Fake it till you make it

March 7, 2014

This show was pivotal. This was the first time in my music ‘career’ that I actually felt like a rock star. In my previous shows with Geppetto I had made an effort to look and act like a star (not being a snob, but engaging the crowd more), but I still didn’t know how to move and hold myself on stage. Despite hearing “you look comfortable up there” I still felt awkward.

The night began with The Mailbox Order, a young rockin’ punk band who looked like they were still in high school. The audience was made up of teen friends and parents. Everyone was standing still while the energetic rockers played their hearts out. Being a performer myself I know what it feels like to have what looks like an uninterested yet obligated crowd attend. It feels really awkward to be honest getting no response from people.

B-ROD, KCEXX and I went up to the stage and got all excited. We jumped, reached for the band and then began to mosh. Then, one by one some of the younger folks joined in and the band suddenly had a real audience.

This energy went on for the rest of the night as The Feros Project, Sektau, and Save the World get the girl took the stage. All the bands were very talented and I suggest you find them on Facebook, the whole night was a blast. The time came for us to take the stage. This time I wasn’t at all nervous. I felt like I knew this crowd, they liked moshing, jumping and rocking.

We began to play and I focused on looking how a rock star looks on stage, instead of just standing there and being boring. It wasn’t long before they started to mosh. I don’t know if they were moshing out of courtesy because we moshed for them, or if they did it because they just wanted to. As we went from the outright punk songs to the harder slower rock they kept up their energy.

   

As B-ROD began to solo they gravitated to him. When I told them to clap, they clapped. When I told them to do a circle pit, they did it.

When our set was over a few people wanted to take pictures with me, and then a handful more came up to compliment us on our show. It was awesome.

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First Studio Recording!

One day, out of the blue, I had a Skype conversation with Enke. We hadn’t talked since my mission ended. In our catching up I told him that I had started writing songs. He had me play a few over the web cam. Apparently I had forgotten that he said he used to be a producer. We scheduled a day to record.

Yes! I was so excited to start recording my own song. On that Saturday we spent a few hours trying to record one song. I suddenly realized recording wasn’t one or two runs through a song. I tried explaining my vision for these songs to him. Nothing was sounding all that great though.

After probably three or more hours of trying with one song he asked what else I had. I played “Is it love?” He looked excited, I had a catchy tune. He toyed with rhythms a bit and told me to play it to a click track. I sucked at it. I could play and sing at the same time, but I was terrible at playing to the clicks.

After a few tries Enke had me play each chord out on the keyboard, he spent a couple minutes programming it into something I could sing along to. When it came time to record vocals, instead of setting up a sound booth with some foam and pillows in a closet, we threw a thick fleece blanket over my head and stuck my face right next to the microphone.

A few days later I got a call from Enke telling me that while working on the song he found a way to make it sound great. Moment of truth, drum roll. How would my first recorded and produced song sound? Is it love?

Winter Wasteland: Out of Anger

My second show with Gorilla music. For some reason I wasn’t as excited to play with this group as I was the first time. I don’t know if it was the fact that we had some opportunities coming up that felt bigger or what. I’ll fill in details later. 

1:30 pm

I met Waylen up at the venue. We turned in our tickets. Last time we had 23 and were the highest selling. We had 18, and there were 4 bands left to check in. One of us had to stay until we knew what time we were going on, so I volunteered.

While I waited I heard a conversation between the lead singer of Out of Anger and the girl taking the tix and organizing the show, we’ll call her GG (Gorilla girl). I don’t know if she works for gorilla, but we will assume so.

The singer had asked how much it costs to run something like this. GG and GD (gorilla dude) were telling him there was a lot going into these shows; renting the venue, tax per person there, security, tickets, paying the bands, advertisement (ok, but for a small show like this they really don’t advertise)

I kept asking if the other bands had checked in so we would know a time. We wanted later, it’s always better. They finally gave me a ball park guess of around 6:00 or 6:45, and then said “These shows are always unpredictable. Some bands only have a 10 minute set so that will bring everyone else’s time earlier. If you’re down for 7 you should have your people show up at 5 so they don’t miss it.” I got my time, 6:45 so I let everyone know and left.

5:00 ish pm

I got back to the venue and when the next band got on stage I looked at who they were and where they were on the lineup. We were 10 minutes ahead of schedule.  Brandon had a soccer game at 5, in Layton.
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Out of Anger sounded good. It reminded me of Bon Jovi mixed with Metallica. The lead guitarist had talent, and they had good harmonies. On the downside though, I thought the drummer needed to do a lot more. It felt like a pop drum beat. I know I have no room to talk, I suck at drums. They also had some balance issues; the vocals were drowned out by the guitars and the rhythm guitar had too high of distortion for the type of music they were doing. All in all, I liked their music and I hope they make it far.

