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!
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!!
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.
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...
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.
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
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
It's refreshing to come to practice knowing all the members of this band are "on the same page." We understand of what we are as a group and set realistic expectations. Our goal from the onset was to be one of the best rock/funk/bluesy bands in Baltimore. Every tune we practice, every new song we write, every "jam," we gel more as musicians and feel more at ease about the music we play. The best part is we have become close friends in this process and that has made our practices more fun. We joke with each other and nothing is taken out of context. It could be Sam and I have American style humor and Dirk and Manolis are from another country and are still assimilating. And Adrian, well, the dude is just hilarious when he wants to be and that's right about all the time. Just saying, these might be some reasons the mood is generally jovial.
Overall, the members of JVMP (whether the official lineup of fill-ins) are always focused on paying music the best possible way. The idea is to get tight as musicians and friends so we can find the groove in the tunes more naturally. That is definitely happening more frequently and our sound is improving. And we believe in our hearts we will reach that plateau of "one of the best bands in Baltimore" because we are determined to. So with that, you are all invited to see this progression, this evolution, this special vibe in action. Stay tuned for more show announcements in 2013!
So far in this return we've played a couple of shows and have solidified our lineup. However, the gig at the Fish Head Cantina will feature Ben Delisle on Bass and Paul Roman on Drums, filling in for Dirk and Manolis who are on vacation. What is so interesting is these guys fit in rather well and bring a lot of energy of their own, as well as solid rhythm and serious groove. That's why Sam and I are especially excited because Paul and Ben put a unique signature on the JVMP tunes that is going to be right on. We are going to kill it on stage!
Sometimes writing new music means working with new musicians, and that is the process at the moment. JVMP has always been a "work in progress," but since 2010, there have been only cameo appearances at obscure venues. This summer, a new lineup is in the works (along with some familiar players from JVMP's history). There are also new songs coming along as well, which should delight JVMP fans everywhere. There will be updates coming soon as well as announcements of show dates. It's a very exciting time and it's been too long since we've hit the stage full force. Stay tuned.