Impressive impressions

Impression

 

What does it mean to leave an impression? This is important to me, as I try to carry myself in a professional light, as a musician and entertainer.  I know so many musicians who are just… slobs. They dress poorly, show up late, act like children, and honestly just make me want to make an impression on their face… with my fist.

That being said, the bar is set pretty low, in my area, as far as musicians go.  In fact, when my wife met me, she was leery because I was a ‘musician.’ Most musicians she knew, before me were pompous, arrogant, unprofessional, dirty, and most of all impolite.

I’m not saying I’m the most gentlemanly person on the planet, but if you’re going to do what I do, and be somewhat successful, you need to get your shit together and act like an adult.

What does that mean?

Show up to your gigs early:  Trust me, you look like a total tool, when you’re trying to rush around and set things up.. That’s when you make mistakes.  Nothing turns a crowd away from a band faster, then having microphones squeal and there being a large ruckus where the band/solo artist is setting up.

Dress the part: I’m not saying you have to be in full rockstar garb all the time, but try to look presentable. You’re holey Led Zepplin Tshirt from 1981 is not impressive. Wearing a nice button down shirt, jeans that aren’t falling off of you, and looking relatively well kept are not hard things to do.  Now, If you’re in a 90’s grunge band, and you’re playing at a venue, go ahead, wear ripped jeans and flannel..  I’m focusing more on the acoustic aspect of things. I’m pretty sure Dave Grohl isn’t reading this blog, so real rock-stars need not apply.

Be respectable: Walk into the place, without a chip on your shoulder, find the nearest bartender/server/whoever is in charge, and figure out where you are to set up. Say please and thank you. Order a drink, pay for that drink, and worry about what’s free later on.  REMEMBER, they are a business just as much as you are. You’re not doing any favors by drinking and eating all of their food for free.

DO NOT HAVE A RIDICULOUS GUEST LIST: Especially, if you are playing with other bands and charging a cover. Pick one: your girl/boy-friend, your favorite roadie, your corgi, I don’t care. Don’t expect to get your whole entourage in to the place for nothing. If there’s no cover, that’s fine, don’t try and get everyone free stuff, while you’re playing. Again, the venue is a business, and needs to be respected as such.

There’s just a few tips on leaving impressions, as a musician. I have so many of stories of groups that have done some seriously asinine things, and I wonder how they even manage to book gigs (most of them don’t anymore.)

Remember, live music and music venues need to work hand-in-hand to be successful.  Don’t expect them to do all of the promoting. I know you’re too busy changing the world with your music, but making a Facebook event and inviting your following only takes about 10 minutes.

Alright, I’ve rambled on long enough. What other tips do you guys have, to leave great impressions?

 

-Joe

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I can’t figure this out…

This isn’t so much a post, as a “How the hell am I supposed to do this?!”

I absolutely, for the life of me, can not figure out how to get my site to properly display my Twitter feed….

I’ve tried the widget, I’ve tried direct HTML, I’ve tried everything!!

How the heck does it work?! Help!!!

Catapult yourself into the pool of ignorance.

We’re not here to talk about weaponry, we’re here to react to the word catapult.. which was a weapon…  I’m sure there’s going to be enough about that.. I’m going to shoot for something else… Pun intended.
I’ve been around for almost 30 years now… I was just about the last generation of children that remembers life without the internet. I spoke in a previous post about “When the last time you bought a full video game was,” and it’s been a long time. I blame that on the internet.. In fact, I blame most things on the internet, in jest, and in a serious manner.

What are people constantly trying to do these days? Make their lives like as important as possible, as to catapult themselves to viral popularity.  I see so many people doing ridiculous things on video, saying rotten things on Twitter, jumping on internet trend bandwagons,… writing blogs… Just to get their 15 minutes seconds of fame.

Why do we do that? Is it because we’ve been put on the same social platforms as famous people? Is it because we were raised to follow our dreams?

Hell if I know.

Growing up in the 90’s, the only time you saw lunacy, at this scale, was during an episode of “America’s Funniest Home Videos.” Now, for those of you who aren’t aware, it was a TV show, hosted by Bob Saget (in its most memorable years), where people would send in cassettes of amateurishly filmed home videos where their child, awkward uncle, dad, or someone would do something funny, and the funniest video won money.

Maybe that was the problem.. They were paying people to accidentally look like a fool..

These days, people do it on purpose (Eyes on you Youtubers) for the sake of fandom. So, before Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and any other instant-video service, you were only exposed to this kind of silliness once a week, around 7:00PM (Eastern Time Zone).
Now you have 24/7 access to an endless ocean of lunatics.
We’ve overexposed ourselves to stupidity and now, the general population craves it, like a drug. 

Don’t believe me? Have you seen this thing that’s out now? It’s called Trailer Park Boys, before that was Jackass, and before too long, it’ll be this gem, from ‘Idiocracy’:

We’re literally spending time that we could be learning things, reading, studying, enjoying our world.. to watch other people delve into the depths of ridiculousness… all to fling themselves to be a marketable piece of data, for some internet company.

