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CBGB’s

hey again. i am three and o for the journals so far. i’m doing my best to keep you entertained and informed. it is the end of a very long day. we rolled into the city early. early enough for me to rip large shreds of rubber out of one of our rear trailer tires while trying to park on Bowery. awesome. that makes three days in a row. the tire was still holding air, but t insisted on changing it. he’s was probably right in doing so. i always knock him for worrying excessively about little things, but there are always little things going wrong on me that may have been prevented if i had his mentality. i suppose that’s one of the great parts about being in a band–the checks and balances.

then we had a great soundcheck, thanks to Randy, the greatest sound guy in the world (Fuel, Collective Soul, etc.), and went do dinner.

the show was cool. we played 40 minutes or so, mostly new songs, for a pretty full house, and of course all you internet junkies watching the live stream. we really enjoyed reading the commentary over at the message baords. thanks for being there in spirit. it was so great to be at CB’s again. that is the greatest sounding room in the world. it’s so rock. hopefully we’ll be back within a few months.

after the show, we went out to a club. they let me walk right in, but everyone else was haulted at the door. i didn’t realize it until after i was inside, but it was gay night. i’m not making this up. i suppose they let me in because i look more gay. eventually they all made it through, and T got his butt grabbed on the way. we didn’t stay long, but it was awfully entertaining being there.

i’ll leave you with some photos from the show. i am dead tired.
take care

joe




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nothings and something

another day, another problem with the van. we forgot to turn the light in the trailer off last night, so there was no juice left in the battery today. we talked two lawn care guys at the hotel into giving us a jump. (thanks lawn care guys! hope to see you at the show this weekend.) so that wasn’t really so bad. just set us back a couple hours, and for a day off, being late for something you’re not really “scheduled” to do is no big deal. as a side note–for the last month or so, starting the van has been a two-person operation. one guy has to jiggle the battery cable, while the other guy turns the key. you can’t do it yourself. impossible. unless you had 8 foot long arms. the cable is loose and dirty, and we just haven’t had the motivation or equipment (the right sized wrench) to fix it. we suck. on top of that, the antennae doesn’t like to go up or down anymore. it just makes a loud, deep, scratchy sound for thirty seconds whenever someone attempts to turn on the van. at first, it was startling. now, it’s almost cute.

as i sort of said yesterday, there are always more important things to worry about. or at least, more things to worry about.

so during our day off, Travis, Aaron and i went to NYC to walk around for a while and catch up with some old friends. it was SO cool to be in new york again. if i wasn’t in this band, i would be making art in a 5×5 foot roach-infested studio apartment somewhere in soho. we didn’t really do much today. mainly just walked around looking at crazy people and weird things, feeling like grown-up’s, talking about nothings and somethings.

meanwhile, T and Sam were at Dave’s house to eating his food and play his kids’ video games. they ate meatloaf. i don’t know what they played. Dave is the owner of the Sterling. He rocks. Dave makes our world go round. at least, while we’re in the eastern U.S. i can’t wait to play the Sterling this weekend. but first, tomorrow is CBGB’s! i hope we play well.

maybe we’ll see you in new york. and if not, don’t forget about the webcast at www.cbgb.com. we need your moral support.

everyone is asleep but me. just finished some peanut butter and crackers and a banana. i am smoking a cigarette, glowing from the laptop, listening to breathing from the beds, in and out, in and out, getting very sleepy…

sweet dreams

joe

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Recover

We are home again.
The last few days have been so much fun. Here’s a few good stories.

So we went to WZZO in Allentown and did a live interview/performance the other day. It was short; T and i answered a few questions and played “Normal Life” acoustic. When the song was over, Chris Line (the DJ) began clapping. As he was the only one participating, he said “c’mon guys, you can clap for yourselves.” And we did. What happened next will live forever in infamy as an ongoing inside joke at band practice and on the road. Sam, who had been silent for the entire interview and performance, in a moment of completely uncalculated sam-like spontaneity, exclaimed

“Those guys are f***ing sweet!”.  I can think of a hundred scenarios where the
f-word is inappropriate–at a wedding, at a funeral, when you’re around five year olds, when you ARE five years old, when you’re having dinner with the in-laws, et cetera, et cetera. In case you weren’t aware, you can put “when you’re live on the radio” near the top of that list.

