV, and film which included a class in multitrack production and broadcasting requiring him to have a weekly solo shift as an on air DJ on the College station for a semester. He then shifted his college classes to taking mostly Business and marketing with the goal in mind to Start VMI records and VMI Publishing(ASCAP) with hopes of taking out a $250,000 SBA loan to promote the band to national status. He put together a business plan and approached several local SBA supporting banks and was declined. Ervin chose to continue his efforts by financing the Band using credit cards while the other members in the band did not contribute any financial support for anything. During this time Paul Mitchell Moved into a new Apartment and also started attending school full-time and started claiming he didn’t have time to go to Austin to complete the album due to school work. As a solution Ervin started looking for a studio in the area that would be convenient for Paul and found a recording studio that was technically at one point part of his Apartment complex that was an old utility building that was sold off and turned into a nice recording studio who had a compatible recording system to run masters from Austin to record Paul Mitchell’s guitar parts to be mixed in Austin. Paul still declined to participate on the recording and told Ervin he would have to do it without him. It was said by his ex-girlfriend that Paul Mitchell lost Interest in Versital and didn’t believe in Ervin’s ability to finish the Album and take the band to the next level. Apparently Paul was so busy with homework he began playing in a local Rage Against the Machine style band with a new red head girlfriend to boot. Looking for a guitarist to replace Paul Mitchell, Ervin contacted his guitar mentor Chris Boss who agreed but later had to decline due to other priorities. Paul Ritter then reached out to his old band mate Robert Vela to hire is little brother Rick Vela who played with the band Prezence and had a guitar playing style reminiscent of Jake E Lee to come into the studio to fill in for Paul Mitchell.
In February of 1996 Versital return to the studio to complete the Debut Album in April. Shortly after Ervin went to visit Paul Mitchell and let him hear the finished Album and Paul once again show interest in playing in the band again and within a month Bass player Auditions were Held hiring Daniel Medina out of Austin who had Parents in San Antonio to allow him ability to stay in town for rehearsals and the band was complete.
Ervin spent many nights to 3AM licking, stamping, and packing promo material to mail out thousands of press packs, radio station promos, and marketing materials to promote the band. A full page AD was taken out in Metal Edge Magazine with plans of running additional Ads in Hit Parader and Circus Magazine to certify this band in the rock music industry and Ervin under the label name VMI records set up a website and ordered a 1-800 phone hot-line system to set up a call line for people to call in and listen to samples of the album. Meantime the Band then spent the next few months rehearsing the album to perform live when they were approached by a concert promoter about going on a short east coast tour with Great White probably due to the exposure in Metal Edge. A decision was made not to play any local shows as the band was now getting National Press, Radio play, and distribution and now with the addition of an east coast tour, the band was now classified as a national act and the door was now open to hopefully become a fulltime touring artist. Ervin started shopping for a tour bus at Texas custom coach and looking to hire a video director to film a Music video to shop to MTV and regional Rock video shows on cable TV. Then one day the concert promoter called with news that the tour was cancelled and that left the band in a daze of what to do next. A few months went by and the hotline slowed down and stopped ringing, less fan mail and CD orders in the PO BOX, and web traffic was slowing to a crawl and Huge Credit card bills were due so Ervin focused on Working to pay off the label expenses.
Ervin took a Job working in the promotions department at KTFM 102 under Waterman Broadcasting that was a major Commercial Pop Radio station in San Antonio. The radio station had him driving around town giving away gifts and concert tickets and occasionally on the air via cell phone at his locations for prize giveaways. He also worked nights at Taco Cabana after being offered a job by a General manger he met at a Job fair sponsored by the radio station. The Band continue to meet occasionally to Jam but slowly deteriorating as there were many unknowns for the next step for the band and Ervin was Exhausted feeling no support from any other members of the band and unless he scraped up money the band would do nothing at all. Drummer Stace the Ace kept his huge drum set in Ervin’s garage and would come over often to jam out and they would go to concerts together and one day they went to a festival and saw Rob Halford’s band Fight with Scott Travis on drums and Stacy started criticizing the performance of Scott’s playing loudly to say he could do a better job as the band was nearby walking around in the crowd in range to possibly hear him. Ervin was highly embarrassed and that opened the door to his departure from Versital only to be confirmed an hour later when Stacy was bombarded with a bunch of older cougars as he was walking through the crowd and asked Ervin what he thought of all the ladies. Ervin replied “sorry dude too old and too ugly for me”. So then Stacy ask what kind of girls he liked and Ervin found a hot young curly blond girl he had seen a day prior at another event and showed him and Stacy took it upon himself to hit on her as they were standing in line behind her in a food line. Stacy then spent the rest of evening working on the girl and then ask Ervin to give him and the girl a ride back to his car. Stacy later called Ervin to brag about sucking on her tits once he got home and at that point he was fired.
