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Boston: Video Game Music and 8 Year-Old Shredders


This weekend was definitely one to remember. I lived the last 4 years of my life in Boston, MA but this is the first time I've been there with no intention of being at a school in any capacity. I now treasure that adult feeling of walking around knowing I'm there for business and pleasure instead the responsibilities that come with seeking graduation. Playing music with people I like is a joy I've had all throughout my music life, but cool part about life now is that most people will pay you to play with your friends. When I first thought about that I just started laughing. I feel so blessed to do what I really like to do, with my friends, receive payment for it, and have every time I do so be an opportunity to do it another time in another place with new friends. Musician life is crazy.

For the Music For Video Games Workshop at Berklee this weekend, the Video Game Orchestra was asked to provide a string quintet and a rhythm section for the recording sessions of student projects. The session leader for the Weekend was Wataru Hokoyama, a killer composer, fellow coffee addict and all around great guy. We've worked with him before playing a piece of his for a VGO concert and it was so good to see him again and to work alongside a musician of his creativity and professionalism. We also worked with Go Shiina, another Japanese composer, famous for his work in Tales of Legendia, Tekken and Mr. Driller, and got to read a piece he'd written for an upcoming game. I could talk up how cool that was, but I'll spare you the nerd-out session.

Last night the Hot Mugs came up and we headlined a show at the Middle East Downstairs, playing to mostly my friends from VGO and church. It was an especially fun show for me because of that, even though I had problem after problem with my gear (no worries, it's fixed). But one of the highlights of the night for everyone was having this 8 year old kid melt our faces off:



No joke this little guy was the best guitarist there, hands down. We were all amazed, envious and proud at the same time. It was an honor to hear him play; I hope he goes far.

Well, I'm spending the rest of the day in Boston while the rest of the band headed back to Connecticut this afternoon. I'll meet up with them in the morning for our all day rehearsal. The longest time away from home is about to begin! Starting Wednesday we will be our for exactly one month. Much to come!

Jon
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NYC (electric show) - The Alphabet Lounge

Late start today due to my 11pm bus ride back to Boston from New York last night; got in at 3am. : / But all is well. : D

We rocked the house down last night in Alphabet City. It was a good thing we did too because the ears of guitar legend Gene Cornish of
The Rascals were checking us out! He's not too well know now a days but he was inducted into the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame in 97'. We knew he was gonna be there so we really tried to put on a special show, and I think we succeeded.


He came up to us after the show and was very complementary and talked to Tucker for quite a while. I don't know if anything will come of this, but I do know he's trying to get back into the business somehow... cross your fingers.

The Alphabet Lounge itself is a small club with a really long bar that spans the length of the 30 yard deep building. Its cozy and could be fairly intimate, if it weren't for the cockroaches, loud experimental techno bands, and lack of air conditioning; that stuff just makes it sticky.

I'm back in Boston right now for Berklee's Music For Video Games Workshop: a industry-minded immersive program in which students write and record scored music for video games with the help of active video game composers. A group that I'm a member of, the Video Game Orchestra is supplying all of the session musicians for student recordings that will happen this weekend. It will be an epic weekend as we reunite with award-winning composer Wataru Hokoyama, a special guest professor for the program as well as one of VGO's past guest conductors.

Sunday night the rest of the Hot Mugs are coming up to Boston for our show at the Middle East Downstairs in Cambridge (472 Mass. Ave, 10pm) so I'll be making bass noise all over the city this weekend. I'll be back with pics from the workshop.

Peace, love and good happiness stuff,
Jon
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NYC - Angels & Kings (acoustic show)

I'm really starting to like playing in New York. This is the 3rd time we've come down to play from Connecticut and last night was no shift from the usual fun we have down here.

Angels & Kings is at 11th st. & Ave. A, in East Village. Monday's at A&K are acoustic nights, so from 7pm - 4am bands promote their electric shows with special chilled out sets and singer-songwriters try out new songs for warm, cheering crowds. The small street-level club had a strong sense of community; it seemed like everyone there had friends around them. The man-den vibe was heavy with it's dark red walls, goth-y lighting and projection of the movie ScarFace on the back wall. One of the more distinguishing characteristics of A&K is the miscellany of celebrity mug shots all around the club. James Brown, Kid Rock, Frank Sinatra and Jimi Hendrix were some of my favorites. But seriously, the coolest part was this:

Taylor (drums), Tucker (Vox, guitar), David (keys), Austin (road haus), Blake (guitar), Kenny (merch/other), myself (bass). Hopefully that's the closest we get to real mug shots this summer.
: /

I always say that we met a bunch of cool people, but last night was no exception. The promoter was cool, the sound guy and his photographer girlfriend were awesome, the bands showed up early and listened to us, bar tender was the man; all around we were in A-class company last night.




