After years of searching for the perfect band members, Jon Wolfe found a group of musicians that respect each other, to form Vespera.
He had to sneak out from under his police officer mother's nose to go on tour. Inspired by acts on MTV, VH1, and more, he joined band in school, and then went on to join every band under the sun. All he wanted to do was play videogames, make music, and go to shows.
In this episode of the freelancing podcast, Project Freelance, we talk about the importance of supporting local bands to keep the music scene alive, touring with bands as a hired gun, dealing with their bullshit, your own bullshit, and having to occupy the same space for 23 hours a day. Wolfe has dealt with some seriously awful people in his career, but he's also gained friends and memories that will last an eternity.
Some musicians choose to go all in on one project, but Jon took his time to hone his craft in bands as a hired gun so that he could be educated in the industry and how it works, with all of its greed, corporate, and political bullshit, so he wouldn't make stupid mistakes when it would eventually be his own name, or band name, rather, on the line.
Jon is currently fronting Vespera, "a band that began in 2016. The Seattle, Washington based four-piece quickly drew attention for their unique brand of ethereal, enigmatic, and aggressive rock. With members only having met a few months prior, the fledgling group premiered their debut single “Bloom” via Billboard, receiving widespread acclaim from fans and press alike. Using music as a means of psychological introspection, Vespera’s debut embraces dark, technical guitars, intricate drums and haunting vocals, while lyrically exploring the depths of the subconscious and the unspoken strife of the human experience. Vespera is comprised of vocalist Jonathan Wolfe, drummer Jonathan Schwartz, guitarist Cairn Tse-Lalonde, and Paul Anderson on bass." - From the band's facebook
I have had the pleasure of getting to know Jon on a personal level, outside of music, which has really taught me a lot about being a good person through every thing you do. As someone who is around the same scene of people that Jon rolls with, I have heard a lot of doubtful talk about Jon, because he's played with so many bands, but being a hired gun is more fun if you aren't tied down to one project. That's one reason why it's become such a popular avenue for musicians to take. Well, that and the fact that as a hired bun you are under contract (hopefully) with a band that is already established and therefore has the money for you to get paid properly, fed, etc. Not having to deal with any of the financial issues of the band is a HUGE perk!
Being a hired musician also gives you the added security of future work, especially if you play, or can learn, a vast array of musical styles. It's similar to acting as a star in a movie vs. a TV show. Movie stars get parts in multiple movies, because they can play many types of characters, while a TV Show regular, though they may have long term work, they are more at the mercy of the show's ratings. If a show like Grey's Anatomy were to get canceled, it could take much longer for those actors to get roles, because they've spent the duration of the show playing medical professionals. Essentially, Wolf and I discuss why being a freelance musician can be much more lucrative than trying to start from scratch in the event of sudden loss of employment.
In this episode, Jon talks about some of the harder times on the road, like working with some not-so-friendly artists, struggles with mental health on the road, which is a huge topic on this podcast, and even talks about the infamous Ronnie Radke and playing for Falling in Reverse. I know you guys want to know all about that shit, so I asked him to share his story.
Enjoy this episode of Project Freelance and let me know what you think of this episode!
Listen to last week's episode with Matt Yanni.
If you want to hear how to earn a living as an artist and travel the world, or if you're curious about how it really is to live life on the road, check this episode out.
Thank you so much for your time and crazy stories, Bryce. I'll see you at a show, boo boo!
Listen to the Podcast
I made you a list of AFFORDABLE camera gear and accessories that you can get at Walmart! https://www.readycart.com/ready-cart/directing-cinematography-demo-reel-k-enagonio-2017
My Favorite Photo Contest Sites:
Viewbug https://www.viewbug.com/?invite_token=E3829D6E (free photography ebook upon signup)
Gurushots: https://goo.gl/MtgWhK (Free bundle upon signup)