Hey River James friends! Thought you might like to know that Vince has started a tumblr blog and you can check it out here - http://iamvintz.tumblr.com.
It’s officially 2012. And I’m excited. And I’m nervous. I have a feeling and it’s telling me that this year is gonna be special and very different than any year before it. As I think back over the last 12 months that River James has been actively playing recording and playing shows, we’ve had the privilege to meet and interact with so many awesome folks! And that, for me, has been the biggest highlight. We’ve gotten to share our music and inspiration with you, and have received so much more inspiration in return. Thank you sooo much!
Ok, since it’s already 2012, the 2011 ‘best of’ list seems a little inappropriate. But i’ll be honest. I wrote this list last week, and was planning to post it yesterday. But my day didn’t go exactly as planned, and I never got a chance to get to my computer. So here goes… a little late (which isn’t really that surprising to anyone who’s ever made plans with me). My top 10 most memorable musical moments of 2011, as I think about the many more to come in the new year:
- January & February - entering a humble little studio, a stones throw from the James River in Southern Virginia, and recording the River James EP with my three pals Tyler, Jacob, and Scoops
- Getting acquainted with a really cool town called Nashville and the people who live there during the month of May, when we did a residency at Springwater Supper Club.
- Driving the country roads with Tyler, outside of Nashville, shooting footage out of the back of the RJ van for the EP Teaser video. (And almost getting shot by a local who wasn’t happy that we’d driven up his neighbor’s driveway! Exciting, right?)
- Spending 3 days at the vacation home of a friend in the mountains of Western North Carolina, where we hung out, rehearsed, wrote, and scouted out local waterfalls.
- After scouting, we shot our first music video with the help of a mere tripod and some amazing scenery.
- Heading out on the road for a summer tour with Jack’s Mannequin.
- Favorite night of that tour for me may have been New Orleans. After an amazing show, we got a private tour of rooftop garden/residence of the House Of Blues, by Mama T, who owns the building.
- Scoops had an unfortunate run-in with an angry insect which landed him in the hospital. But being the champion that Scoops is, he was discharged in the early afternoon and played the show that evening at Greenfield Lake Ampitheater in Wilmington, NC. He was the hero!
- A very special early morning performance at Grow Interactive in Norfolk, VA. It’s a really cool company with an amazing work-space. It was a magical moment, and who knew rock n roll could be that good, that early in the morning!
- A killer evening at Jewish Mother in Norfolk, VA with our friend Ross Froehlich from 96X. He gave us a lot of love this past year and we’re very grateful.
Happy New Year! Please stay tuned for news about new music and new horizons in the very near future. It’s gonna be a good year and I’m so happy to have anyone who is reading this, no matter where you are, as a part of the fam. xo. - Vintz
Here’s a prayer I can get down with on the 10th anniversary of 9/11. Blessings to all… O God of love, compassion, and healing, We ask you, in your compassion We are mindful as well God of peace, bring your peace to our violent world: God of understanding, Comfort and console us, —Pope Benedict XVI
look on us, people of many different faiths
who gather today at this site,
the scene of incredible violence and pain.
We ask you in your goodness
to give eternal light and peace
to all who died here—
the heroic first-responders:
our fire fighters, police officers,
emergency service workers, and
Port Authority personnel,
along with all the innocent men and women who were victims of this tragedy
simply because their work or service
brought them here on September 11, 2001.
to bring healing to those
who, because of their presence here that day,
suffer from injuries and illness.
Heal, too, the pain of still-grieving families
and all who lost loved ones in this tragedy.
Give them strength to continue their lives
with courage and hope.
of those who suffered death, injury, and loss
on the same day at the Pentagon and in
Our hearts are one with theirs
as our prayer embraces their pain and suffering.
peace in the hearts of all men and women
and peace among the nations of the earth.
Turn to your way of love
those whose hearts and minds
are consumed with hatred.
overwhelmed by the magnitude of this tragedy,
we seek your light and guidance
as we confront such terrible events.
Grant that those whose lives were spared
may live so that the lives lost here
may not have been lost in vain.
strengthen us in hope,
and give us the wisdom and courage
to work tirelessly for a world
where true peace and love reign
among nations and in the hearts of all.