I loved the vibe so much I want to go back and play more often. It's especially nice playing to crowds that listen to your lyrics as well as the rest of the music. They listen with more thoughtfulness, and the club provides the intimacy necessary for that kind of listening.

Off to rehearse for a couple days before we're back in the city to play at the Alphabet Lounge on Thursday! I'm thinking a day trip for fun on thursday... Also! This is exciting. I'm going back up the Boston for the weekend to play sessions and a show with the Video Game Orchestra! I've missed them, it's gonna be a good time to see all my Boston-peeps. More details to come on this weekend, but for now up up and away to the rehearsal barn. swoosh

...Jon
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Hamden, CT - The Space

The other day Wii Fit said my fitness age was 33... that's not cool. So after I pwn'd some Wii Fit and took a swim this afternoon, I thought I'd share with you guys how last night went!


Awesome turnout in Hamden! It was great to see all of the wonderful people who support the music out there. The Space is a cool all ages basement club attached to a vintage arcade and record shop above it. It's a really popular venue for local bands, so we saw some very impressive and some not-so-impressive music last night. It has a great owner, Steve, who is the nicest guy.


We were in between the two local acts and the two headliners, and that's typically the best spot, so were stoked about that! Overall a great night for us. A fan last night gave us a video of our set so I thought I'd share a clip with you. Enjoy!

video

Jon
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Off-day Fun

Blake (g), Taylor (d), and Austin (road assistant) each have a natural affinity towards fire arms. Since real firearms are completely out of the question while we're touring, they settled for the next best thing last night.
Personally I've never seen a fully automatic airsoft gun before but I have to say, I've never seen plastic bottles fall down so fast, haha. They can't bring them on the road but I guarantee you the guys found their new favorite past time when back here in Connecticut.

This afternoon we're off to Hamden, CT to perform at the Space. See you guys later!

Jon
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On the road... sorta.

So we had a couple shows get cancelled on us the last two days, bummer man. Danbury last night and Boston tonight. We were especially looking forward to our Boston show because the whole band knows so many good friends up there. There's already talk of it being rescheduled, so we are keeping our hopes up that we make it back up there to see everyone and play some music. In the meantime we're getting ready for Hamden, CT tomorrow night and Wayne, NJ on Saturday. Really happy to see our Hamden fans tomorrow and excited to make a debut in NJ.

I'm gonna go rehearse for a bit and then take a nap in the beautiful North-Eastern sun. :D
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Allentown, PA - Crocodile Rock

Greetings Internets!

We're in the van right now on our way back from Allentown. Austin, our trusty helping hand on this tour, is controlling the iPod and he's on a 311, Incubus, Chili Peppers kick right now, which is A-Okay with me. So as we groove to 311's "Love Song", I thought I'd tell you guys how the past 24 hours have been.

We were in great musical company last night at the Crocodile Rock VIP room in Allentown, Pennsylvania. The other bands, such as
Abel, My Arcadia, and RoseDale, kicked butt. Everybody brought a really polished show with them. Due to some booking/promotion mixups there were a whole lot of people there, but with 6 bands present for the night, all the bands had a lot of fun enjoying each other's music and talking one-on-one (you don't always get the freedom to do that). Kevin (of the band Abel) and I had a great conversation after our sets just talking about life on the road. We ended up knowing some of the same people out in the midwest (were I hail from)!

I was happy with our set, it was short but we came out swinging. We've been sticking with a very similar song set, so for fear of becoming redundant, I'm not gonna post it again. :D Pennsylvania I guess had been having a humidity spell, so even though it was beautiful out last night, the venue itself was incredibly hot. But you know, performances always feel better when you're dripping in sweat; you really feel like you giving the world something of worth their time.

After the show we spent a good portion of the evening at a local diner chatting it up with some old friends of Tucker's who had come out to see the show. So, an Impressive night of music and friendship, new and old, all around.

