Music Monday Vol 2… also, I know it’s Tuesday

So, I was sitting here thinking about what to write about… and I forgot to do a music monday post!!!

It’s been a crazy week and weekend… and frankly, I’ve had a bit of writer’s block… I think the fear of the Daily Prompt leaving has got me in a tizzy…

Regardless, here’s what I’ve been listening to!!

I recently got asked to sit in for a gig with another local band next month.  They play a lot of great music!!! A lot of which is complex, and actually has me TRYING to play the bass.. which is not something I often have to do… My band tends to pick simpler songs, for whatever reason.. but I love the technical stuff!!!!  So, here are a few of Graces Downfall’s cover songs and originals that I just love to play!

Cult of Personality – Living Colour

What a ridiculously fun song to play!!  Listen to those syncopated parts.  That bass is phenomenal!  There are some pretty complex riffs in there that have to be tight, or this whole tune can fall apart!! I really enjoy flying all over the fret-board for this one:

Such an awesome tune… I hope you enjoyed that as much as I do!

Hysteria – Muse

No no, not Def Leppard… This song by Muse has one of the most badass bass riffs to come out of the last 15 years… It not only sounds hard to play.. it IS hard to play. I find myself having to focus on not ‘tripping’ over my own fingers to blast that bass line out!!  Check it out:

Chris Wolstenholme is one hell of a bassist, and the perfect fit for that Trio.

I Only Lie When I Love You – Royal Blood

Royal Blood is my current music obsession.. I love Mike Kerr’s style of playing and vocals.. the way he makes his bass sound like 3 instruments is unreal!!! My drummer and I also cover their songs Figure it Out, and Out of the Black during live shows in my band Audiobox. This will be my first time playing a Royal Blood song with a 4 piece band, and I still am no less excited!!  This song is both heavy and poppy. The riffage coming from Kerr’s bass, matched with the Ridiculously underrated drumming of Ben Thatcher, just kicks ass from Britain to here and back!!

Guerilla Radio – Rage Against the Machine

Here’s a band who needs no introduction… And here’s a song that just pounds on your ear drums from start to finish. Tim Commerford and Brad Wilk make up one of my favorite Rhythm Sections in 90’s rock… I’d say the only other bass/ drummer duo that can even come close to the talent these two would have to be Flea and Chad Smith (of the Chili Peppers).   I love the bass line in this song.. it’s somewhat minimalistic, and serves the rest of the music perfectly. There is so much more that could be put in here, but it’s not necessary. Tim has always been good about serving the music and playin only what needs to be played.

Fight – Graces Downfall

Here it is, one of the (many) originals by the band I’ll be sitting in with… Their bass player Grant Williams, who is a good friend of mine, can really write some wicked bass parts! I am honored to get a chance to fill his shoes for an evening and play one of the songs he helped write!! Kenneth Norton is one of the best singers in the Pennsylvania music scene, in my opinion, and Mark Yanish’s rips on the electric guitar!! If you haven’t had a chance to check these guys out, you really should! They are, without a doubt, the heaviest hitting band in the North Eastern Pennsylvania music scene!

So, there you have it!!!

If you’re in Pennsylvania, I’ll be playing with Graces Downfall on June 9th at the Oak Street Express in Taylor, Pennsylvania!! We will be rocking all of these great tunes and more!!!

Thanks again to ReadRantRock&Roll for giving me the idea to do music monday!!
I hope you enjoyed what I am listening to and have a great week!!!

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Pedigree (Time to get over yourself)

Pedigree

The first word that comes to my mind, when I hear the word Pedigree is breeding…
The act of selectively choosing the best mate for an animal to get the most “pure” breed from that specific bloodline…

Seems kind of messed up when you think about it… Although, Royalty doesn’t seem to work too differently sometimes… Taking natural selection out of the equation to keep a bloodline ‘pure’

For the rest of us, what does this word mean?  Nothing really… our parents have their own individual story that includes the birth of a child. By random chance you ended up here.. (Note, I am not devaluing divine concepts, or the miracle of birth.. as both are important to me.) BUT, here you are. You didn’t choose to be born here… and depending on your parents you were dealt a specific set of genes at birth, that make you who you are… Almost like a poker game. Whether you were dealt a pair of 2s or a Royal Flush at birth, you still have challenges you have to face throughout your life… Fortunately, our decisions in life are all our own. You may get dealt random occurrences, be it positive or negative, but the way you respond to those things is what matters.