Prayer at Ground Zero
New York, 20 April 2008
Here’s a prayer I can get down with on the 10th anniversary of 9/11. Blessings to all…
O God of love, compassion, and healing,
We ask you, in your compassion
We are mindful as well
God of peace, bring your peace to our violent world:
God of understanding,
Comfort and console us,
—Pope Benedict XVI
In my experience, some interviews are really awkward. Others are boring. And once in a while, they go pretty well with good questions, and cohesive answers from us, the band :). I wanted to share one of those latter interviews we recently did backstage at The National in Richmond, VA, while we were on tour with Jack’s Mannequin. Our interviewers were Rag V & The Jive, a really cool student run radio show from VCU in Richmond, who have been really supportive of us. So thanks to them, and enjoy!
Keep dreaming, friends..
It’s amazing what can happen in just one week. But when you’re on tour, life isn’t normal. Many more things than are supposed to occur in one’s life, seem to congregate in that week. And so it ends up feeling more like 6 months..
We just arrived home from a week on the road with the band Jack’s Mannequin. What a great time, the band and crew were super sweethearts to us. Great performers and songs, as well. I’ve had “Dark Blue” stuck in my head for days, and guess what color jeans I’m wearing right now.. hmm. We also made friends with two other rad bands - Steel Train, and Lady Danville.
I just decided that this blog post will be story time, in no particular chronological order…cool with you? good :). It’s Little Rock, Arkansas. It’s hot as hell. And while River James was sound checking in the nice A/C, mayhem was going down outside the venue. A guy in his pickup truck came tearing into the intersection, jumped the curb next to the venue onto the sidewalk, almost hit our videographer and friend Andy, then continued into a nearby park, where the truck nearly hit some people hanging out there, and finally collided with a tree to stop it’s momentum. He’d apparently lost his brakes, and seemed to have also lost his mind. After sound check, we checked out the scene. The people hanging in the park were kinda freaked out. The one dude was a local musician playing his guitar, getting ready for his own show down the street at a place called Stickyz. Anyway, Jack’s Mannequin’s singer - Andrew MacMahon walked up, and he struck up a conversation with the people from the park. Andrew asked the guy about his music, and then said he was gonna go to dude’s show after his own gig… which he did. After Jack’s Mannequin was done playing, Andrew walked the few blocks down to check out the dude’s set. I thought that was pretty cool outcome of a potentially terrible situation. I also realized that Andrew was a really genuine, good dude.. Sorry, no picture of the pickup truck!
next story - New Orleans is such a rad town. i could live there. the reputation is that it’s party time central, which of course it can be. But that place has a lot of soul. And I love how artsy, and funky, and cool everything looks. And there’s awesome music happening all the time. We played at House Of Blues in the French Quarter. After the show, an older woman approached me on the street as we were loading our gear out. She said, “Are you the boy from Arlington? i just heard you singing”. I said, “yes ma’am, I just sang a song about Arlington, just now”. She said, “My name’s Mama T, and I own this whole building, and I’d like to invite you and the band up to the rooftop to check out my view of the city”. We thought that was the sweetest invite we’ve ever received, so we quickly loaded our gear into the band van, and jumped in her private elevator, up to the 5th floor, penthouse suite. We were only the 2nd band she’d invited up in the 18 years that the HOB has been in her building. The other band was Better Than Ezra ha! Anyway, we enjoyed the sites from her rooftop -
She gave us a lesson in botany, with hundreds of herbs & flowers she has growing up there (everything was legal ;). -
And she gave us brownies and fudgsicles as well. She couldn’t have been sweeter. Thanks Mama T, we hope to see you again soon!
There’s much more, but i’ll leave you with one final story. Our man Scoops had an unfortunate run-in with an insect, the day we were supposed to play in Wilmington, NC. Outside, that morning, he was bit or stung by something mysterious and nasty. He didn’t actually see what it was, but some speculate it could have been a scorpion. Anyway, within minutes, Scoops was unconscious on the floor. And we were freaked out. I immediately called 911 (it’s weird to see 911 in your outgoing calls) -
The ambulance came in literally 3 minutes, thankfully. And Scoops started to come around. They took him off to the hospital -
where he started to turn the corner and feel better. When he was finally discharged around noon, we weren’t sure if we had time to make it to the show. But Scoops was bound and determined to play (even though he probably should have rested), so we pointed the van towards Wilmington, and charged ahead. We rolled up to the venue with just enough time to throw our stuff on stage, and rock out for a great crowd at Greenfield Lake Amphitheater. And Scoops was the hero of the day. We may or may not have jumped in the lake afterwards to cool off!