5:30

Silent Sorcerer was setting up. This the band just before us. I was getting more nervous. So far the only ones there were me and Kevin, he texted the other three to find out where they were. I was worried that Silent Sorcerer would finish and we wouldn’t have a band here to play. Brandon, Andrew and Waylen were all on their way. Brandon was saying “tell them we will be there on time according to the schedule. We are pros and won’t be late”

What’s gonna happen? 

Argyle Gargoyle

At the end of my 2 year mission in Nicaragua, the last missionary I served with had a guitar. I would spend every little minute of free time teaching myself, basically a couple hours one day a week.

I had tried a few times to learn guitar but got frustrated and quit. This time I used my knowledge of music theory and figured out fingering for several chords. As I returned to the states I found the best way to stay motivated in learning guitar was to write my own songs. I would play chords in a ton of different rhythms and patterns and then start singing what I was thinking about.

Soon enough I had a handful of original tunes. Despite my dream of becoming a rock star, I had no idea how to do it. I’d sung, taught myself guitar, and even written songs. I didn’t know how to make the leap to playing stadium shows and being played on the radio.

Around this same time I had a class with a high school buddy, David Cline. He was in the process of starting his own band Argyle. They were recording a demo with an independent producer and started playing house shows and coffee shops.

David and I would talk about our endeavors in music. I was jealous of the traction he was getting. I couldn’t even find people to form a band. Check out this song by Argyle 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLIX_HWAsZw 

Nicaragua: Meeting Enke

               During my stay in Nicaragua I made many friends from many countries, including; Guatemala, Honduras, Chile, and Peru. Among these friends there was Robert Enke (He comes into play a few years later). My first encounter with Enke is kind of funny. There was a big meeting with a lot of missionaries, and we were sitting down to eat. I sat down next to a large, yet young looking missionary. He got up to grab something, and while he was gone I noticed I didn’t have a fork with my plate, so I took his. When he came back he was all distressed. Once he found out I was the one who took his fork he didn’t like me.

                A few months later we ended up serving in areas close to each other. We would have smaller meetings and as I got to know him I found out he was pretty cool. He wanted so badly to do everything right and make no mistakes. He was stressed and unsure of himself. I just tried to help him have fun and realize that we’re always going to mess up even when we try our hardest to do everything perfectly, that’s how we learn and grow.

                As I was about to head home he made sure to tell my parents how much of an influence I was to help him make the most of everything. I feel like he overstated it, but who knows. Who knew that even though I was a dick to him when we first met, down the road we would actually become good friends? I didn’t realize that I might have been a huge part of his mission, but I had no idea then how huge he would be in my music career in the future. See? Look at that guy with a legit goatee and glasses

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The only true failure is giving up

I’m sure by now you’ve seen and heard a lot of people talking about their New Year’s resolutions; lose weight, get out of debt, eat healthy, never lie again, be nicer, etc. I’ve seen a lot of this over the years. It wasn’t until last year that I spent New Year’s with my wonderful girlfriend that she got me to look at it in a different light. Instead of setting unreasonable goals, why not use this as a good place to stop, take a breather, and look at where you’re going and how far you’ve come. Look at your life goals you may have set last year or in years past. Have you reached them? Why or why not? What are you going to have accomplished by this time next year? How are you going to reach that goal?

A lot of things can change in a year, most of which we can’t control, but that doesn’t mean it’s all out of our control. Last year I was working with my good friend and producer Robert Enke. We were recording pop punk music and trying to finish an album. Over the course of the year progress faded and eventually crashed. Who is to blame? We both are in multiple ways. I had set my own goal to release an album within the year, play 10 shows in Utah, 1 show outside of Utah, and hear my own song on the radio. I didn’t think Enke and I would stop working together. That doesn’t mean I stopped trying for my goals I had set. I just barely looked through and pulled out about 30 of my best song ideas I came up with this last year. That’s my 30 best out of a lot more. Sure, maybe not all of the ideas are radio worthy, but I still kept writing. I auditioned for and started singing for the band Geppetto, and we’ve started playing shows together. Nothing on the radio yet, I’ll keep ya posted. What I’m trying to get at is, for reasons out of our control we might not reach our goals, but as long as we don’t give up we won’t feel like we’ve failed. The only true failure is giving up.

This year, I hope to propose to my beautiful girlfriend and hopefully plan a wedding (shh don’t tell her). I would also like to release an EP, and who knows, maybe it could be a full on album. It would be great to hear a song I write or sing on the radio, but I won’t stop playing shows or writing new music. 

Early Days

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”