The control room fell absolutely silent for a moment, turning slowly into nervous laughter and jokes. As embarassing as it was at the time, we had a good laugh about it for the rest of the trip.

The shows in Allentown were big events, filled with memorable moments. Kevin from Fuel came out to see us! (and all of our mutual friends) That was so flattering and nice. He’s a cool dude. I know there’s a picture of him and Sam floating around somewhere. I’ll get it up here when i snag it.

The Sterling is kind of a family business. It has that Cheers (the tv show) sort of vibe–everyone is cool, friendly, polite, and helpful.

In the day, when the bar was closed during soundcheck, we spent some of our time with Dave, the owner, and his family and extened family:

little Matthew and his favorite chair

little Matthew and his favorite chair

auditioning new drummers

auditioning new drummers

Our last night at the Sterling ended in the Karaoke bar with Sam and Aaron (separated at birth) singing the timeless “Fortunate Son” by Credence Clearwater Revival. I love this photo:

We ended up with tons of great shots from the last few days. Here’s a few from Allentown, all taken by Aaron and Mary:

Last night in Cleveland was a good time too. We were happy to see some familiar faces, and again, some people who drove from faraway cities, as far
as Detroit to make it out. Unfortunately, we got caught in a snowstorm on our way through Pennsylvania yesterday and missed soundcheck, but it all came together nicely and ended up being a cool night. In addition to the regular set, we played Blue, Meteor Flower, and some new stuff, something we’ve never had time to do at a Cleveland show before.

Okay i’m done. I am going to spend tonight  recovering and relaxing. This week i’ll try and get a new image gallery
together. Thanks to everyone who’s been taking and submitting photos.

talk to you soon.

joe

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We love Memphis

I am so depressed. I’ve lost the digital camera.

let’s have a moment of silence.

in the last 24 hours, we took some really great photos of some really interesting things, but the camera is missing. i had it an hour ago, but now, i do not. Brock, our interm bassist, just had a wonderful idea: we’re enlisting the artistic genius that is Sam Dobrozsi, our drummer, to help you visualize today’s adventures.

we arrived in Memphis last night, around 1:00 or so. to help make me sleepy, T played me some Bach on the guitar:

T and i tried to sleep for three hours, and woke up around 6am to head to Channel 3. We performed “normal life” and “meteor flower” acoustic on the show. Also on the show was an Irish step dancing troop, mostly girls, between 4 and 15 years old.

One of the girls, Meghan, began smiling and nodding her head upon hearing “normal life”. i found out later that she and her mom were familiar with the song because of 94.1 the Buzz. Meghan asked for an autograph and a photo, and was so nice, that we decided earlier today that she should be included in tonight’s journal. So we took a picture with our camera too:

hilariously bad drawing of a little girl

Alex and April, the hosts of Live at 9 from Peabody Place, were exceptionally nice and cool about everything. Before we left, we snagged a great shot of T and i at the news desk, flanked by Alex and April:

Terrible rendering of a news desk and news anchors

T and i headed back to the hotel and slept for a few hours before soundcheck. On the way, we heard “normal life” on the radio. It was cool.

The show was a ton of fun, as shows usually are in memphis. We were happy to see some new faces as well as some people we met at the Hard Rock show we did down here in December.

All in all, it was a good set, despite some “technical” problems (as in jumping a

little too high off the drum riser, thus botching the landing). But the crowd was friendly, our friends from the Buzz were out in full force, and a good time was had by all. Here’s a shot from the stage:

Sam drawing of a crowd with hot chicks

We just got back to the hotel, and i am tired beyond description. I promise that if we ever find the camera, i’ll put the real photos up too. not that sam’s interpretations don’t do them justice…but just for history’s sake.