Working 2 Jobs and a mountain of bills coming in Ervin started re-evaluating the future of Versital and what to do with his career going forward and even consider joining the Military to get into the Air Force Band with hopes to get an assignment in Germany to start another band and have a new location home to possibly bring Versital there to start building a new Fan Base as Germany had multiple open air metal festivals during the summer and progressive metal bands did very well on the touring circuit there. Ervin then Joined Air Force ROTC at University of Texas at San Antonio in hopes of becoming a Second Lieutenant officer and was put on a 2 year fast track program to have a shot for making pilot training before the age cut off of 27 by graduation.
In spare time Ervin still continued working on new music and kept in contact with Singer Paul Ritter and occasionally see Paul Mitchell. Daniel Medina went back to Austin in pursuit of Acting job on a TNT film and said would return for a touring if needed and Stacy was no longer with the band. Ervin Decided to invest into a new AKIA DSP12 digital recording system and use it to possibly record new material. The recording system used a removal Iomega JAZ drive storage hard drive that was new technology but with fading popularity and limited availability to soon be discontinued and one day Ervin was walking to class in Airforce uniform and walked into the University campus Computer store and inquired about the storage drives in stock. The Store manager was David Shaw and started questioning the use of the JAZ drive and Ervin explained it wasn’t for a computer but for a recording system. David started a conversation about the style of music he was working on and he was also a progressive metal fan into such bands as Dream Theater and that he was in a band in El Paso with some friends and how he always wanted to do a recoding project. He said he was interested in what Ervin was doing and wanted to check out his music. Every Wednesday on the way to ROTC Drill Meeting Ervin would stop by and visit with David and gave him a copy of the Versital CD. David invited Ervin to his house to jam and not really knowing what to expect Ervin went to check him out. David came across as a computer Geek with Clark Kent glasses and there was no intentions of recruiting David to join Versital as Paul Mitchell was still an active member in good standing. Once at David’s house, David uncovered a Mesa half stack with a $3,500 Bogner XTC head and started shredding and Ervin’s mouth fell wide open. David started playing classical pieces and technical riffs and ripping solos as if he was auditioning for the band and Ervin was Blown away. A few days later, Ervin went to pick up Paul Ritter and drug him out to meet David through a severe thunderstorm with tornado and flash flood warnings. Screaming he wanted to turn around and go back home as the storm got worse they finally made it to David’s house and once Paul Ritter saw David play it was agreed that David should be asked join Versital to work on new material and Paul Mitchell was out.
David Shaw officially in the band immediately started working on material and introduced a song to become “On My way” on A New Millennium album. Paul Ritter called Ervin and said he was recently approached to sing for a band called Baad Newz and he didn’t care for their style of music but he noticed the Drummer Gilbert Pena was very exceptional with shining talent that carried the band and they should go check him out. Ervin and Paul Ritter went to see Gilbert play reherasals and afterwards offer him a job to play with Versital on the new record and possible tour. Ervin explained the album was going to be promoted nationally and hopefully get major press and radio play. Gilbert agreed to join the project but only under the condition that he was doing it to eventually help bring the spotlight to his band Baad Newz and help promote them and they were in agreement to loan him out to play with Versital for the exposure. Baad Newz was a local band for over 10 years and the first band Singer Ray Alder from Fates warning started with and they was also good friends with Ray Alder’s brother. It was also said that his guitar player Preston Bracy’s brother designed a custom harness guitar strap that was used by both Fates Warning guitar players on “Through Different Eye” video on MTV.