I had a random thought this morning that I tweeted: “It’s so much simpler to find the positive side of a situation, than to twist any occurrence into a story where you are the victim.”  Which I followed with: “But, I guess some people are just too hell-bent on receiving unjust sympathy.”

In other words, instead of letting anything negative effect you negatively, find the best possible thing about the situation and hold onto it.

I’ve been going through a really rough time the last two weeks, and though I feel like I’m grasping at straws, I feel like I’ve turned a leaf with my ability to see the positive in a bad situation, and it’s pretty much been the only thing keeping me sane lately…

I am so sick of people blaming the world for their situation. If you’re not happy with something about your life, fix it. If you grew up poor and uneducated… read a book, go to the library, get online and educate yourself on something.  Education is the most important gift that we can give ourselves.

I personally never went to college… BUT, I know how to do a plethora of things.. I am a self taught musician, mechanic, wood worker, I can solder and fix guitars/pedals/amplifiers, I have my own recording studio that I learned how to use by experience and reading, I can use photoshop, and just learned by trial and error!

You wouldn’t believe how much happier you could be if you just teach yourself a skill. There is nothing more liberating than being able to do something, looking back on it in a few years, and being proud of where you’ve come!

So, in a cliche nutshell.. you choose your own path. Don’t be a victim of your circumstance… Take a few minutes out of your day, get your nose out of Facebook, and teach yourself something!

Thanks for reading, and I am again sorry that I have been away for so long. Life has been insane lately… but it’s been nice to get some things off of my chest in blog-form.

 

Take Care!

Stuck in Survival Mode

Survive...
I feel like I’ve sold my soul to survive.
The irony is, I feel less alive.
Give of myself, to make the months rent,
but money isn’t the only thing spent.
A part of me dies, with each passing day.
A part of my life, I’ll never repay.
The weight of the world, my boots full of lead.
The the hell I endure, to purchase some bread.
Yet I press on, drag feet through the mud,
survive daily battles, and pay with my blood.
The struggle is worth it, and you know it’s true.
For I’d give all my worth, to come home to you.

 

I’m not one for poetry… But this just popped into my mind.

I’ve been struggling a lot lately, with stress at my job. It’s absolutely exhausting to put up with the drama that these middle-aged angry men thrive in.
I’ve been craving a change. I’ve never been one to stick with a place of employment, when I know I’m not going anywhere. The job market just sucks right now, and I don’t make bad money.  I do feel that, this place drains me of my being and squashes my ability to create.

Fortunately, I get to go home to my family, every day, and they keep me going. Music, also keeps my head above water.

My wife and I have been discussing some major changes in scenery, and I couldn’t be more excited planning out our lives together. Even just exploring the ideas of being somewhere, other than this secluded valley we live in, excite the hell out of me! I think the both of us have been in survival mode, for so long, we have trouble being able to enjoy our lives to the fullest. Life with 4 kids, isn’t easy, but we are proud to say that they get the opportunities to do the things they want to do, unlike we did as children. We both came from not-very-well-off families, and have been blessed to be more successful, than where we came from. With that success, comes the chance to give our children the opportunities that we never had.  The only downfall of that is: a creative person, like myself, has to give up on some of my own dreams.  I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’ll never be a famous, touring musician a LOOONG time ago, and honestly, that’s not something I’ve ever been upset about. I enjoy being a local musician, and working with businesses in my region to try and get all of our names out there. So for my girls to be passionate about dance, singing, music, art, whatever they want to do.. is far more rewarding, especially with my ability to help them on some of it (mostly the music.. I’m not much of a dancer.. which is why I play music haha.)

Anywho, I’m done ranting. I hope you all are having a great week! My gig last night was a great success, and I’m on to gig #2 at the Four Friends Winery in Montgomery PA

 

Take care,

-Joe

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

 

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!