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!!!

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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

 

Joe Flair’s search for patience

Anyone who says being married takes a lot of patience, has never had kids.

Let’s rewind a few years… I was, for all intents and purposes, a mess of a human being. I was single, after a long relationship. I filled my spare time up with playing music (be it gigs, sitting around my house, or jamming with friends), work, and drinking..

I did whatever I want, whenever I wanted… and I was still unhappy!

Then, August of 2013, my life changed drastically. I met the woman who is now my wife, and not too long after, my first two kids! I was now suddenly a 25 year old, who knew nothing about raising children, and I guess didn’t quite understand the gravity of what I was doing. My wife is a patient woman, she’s a great mother, (we’re on our way to our 4th daughter), and she’s a patient wife. 

I know I’m not easy to live with… I can be loud, I can be distant, I don’t do well in large crowds of strangers (says the guy in a regionally popular rock band.. but more on that some other time), and I had a lot to learn when I first took on being a dad… on fact there’s always more to learn!!

I grew up in a very non-traditional way.. my parents trusted me, expected me to carry my weight, be responsible, and let me fend for myself… I didn’t get handouts, hell i never even asked.. it was disrespectful, in my mind.

So, naturally, I grew into a very stubborn adult.. Until this point in my life, I did things my way.. Surprisingly, I never failed to feed myself or have a roof over my head…

Now, here I sit on my couch with my almost 2 year old, trying to keep her comfortable and quiet… since 4AM, when her older sister (4Y.O.) woke up in a panic from a bad dream/having to pee… 

If you would have told me, 5 years ago, that I would be in this situation today, I would’ve laughed in your face… I never was going to have kids… It was nothing but a hinderance in my mind…

Boy, was I wrong… I love my children, more than words can describe… raising them has taught me so much. I am more patient and calm, then i ever was.. I still get to be a musician (by the grace of my awesome, patient wife.), and there is nothing like the feeling of being wanted, as much as those children want you to love them.

It truely is the greatest job in the world.

Now, on to my patience… I was raised with discipline… Sometimes more harsh than it should be… but, ya know, it was the 80’s and 90’s and a totally different era. In my mind, quick and harsh was the best way to scold… (like ripping off a verbal band-aid)… It didn’t take me too long to realize how ineffective that is. Especially with daughters (i was raised around my younger brother… little girls were always a mystery until now..) 

It’s more effective to calmly explain to a child that they are disappointing you, rather than explode… Being put in the corner for a REASONABLE amount of time (my wife suggests 1 minute, per age year) is more effective than yelling or threatening with a spanking, and temporarily losing priveledges is way more effective than a spanking.. regardless of what level of discipline is required, the most important thing I’ve learned is to sit down, after the fact, and explain why your child is being punished, and make suggestions to how they can avoid a reoccurance.
Who would have thought?! It all makes sense… It’s logical and has taught me a level of patience and underatanding I never thought possible…
I hope any young or new parent can take something away from this… I’ve only been doing it for 4 years, and I have learned sooo much in such a short time! 
Thanks for reading.. I’m still sitting on the couch, unable to fall asleep, so I figured I’d jot down what was on my mind!

-Joe

I Nearly Forgot My Broken Heart…

It’s a sad day, for Rock and Roll…
As you probably figured out by now, I love music, passionately.

Not just playing it, and writing it, but listening to it…

It boggles my mind, that with 12 notes, you can create endless masterpieces…

People that use those 12 notes wisely, sometimes get to be famous, and influence other musician’s lives.

I have different areas of focus, when it comes to music. On bass guitar, I can do almost anything I want, I’ve been playing for 17 years, and studied the likes of anyone who’s ever used the instrument in a unique way… I’ve taken inspiration from every walk of Bass guitar and formed my own style…

That style translates into my acoustic playing.. I’m not your ‘typical’ guitar player… I approach guitar, like a bass player, and have my own unique style.

But aside from bass and guitar, there are vocals. I take singing very seriously, because it’s something I love to do. As my wife has noted to me: “I don’t think you would be able to function, if you couldn’t play music. It’s like it’s a part of you, an extension of who you are.” roughly states what she told me, not too long ago.. That’s one of the greatest compliments, I’ve ever received as a musician!

That being said, one of my vocal icons passed on last evening. Mr. Chris Cornell, the hard-hitting vocalist from Soundgarden, Audioslave, and a successful solo career.

Cornell had one of the most powerful voices I’ve ever heard… Anyone who’s ever heard “Hunger Strike” has heard that spine-tingling belting in the song…

A lesser known ‘vocal cameo’ is with Alice in Chains, in the song “Right Turn.”
There is this haunting, eeriness about this song, and near the end there is a soul ripping vocal, from none other than Chris Cornell..

