This is a little deviation from the Loves serialization. Though the subject does relate.
The other night, I got roped into doing something I rarely ever endeavor. My son invited me to a “dive bar” to see him play. He had been working on creating a band to perform his music, and the never visited “hole in the wall” on a section of Ventura’s Main St, was to be ground zero for a shake down performance.
Josh Slavin is the stage name for Joshua Pu’u by the way. (People keep asking me.) I usually sort of just smirk. Hyperbole is everything.
His rather complex interpretation of music and performance was pretty much nailed in Seth Godin’s blog today. Bring me stuff that’s dead please. Josh is doing this. I was impressed when I finally figured it out.
It had been a busy week for Josh. One of our local papers, the VC reporter had done a little story on him. That sort of adds a subtle layer of pressure. Especially when one spends all of their time writing, designing, and recording, pretty much alone. Guitar lessons, vocal lessons, plying the music scene in LA. Josh had delved into most of that on his own, in pursuit of interpreting something pretty much dead.
His new band shows a lot of promise. The complexity of their music and level of performance requires the refinement of a hundred dive bar performances, but that is how a craft is honed, one swing of the axe at a time. It never was lost on me that term: “axe men” for guitarists.
The process was related to me by my friend Samuel Shoemaker, who fronts a band with his brothers, called of course, The Shoemaker Brothers. (Those lyrics say everything.) Sam told me the story of them leaving home in Washington, and playing their way across the US and back, one performance at a time, each night ending with loading their gear back into their van and moving along. Zuri Star has related similar dues paying, and craft building performance campaign tales. It is just how becoming good works, in anything: one must undergo a trial by fire. The grand test is whether it ever matters of course. That is the risk. Life is lived in a handful of moments. A career is like a fuse. Artists know this.
Here is a great NPR piece on Neil Diamond finding his music and voice.
At the end of the night, it was Josh alone in the corner of the bar. That said a lot. Because I know that for any performer, when all is said and done, it all comes back to being willing and able, to stand and deliver.
Artists are brave Mofos.
Here is the Music Video our group did for Josh and Love’s Secret Domain, for the song, “No Substitute”.
Here is a gallery of Art based branding imagery that I produced for LSD. I do a lot of this for a variety of clients and artists. It is a bit of work, but as in all creativity, when passion and inspiration rises, the hours shooting and interpreting in post seem to slip by un noticed, till at the end of the day, eyes a little gritty feeling, one swings open the door to the outside, and wow, another day in a life just passed. Glad that it mattered. Hope that is does for someone besides me.
The images were shot as we filmed the music video. The performers are Josh Slavin and Gabe Witmer.
Click on any of them to toggle through as a slide show.