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.
Interestingly, so much time and money has gone into the production of JVMP music over the years and the one complaint I hear a lot is that it still isn't available on itunes or for purchase anywhere. This is true, but not for long. The songs haven't been mastered yet and that's the real holdup. But mastering the songs is not an obstacle, so when that process is complete, the songs will be available for purchase, downloads and a CD will also be available. So, it's wonderful to have gotten this far, but yes it is time to complete the tunes.
It can said that bands go through phases, as does any person going through life. I find that in the midst of a strange, idle phase, much appreciation floods my heart for the music I've recorded over the years. I recall the various studios and musicians, some of which I cringe to remember, and all the effort it took to complete the recordings. So now, I see that things are different. Musicians have come and gone, the buzz of live play has lessened, and the bustle of promoting has changed a great deal. And I marvel at the fact that this isn't about past times, it's about the music. Yes I, and a number of people have heard the tunes, but there is a vast ocean of people who have not. And getting JVMP songs to their ears is what I've been trying to do. It's what all this has been leading up to. It may be the end of the road for the role certain musicians played in this phenomenon that is the JV Myka Project, but it's just the beginning of the road for launching the music onto the world at large.
I've been asked to stay quiet about my role in an upcoming Reality show based on Baltimore musicians, but we are getting close to releasing a trailer and announcing the release date of the pilot episode. Therefore, I am compelled to let JVMP fans know what's been going on. First, JV has an ongoing beef with fellow Baltimore musician Greg Scruggs and we decided to settle the score on camera. It is an interesting and unique twist to the normal occurance of ego maniacs being, well, ego maniacs. It has been a very amusing time shooting this show and I can't wait to hear people's response when they see it. Stay tumed...
There truly isn't enough time in the day to complete all the tasks that need to be done. And though that seems so cliche, it is also so very true. Making music is a triesome labor of love. Most musicians have to work a "real" job and do music as a side thing. Weekend Rock Stars are a dime a dozen these days. And the internet makes it easy to get your music "out there." And it can all be self-produced, self-promoted, etc. etc. Now, all the stay-at-home kids with well-off parents can hustle and push their self-made products on clubgoers and myspace fans all over the world. This can be done 24/7, and it often is. The rest of us working class have to hustle and push whenever we get the opportunity and extra money to do so. And that is a tiresome labor of love, as I have already stated. But for me, my patience is paying off. The only thing I am in a hurry for is getting tight as a band. The truth is, however, that isn't going to happen any faster than it has to. It's just a personal preference of mine. I know it will happen, I just itch sometimes to get out there and play music crowds will groove to. The rest of the project is likely feeling that itch as well. But we have to work and fulfill our obligations in order to make ends meet. I know there are few musicians who actually make a living playing music. And that number seems to be shrinking every year. Most of us have to be Weekend Rock Stars. We have no choice. If the music business was cut throat before the internet revolution, it most certainly is a blood thristy carnage now. I guess having a normal work week is what keeps me level headed and I actually stress over the music business. Ironic, isn't it? Music is supposed to be an enjoyable expeience, and it often is within our own little "JV Myka Project" world. And to be frank, it's not a bad place to be. I just feel a lot of pressure sometimes and I have to step back into the "normal" world to recharge myself. Slipping back and forth between those two dimensions is actually a cool luxury. But I certainly don't want to be trapped in either for too long.
I have always been a fan of music and continue to be. I became a musician because I love music so much, listening simply wasn't enough. I used to hear and read stories of ego maniacs in the music industry, the stuff of legend, the uncompromising front man and the ever dramatic band break up over stupidity. And though those stories intrigued me as my old friends and I sat around drinking beers or just in awe of the intensity of albums and artists, I had no clue just how out of whack the rock and roll life can truly be. Oh, we laughed and marveled and daydreamed about us living that dream, all the while oblivious to the personal chaos, the "dark side" of that world. I don't pretend to really know how detached some musicians are from the reality most of us live in our daily lives. But detachment is a painful thing to realize when you actually realize it. The moment it dawns on you, when the epiphany materializes, a wicked sense of separation from all that has embraced us in our lives bleeds the soul. Not because it is an evil entity or dark cloud looming over, but because it is a realization that it is of our own doing. It's guilt for crashing a car because you know you were going too fast. But the thrill is too great to stop. And so the ride becomes amazing as the stakes are raised. In my cirlce, and if any of you reading this are actually in that circle because you know me in some capacity, there are people truly detached from things of intrinsic significance. I see their eminent implosion. It is evident in their brash arrogance; unaware they are going too fast, destroying friendships, and relentlessly building the scaffold for their own hanging.
It seems just when I feel things are getting close to fruition, things emerge from the shadows that stall the completion of the CD, Modern Day Socrates. I am, of course, referring to my many professional relationships with musicians and engineers that are all being pinched by tough economic times and time tables that involve other projects. And I don't expect people to set aside their own ambitions to help me exclusively with mine, but rescheduling session time does require shuffling and juggling, which indirectly stalls my progress. Essentially, if someone cancels or reschedules a session, they are delaying JVMP's progress. And that isn't cool. Luckily, I am a firm believer in Destiny and things always happen for a reason. No one can go back and change the past, but we are expected to learn from past mistakes. And that's when the drama sometimes emerges. If a musician stalls by cancelling or not returning a phone call in time to confirm session times, I take that as disrespectful. I don't expect everyone to understand that, as different people define respect differently. But the fact is, screw me once shame on you. Screw me twice, shame on me. So, no matter what excuses I hear, the end result is: lack of professionalism means you are not professional. And no one likes being called that. But I sometimes say what's on my mind and all musicians have egos, so they don't like to hear that word "unprofessional." Drama, drama, drama. Oh, well...
In an effort to bring thoughts on paper to relevance, I decided to publish a small book titled "Far From the Fields." In it I cover a wide range of topics from passion to time travel to religion. The book is currently only available through online purchase. You can send $5 (which covers shipping and handling) through Paypal to firstname.lastname@example.org. Part of the proceeds go to charities that help missing and exploited children. It's my little contribution to help save children from horrible abuses in this world. You can help me in this worthy cause by purchasing a copy today. Thanks for your support and God Bless. ~JV