I can only speak from my American perspective… but it’s getting out of hand.

To conclude, there’s a song I wrote a while back, called stupid people. It’s my call to the general populous to open their eyes, unite themselves, and not let themselves be dumbed-down so easily.

This was recorded a while ago, and my youngest daughter was sleeping, so I held back on the vocals a bit… haha

As always, have a great day!!!

Catapult

What’s damaging the gaming industry?

I saw a post (and lost it… sorry) edit: I found it!  about how modern gaming is rubbish.

I kind of agree, but for my own reasons.

1. The technology has plateaued 

You can only make things SO detailed.  From the NES’s 8 bit graphics to the SNES 16 bit graphics, you saw a 200% difference, in the quality of graphics. Now, by today’s standards that would be incredible, and totally unlikely. From there, you got the N64, that was 64 bit graphics 400% different from the SNES. You don’t see that kind of technology jump, in today’s world. So, right there, I’m less excited every time a new system comes out.

2. Too many sequels

Look, I love a good sequel, as much as the next guy, but seriously, stop. You’re beating a dead horse… For example: I loved the Metal Gear Solid series. I think they managed to make a few good sequels to a great story (talkin Metal Gear on the NES) and honestly, 4 is too many, but MGS4 would have been a great way to conclude that story. Don’t make a totally different sidequest about Raiden… Don’t make cell phone games and bs like that! Which brings me to my next point:

3. Microtransactions & Cell Phone gaming

Every time you spend money on a game of Angry Birds, my soul dies a little.  In my honest opinion: This is what’s killing the gaming industry.  Game developers found the jackpot, and it’s micro-transactions. Now you are no longer catering to gamers. You’re developing similar kernel apps, that have slightly different interfaces, and marketing them to the soccer mom who’s bored at a game, or the college kid who’s bored between classes. They’re sacrificing quality and the respect of their art, for a simple money making gimmick.

Now, it’s bleeding into our gaming consoles, in the form of DLC.

Do you remember the last time you bought a completed game? I sure don’t… Pretty sure it hasn’t been since the PS2, Gamecube, and original Xbox. Developers have gotten lazy. They’re selling you an incomplete product, at full price, so you can go home and download hours of updates, taking up precious space on your Hard drive.

It’s like going to a car dealer, and them selling you a car, but saying “You can go ahead and pay us full price. Oh, by the way, that car is missing it’d starter, you can tow it home, and we’ll send you the part in the mail.”

You wouldn’t do that.. because it’s criminal.

Am I making sense? Or do we just not care anymore?

4. Games aren’t challenging enough anymore. 

For the longest time, I could have sworn Battletoads (RARE, NES) didn’t have a damn 4th level. I come from a time where kids were taught to work hard, and if you fail, try again and again. The concept that “practice makes perfect” has been perverted by ‘participation awards’ and.. what? “Spend 20$ to unlock everything in the game”? That’s nonsense.

Anywho, those are my thoughts. What do you think?

Response to: Modern Gaming Is A Bit Rubbish – Some might call this a rant — I Played The Game!

Word of the day:

Adrift

I had another post written… and I seriously drifted off topic so badly, that I just deleted it!

How convenient, that I Would go adrift, while writing a blog about the word adrift..

It’s like adrift inception… Adriftception?  I think it would be an awful movie, to be fair… I doubt Leo would do it…

Anywho, The one point I made in my original post, that I think was valid is this:

Physically being adrift, is something that would absolutely terrify me. That feeling of not having control over your destination, is about enough to make my skin crawl.

People see pictures from space, and often comment how beautiful they are… All that’s going through my head is “How can you just, rely on speed & gravity to keep you afloat… No thanks”  I couldn’t admire the beauty of Earth, from space, because I’d be constantly freaking out about where we were going!

Another example, would be to be stuck on a powerless ship, in the middle of the ocean. That’s a situation I could not find the positive side of.. because in certain parts of the ocean, you have no reference point, but the sun… and screw that!

On the flip side of this, I’m one to happily let my mind wander… It’s where I come up with song concepts… My active imagination has its own way of running away with my thought processes, and as cool as that may sound, it sure is distracting… and sometimes frightening.

 

Well, relatively short post, I suppose.. I bet that’s better than having me drift off into meaningless nonsense!

Have a great day!!!

It’s rainy out.. let’s talk about passion!

Good afternoon readers,

Today, let’s talk about the thing that makes you feel awkward, when you get too involved describing the things you love most: Passion.

I am a person of varying hobbies: from working on cars, to playing music, videogames, building things, small electronics, fixing things (mainly my guitar player’s equipment)… The list is endless… and every hobby that I have the ability to enjoy, I am extremely passionate about.