A rehearsal studio was booked and Gilbert and David was brought in to try a first Jam together with Paul and Ervin without bass and it was a successful session. The Band then moved to Ervin's garage in November of 1998 and over two months started rehearsing and arranging 9 songs to be recorded in January of 1999. On the last rehearsal a day before going into the Studio, Ervin Took a bathroom break and when he returned he heard David and Gilbert jamming a catchy melody through the Garage door and let them finished before coming in. He demanded they repeat the tune again with the tape recorder rolling before they proceeded with the rehearsal session. Later Ervin requested they perform that song again in the studio while laying the drum tracks and played them back the recording from the garage. This song would become the track “I'm giving In” and was done in one take only going back to add vocals and Bass later on. John Vieweg again was hired to engineer the studio and he was asked if he knew of a local Austin bass player to record and possibly be available to tour with the band. John brought in a talented bass player he had played with and after an 8 hour session of laying straight driving bass tracks that tightly followed the guitar rhythms, Ervin Requested Glenn Fukanaga who recorded the first Versital album to come in and re-record alternate bass tracks and his melodic take on the songs was pure magical and he was then hired to record all the remaining Bass tracks for the Album. During this time Ervin had previously quit both Jobs working at the Radio Station and Taco Cabana and was now working in the computer department at the Ft. Sam Houston Army AirForce exchange service (AAFES) full-time while still going to College and eventually decided to drop out of the ROTC program to focus on the new album.
After the Album was finished Ervin again under the Label VMI records exhausted all marketing and distribution channels created from the first album and the album was successful getting more Press and radio exposure than previous album. Rock Hard Magazine in Germany request to add the song “My light Disappears” on a compilation CD issues with a Half page write up review. Radio stations from around the US were calling to announce they were adding songs to rotation and requested interviews and possible acoustic on air performance when the Band was in the area on tour. The Band quickly had another round of Bass player auditions hiring Robert McRae from a local band called Uncle Funkster and started performing shows headlining all the biggest rock clubs in the area and then took it on the road doing regional shows out of town. More Magazines reviews started pouring in from overseas such as Metal Invader(Greece), Metal Hammer(Greece), AArkhard (Netherlands) and Burn ( Japan). Versital received a full page write up In Malta with an open invitation to come play shows in country of Malta and possibly tour Greece and continue to Germany but only if the band would the cover the initial expenses to fly there.
Shortly after finishing the album, Gilbert tried to take is band into the same studio to see if he could get the same success but he was unable to hire John Vieweg who had moved away to Colorado pursuing a new job so owner Wink Tyler did their recording sessions working on a fraction of the budget spent on the Versital production and started shopping his CD which created a conflict as they were getting booked on same dates as Versital shows. Gilbert didn’t expect Versital to do so much and so little time almost overnight and started having issues dealing with it. A plan was made to start booking a west coast tour and Gilbert started creating unnecessary drama and arguments during band discussion concerning tour planning. Then he and one other member complained they could not take off time from work to go on tour. It was later said that Gilbert was getting pressure from is other band for leaving them behind and challenging his loyalty to them. Apparently Verisital what doing more in two months than what his band was struggling to achieve in 10 years and he was feeling guilty so he announced he was leaving Versital and agreed to play one last show.
A few weeks prior to Gilbert's departure, Ervin start talking to a drummer named David Walters aka “Bash” who was a friend of friend who was also a BMX flatland freestyler who was into Drumming of Virgi Donati and wanted to prove himself. Bash had already started learning the songs and came to the last show with Gilbert and sat in the front of the stage to learn what Gilbert was doing. The following week Bash came in to rehearse with Versital and his drumming was accurate and precise to the CD recording that was very refreshing after arguing many times with Gilbert for not playing the same drum parts on the album because he felt he made improvements since what was done at the time in the studio and as an artist he should be allowed to make those changes. The band argued that his new drumming parts changed the songs than what was recorded and also makes the band get lost while performing it as they were learning to perform what was recorded not a new rendition of the songs. Unlike Gilbert, Bash tried his best to learn the drums to play it exactly like the album. Bash played only one show in Dallas, TX with Versital before Gilbert started showing up drunk at rehearsal saying he wanted back in. Allowing him to jam a few songs on Bash's drum kit, the band notice a groove in his playing that just felt right so they let him back in. Bash was ok with Gilberts return as he had just met his future Wife and love of his life at the Embassy Suites during the Dallas Show and after inviting her to that show, it was happy ever after.
