I wanted to perform. I wantto perform. I wanted play shows in front of people, rock shows that people could mosh to, and vent out all their frustrations to. It almost didn’t matter what ‘type’ of rock, I just wanted chaotic music. I had heard over the radio one day that the group Capitol Cities met through the classifieds so I figured I might try it out. I found a bunch of groups, some were still in high school, some were cover bands, and some were looking for someone or something very specific. Among all those groups I saw one called Geppetto. The ad was very vague, but I figured I’d try it out anyways.
“Hey I saw your ad on KSL. Are you looking for a vocalist? –Mike”
“Mike, it’s good to hear from you. Give me a call sometime today and we can talk”
Why not? I didn’t realize this was gonna be an over the phone interview. I felt like I was interviewing for a job. He told me to check out their youtube channel. I started learning their song “Transition.”
I knocked on the bright red door and introduced myself to Brandon. We went to the band room downstairs and he continued getting everything ready. I’d never really auditioned for a band before. I’d auditioned for musicals, and choirs. I only had a slight idea of what to expect. He set up a few speakers and a microphone. I sang Transition once or twice, and then sat down with an acoustic guitar and sang a few songs I’d written: Don’t give up, and Ry’lee’s song.
We chatted a minute, got to know each other, talked about music goals, he told me the way I sang reminded him of Incubus (which has got to be one of the best compliments I’ve gotten so far) and then as we walked out the door he said “Well let me know by the end of the week what you decide.”
From 2007-2009, I served as an LDS (Mormon) missionary in Nicaragua (No, that’s not Africa, its Central America). You might be asking “What does this have to do with you becoming a rock star?” Well, it has a little bit to do with it. It was a great experience, I learned a lot about different cultures, I had to learn a new language, talk to a lot of people about the gospel of Jesus Christ, made a lot of friends, and served people. Its very taxing physically and mentally. You’re away from your family for 2 years, paying to be there (no we don’t get paid), and constantly moving day after day in the heat (some missionaries in the cold). Don’t get me wrong though, I don’t regret it one bit. It was an amazing experience I’ll never forget.
Here it is
If you’re unfamiliar with what missionaries do, we basically talked to and served EVERYONE; people in the streets, knocked on people’s doors, talked on the bus, in the stores… everyone. If you’re pursuing music as a career you’ll need to approach people to share your music, hand out flyers, or try to make friends (who become your best fans)
Being in Nicaragua was eye opening. I took for granted what I had while in the US. I didn’t realize how much of a luxury warm showers were. You aren’t quite as aware of what you have until its suddenly taken from you. The first time I saw someone open their door, who had a dirt floor, nearly brought me to tears. I was so sad to see that people live in shacks made out of junk they find: tin walls, tin roofs, sheets of plastic, that soft plastic that garbage bags are made of. I hope while I was there that I helped and served people spiritually, emotionally and mentally. One day I want to go back and help people physically, and financially.
Christmas morning. I remember the cool basement air as my hands scrambled to open each present as fast as I could. I’m pretty sure every 15 year old loves Christmas. In one of those little gift boxes that looks like Chinese takeout I found it, my ticket to the upcoming Linkin Park show. I was so excited. I was that kid who would take the booklets from the CD case and study all the lyrics and artwork. I knew every word by heart and probably still do. It was that much better that P.O.D., Hoobastank and Story of the Year were opening, all great bands.
The arena boomed with music as the crowd shuffled in. We walked into the main area where I could see the stage. Suddenly the music, muffled by the hordes of people, suddenly became clear. I was hypnotized. AS we found our assigned seats I couldn’t look away. My chest vibrated with every beat of the kick drum and from the sheer power of the bass. The guitarist from Story of the Year swung his guitar around his neck like it was nothing, and later on did a back flip on stage while still playing. Hoobastank and P.O.D. were amazing. Then there was Linkin Park. I’d never seen a laser show; I didn’t think bands even did that. Every song was amazing. As the bands encouraged us to sing along I felt like I was a part of it. I didn’t realize this concert would be the start of a lifetime of going to shows and eventually performing on stage myself. This was only the beginning.
Ever since I can remember I’ve loved singing, I grew up in a family where it seemed everyone was gifted in music in some way or another. I was exposed to Classic rock, blues, hard rock, hardcore punk, metal, country, pop, big band swing, choral music, church hymns, emo, alternative, opera, classical, rockabilly, oldies, and basically any type of music. I was immersed in it all.
I began singing in choirs at the age of 12, and during high school I took classes in creative writing and music theory. I even took classical voice lessons (I wanted to be the next Josh Groban). I had a little voice recorder that I would record my many song ideas and lyric ideas. I would carry that little thing everywhere in case I had ideas that I wouldn’t be able to write down. I even wrote a song for a girl I liked in high school. I’ll admit though, these “songs” and song ideas were terrible, but it was a learning experience. As much as I wanted to write a number one hit on my first try, I was far from it. Here’s a sample of a “number one hit in the making”
I walked up the 3 steps onto the tiny stage, looking down at my feet and slowly looking up to where the audience would be later that night. Euphoria surged as the memories began to shoot through my mind of all the bands I had seen perform right where I was standing: Hoobastank, Zebrahead, Ludo, Project 86… Just to name a few. The excitement rushed through as I anticipated my first rock show in a real venue (Also my first show with Geppetto).
“Do you guys wanna headline?” The guy in charge asked. “Hell yes!” I jumped. “Well… All of the people I sold tickets to have kids and need to be home early” added B-Rod. “Oh yeah… me too” I remembered.
The thought that we could headline, after selling a mere 23 tickets, gave me a huge adrenaline rush. I could’ve headlined my first rock show!
The lights went down and the music began. Reset My Soul took the stage first, 15 and 16 years old these kids were rockin’. We chatted with these guys for a few minutes, they’re pretty cool, you should check them out here Reset My Soul. They played well and were fun to watch. As the night pressed on my nerves got worse, how was I going to perform? Would I be flawless and amazing? Would I forget all the words? What if we had a technical issue? How would I react? So many things ran through my mind, yet the one thing that I never seemed to forget was that I was here to have fun.
This is a little piece of my big dream coming true a little bit at a time. I was on the path, working for my dream.