Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Another Band From Jacksonville Makes it Big

When you are a struggling musician, playing shows every night and eating spaghettiOs® out of a can every day, you start to wonder if there is any hope of ever being able to make a career out of a re-run. Well, if you live in Jacksonville, Fla., there might be some hope in your favor.

These days, you can name at least twenty famous bands who are from Los Angeles. For example, The Red Hot Chili Peppers. Wikipedia.com, an online encyclopedia, says L.A. based The Red Hot Chili Peppers were signed only several months after forming. Audiences thought they were so good, they begged them to come back and play at local venues. But while you're counting L.A. based bands on your left hand, whip out your right hand so that you can start counting bands from Jacksonville, Fla. too.

Despite the obvious advantages bands in L.A. have over bands in distant cities like Jacksonville, the large city within Florida is producing quite a few talented bands that are reaching fame. Even though L.A. has a huge music scene with countless bands trying to be somebody, connections to the music industry, and record labels such as Avatar Records, found on musicmoz.org, an independent record label(even Starbucks is going to have their own record label in Los Angeles, World News announced it), Jacksonville bands are working hard to use their own resources to achieve recognition.

Jacksonville's local venues like Jack Rabbits and Freebird Cafe constantly house local band performances. Many local artists also go to shows that feature songwriters. Shows like Songwriters Night at the Beaches will let anyone perform. An article from Shorelines, part of the Florida Times-Union, written by Maggie Fitzroy, a staff writer, portrayed this event as a friendly, laid-back show with a wholesome atmostphere. So even though it seems that L.A. carries all of the weight of the music industry, Jacksonville has its own way of doing things. Groups such as Mofro, a blues based band from Jacksonville, help other local bands think there could be room for them in the music industry, even if they are over 2,000 miles away from Los Angeles.

Many local bands in Jacksonville such as Sophomore Attempt, which Music at Last.fm described as a rock group that consists of four guys, are gaining a local following, but aren't signed yet. Sophomore Attempt plays shows in Jacksonville frequently, and are slowly branching out. On the other hand, bands such as Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, a rock group from Jacksonville, are now basking in the glow of national fame.

Wikipedia says Red Jumpsuit Apparatus formed in 2003 and gained a significant following after a couple years of performing. By 2006, their first LP was certified gold. This recognition brought them a lot of attention. Their current single "Face Down," on their CD "Don't You Fake It," has given them the final push they needed to have national success. They are now scheduled for tours across America.

Many other bands that are nationally famous hail from Jacksonville. Pop rock band Yellowcard calls Jacksonville their hometown. Lynrd Skynrd, arguably the most famous southern rock band to grace the country is from Jacksonville. Bands from all over come to play at the Freebird Cafe, a staple in Jacksonville Beach, which gained its attention because of Lynyrd Skynyrd. Wikipedia says the band even attended Robert E. Lee High School. They named their band after their tempermental coach.

Shinedown, a rock band Wikipedia says formed in 2002, gained quick status and is from Jacksonville.

Nowadays, the bands people see performing on television and at live venues aren't just from the bustling streets of Los Angeles. Now they might be from "random" cities like Jacksonville. There is no doubt that bands from Jacksonville are finding ways to make it big. They might just have to be a little more creative than others. The growing music business has made it possible for bands everywhere to make money at what they love to do most. And bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd, who came before this generation, helped pave the road to glory for today's budding musicians.

So whenever you feel like you'll never make it because California seems too far away, take a chance and remember all the Jacksonville bands that are successful. Hopefully that will put a kick in your step. These bands got a group together, performed at local venues, and got their name out there for all to see. They are giving us no-name musicans hope in achieving the "unachievable."

Bands like Shinedown and Red Jumpsuit Apparatus let the quieter artists know that if you play loud enough, you will be heard throughout all of America. (photo courtesy Yellowcard site)

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Excuses, Excuses

I created this blog, expecting to be able to gush about my music life; writing entry upon entry about the deep meaningful songs I create, swearing that this one will definately be the one that gets me somewhere. But things never happen that way do they?

Of course, I have those songs under my belt that seem to come together so flawlessly, lyrics and all. I have those songs that when I sing them, I honestly wish I could emobdy the note I am projecting. And when I sit back in my room, writing my music, I imagine what it would be like if I was on a deadline for a major record company, shelling out my last bit of creative juice, wondering if this single will sky-rocket me back to the number one spot on the billboards.

I could blame my lack of popularity to the distaste of the public. I could blame it on my parents, saying they never encouraged me to go after my dreams. I could even blame it on school. Those crazy teachers sucked the artistic life out of me... But none of those excuses are valid. I have talked to quite a few people who enjoy my music, my parents devote most of their days encouraging and reassuring me that I can make my music a career...and to top it all off, I went to an arts school, where they expected you to eat, drink and breathe your talent. Yes sir, my excuse is.....myself. I am my own worst enemy when it comes to following my dreams. I fill myself with nothing but doubt. I always think about the many things that could go wrong if I decide to follow a life of music. I might not make money. I probably won't like the lifestyle. Will the constant pressure to make art actually make me hate it? By the time I'm finished trying to answer all these questions, I'm cleaning up my house instead of practicing my guitar. Lately, it must think it's come down with a case of leprosy because I haven't gone near it.

My guitar and the very voice I speak with is a constant reminder: If you don't start working on your music now, you won't ever get anywhere with it. And I believe that's true. At the beginning of my summer break before my first year of college, I confessed to my mom that my biggest concern towards having a career that deals with the arts is the aspect of money. I thought that it was so hard to make money in that industry. But my mom told me that I musn't focus on the money, but I should focus on the art, and that will take me further than anything else will. And of course, like any outstanding mother is, she's right.

I have my weeks where I feel I have been put on this earth to create music for people to hear. However, that is usually a week where I have written a great song. Tke weeks that are consumed with work and stress tend to be the bad ones in which I push my music away.

But no matter how hard I try to be interested in anything else, my heart always leads me back to my instrument. When I don't play my music, I feel empty. I feel depressed. Through this horrible process of self doubt, which I think can be far worse than doubt from others, I find my passion again; every time. It never fails.

As a matter of fact, as I write this post, I can feel the grips of passion clawing its way back into my lungs, back into my voice, back into my fingers tips. So I will leave you with the the message of this post to ponder, because I have to go heal my guitar of its leprosy.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

My first note

Hey everyone, this is my first posting on my new blog. Mainly, I wanted this blog to be about my music and the process I go through everyday. I want to share my musician's block with everyone, I want to share my accomplishments with everyone. I want to make sure that people who are in the arts aren't alone when they doubt themselves. So, welcome to my blog, and I hope you enjoy all of my content. The blog will get better as I customize it more, I promise.