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

Image

Advertisements

Welcome to Mojo’s

                “It sounds like we’re gonna headline at Mojo’s on the 27th!” I told Ry’lee excitedly. “Wait, the 27th as in a few days from now?” “No no, not till January 27th” I clarified. “Isn’t Mojo’s like a high school hang out for the Ogden kids?” She asked. “Uh… I don’t know, I’ve never been there.” I said.

                A few days later, on December 27th I got a text from Kevin “Yeah there was some confusion. Ron meant tonight. Never mind” “So… no show?” I asked. “Unless everyone can” he added. It wasn’t much longer before everyone was last minute planning for the show. We were headlining, which means we were the most popular band playing at the show. It only really means something if you’re a huge band anyways.

                Honestly I was more nervous for this show than the first one we did. We hadn’t even gotten the whole band together since the last show. December is a tough month for small bands, and I would guess all bands. I ran through lyrics in my head to make sure I was still solid. We had almost no time to invite our own people so I was preparing to sing for people I didn’t know. Luckily we were the last band to play that night so we had a little extra time after work to prepare.

                When we got there we went straight to the back of the building. I felt legit. There were people moving equipment in and others moving equipment out. The building was small, and had writing and stickers all over the walls from many bands who had come through there. The bathroom was dirty and looked like your stereotypical 7-11 or concert venue bathroom. There was a younger woman sitting by the hall that connected ‘backstage’ to the main area. I could get used to this sorta thing. I was pumped.

                I walked into the area where the stage was and finally saw how small the hang out actually was. The band before us sounded like every other screaming band that’s been playing these local shows lately. Despite my thinking we sounded like a lot of other rock bands out there, I feel like we’re the only local band that doesn’t scream. Watch, now at our next show we’re gonna be just like everyone else.

 Image

                The time came; we set up the gear and did our sound check. By now there were about twenty, maybe thirty, people. A few high schoolers who show up all the time and some people my girlfriend invited. We began to play and most everyone was standing or sitting, no moshing. There was one kid though who kept pacing back and forth like he had some weird disorder. We did a few of our slower songs, which I didn’t exactly expect much moshing, but when we played Don’t Give Up I actually thought there would be moshing. Instead the one kid paced a little quicker as if agitated with a phone conversation.

                After the 25-30 minute set we had pre prepared both us and the crowd felt like we should play more, but there wasn’t much more that we as a full group had prepared. The high school kids requested a few songs, a few members from the band knew some but not quite all of us did. This was the part that made me feel the need to write more songs and probably prepare a few more covers.

                The night came to an end and most the people had left. I loved it.

                

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. 

The Audition

                I wanted to perform. I want to 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.”

                Who was I kidding? This felt right

Nicaragua: Loving and Serving

                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. 

                                                            Image 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. 

Linkin Park: In the End… It Began

                                                                     Image

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.

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”