“Its hard to believe that somebody tricked you
When you can see as far as I have
Its hard to believe that someone you cared for
Put your face into the fire”

He was not only a man of extraordinary range and talent, as a singer. But he wrote some songs that really hit home, with me…

He died, while on tour… which I think is appropriate… I think anyone who dies doing what they love, dies the most noble death that there could be.

So, Rest in Peace, one of my favorite singers. Prayers for your family.

Thanks for reading!

I just remembered why I quit blogging before

Man, getting anyone to look at your site is hard! I know I’m not the world’s most interesting man, but I got a lot to say!!

I think I’d be better at this if I had a prompt to write about…

Give me some suggestions! I can argue about anything!!

In the meantime, I’ll tell you about my week!

Been busy, I stacked 3 cords of wood on Monday, and built a trampoline for our kids.

Let me tell you something about Trampolines… I spent most of my middle school years jumping on one, and it was a blast!! Apparently, when you turn mid/late 20’s you turn into a bitch and can’t jump like that anymore… I hopped on that thing for about 30 seconds, and about puked! So, needless to say, I won’t be doing that anymore…

Yesterday I did a ton of yardwork (and have the sunburn to prove it!) Removed some raised planters and cleaned up a bit…  OH!! Our Barred Rock chickens finally started laying eggs, so there’s a win!

Anywho, how is your week going? What do you want to see here? I really want to keep this moving, but need the motivation to do so!

Have a great day everyone!

Struggles With Singing (smoking is bad, m’kay?)

Good afternoon (non)followers!

It’s a beaut-.. well.. It’s kind of alright, out side, here in Pennsylvania.
To be honest, it’s cold and windy… and it’s going to rain all damn weekend!

Enough about that , though.

I quit smoking back in November of 2015, best decision I’ve ever made in my life, as far as my health is concerned, but I swear… I used to have a better vocal range.

Either because I’m getting older, or I’ve just done far too much damage to my vocal chords, I can’t sing as high, consistently as I used to… Anyone else ever deal with this? It’s a real pain in the ass…

That being said, I can still recover some of my range for gigs by REGULARLY doing vocal warmups.. I found a fantastic set of classic vocal warmups by an artist named “Pete Faint,” on Spotify.  This has been my pre-show and sometimes even my daily morning ritual on the way to work.

I commute about 20 minutes, each way, for work. During that time I often pop on the vocal warmup album, and at least make it through the first 6 exercises: everything from humming, to vowels noises, sliding up a 5th, sliding up an octave, legato/staccato warmups, and anything you need to warm up them pipes…

I’ve played with far too many musicians who don’t take the time to do this, and they just can’t keep up for days at a time, of long gigs. My acoustic gigs can go anywhere from 1 hour to 3+ hours, and I often have multiple gigs a weekend! (For example, I have 4 gigs between May 24th and 28th, for a total of at least 7 hours I am going to have to be able to sing and play.)

Vocal warmups MAY sound corny, but I can not stress how important they are… I’m not by any means a “lead singer” and I think the ego of those types, tend to get the best of them… They’re also the ones spraying God knows what down their throats 5 minutes before they go on, and then are often complaining about sore throats the next day… (let’s not forget how they also cup the microphone, which is the most irritating thing in the world for a sound guy… more on that later…)

Speaking of spraying un-known chemical compounds down your throat to preserve your vocal ability… Try drinking some water instead…

We as people (ESPECIALLY Americans), go through our lives practically dehydrated… You should be drinking about a gallon of water A DAY!! It’s a lot harder than it sounds… but totally worth it… I can usually get 3 quarts in, which is better than most, but it really does help.. Let me dispel a couple rumors about things that ‘help’ your throat.

Tea w/ honey & lemon – Nope.. Just.. Nope… Caffeine dehydrates you, lemon juice (or anything sour really..) doesn’t do you any favors, and sugar just makes ya feel gummy..

Any kind of alcohol – I used to believe this one… I’d try ginger brandy to ‘loosen things up’  The truth of the matter is, alcohol relaxes you… So, when you’re relaxed, you’re obviously less tense, even in the throat muscles… the alcohol contacting your vocal chords does nothing good.

Smoking – I’ve heard singers that tell me they sing better when they smoke… I think this may be related to my previous statement about alcohol… Hot smoke from a cigarette just dries you out…

There’s just a few of the many ridiculous things I’ve read on the internet before.. The fact of the matter is this: You need to drink water, NOT strain your voice, and do vocal exercises to keep your voice in shape. Do not rely on ridiculous home remedies to do it for you. If you want the job, you gotta do the work.

Alright, well, I’m done scolding you for today. I’ve gotta go suck down another half gallon of water, before the day is up!

Until next time!

 

-Joe