YSU Professor Marches to the Beat of His Own Drum

By Zach Mosca
Jambar Contributor

One of the biggest local bands in the Mahoning Valley in recent years is The Vindys. They attract a lot of attention in Ohio, as well as states like Pennsylvania and New York, and one of the members of the band is a professor at Youngstown State University.

The Vindys drummer, Ed Davis, is a professor in the music department who teaches the class, “Rock & Roll to Rock,” which covers the history of rock music from the 1950s to the 1990s.

His interest in music stems all the way back to his childhood. His father was a drummer as a kid, and after he broke his arm in a sledding accident, he got a drum set in the house for rehabilitation. Davis took interest in this and started taking up drumming.

“At that point, I had already started banging on pots and pans, and I started playing once the drums were in the house. He showed me a few things.  He showed me how to play the music, and I just kind of took it and ran with it,” Davis said.

The Vindys started in 2012, but Davis didn’t join the band until 2014 when their previous drummer moved away.

“The previous drummer moved to Nashville. We all were friends and I would sub and sit in all the time, and it was primarily through being here at YSU that we all met each other,” Davis said.

The Vindys have enjoyed success in the Youngstown area. The band co-headlined Federal Frenzy in 2018, is a part of the local music spotlight on 90.7 The Summit and recently played a crowded show at Westside Bowl.

The band has gained recognition from AT&T SportsNet in Pittsburgh with one of its songs being used in promotional videos for Pittsburgh Pirates games. Davis hopes this leads to even bigger moments in the band’s future.

“It’s exciting. The guy who addressed us about doing this was super excited to have us on board, and it could definitely lead to some other things. They want to get us to play a show outside the stadium in the summer, and there’s already been talk about some other Pittsburgh stuff,” Davis said.

Balancing The Vindys recognition with a teaching job and recently becoming a father could be difficult. However, Davis said he has his priorities organized.

“We’re not going out doing two months on the road playing every bar gig we can. We’re trying to be pretty strategic about it. We do go out on the road when it’s possible, and we can take some time off work,” Davis said.

Many students who have taken Davis’s class have positive feedback for him as a professor, musician and as a person overall. Emily Mook, a sophomore dietetics major, took Davis’s class in spring 2018 and said she loved it.

“He was one of my favorite professors I’ve ever had. I thought he was so knowledgeable on the subject matter. You could tell that he knew more than just what he was required to teach, and he really made the class so enjoyable,” Mook said.

When it comes to Davis being in a band, Mook said that demonstrates his proficiency in music.

“It shows that he really has a passion for music. Not just for teaching it, but that he plays as well and that it’s so well known in the area too,” Mook said.

Gian Carlo DiPaolo, a junior communication major also took the class in spring 2018. DiPaolo admires Davis’s rise to fame in the Youngstown music scene, and is proud that he is following his dreams.

“Some people, if they wanna pursue their dreams, but a lot of them can’t do that, but he’s in a band doing what he does now. That’s awesome,” DiPaolo said.