Tomorrow, we’re getting up and driving to St. Louis.
goodnight

joe

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Michigan

Hey there. last night was an awesome night for us. We reunited with our friends Nine Days, and played a solid set for an extremely energetic crowd in Mt. Pleasant Michican. We were happy to see people singing along and getting into it. Here a composite of the photos of the crowd i took from the stage
(click photo for larger image):

click for larger image
Look how happy everyone is! Must’ve been the balloon. If you’re one of these fun-loving people who came out and made us feel so comfortable, thanks.

Now for an account of our day. The drive was uneventful (i slept), and upon arriving in Mt. Pleasant, we took our usual extra half-hour finding the place (i slept).

Here’s the venue at around 4:00pm:

After load-in, i embarked on what turned out to be an hour long search for coffee, while the guys played two-hand-touch football with John and Brian from Nine Days:

Thanks so much to Eric Stewart, my good friend/videographer/photographer/recording engineer/stage hand/etc. for coming along and taking these.

Later, after sound-check, Sam decided to wreak some havoc in Nine Days’ dressing room. While they were out, he put around fifty little signs on everything in their room, saying things like “JFK’s Dressing Room”, “JFK’s Table Only”, “July For Kings Iron: sorry, you’ll have to deal with wrinkles”
and on and on. Here’s a peak at the end result:

While we were performing, Nine Days came to our room, opened the windows, turned the air conditioning on full-blast, and dragged two enormous fans into our room. The joke of course, was that they were our “biggest fans”, and our
room was about 10 degrees when we got off stage:

We also received the Nine Days computer virus:

As i’ve said before, in most bands, acting stupid and childish is a part of daily life. Sound-check lasts about an hour, our time on stage is usually under an hour, and we’ve got to do something to entertain ourselves the other 95% of the time:

While i enjoy posting about random events off-stage, i know you may be more interesting in the actual show. Here’s one of my favorites:


And another:

We’ve got some more great shots where those came from. I think i’m going to save them for a new image gallery. Hopefully that’ll be up in a few days. I think i want to start doing smaller galleries, and updating them more often, rather
than waiting for photos to accumulate and posting enormous ones.

thanks for reading.
joe

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July For Kings 2002 Moments

Well that does it. At midnight, 2002 will be over. It was a great year for us. We finally got to release a single and an album on a major record label. For my whole life, that has been my big dream. So from here on out, i’ve got to start working at other dreams. Some of those are band related, some are not. While i wouldn’t say that i have any resolutions, do have some new dreams and a new perspective on certain aspects of my life. I won’t bore you with that. Suffice it to say, that 2002 was a milestone for me, and i’m looking forward to 2003.

I have a decent computer once again, and i’m finally able to look at all the photos we’ve taken on our digital camera over the last few months. Being the end of the year and all, i thought i would share a few of our more interesting moments on the road.

We now know, that being on tour involves three main things: traveling, goofing off, and playing music. Sounds fun, eh?

I’m going to dedicate the next few pages on this journal to the goofing off and traveling. You can see more of the playing music part in the image gallery (soon to be updated), or at a live show.

This is Travis with the device that enables us to freeze moments in time, for use on this website:

Our first moment is from the day we got our July For Kings baseball hats. None of us have ever been in a band with their own baseball hats before. Come to think of it, most of us haven’t even been in another band. But that’s beside the point. This was at a diner somewhere on the You Saw It First Tour. We thought posting photos of each of us wearing the new hat would be an excellent way to spark enthusiasm for it, and increase website sales. Check it out:

Want one? Didn’t think so. If you just focus on the hat, and forget about us for a moment, you might reconsider. Should that happen, click here.

When we’re not goofing off or playing music, this is me:

Here i sit answering e-mail, and trying to keep you coming back to this website. The laptop comes into the hotel room every night. Near my suitcase is a box of Triscuts, yet another vital part of being on the road.

