Welcome to the 4th episode of the increasingly popular "Local Heroes" segment. Its the part of the show where we profile one of our very own Sleaze Roxxians and their own music.
This week we chat with the ever talented, and hilariously funny, musical genius that we all know and love as Joshua A.D.!!
Joshua A.D., welcome to Local Heroes!
We are not all from LA, so we haven't seen you doing your magic, so as an intro tell us a bit of who you are.
I'm not from LA either, thank christ. I originally grew up north of Baltimore, Maryland on a horse farm. Pretty boring. I was about 30 minutes from Baltimore, an hour south of Philadelphia, 3 hours south of New York City and an hour and a half north of Washington. You'd think it would be interesting but it really wasn't. I moved away when I was 17 to New Orleans for college. Spent 5 amazing years there, did 10 months hanging in Chicago and then made the Maryland to California cross country drive last summer.
That's just locations. If you want to know "who I am"...read on I suppose...
So what is your band? What are you doing musically at present?
My band is Joshua A.D., my first ever venture into being a "solo" artist. It's sloppy hard rock, punky I guess, with a sense of humor about itself. It's both intentional and unintentional. I write serious songs about things I think about, but at the same time I can't take anything seriously. So onstage playing original music for strangers, I have always devolved into humor. It's like the lowest common denominator in entertainment. I always get good feedback, and it takes a lot of pressure off. The band's music is like The Dictators meets Thin Lizzy meets AC/DC and Motorhead. I'm by no means a good musician, so the humor takes the edge of that. Bands often do that to insulate themselves to criticism. I guess that's true for me as well. But even when I played in serious bands it was always more fun to make the audience laugh. 75% of the time they can't hear the words or understand the songs live anyway.
Very cool HMJ, lets talk live shows - what is a HMJ gig like?
All fun, no pressure. I want to actively engage whoever is watching the band. A lot of times bands can switch into live-auto pilot. They pull off the poses and the songs, but they're just not really 'there' you know? I write new jokes and skits and segues for each show. That's done so if someone in the back of the bar is trying to ignore the band, I'm throwing different shit out there besides music to get their attention. It works. Even if they go back to ignoring me once the next song starts. At least they heard SOMETHING I said. Being a performer is inherently desiring attention. It's about ego for most. It's more philosophical for me. "HEY LOOK I EXIST! AND I INTERACTED WITH YOU!"
So it's a whole show of music/comedy that pulls everyone into being self-aware of 'rock music'. I try to take that delicate mystique of music and shatter it. It's more honest and funnier that way.
Do you do any of your comedy in your routine? We know you are the forums premier funny man.
It's hard to detect the sarcasm here when it's in text and in an interview that was emailed to me. But yeah, see my above answer. You have to be funny. I've played in metal bands where you bludgeon your audience with heavier content. It's not fun. You can't expect strangers to get off on that.
Here's an example of a joke I do live. We finish a song and I say "Hmm, that one didn't sound quite right. Let us consult the big book of rock n roll music theory." Then I hold up a playboy magazine and study it. "Ahh, here's what we did wrong...we played that C diminished and these Cs are clearly augmented." Yeah, sounds silly, but it always gets a giggle from someone. Even if it's just the bartender.
How long have you been doing this & what is a highlight for you?
The solo "Joshua A.D." band started in January 2010. I had given myself months to get situated once I moved out to Los Angeles. Prior to that I was in a punk band Urban Search & Destroy in New Orleans and Chicago that fizzled out in November 2008. Writing duties in that were split 50/50 but since my songs had their own sense of humor to them compared to the other guy's...it made sense that one day I should just do it myself. That's where I got a taste for comedy in rock music. Before that I was in a metal band called Exigence that recorded lots of demos and played parties - but Hurricane Katrina fucked it all up and half the band formed a death metal band shortly there after.
Before that was a classic rock cover band I had with high school friends in Baltimore. Zeppelin, Beatles, Floyd and all that usual stuff. Typical 'first band' experience.
