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Monday, May 27, 2024

Tunes in Town: Dominick Hankle

Dominick Hankle with his guitar (Dominick Hankle)

WILLIAMSBURG — Tunes in Town is an occasional series that will catch up with some of the local musical talents that call Hampton Roads home.

Dominick Hankle was inspired by the music of his teen years. Thanks to two bands in particular, Hankle got hooked on guitar and knew it was right.

“I was a punk kid. I was about 12 or 13, but the two groups who caught my interest were KISS and The Beatles. You couldn’t pick two more diverse groups. I think with KISS it was just that, when you are 12 or 13, and you see guys spewing fire out of their mouths, that’s cool. The Beatles, I loved their melodies and their sounds. My uncle at the time was trying to learn guitar but he gave up so he gave it to me. I tried to learn every Beatles song I could, it become a comfort to me and part of my identity,” Hankle recalled.

His guitar was constantly attached to him. Playing in different bands, Hankle often wondered if music was his destiny. His parents had other ideas.

“It became everything to me. That was all I wanted to do was play the guitar. My parents wanted me to go to college, a lawyer or doctor. I was graduating from high school and I was playing in bands and at bars, I remember telling my parents that I didn’t want to go to college and they forced me to go anyway,” Hankle said.

Dominick Hankle performing at an outdoor show. (Dominick Hankle)

He may have been forced to go away to college, but Hankle brought his trusty guitar with him for the ride. He made most of his beer and textbook money by playing gigs throughout the Pittsburgh area.

After graduating from Robert Morris College, Hankle wasn’t really sure what he wanted to do. His trusty guitar was still there by his side, however.

“I wasn’t a jock or a nerd, I was a misfit. This music thing was something I was okay at and people seemed to like it. It gave me an identity and gave me a place. Through that, I met other people who had similar interests. I had a gang of guys that loved music, played constantly. Music gave me a place in the world,” Hankle said.

Hankle can be found playing all over the Williamsburg area. A proud busker (a person who performs music in the street or a public place for monetary donations), Hankle loves covering the likes of James Taylor, The Eagles, The Beatles, and more.
“What I love about busking is that when I’m busking I’m meeting and interacting with people from all over. They come up and they want to talk to you about the songs that you are singing, the equipment you are using, young kids who are out dancing or who want to see the guitar, music pulls people together. It’s one of the few things left in our world that does that,” Hankle said.
Ever involved in music, Hankle also posts blogs on his website about music and how it’s helped him. Through the blog, he often highlights different ways that music has been there for him and has taught him life lessons along the way.
“I blog about music as a reflection. One of the first things I remember writing about was how music is that thread that pulls the fabric of the human condition together. Music has become a universal language, but it’s also a unifying language,” Hankle said.
When it comes to the next generation of music talent, Hankle encourages anyone who may have an interest to just start, adding you may just develop a friend for life.
“You will never not have something if you have an instrument that you can play. It’s so true. I can tell you, I’m 57. I’ve raised my family and the whole bit. I’ve always had that guitar. No matter how prominent or how in the background it was, the guitar has always been there for me to pick up and play,” Hankle said.
For more information on Hankle, visit

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