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JVMP / Blog

New Direction

Every so often, there are necessary changes to a band, and certainly JVMP is no exception. Over the years, I've been blessed to share the stage with some outstanding musicians, and I can look back on those years fondly. But I don't live in the past, and I am driven to continue what I began until it is complete. The problem is I do not know when I will complete it all. So I am in a constant state of reaching, working, writing, and longing to play music all the time. I wish I could do this every moment of the day, but it isn't possible with work and all the day-to-day stuff. It's true the music business isn't what it used to be. Fewer and fewer acts get to make a decent living doing this, so it essentially becomes a glorified hobby for most. For me, it is a mission. Moreover, it is a chance to bond with other like-minded individuals and write some good songs. Something inside me always feels better about life and the world when a good song is written. But that process has to include people (musicians) that are on the same page, wavelength and spiritual level for it to be special. For JVMP, the past two years have been "special." But like all organic things, it has a shelf life. And it is because it was organic and not spiritual that limited it all. So, without going into too much detail, things for JVMP will be different this time around. I know what I am good at, and I know what I bring to the table. Also, I know what the end game is for me: complete the CD and release it the way it was meant to be, the way it was originally mapped out to be. I have planned most of the things that have happened in JVMP since day one. For anyone who may be confused by this notion, in Lehman's terms, there are few things that happen within the band that wasn't somehow orchestrated. Now, people showing up to see us play, well, clearly I wanted to script that, but turnout sometimes was so disappointing, I shudder to think of it. But that isn't what truly discouraged me. What has disappointed me beyond words is the lack of respect from those I respected a great deal. Maybe respect is old school or something, but it is VERY RELEVANT in my world. End of story. And for this reason, things MUST CHANGE. And they are changing. I just hope people will still come to the shows and come see JVMP for what it has always represented: heightened awareness about the world.

Support from various sources

I've long expressed my opinions as a musician and blogger on One World Pool (www.oneworldpool.wordpress.com) about musicians not doing enough to support each other on the music scene. That being said, I, like so many other musicians, seek support from those close to me and associated with me in some way or another. Like most people, I promote shows at work among colleagues and people affiliated with work. Sometimes they come to shows, but most of the time they don't. And that has been disheartening in many respects because they tell you to your face they are coming to your show and then they don't. And they give a million excuses, but it doesn't matter and it really isn't necessary. In truth, it is very difficult to get support from co-workers because it involves stepping out their boxed comfort zone and maybe they just aren't really into live music. So I let that crap go. But I need to vent about it sometime.

Which brings me to this point: we play shows and complete strangers will walk up to me and say they had planned on seeing us and really like our music, etc. Out of blue, people come to the show and know who we are, follow us, get up to date on our websites, download our music and listen to our songs in their cars, wear our t-shirts, read our blogs and make it to our shows without us ever asking them personally. That is such a great feeling. And when I see my co-workers, I don't get bitter anymore. I just tell them the truth; a lot of people came to our show and we had a great time. Maybe if they ever get curious enough they will finally come out and see what they have been missing. That will be a beautiful night for sure! ~JV

Bigger Steps

We've played some really good shows over the past 6-8 months, but it looks like our best is still ahead of us. It just keeps getting better in terms of vibes, sound, and quality. We put a lot of emphasis on our live performances, and though we have off nights, overall the consensus is we keep making strides forward. It is evident by what people say directly and indirectly. It's evident by the amount of people that come to our shows. We make new fans all the time and that is such an amazing feeling. We remain humble, but focused on our goal to be one of the best bands in Baltimore. And with the mindset that soon we will have our first CD to promote, we continue to take bigger steps toward our goals.

Summer Closing Out

When guitarist Sam asked me this past weekend, "Why haven't we gotten to these new songs yet?" I replied, "Because we have played more gigs than we have practiced." And that's really how our summer has been: way busier than expected. The upside, of course, is we have gotten tighter as a band and have earned some cred around town, playing some decent shows with really good bands on the ticket. We all feel pretty comfortable on stage. The downside is we really need more time together just to write new tunes and refine some songs we've had on the shelf for a while. Overall, this summer has been the best on record for us as a band. At no other time have we enjoyed this much love and attention from people. At no other time have we sounded so good or been so active on the scene. And things just keep getting better.

As summer draws to a close, JVMP will embark on some heavy projects like getting into the studio and recording some of the tunes we've been playing out live night after night. I will be involved in the shooting of a movie (where I play a singer -SHOCKER), and we are hopeful our involvement with our management group affiliations will start to produce some good outcomes for us as a band. Best thing for all of our "people" to do is come out August 31st to the Fish Head Cantina. We are playing 3 sets with the two drummer lineup and we'll be welcoming in Autumn with passion and vibe as only a JVMP show can do!

