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Rockin' with Tommy V

Local musician jams at multiple island hot spots around town

December 11, 2014
Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Local musician Tommy Van Oyen, well-known as Tommy V, has been into music his whole life, first picking up an instrument when he was just 5 years old. From there, he emerged himself into the music world, and has been playing and performing ever since, usually with at least five local gigs on the beach throughout the week.

"I've been performing for people for 20 years now. My family is what first got me into music, with my mom playing the piano pretty much everyone on my mom's side of the family plays an instrument," the talented guitarist explained. "Eventually I moved into playing guitar when I was 13, started listening to rock and roll and decided I wanted to do just that."

Born and raised in Waterford, Michigan, Tommy's family was coming and going from Fort Myers Beach seasonally since the mid-90s, and finally, in 2006, he decided to move down for good.

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"My first gig was at The Shamrock Pub," he said. "I really like playing the classics, classic rock, all the varieties, and like to mix in a distorted kind of metal," he said.

Usually performing as a solo artist, you can catch Tommy V strumming his acoustic guitar at an array of local hot spots, while singing well-known hits that can get anyone's toes tapping. Often playing cover songs most will know, sometimes he'll throw in an original "jam" from time to time.

"When you're doing a four-hour show, it's fun to make one up on the spot every now and then," he laughed.

He custom tailors every set to accommodate the crowd he's performing for. You may hear anything from The Band's "The Weight," John Cougar Mellencamp's "Jack and Diane" and Bob Seger's "Night Moon" to Matchbox 20s "3 A.M.," the Arctic Monkeys' "When the Sun Goes Down" and Fuel's "All That Shimmers."

"I call it 'fishing.' I like to judge the crowd and play what really fits them," he said. "I'd play anything from from classic rock to Sublime to new songs you'd hear on the radio. I just have fun with the crowd, entertaining them."

His regular island gigs include: The DiamondHead every Friday, from 4 to 7 p.m.; The Beach Pub every other Saturday, from 2 to 6 p.m. (next show there is Dec. 20); every Sunday at Matanzas Upper Deck, from 5 to 9 p.m.; every Monday at the all-new Dock O' the Bay for Service Industry Night, starting at 6 p.m. (also hosting the eatery's Ugly Sweater Party Dec. 15); and every Tuesday at the Beach Pub, from 2 to 6 p.m.

Planning to host a private party and looking for some great local entertainment? Tommy V is available for hire; if he doesn't have a gig already scheduled, he'd be happy to perform at private parties, weddings and other functions.

"We have such a great local crew that comes out and supports live music, and it's so awesome seeing fellow musicians coming in and supporting each other," he said.

While keeping busy through the season, Tommy V is also teaming up with fellow musicians to perform together as a four-piece band. Called Less Than Zero, get ready to check out the area's newest group, comprised of Tommy V, Adam Pooler, Dean and Mark Applegate, performing a debut show at the Beached Whale Tuesday, Dec. 23.

"We'll be able to play some harder rock covers. It'll be lots of fun," he said.

If you'd like to check out Tommy V's chops before seeing him at a local show, tune into his YouTube Channel,, to watch lots of his songs recorded live.

"It's great. I can just instantly upload videos to my YouTube channel for people to watch all over," he said.

If you stop by to check out a gig with this talented local artist, you're sure to be in for a treat. To book Tommy V for your next show, call 248-894-9193.



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