Speaking of food… At first glance, the photo above may seem like an ordinary shot of Jason ordering a tuna sandwich. Look again. There i am, sitting on the counter of the deli, playing guitar. This was at a college commons during the You Saw It First tour. The deli had just closed. We asked the women if they would re-open (we were very hungry). And as they noticed our guitar cases, they said yes, if we would play them a song. The guys put in their sandwich orders as T and i proceeded to play “Normal Life” in its entirety to the women at the counter, as several confused students tried to enjoy their meals.


(We were hungry…)

“…i just wanna live a normal life”


“Swiss or American?”


“get a fast car…”

These sorts of strange things always happen when there’s not a camera around. That time we were very lucky.

Next is a shot of Travis’s suitcase in our trailer. Notice the belt falling out of it. Upon picking it up, stuff would always fly out of it. Often Travis spent an extra five minutes in the hotel parking lot, gathering up all his lost clothes. We always got a kick out of it. I think (i hope) he was given a new one for Christmas. Sam once said, “your suitcase is so f**ked up you need opening instructions on it.”

This is us drinking a bottle of not-so-cheap champagne in Ft. Wayne Indiana. It was given to us at the CD Release party in Cincinnati as a gift. Here we are celebrating a few nights later with JR from Dishwalla. The release of the album was easily one of the best moments of 2002 for me.

*** This is in no way an endorsement of the consumption of alcoholic beverages. I just figured if you can listen to a song called “Champagne”, seeing a couple photos of champagne being enjoyed by responsible adults in a safe environment, in the spirit of friendship and celebration isn’t going to hurt you. With that said, please be responsible this New Year’s Eve, and whenever you drink.

T goofing off. (note: T only wishes he was a drummer; he plays guitar and cello in the band.)

Below is Sam and T showing off T’s Adam Duritz autograph (on his arm). We’re fans of The Counting Crows, and were psyched to play with them in Phoenix. Sam and T were even more psyched about meeting them.

Our last July For Kings memory of 2002 will always be the big show at Bogart’s in Cincinnati. Unfortunately, the shots from the stage were blurry… But you get the idea. Here’s to all of you in the photo, and our friends everywhere, who helped make this year an awesome one for us.

Cheers and happy new year!

with love,

Joe, Sam, Travis, T, and Jason
July For Kings

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Too Much Rock for One Stage

We have had an awfully bizzare evening. It’s going on 2am now; we’re back at the hotel.

Clifton Park is a nice enough town, and Northern Lights is an awesome club, but given the short notice on the gig and the lack of promotion and/or radio play in this area, the crowd was a little … thin. Now i’ve never made it a habbit to point out our shortcomings and/or failures on the website. We try and keep it positive here. But for once, i’m going to stray from that philosophy in saying that it is now apparent that we have very few fans in the Albany, NY area. Or at least, few that were aware of or were able to make it to the show. Or maybe it’s just that they have an aversion to concerts? If you know someone in Albany who likes to rock, this would be the perfect time to call ’em up or e-mail them to direct them to www.julyforkings.com.

Moving on. In the usual manner, we took the stage and played most of the set. Then during Start Again, in a moment of rock and roll frenzy, something startling happened. Something amazing. Something unlike anything i have ever witnessed at a July For Kings show (and i’ve been to ALL of them).

Jason fell off the stage.

You may be asking “why does that sentence get it’s own paragraph?”. Very simple–it was perhaps the most painful, dramatic looking fall i have ever seen. While raising his guitar, shaking his head, and just generally rocking out, his feet became entangled. He fell backwards, put out his hands, twisted around, and did a nose dive, bass and all, over the monitors and face first onto the concrete floor, a good five feet below. The whole room turned to slow motion. We gasped, we stared, we fumbled with our instruments. And for a second, i could have sworn he was dead. I thought “oh my god. Start Again just killed Jason. How are we going to explain this?” After the longest bar and a half we’ve ever played, he rose, reclaimed the stage, and strapped on another bass. That, my friends, is rock and roll.