What are your hopes for your musical career?
Absolutely none. I am well aware most people won't like the songs I write, especially considering how I sing them. I get off more on the whole "entertaining" thing, and taking a room full of people who don't give a shit but suddenly feel compelled to applaud. It's like winning. Being successful in music is just like any other job. You have know the right people and get a lot of favors done. Friends of mine run in that racket. It seems like more stress than fun to me. My band and I laugh onstage. I encourage that. Shitty sound? Who cares! If you're having fun, people sense it. They can sense bullshit too.
The whole goal of Joshua A.D. is just to put myself out there in the L.A. scene. I offer a pretty unique experience and I might as well get out while I'm young and try.
You've got guts to do what you do - especially the stand up comedy - do you get much negativity & if so how do you deal with it?
Only online. Where it is easiest to throw stones. Among friends, everyone loves it. They do because they know that I love it. It's pure fun. Believe it or not, audiences love it - especially other bands. I often get the "I can't believe you do this stuff" reaction, but in a good way. The off the wall nature of it is what keeps in interesting. If I was just your regular rock musician, I'd feel pretty lost. Cutting out a clear identity for yourself is the hardest part - but once you got it down, you're golden. And the best part is, only you need to feel that way.
Any music for sale? How do we check you guys out?
All of our live rehearsal demos will be up at http://www.reverbnation.com/joshuaad for anyone. If and when we get the money to go into a studio to record regular demos or an album (which we can easily do, we have 10 original songs ready to roll) then I'd simply give it away for free. It's not about selling CDs or t-shirts. I have a day job, and acting as musician/performer is a hobby. I get off on having people tell me how much they laughed at something or what song they really like. That's all that matters. In this day and age, you can't ask for much more. I wish the god damn concerts were all free, but the promoter would kill me.
You're in LA, in the clubs, rockin on - what is the scene like for Glam Rock these days?
I guess it's fine. You have to remember that most young bands gigging in LA take their shit to heart. They are trying to make it and get noticed. That doesn't leave a lot of room for scenes and friends. In other cities, yeah definitely, but In LA everyone is kinda out for blood. Not always, but you get that feeling. A lot of the musicians are kinda dicks too. That's why I love what I do. It's like showing up to a funeral with a birthday cake.
But it's just with people in my age range, their 20s, and such. Older guys are always cool and laid back. So I guess at one time there was a kick ass scene going on. Maybe there still is. Honestly, I have not gotten out there that much. Once I am regularly gigging in Hollywood I will get back to you.
We love the people who are out there doing it - any advice for the young viewers at home?
I cannot stress this whole 'have fun' bit enough. So many people into playing music don't seem to. They want to appear fun and cool and crazy. But they're not. So if you're going out with your band...just be honest with who you are and what you want to do in a performing sense. Once you got that, ENGAGE your audience. Be borderline combative with them and other bands. You got to give people a reason to care. When I am at a local show....I really DON'T care....so fucking come at me with something. No fear, no regrets, blah blah blah...
What is next up for the Band?
We are playing this Saturday at Harper's in Tarzana, CA. After that...more gigs that are TBA. Recording a demo and album would be nice too. I'd love to get out of the Valley and down to San Diego for some shows. My style is very niche it seems, so simply getting exposed to as many people as possible is the highest priority. I suck at networking and promotion....so that's an uphill both ways kinda battle.
Who is in your band?
The band name is Joshua A.D. - I sing and play bass, write all the songs, plan out the shows, and so on. My cohorts are Justin Salmons (from Dallas, TX) on guitar and Stefano Ashbridge (from Utah) on drums. They do an awesome job tolerating my ideas.
I also do a weekly podcast @ http://www.noantennaneeded.com as just another way to 'get out there' to speak.
I'd also like to say thanks to you, Easy. I never get to do stuff like this. Even at a small scale.
Joshua A.D. - It's been a pleasure, love your work man!!!