I never realized just HOW deeply I involve myself in things, until the one day I was having a conversation with my brother-in-law about music, at great depths, and he kind of chuckled. When I asked what was up, he simply said “Nothing, I just love the passion that you have for music. It’s very refreshing, that you don’t hold back.”

It was at that point that I realized, I do view my world a little differently, than most people.

I don’t just LISTEN to music. I can’t just hear a song and say “oh, that’s a good song.”  There has to be some nostalgic feeling, a specific chord progression that brings emotion, or just intense lyrical ideas to catch my attention.

I’m the type of person who will listen to a song, for that one moment, that brings the whole thing together. It could be a strong harmony, a well placed syncopated rhythm, remarkable drumming… anything… but when I know it’s coming, you’ll know, because I”ll tell you to shut up and listen.

For example:
In the band Royal Blood’s song “Out of the Black” The chorus has a line that about struck me speechless, the first time I heard it.

“I’ve got a gun for a mouth, and a bullet with your name on it.”

How powerful is that? It’s a lyric, mimicking the idea of your tongue being a powerful weapon, as if you should have a carrying permit to speak, for the amount of damage it can do to a person.
That stems back to Biblical times… take your attention to Proverbs 12:18 “The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”

What he’s done here, is taken an age-old concept, and brought it to modern ideology… Kind of… more of the piercing sword, less of the wise healing.

Most people would just listen to the song and be like “oh, that’s cool.”
The difference between them and me, is passion.

Another one:
I’ve been playing video games ever since I was old enough to hold a controller. In the 25+ years that I’ve been a gamer, I’ve come to enjoy the captivating stories that RPG style games offer.

And you can’t say RPG games, without mentioning the hardest hitting one of all: Final Fantasy VII.
This, is literally the game that made me realize video games have a higher purpose than just being the world’s best babysitter.

I can’t even tell you how many hours of my life have been spent on this gem, since it came out in 1997. I’ve explored every nook and cranny of the title, and never gotten bored with the story. The main character fights this overbearing concept of “Who am I?” throughout the entire story. It’s a very dark story, lots of death and corruption, but always this underlying concept the whole time, and I believe that game came out, in an era where ‘fighting the power’ was a big concept. Teens were viewed as rebellious and confused. We were in this constant struggle to find out our purpose, and to make sure it was fitting to our desires. It came out in a time, where the media was slowly taking over our lives, and feeding us the information they thought we should know, and the world was slowly falling into despair and corruption. It very well mimicked the times.

Aside from that, EVERY character in the game had a purpose, and if you paid attention, you got a plethora of backstory without having to dig too much. Then in the subsequent sequels, prequels, and side-stories; you were met with the REST of the story, that you may have missed, if you weren’t paying attention.

I’m doing me best to not spoil a game that came out 20 years ago, but with the remake on the way, anyone who’s interested is going to come across it.

Again, I barely have touched the surface of how deep and emotional this game is, and I’m already rambling on, like an idiot.

 

So, there it is… Passion, it’s what fuels our creative juices… I think, especially in a community like this, passion is an everyday thing.
What are some things you are passionate about? I’d really like to hear. When people share their passions, you are seeing a deep side of them. You’re seeing what they’re made of.

-Joe

In Response to: What’s that one thing you are most passionate about?

Dehydration and Rock & Roll

Happy Monday…

What. A. Weekend!

My band played the Lifting Little Lives benefit this weekend, and what I remember of it was great!!

Lifting Little Lives is a local nonprofit organization based out of Milton Pennsylvania, that raises money for local children, with big needs!

My band, Audiobox, chose this group for many reasons.
• The money all stays local, So we see its effects in our community

• The people who run it, are some of the best people we’ve ever had the pleasure to         work with.

• The organization helps promote our struggling music scene. (This should be key         for any musician!!)

• All of us are fathers, and we understand that our children are the most important        thing in today’s society.

That being said, they throw one heck of a party! The security keeps it safe for everyone, and the connections I make with other musicians, are generally very long term friendships!

Also, there’s great food, beer for anyone staying there, and just so many great times to be had!

That’s why I named this blog, the way I did. I generally drink a ton of water, usually about a gallon or more a day… This weekend that water was replaced with beer & Jameson. Phew… My poor body is in recovery mode…

Not only did I play an awesome, all original set with Audiobox, I also was the emergency backup bassist for local heavyweights “Aftermath.” I was honored to tickle my 4 strings with them, and it was a fun set!  On top of all that, Audiobox also did an impromptu acoustic set, between two other acts (make things transition smoother.)

Anywho, it was a great time, and if you have a minute, check out Lifting Little Lives, and let them know that what they do, is very important to the world.

Are there any local charities in your area, that you think go above and beyond the call of duty? Let me know! At the very least, I can give their Facebook pages a like!

As always, thank you for your time, sorry I didn’t post yesterday, I’m lucky I could even move!

-Joe