DAVID: I have always had the idea in my head that I would do some solo gigs in RL. I have done some here and there and some open mics in town but never did it regularly. I didn’t have any intention of playing in a band. I always thought I would just be playing as a solo artist. I have had a few people ask me to join their band, but I was afraid to commit to too much. I thought it would be difficult to balance virtual gigs and a band.
Early April 2019, Mark Slocum, the drummer of the Juniper Hills Band emailed me and asked if I would audition for lead guitar in their band. I was close to shying away from this like before. This time I really thought of how fun it would be to play with a group. My mind went back and forth on it and I finally decided to take a chance. I texted Mark and told him I would like to audition. I found videos of the band online. I studied them like a special ops mission. Watching how they communicated while they played, and in between songs, and learning their names. I went to the audition ready to go. It went excellent. We had a great chemistry and they all voted me in the band. They were very diverse in genre much like my own style. They all sing so we all get a chance to lead songs in vocals and everyone is strong in backup vocals. It was wonderful.
With working on the band material and doing more activities in RL it started putting a stress on the music in SL. I would end up canceling gigs and my shows were dwindling down because I wasn’t investing into them. After 13 years of playing music in SL I decided to cut down to one bi-weekly regular gig and focusing the rest of my energy on the band. I enjoy still having a little bit of a connection.
HGMM: You mentioned feeling surreal when we spoke; playing some of your SL songs in RL. What is the biggest difference in playing for an SL crowd and playing for a RL crowd?
DAVID: SL is unique with it’s chat. You can see what everyone is saying in the room, and you have a certain kind of communication with them. RL, you don’t know all the conversations in the room, but you get a feel from the way people look at you, body language, the sounds they make. One thing I really like about RL is when people sing along to some songs. It’s a fantastic experience.
HGMM: I never really thought about that myself; the fact that in SL you get to "hear" what people are thinking and read conversations that only sound like bees buzzing in a RL setting.
How did SL help your music evolve?
DAVID: I played a lot of guitar when I started, but didn’t sing a whole lot. I started in an SL open mic in 2006 only knowing how to play and sing three songs. I built this up in SL. Getting the looper really added a lot of dynamic to my music creating. I gained and sharpened a lot of abilities in SL.
HGMM: Do you get nervous playing for a RL crowd?
DAVID: A little, but it is a positive nervousness that gives me energy.
HGMM: What RL venues do you play at?
DAVID: Amos’ Southend, Bulldog Beer &Wine, Olive’s Mud Puddle.
HGMM: Have you made any CD's? Where can my readers purchase your music?
DAVID: I made one in 2014 called "Time". I am overdue for a new one. "Time" was just made with layers of acoustic and vocals because of my recording limitations. Now that I play with and know many musicians, I would like to put together a CD of full band music.
|David, Kevin, Mark, JJ, William|
The Juniper Hills Band
HGMM: From all the songs you've written, which one do you love playing the most?
HGMM: What would you like to say to your fans in SL who have been listening to you play for years?
DAVID: I am still around at one venue, if you want to come see me in SL; COFFEE HOUSE but I also hope you following the band and myself on our social media sites and videos!
HGMM: What impression would you like to leave them with?
DAVID: I will always be grateful for what SL has done for my music, and I wouldn’t be in this band if it wasn’t for SL.
HGMM: What advice would you give a new musician starting out in SL just trying to get his/her music heard?
DAVID: Get to some open mics, volunteer to play at venues, get someone to record you, and get it on YouTube. Go watch other live shows and connect with other musicians, listeners, and venue managers and owners. Its one beautiful family to connect to.
HGMM: What is your ultimate goal? Where would you like to see your music take you?
DAVID: My goal is to reach my highest potential. Where that will take me, I don’t know. I envision playing more places, making more recordings.
David, it feels like a whole other life time ago when I use to host for you. I can still remember a lot of fun and laughter. As with all things; we must evolve. I am sure I speak for everyone in SL when I say that we wish you the absolute best of luck in your future musical career. There's is no doubt that you will succeed. As for the SL music family, you will always be welcomed... home. Keep reaching for your goals!