Versital was on the Back cover page of Metal Edge January 2000 Millennium issue Promoting “A New Millennium” album with Godsmack on the front cover and Queensryche in the top corner with a interview feature inside. The band continued to gain momentum including placing in the low 40’s on the MP3 charts and with one song that made it into the 20’s. It was announced that Queensryche was coming to town and looking for an opening act and the Local Radio station 99.5 KISS was holding a contest using the MP3.com website to host downloads of MP3 songs to vote the winner. Ervin reached out to thousands of fans online to assemble a army of downloaders to down load the Chosen Versital song twice a day for the duration of the contest in exchange for Band Swag and free copies of the New CD. It was assumed this would be a guaranteed win so the band was devastated when Radio station called a local alternative band as the winner and hinted it was done at the discretion of Queensryche management. Versital had received so many downloads it was boosted into the top 10 on the MP3 Charts which prompted the attention of Brian Slagle CEO of Metal Blade records to contact Ervin requesting a Versital package for evaluation. After a few phone calls with Metal Blade, Fates Warning producer and A&R Bill Meytor call Ervin and said there was currently no room on the label to offer a deal but to keep making progress for a future possibility on the next Versital project. Shorty after the News with Metal Blade and before any touring plans could be confirmed, David Shaw announced he was taking a new Job moving him to Utah and wanted to give the band that courtesy in planning any future shows. Versital had a show booked in Austin for an outdoor Queensryche tribute event organized by Qryche Fans and relatives of Eddie Jackson but is was to on the same day as David’s Going away party. It was decided to cancel the festival show and make David’s party the last Versital show to be played with David Shaw on guitars.
After David Shaw”s departure, Ervin brought in his Best Friend Steve Parrish to fill on guitars. Ervin decided to take the role of playing all of David’s parts while teaching Steve all of his parts. The band started back rehearsing again but quickly started looking at Steve as if he was an outsider and excluded him from conversations and Ervin became a liaison between Steve and the rest of the band. Steve had a serious personality that focused on learning and playing the songs while the rest of the band was use to being silly, and making it a party. David was also known to be serious sometimes but quick to crack a big smile and a cold beer to say “hey man that’s bad ass!”. With Steve on the other hand , it was like watching a bunch of dudes trying to hide a stash of weed with a cop in the room. Ervin was now working as an Hewlett-Packard military sales rep assigned at Ft. Sam Main Exchange and they got a new Store manager who wanted to start bring in Artist to perform live music and promote music in the store to help with Moral with young Army soldiers there training for deployment. Ervin being an ex-employee and now vendor rep was invited to have Versital perform a show in the food court with a meet and greet and in exchange AAFES would buy a supply of Versital CD’s to Sell and promote at the event. Pre 911 lock down the Military base was open to public visitors and the event was announced on local Rock Radio 99.5 KISS to inviting the public to attend the event. Outside of the usually crazy rock venue it was an excellent opportunity to in invite the parents and family members to attend the safe environment.
Shortly after, not getting over the departure of David Shaw and Steve not being a good fit, The band stopped rehersals and went on break an this became the last Versital show. Gilbert started back busy with his band Baad Newz, Robert Mcrae did the same with Uncle Funkster, and Paul was working at his family law office and working real estate on the side. Ervin started working in a music store in hopes of getting discounts on gear to start a new project while working as a HP sales rep at the Military base exchange. A few years went by and Ervin’s Father Passed away and he met his future wife and decided to relocated to Dallas area to start over but still keeping in touch with Paul Ritter, Gilbert Pena, and David Shaw. In 2007 Ervin Got Married and Paul Ritter was the Best Man and Gilbert was a Groomsman. Over the years talks of recording a 3rd CD have been considered in reuniting the band but never put into action. In 2009 Ervin started Dynamo Amplification and a new chapter is in progress of being written as he pledged that the success of Dynamo would lead to the resurrection of Versital.