Interview with Vern’s Pot O’ Chili

We had the privilege of interviewing Vern’s Pot o’ Chili (VPOC) during a pre-show February rehearsal. As we approached the rehearsal, at Charlie’s house, we could hear the drums, horns, guitar, and vocal melodies flowing through the night air. We walked into the practice session hearing songs not yet publicized. The name of the first song was “Breathing Fire.” It’s a very danceable instrumental tune with a hard hitting chorus section, a rather abstract bridge and an undertone of the Beatles “Elenore Rigby.” The next song was “Contract Killer” and it had an upbeat ska like tune. Get ready for these two songs, as they will be in VPOC’s next album.

VPOC started as a trio, in 2001. While Ian Lutz and Neil Jones are VPOC’s original members, the band includes 7 more gifted musicians: Charlie Hatcher, Jason Johans, Dan Freeman, Brian Carr, Birch Graves, Patrick Driscoll, and Jim Allder. Instruments include the drums, guitar, base, vocals, harmonica, trumpets, saxophone, ukulele and the French horn. Of course, VPOC would be lost without their sound and lighting techs, Kenny Simmons and Bobby Lilly. Let’s take a look inside VPOC and learn more about them professionally.

For anyone searching for a guitar, they may think Alpha Music in Lewisburg. Charlie Hatcher, owner at Alpha Music, is the band’s bass player. He joined VPOC 2½ years ago. Dan Freeman (VPOC bass player since ’05) works with Hatcher at Alpha Music. For those of us who enjoy downtown Lewisburg nightlife, Ian Lutz is a habitually seen face. Lutz, who performs drums, guitar, and vocals, is also VPOC’s manager, press contact, and booking agent. Outside the band, Lutz owns a graphic/web/landscape design company called, Igloo Design Workshop. Whenever you see an eye-catching VPOC flyer, Ian Lutz made it. Jason Johans (guitarist/harmonica player since ’04) is not only talented musically, but he’s a huge contributor to the area’s special needs children. Johans is the Gifted Education teacher for all of Greenbrier County’s elementary schools. Neil Jones, who performs drums, rhythm guitar, and vocals, is a huge contributor to the band and the community at large. Professionally, Jones’ focus is teen dropout prevention. He works for Communities in Schools, a non-profit organization that counsels at risk youth. Jones is also VPOC’s primary songwriter. Several VPOC songs are the result of Jones’ songwriting combined with the structuring and composition of the rest of the ensemble. Freeman’s style of songwriting adds a laid back vibe to VPOC albums and live shows.

Now onto the horns, better known as “The Weapons of Brass Destruction.” Brian Carr (VPOC trombone player since ’09) is Band Director at Eastern Greenbrier Middle School (EGMS). Jim Allder (VPOC trumpet player since ’09) is Band Director at Eastern Greenbier High School (EGHS). Birch Graves has been VPOC’s saxophonist since ’05. Professionally, he’s a Band Director/Teacher at Greenbrier Episcopal School. Both Carr and Graves play for the WV Jazz Orchestra. Patrick Driscoll (VPOC’s horn player since ’10) owns an architectural woodworking company. Driscoll plays horn professionally with Roanoke’s Brass 5, and the Shenandoah Symphony Orchestra.

Now that you know more about the ingredients that make up Vern’s Pot o’ Chili, we think you should check them out live.

Upcoming Shows

March 17th – VPOC St. Patty’s Day Show at The Fiddle Head in Slatyfork, WV.
March 24th – VPOC Chili Competition (Hosted by Igloo Design Workshop) & VPOC Acoustic Style at the Irish Pub in Downtown Lewisburg, WV
March 31st – VPOC’s Bare-Knuckle Birthday Brawl with The Yetti at Cantrell’s Pub in Fayetteville, WV.
April 28th – VPOC at P.J. Kelly’s in Clarksburg, WV


Submit a Comment

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someonePrint this pageShare on Google+Share on LinkedIn


Christina runs an "Event Spotlight" on 95.3FM , 93.3FM WKCJ Oldies, and 103.1FM THE BEAR. This spotlight airs 3x a day (Monday-Friday) on both stations. 95.3FM reaches 45,000 listeners daily in Beckley, Greenbrier County, Monroe County, Summers County, and some of Mercer County!!! 103.1FM has been serving 78,000 listeners everyday in the Greenbrier Valley of West Virginia and the Alleghany Highlands of Virginia since 1983. We distribute 7,000 full color, free papers across 5 counties. Ad rates start at just $20! Click here for MEDIA KIT  

Finding Sanctuary in Food this January w/ HashtagWV!

Finding Sanctuary in Food this January w/ HashtagWV! - Find sanctuary in food this January at Sanctuary Living Cuisine Cafe & Bakery on Main Street in White Sulphur Springs.  The Victorian-style house, built in the early 1900’s, in all its stained glass and floral damask glory, has evolved from a family home to antique shop, and now to a restaurant with a mission to serve more […]
"Over the last 10 years, we have tried several avenues for advertising. Beyond a doubt, our greatest return has been through HASHTAGWV. Whether it be in the HASHTAGWV print edition, or online, our customers, both locals and tourists, really do look for this media form to be in tune with what’s going on in the area and for destination shopping. Advertising with LBSPY (now HASHTAG) has unequivocally been a great asset for our business!" - Craig Miller w/ Serenity Now Outfitters. Ad rates start at just $20! Click here for MEDIA KIT  

Patrick4CMPLTshrp "LBSPY is the best thing that has happened in Greenbrier County since I have been here for seven years. Maybe the whole state.... a first class operation and a lot of hard work," Patrick O'Flaherty (pictured above), The Irish Pub, Lewisburg, WV

Donating = Loving

LBSPY remains D.I.Y. in nature and it takes hundreds of hours a month to research and write, and thousands of dollars to sustain. If you find any joy and value in it, please consider making a one time or recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of coffee at The Wild Bean and a good dinner at Food & Friends
Adam DeGraff "LB Spy always has their finger on the pulse of this community!" - Adam Degraff (pictured above), (The Weight/ The Dueling Fiddlers / Pianafiddle)


  • Fraught intimacies. 😮@irishpubonwashington in Lewisburg WV
#wv_igers #igers_of_wv #drinklocalcraftbeer #irishpubs #lewisburgwv #lewisburg #greenbriercounty #gotowv #barsign #fridayfeelings #weekendvibe
  • Lasagna burger. Take that dreary Thursday. #GarfieldApproved at The Asylum in Lewisburg WV!
#lewisburg #igers_of_wv #wv_igers #lewisburgwv #gotowv #greenbriercounty #eatlocally #lasagnaburger #burgersandfries #burgeroftheweek @theasylumlewisburg
  • Hungry? Oh go on then! #Landings in Lewisburg, WV.
#lewisburg #lewisburgwv #gotowv #greenbriercounty #igers_of_wv #wv_igers #foodiefix #clubsandwiches #bbqwings #eatlocally #fiestaware #fiestawareaddict

Follow Us!


Share the Love

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someonePrint this pageShare on Google+Share on LinkedIn

Wonder How LBSPY Remains Free?

WONDER HOW LBSPY REMAINS FREE? - Wondering how LBSPY gets published and distributed FREE every 2 weeks in print and online? Do we have wealthy parents or did one of us seduce a millionaire? No. Are we financed by bank loans or grant money? Nope, not that either. Until we hit it BIG in the lotto, every issue of LBSPY comes […]