JJ's Take: Commitments are important

Comment

JJ's Take: Commitments are important

Commitments are important.  When I tell my kids something, and I have three, and they do not forget, then I have a hard time saying I'm being a quality parent if I break that commitment. Even if there's a good business reason for that decision it's a stain on my reputation as a badass dad.

My parents are badass parents.  They quickly set me up with a $75 pawn shop banjo to learn on and got me started on lessons. Macklemore would be proud.

I think that some kids just enjoy stuff. I enjoyed playing banjo. Just to play banjo. I didn't like practicing but, by golly, I liked to play. And I think that's what it takes to squeeze the sounds you want out of an instrument, or to repair an engine, or to tackle linear algebra. It takes looking at it, and identifying the next little thing you can't do yet and grinding away on that little piece until you own it in your mind and your body.  That being said, if your kid is into something so much that they set aside things like video games and playtime so that they can do that something even more, just don't let them go into debt doing it if at all possible. Support them otherwise.

Anyhow, I digress... Y'all will want to be ready for that in my blog. A sentence is no good where a paragraph will suffice. I wonder if that's related to how much I like lots of notes and very few rests.

So there I am playing banjo, and jamming with my dad playing Styx and Marshal Tucker and Jerry Jeff Walker. Listening to a lot of Pink Floyd and some Police and that sorta thing.

Then I got a banjo teacher that made possibly the most tangential impact on my playing style possible. His name was Jamie and he introduced me to the music of Bela Fleck and the Flecktones.

To be continued...

Comment

JJ's Take: I like busy music. I always have.

Comment

JJ's Take: I like busy music. I always have.

My first instrument was a banjo. I started playing around on it when I was just a wee bit older than nine, and have always found it suited my desire to make notes float and weave and drift by in little circles in front of my ears.

When I turned nine, my parents told me, "You have to pick an instrument." I immediately said, "DRUMS." Dad looked at mom. Mom knew what he was thinking. They smiled at each other.

"No." 

They told me not to rush it, and to find something that I would really enjoy. Then one morning I was eating breakfast with my parents, who listened to the local AM country station religiously. Paul Harvey's "The Rest of The Story" was playing as usual and it was always something my dad tried to catch.  This particular morning just as the radio show concluded the station played a song rather than going to commercial break.

I listened to the sounds coming out of the tiny speaker of the clock radio in the kitchen make spirals and circles and as the Flat & Scruggs classic "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" continued to tear through the air, I decided that this twang was just what I would enjoy trying to emulate. I said, "I wanna play that."

My parents looked at each other again, this time with confusion on their faces. My mom asked, "Isn't that a banjo"?

to be continued...

JJ likes to get busy.

Comment

Comment

MidCoast Takeover / SXSW (Part II)

MidCoast was nothing short of amazing! We ended Friday night with a bang and were able to do three additional songs after our set! We were able to catch SO many incredible acts before we played too. Hi-Lux was one of them! They were such a tough act to follow. 

 I want to give a huge shout to the Midwest Music Foundation and Shangri-La for facilitating the event and inviting us to play! 

 Also as mentioned earlier, Kadesh Flow (our Trombonist) had a Nerdcore performance on Saturday and invited Kemet the Phantom, our male lead, to perform. Here are some pics of that as well as some other shots from the weekend!

upload.jpg

Clifford holding down sound check

upload.jpg

Kemet and Kadesh after Nerdcore showcase at SXSW

Comment

On the way to Austin for Midcoast Takeover / SXSW

1 Comment

On the way to Austin for Midcoast Takeover / SXSW

First off, hi! This is officially our first blog post. We are very excited about the chance to engage with our fans in more ways than we've done in the past. 

We are currently driving through Oklahoma City driving to Austin, TX to perform at the MidCoast Takeover which is an unofficial SXSW showcase put on by the Midwest Music Foundation. We will arrive in Austin around 6AM and will have to find something to do for several hours before we can reset and check in at our hotel. All good! In the van is Danny, Kim, JJ and Kemet (me). 

Kadesh(Trombone) has been at SXSW since Monday (lucky him!). He's been telling about all the cool shit that's happening down there. hes chance huge networking opportunity for us to have a chance to rep KC in one of the biggest unofficial showcases during SXSW.

our Trumpet player, Lawrence, and our drummer Ashley are driving down together. Ashley is driving back to KC pretty much after we perform so he needed to drive separately. Lawrence actually got in today from like Toyko. He's that big of a deal!

The drive down has been great so far. We have been playing our favorite tunes and overall this is kind of a vacation for us that allows us to bond more and take time to enjoy each other outside of a work capacity.

Kemet, our lead male vocalist, has a solo performance at Midcoast as well on Friday night. The Phantastics play at Midnight Friday/sat morning. We are headlining the night. What an amazing opportunity. This gig typically doesn't pay a whole lot, but we love the opportunity to perform outside of our immediate network. 

That's it for now! Check back later for more updates.

The Phantastics-

1 Comment