Today and tomorrow are off days, so we'll be rehearsing and getting some other stuff done, then off to Boston on thursday! Happy tuesday everybody, talk to you soon,

Jon
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NYC - The Studio @ Webster Hall

Last night was so fun. We were on the bill with Under the Elephant, My Pet Dragon, and Zach Hurd. Really nice crowd; just a bunch of people looking to have a good time. The Studio at Webster Hall is a basement venue underneath a bigger dance club, known for it's cool underground music scene. I heard that lots of the Brooklyn dancy-jam bands play there quite often. We played great, and that was a big plus because the TJ & the Hot Mugs producer, Kiyanu Kim of 3PMusic Productions was there. I had never met him before, but now I totally understand why the rest of the guys respect him so much. He had a lot of good things to say about our performance and some really helpful criticisms for us. Such a neat guy too.

And now to guest-star for a few lines, here's a few words from our Keys/Guitar/Vox/anything else we need him to play guy, David Sollee:

"I thought we had an awesome show! Jon and I were breaking it down and groovin' the whole set. I feel that the vibe was the best we've had so far. There is a light at the end of the tunnel and it is becoming clearer and clearer every time we play. Look out world here come The Hot Mugs!"

Thanks David! Alright, rehearsal in a few minutes, and after that, we're taking it easy the rest of the day. Tomorrow, Allentown, PA!

Jon
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Lynbrook, NY - The Purple Frog

The Purple Frog in Lynbrook, NY was such a good show. We were on fire. Here's the set list from last night:

Train Tracks
One Night
Charlotte (Don't Be a Bitch)
Summer of Dreams
Turn Around
Get High
Summer Whine
Last Train Home
I Don't Give a Damn

We met some really cool people, some good bands. Shout out to Mina Attella from Infiction! We had a great time chatting and watching The Still Life late into the evening. We found a sick hibachi place around the corner from The Purple Frog and ate like kings before the time came to load in and rock out. We rocked out HARD. I almost fell over once or twice and we had so much energy that stage looked realllll small. Even though it already was, haha. There's nothing like local bar to show what your made of. Bars like the one we played last night are the battle grounds where we prove our wits, courage and balls and, in return, claim our rights to be rock stars. lml

We're really looking forward to playing in the city tonight. New York City is such a fun city to play in. It always feels like an adventure.

8pm @ The Studio @ Webster Hall; 3rd Ave. & 11th if you're in NYC tonight! The bill tonight is loaded with really good bands tonight. We're excited to be humbled by great music all night.

Happy Saturday to you all! See you in NY!

Jon
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Litchfield, CT - Ditto's

Good start to the summer last night! Crazy drive out to Ditto's in Litchfield, CT. We could only take backroads because A. there weren't any major highways, B. we had bad directions and C. we had a spotty navigation system. Off to a great start in that department, haha. Oh well. We'll work that out.

Ditto's in Litchfield, CT has sick cabin vibe with two cool carved wooden statues outside. They look like guardians of the sacred bar/pizza place of Litchfield. Great pizza, beer and a really nice staff. The inside looked like a log cabin with a giant stone fireplace in the middle. The walls were coated with hundreds of old vinal album covers from the 50s & 60s. We had to drag our PA out there, so that was kind of a bummer, but it was a good first show. Tucker called a few tunes not in the set list and we rolled with it nicely; we've gotten tight pretty fast! It's easy when you have great songs to play. The Celtics game was on during the first set, so we had more people in the second set. Our guitar player, Blake, said it was a good game though; I couldn't see the tv. Jealous? Yes.

Tonight we're in Long Island, NY! A bar called 'The Purple Frog' out near Lynbrook. No PA this time. :D

Getting along great with everyone. Expecting a good show tonight. See you guys around!

Jon
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So It Begins!

Hello Internets! My name's Jon.

This is a blog dedicated to recording all my experiences this summer as a touring musician. I just joined a band call Tucker Jameson & the Hot Mugs. It's been a lot of fun rehearsing with them and getting the music ready, but now it begins! We start our tour tonight in a bar called Ditto's in Litchfield, CT. It's gonna be a great summer and I look forward to recording it all here.

I'll be doing some other gig and recording stuff this summer, so I'll be keeping track of all that here too.

Here's all the ways you can hang out with me online: