Tips for Stage Fright

Tom Pogson, a fellow blogger and musician, wrote a post: Stage fright, comparing yourself and other frets. It’s a good post, and you should go read it!!!

I’ve been gigging semi-professionally in my region for over a decade now, playing music almost my entire life… and I have a little insight on how to get over stage fright.

A. Your crowd is generally not packed full of musicians…

And what I mean by that, is that the only people who are really judging the way you play are yourself.. and possibly your bandmates. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.. I make hundreds of them… It’s being able to recover from a mistake and not look like you’ve made one, that is important… My wife is still new to the guitar, and I am constantly telling her:
“Think of the most average guitar player you know… and remember half of all of them are worse than that person. If you are at the middle of the road, you’re already better than half of the guitarists in the world… and definitely better than anyone who hasn’t even played it.” That type of realization will make playing in front of others a breeze… because what may be “Just Okay” to you, is inspiring to someone who hasn’t even picked up an instrument.

B. Practice in front of a mirror!

This may sound ridiculous, but it helps! I always did this when I was younger, it helped me not look at the headstock of my bass/guitar while playing.. and it made me focus away from myself. It’s a great technique for learning the feel of your instrument, and also being able to look someone in the eyes while you’re playing.. even if it is yourself!

C. Know your parts!

This is key… You have nothing to be ashamed of if you’re playing to the best of your ability!! Nervousness comes from discomfort… Learning to be comfortable being in front of people is a lot easier when you have the confidence in your own abilities!!!

D. Know how to turn it off

Once you have mastered the art of performing on a stage… you need to learn when it’s time to stop. This is as important as performing well!! I know too many musicians who get into ‘rockstar mode’ and don’t know when to just chill out and be human… I explain my ‘stage presence’ to people in the likeness of acting… When I am on stage I am a “Character.” Now, that character may just be me.. but it’s me, on stage, entertaining a crowd of people… I’m quite reserved and relaxed most of the time, and honestly have huge anxiety about crowds of people.. but who I am on stage is a little more personable…
If you just keep on acting like you’re God’s gift to mankind once you are among your crowd.. you are just going to come off as a pretentious fool. One thing I am proud to say that my band doesn’t have, is an overabundance of ego. We know where we stand talent wise… and we know that being overly competitive in the music scene is not helpful.

These may help you.. they may not… but I know in my experience it has been a huge assistance in my musical journey!! You will always find a crowd to be more responsive to someone who can put on a great show, and then come off of the performance and hang out with them. It’s much easier to sell your band’s music, if you are approachable as a human being!

As always, thanks for reading!!! I hope I have shed some insight into the world of performing music for someone!

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Peek-a-boo

Today we are supposed to write our feelings on the word Disappear.

I’ve already deleted one blog post on this… it got a little too despairing for my tastes…

So, I’m going to go a different route!!!

My band, Audiobox, is in the studio!!! It’s been about 5 years since we released our first album…. and now it’s time to bring you our second full album!!!

We decided this time around to record our whole album in-house! And I literally mean ‘In-House.’ We bought the equipment, made sure it worked (Check out our single Summer Days, below), and now we’re doing the real thing!

What does this have to do with Disappear, you ask? ‘Disappear’ is one of the new songs on our upcoming album, and my personal favorite!!!  As a bass player, it gives me a chance to do two things:
A. Play some funktastic slap riffs.
B. melt faces with some overdriven bass thunder!!!

It’s so much fun to play, because I get a chance to really show off my favorite techniques on the bass guitar… from slapping and popping like Flea, to playing huge chords and bending pinch harmonics like I’m some kind of guitar player…. Well, enough talking about it.. Here’s Cellphone video that someone got from a local venue of us playing Disappear as a 3 piece, before we hired on our 4th Member:

The quality sucks, but you can hear what I’m talking about there… It’s rock and roll… it melts faces… and listen to those bass riffs!!!

Anywho, as excited as I am to share our new music.. I’m more excited to be at the controls of the studio. I love performing music, but not nearly as much as I enjoy recording it… bringing a bunch of raw files together, mixing them, adding effects, making them sound great together is such a great experience!!!

Are there any other Musicians out there? Do you enjoy recording as well??  I love having a home studio.. it was a dream of mine ever since the first time I recorded a song with a band.

Alright, shorter post today, but I have to get some work done!! Thanks for reading, and keep rocking out!!!

Thin, a tale of patience and overeating

“It’s hard to make excuses when you have a mouth full of pizza”

Who could have thought that a 4 letter word like Thin could have so much depth to it.

Between my wallet being thin, my patience being thin, and my waistline not being thin enough, It’s definitely a word that holds some weight for me. Ironic font used here

 Patience,

Has always been a problem for me. I like instant gratification… I find myself getting into last minute projects that I expect to be ready in an unreasonable amount of time… I think it’s probably one of my worst qualities, as a human being, and something that I’ve kind of been forced into working on in the last couple months.  If any of you have children, you’ll understand what I’m talking about!!  I found myself not letting things go and expecting too much from my little ones. It creates an unnecessarily uncomfortable atmosphere in the home and sometimes you just go on a spree of wanting things done your way, without looking at the root of the problems you’re facing. I know that’s kind of vague, and I intend it to be, but my biggest takeaway from my impatience lately is to let your kids be kids. Let them enjoy childhood, because let’s face it, we would all trade the last 5 years of our life, to experience a day of being a child again.  I know my upbringing wasn’t… normal. My parents were ridiculously strict with me, and could be very impatient, I was a bit of a loner and very socially awkward as a result of this… and also battled a lot of depression because I was always second guessing myself… So, instead of having thin patience, I find myself trying to encourage transparency with my kids, and letting petty things go… because they’ll eventually learn how to clean up after themselves and mature into fine adults.

Wallet…

Money, it’s not easy to talk about… and as thin as my patience is, I Find myself also living paycheck to paycheck far too often. It’s a struggle, and one that no one likes to deal with… but, as important as paying your bills are, NOT obsessing about your finances is also important. Money IS the root of all evil, as we all know… which I guess means I’m not that evil.. cause… ya know.. all my money goes to everyone else!! haha!

Weight

I answered a Facebook question the other day that asked what excuse I use for not going to the Gym… my response was “It’s hard to make excuses when you have a mouth full of Pizza.”
And I wonder why I’m not as skinny as I used to be!!  This bothers the heck out of me, mainly because I’ve gained 30 lbs in the last 5 years… What can I say? My wife and I are both great at cooking.. and she bakes the best everything you’ll ever eat!!! I just need to learn some self control… and I think that also is something that can be considered thin… My self control… my ability to choose between making a healthy salad.. or eating a #2 from Burger King is miserable… I think this may be a partial side effect of anxiety.. and some mild depression, but who knows. I either need to get my butt in gear, eat better, and exercise some more.. or find a job that isn’t sitting behind a desk all day… I’m telling you what, desk jobs will freaking kill you… I’ve been doing them for 3 years now and my health has never been worse… I look at myself and can’t believe I’m only 30 years old, and in just Godawful shape…

Anyone have any tips? What do you do to keep yourself in shape, or do you also need assistance with getting the motivation to better yourself??

Thanks for reading!! I know I’m a little scatterbrained lately.. but I’m glad to be back here sharing my thoughts!

Oppression, in Uniform

Uniforms...

Any blue collar worker wears them… I’ve worn many: From Pizza Delivery, to factory work, writing parking tickets, doing maintenance, and now my job as the Dispatcher of the city of Williamsport. Nothing makes me feel more restrained, at my workplace, than not wearing my own, comfortable clothes.

There is nothing like the joy of removing my work boots, pants, and shirt; then putting on my own comfortable jeans, chucks, and a T-shirt, it’s like a small victory every day!

Which brings me to this point: Just another thing I love about being able to do music, as a second job… wearing whatever the heck I want!! There really are a lot of perks to being a “working musician.”

  • I get to do what i love, and get paid for it…
  • I get to dress as I please, and people can’t tell me otherwise…
  • I am the guy with the microphone… This has more power than you can imagine.. I say things, and people have no choice but to listen. I can make jokes, tell them to give the bartender money, entertain them, and they have no choice because I am the loudest one in the room!

Back to the topic at hand… Nothing makes me feel more like a “number” or a “drone” than having to be dressed like the people I work with…

I even have to dress like I”m going out to pave, even though I”m in the office… Bunch of crap, but it pays the bills!

Of course, in the same breath, I played in the marching band in High School, those uniforms were uncomfortable, but damn we looked good as a group.. So, from a “team” perspective, I suppose it makes sense.

Ah well.. I suppose I can’t complain too much.. The real men in Uniform are our military services. Those guys have to endure the harshest conditions our world has to offer AND They have to do it while in uniform. So, hat’s off to the guys who REALLY sweat their nuts off! Just remember that when you’re ready to complain about what you have to wear to work. There’s people out there who pretty much live in their work uniforms, and do so WHILE putting their lives on the line!

Thanks to the great men and women who protect us, once again. It can’t be said enough, especially by people who claim to be artists, and are free to express in this world.

Have a great day, readers!

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