And so there are just a few of the many adventures we had last week. Loved playing those shows with Jack’s, Steel Train, and Lady Danville. Thanks for having us… Loved meeting all the rad people at the shows. Thanks for being awesome! we hope to see you again real’ soon :). xo
Just recently came across this commencement speech by the late & great David Foster Wallace in 2005 at Kenyon U. It could change your life - http://bit.ly/bNQqxx
When I got home last night, coming through the back door of my house, i ran into one of my housemates in the kitchen. Barely through the door, and standing between the sink & the fridge, we launched into a long conversation that touched some heavy subject matter. And as we spoke my thoughts drifted to the Superbowl…no, seriously :).
This past weekend, Scoops and I had driven down from DC to spend a long weekend in the studio, putting the finishing touches on four new River James songs, to be included in a new EP that we’re planning to release this Spring. BTW, the songs are sounding so good! :).. I had pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I would probably miss the Superbowl. And that was ok with me, actually. I have to admit that I usually watch one football game each year, and that’s the Superbowl. I love football, but I guess I’m too wrapped up in my little world of rock bands & esoteric thought to follow who’s the #1 running back in the NFL, or even how many games the Redskins won this year (they won 6, I think).. Anyway, as fortune would have it, we tracked the last of the last keyboard parts of the entire several-weeks-long recording session at approximately 6:30pm on Sunday. And for those of you who were watching the big game, that was right about kickoff time. By the time we made it back to Jacob’s house, where there was a TV, it was halftime, and the Black Eyed Peas were halfway through their show. As we walked through the front door, I remember noting immediately that half of the “V” in their “LOVE” stage was unlit, as they ironically sang “Where is the love?”… and I thought that some lighting guy in Dallas was probably gonna be standing in the unemployment line pretty soon for that mistake…
The commercials are always a highly anticipated part of the game. I had one friend in particular who told me that she was watching the game, solely for the commercials. And rightly so, the commercials are often the most creative, thought out, and funny ads you’ll see all year. It’s the most costly ad time on TV and advertisers are putting on their A game, trying to sell all those eyeballs on whatever they got. It struck me how overtly sexual several of the ads were this year, a higher percentage than I’ve noticed before. And I’m not just referring to the token GoDaddy commercials, which are always provocative. Of the ones I remember:
- two different GoDaddy commercials. As far as I could tell, one was about this sexy “mystery girl”, who’s body was clearly the selling point, as her face was blurred out until the very end (when it was revealed to be Joan Rivers ha). The second GoDaddy commercial was a little less racy, but featured a couple pairs of long legs..
- Faith Hill is counseling a young man to speak from his heart in a note he’s writing to a girl, to send with flowers.. His note says “your rack is unreal”.
- a bunch of humanized cars are chatting with each other. At the end of the ad, one of the male cars says to the female car “they say that I’m a smooth ride”, in a not-so-subtle innuendo.
- a guy and a girl on presumably their first date? The woman’s thoughts are spoken out loud, as she wonders if the guy likes children and if he’s “the one”. The guy’s thoughts are repeatedly “I want to sleep with her”, over and over.
- Kim Kardashian, not wearing much, and pressed up close to a nearly naked dude in a scene that was oozing sex - in order to sell… yep, Sketchers shoes.
I was a little surprised. In the most mainstream of broadcasts, our TV’s are telling us that all of this is normal & ok; and never a mention or implication of love involved with any of it (“Where is the love?” indeed).. In this most intimate of acts, could it be that a person’s face or identity doesn’t matter, just the shape of her body? Are we thinking about the fact that in dating, so often physical intimacy way precedes emotional intimacy? Is that really what we want?… Isn’t it possible to be known & loved fully by another, as the unrepeatable persons that we are? Sex sells, obviously. And this kind of advertisement is nothing all that new, but this past weekend, the overtness of these ads made me think a little harder than ever before. I’m not one to pass judgement or cast the first stone here. But I would like to raise a question that I don’t think we always think about. What is love, and how are we living it? And what do we REALLY want? If we lose the connection of love & emotional intimacy to the physical, we might end up just like the Black Eyed Peas - playing on a stage where our “LOVE” isn’t all the way lit up, and having no clue about it.. and ultimately suffering and/or causing more woe than a Dallas unemployment line.