Jason asked me a few minutes ago, “Joe, you’re not going to put that on the journal are you? i already feel like an idiot. i don’t want to feel like more of one.” I said “yeah, i’ll put it up, but i’ll spin it as being totally rock and roll. Too much rock for one stage.”
And it’s true: Jason Morgan is too much rock for one stage.

As if that wasn’t enough excitement for one evening, on the way home, we got stuck in some ice. I made a wrong turn. By now, we all know, that being on the road in a band requires an average of one hour per day of being lost. Granted, we weren’t really lost–just missed a turn. But to ensure that we met our daily quota of one(1) wasted hour, i pulled the three-ton vehicle onto the icy shoulder of a new york country road. The front of the van is sticking out into the lane, and cars are flying by at about 80mph, swerving to miss the front of the van and the oncoming traffic. Sam’s yelling “Help me direct traffic! Somebody go to the other side!”, while Travis and T are putting all sorts of things under the stuck tires. Rocks, wood, the passenger side floor mat… Eventually the four of them successfuly pushed it free, and we were moving.

I told Travis that i wouldn’t be surprised if upon our arrival, the hotel caught fire. He says “At least it would be warm”.
I hope things are good with you guys. Hope to see some of you in Cincinnati on the 26th.

take care!

Joe

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Aglow

Hey guys!
Well, we’re a few days into the You Saw It First Tour. The other bands rule. Kaazer is rap metal (without the break stuff mentality. And they even BREAK DANCE during their set), Carbondale is straight up pop/rock, and Kill Hannah is melodic goth. Needless to say, it’s a pretty eclectic show, but i think we fit nicely somewhere in between. The show in Alabama was fun. It was outdoor, next to a big lake. At nightfall, a thick haze fell over the lake, reflecting the lights from the stage. The sky was aglow, the music was loud, the evening was good.

We just arrived at our hotel in Tampa, Florida. Travis is doing laundry, most everyone else is passed out. We’ve had a hell of a day. Yesterday morning, T and i played acoustic for 99X and Star in Atlanta, then we had load in, sound check, and a show at Smith’s Olde Bar. The show went really well. Ed and Dean from Collective Soul came out with their friends to see us. We were extremely flattered. Ed stole one of my cigarettes while i wasn’t around. (Ed, if you’re reading this–i know what you did last night. you owe me, buddy.) As you may recall, we toured with Collective Soul briefly a year or two ago, and they’ve always been great to us.

Anyway, after the show, we had to drive all night to Tampa for this morning’s radio thing (actually, Jason and Travis drove so T and i would be able to sit up straight enough to play…). If there’s one thing we’re learning about being on the road, it’s that it’s tiring…but a ton of fun. Tonight, i think we’re just going to go chill on the beach. Maybe eat some seafood and take a walk.

I hope you are well. I’ll write again soon.

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NYC

hey there. It’s now nearing 4am; T and i just got back to the hotel from our last night out in NYC. We’ve been out here for a week doing some promotional interviews, acoustic performances, et cetera. It’s been nuts. Basically, every two hours or so we’ve been moving to another building to do another thing. Tomorrow we’re going home. On our way, we’ll do one more interview/performance for the Rock Show with Chris Line in Pennsylvania. It’s been a blast. It’s always sad to leave new york

Being VMA week and all, we had the opportunity to meet some pretty interesting people, including Pink, Christina Aguilera, Ice-T, Heather Matarazzo, and P. Diddy’s mom. I’ll leave you with some pics from our adventures.

Joe and TJ with Pink

Joe talks with Christina Aguilera

Joe and T with Actress Heather Matarazzo

Joe and T sitting

too rock for one hand

after standing in the rain to catch this taxi

TJ with Sean P Diddy Puff Daddy Combs' Mom

Joe and T with rapper Ice-T

Take care!  joe

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