Summer is Upon Us

It's practically here. With 90+ degree weather outside, people already jumping in their pools, beach goers packing their goodies for the day, and festivals are popping up everywhere. This is the time of year everyone gets excited about, and we are too. It all starts early on June 8th with a show in Columbia, MD at Sonoma's. We've played there before under unusual circumstances. Our drummer, Manolis, had fallen very ill and was hospitalized just before we had to play the show. We had to scramble to find a fill-in drummer for the night and the show went on without any problems. So, Manolis is anxious to get to Sonoma's and get that monkey off his back. Come to think of it, summer doesn't officially start until June 21 -the Summer Solstice. That's when we'll be back in Canton to play the Red House Tavern. The last time we played there was also under unusual circumstances. We played on a ticket with several other acts, including some rappers. It was a show put on my Vince Anderson and Shockwave Magazine. Our fans and supports came to the show which went well, though I think the choice in artists were not so well planned. It was an odd combination. So, this time around, we've got the night with Photo Radio. Our set will be 2 hours, and we'll be joined by hip hop artist Grey and soul singer Bouye Bleu. It will be the first time JVMP has collaborated with these kinds of diverse artists/vocalists. But so far in practice, it sure sounds sweet. The vibe is irresistible. Then we finish June on the 30th with a Benefit Show at Bamboo Bernie's. The show was put together to raise money for the victims of the Oklahoma tornado tragedy. Some really good bands are playing all day long from Noon to closing. We'll be there, of course, not just to play but to support the other bands and the cause. We encourage our fans, friends and supporters to come out and stay a while to see the other awesome bands playing. It's going to be a fun time so check it out and hang with us!!

Upcoming Shows with Friends

We are delighted to be sharing the stage with some really cool bands this summer. June 8 we will be playing in Columbia, MD at Sonoma's with Fire the Kite. They are a new band, but the founding members are friends of ours and great musicians, so we are looking forward to their new project. On June 21, we head back to Canton for a show dubbed the "Summer Solstice Jam" with our friends Photo Radio, who we first played a show with back in December 2012. Ever since then, we've talked about playing on the same bill again, and it took half a year, but here we go. Singer Mary eL is simply captivating and the whole band is super funk. We are going to have a blast with them! Come out and join us for some serious FUNk.

#1 in Baltimore

It happened just the other week and to be honest, we were surprised to have ascended from the lower ranks to #1 in Baltimore on Reverb Nation. We're not sure how, but we do know why: We're a good band. But there are many other really good bands in Baltimore. It's almost like that coveted #1 spot isn't real. And we know someday (maybe soon) another deserving band will be at the #1 spot, but for the moment feels rather flattering. And it inspires us to do better, to play better music, and put on a really good show. That's what it ultimately means to us as a band: We truly need to play like we're #1. And that's what we set out to do. This summer (2013) is going to be the busiest JVMP has ever been in its existence. We are humbled to be asked to share the stage with the finest bands in Baltimore, play the coolest clubs on the best nights, and generate amazing vibes with the people that come out to see us. We are here now. Come join us...

Supporting the music scene

It is difficult to work the circuit trying to get gigs lined up and getting through a maze of people in the music scene for any kind of recognition. There is an underlying adversity often unnoticed that happens all too much and that's the inability of some bands and musicians to see how working together benefits everyone on the scene. It's something I've been saying for years, the adjustment of people's attitude toward each other is the greatest challenge the music scene has because there is plenty of room for all types of bands here since there is sufficient interest by the local population in live music. The days of ascending to Rock superstardom on the backs of other bands are long over with. What bands need to do is collaborate more to create even more interest. Even the music stars on the national scene know this formula works and what essentially made Lalapalooza the great attraction it is (though it once had humble beginnings and turned into hodge-podge of commercial groups). The point is more bands working together makes for a better time. It doesn't have to be some benefit concert or anything like that to get several groups together. It doesn't have to be organized by promotional groups that are only interested in making money and screwing the bands. It can be done right by people who actually care about bringing the music scene back to life. It can be organized by bands if they just stop looking at this as a competition, stop with their vanity and delusion that somehow rising above the shoulders of your contemporaries makes you a hot shot rock star. Let the people crown you. Let them all bask in the vibe of bands coming together to make music relevant again. The music industry is in shambles and no one is going to come to its rescue. It starts with the bands. The beef, the snubs, the thinking you're better than everyone else has to STOP. Otherwise there is no hope. Things will remain as they are or get worse. Think about it.

Spring has Sprung

It's great to be in the swing of things, especially now that spring has arrived. The band is poised and ready to play some fantastic shows in the coming months, sharing the stage with great bands. Perhaps the most interesting part about this time in JVMP's history is the amount of collaborations taking place with other bands and musicians. Never before has there been this kind of camaraderie. I suppose it may be because musicians realize we have more to gain if we work together than if we compete in a cut-throat manner. The music industry has changed so drastically, it behooves bands to work together for the sake of the music, the music scene, and gain a stronger fan base. At the end of the day, the adage "Strength in numbers" takes on a whole new meaning for Baltimore bands. ~JV

Shows and other info

It's been truly fascinating to be a part of this new surge of power music. In years past, it was a real stretch to attempt doing Zeppelin songs or high octave Police tunes and other favorites that most bands have to tune down for. They say people get better at some things with age, and certainly I can attest to that, especially when it comes to the vocals. There is a good comfort level, and lot of that I attribute to the musicians in the band. Furthermore, I believe we all have a real commitment to (as Keith Richards would say) "getting the gig right." So, from our perspective, as a band, with every show, we keep getting better. For people to come see us play, the groove keeps better as well. "It's cool watching JVMP's evolution," one fan said. Perhaps other will also witness this with us. ~JV