We can review shows over and over again but at some point there becomes a redundancy… as much as we strive to put the reader as close to the music as we can.. our editorial is subjective by nature… L4LM believes that by putting the musician and reader in direct contact we can satisfy a deeper want in the soul of the reader, the fan. In a series we like to call L4LM Artist Direct Connect, we will be doing just that. Want to know what life is like on tour for your favorite band? Want to hear what the musicians have to say about your favorite festival? How about getting an idea of what is going through the mind of a front man when he is looking back at you from the stage? If you want to get inside the mindset of the musician, we got you covered! This week we check in with The Heavy Pets guitarist and vocalist Jeff Lloyd. The Florida based jazz-funk and reggae-rock & roll fusion outfit has been tearing up the festival circuit and indoor venue scenes alike for years now. Lloyd tells us how from his experience, music and sports go hand in hand for both the musician and the fan. -L4LM
Being In a Band Is a Lot Like Team Sports
Those who know me, know that I am passionate about a few things. My family, love, sports, and music. At any given music festival or party within moments of meeting you I will likely tee off on one of those subjects, completely unprompted. I have chosen today to speak about the latter two, though in my life they are all born of the same thing. I get a lot of funny responses when I bring up sports at a music festival. Many musicians and music fans alike respond, “I don’t follow sports”, or the typical hippie bullshit answer “I am not into the whole competitive thing”. There are those who get it and those who don’t. Maybe it’s a matter of taste, but for many it’s just upbringing – where they grew up and what teams they had around, and whether their families were into it or not. That being said, I believe there to be many similarities between sports and music and I am using this piece as my opportunity to state my case.
I grew up in a little town in South-upstate NY, about 45 minutes North of the Meadowlands, home of the Super Bowl Champion NY Giants. My family has had season tickets – 10 of them – for over 5 decades. I grew up going to games with my whole family, and for this I have always known we were very, very lucky. Some of my greatest memories from childhood were of running around the lot, a tangible excitement in the air, feeling the euphoria of the collective appreciation for our team. Then you get inside and the energy can nearly bowl you over. The thunderous roar when your team takes the field, and the deafening silence when comes the National Anthem, the excitement that builds and builds through peaks and valleys and the explosion of the opening kickoff. This is the kind of thing that is felt more than understood – even as a small child before understanding the game, you can still surrender to the flow and catch the buzz.
The sheer magnitude of the event is something to behold – the endless parking lot of pre-gaming, partying people, and the mass of bodies in the stadium (around 77,000 when I was a kid) there to show their love for that ONE thing. It is an incredible feeling to be a part of it. So fast forward to December 9, 1995. I arrive at the Knickerbocker Arena in Albany, NY after convincing my father to take me and my high school rock band to see Phish. We arrived to the lot and I felt immediately at home. Although it was my first show, and there were a lot more colors represented than the Big Blue I was used to, it was a familiar scene. People were brimming with excitement while pre-gaming for the show. Immediately I felt that tingling in my spine and could sense that euphoria that I was used to. Like at the Meadowlands, upon entering the arena I could instantly feel that tangible love for our squad. They took the stage with a thunderous roar, kicked off with a raging “Maze”, took us through those peaks and valleys and the deafening silence of a silent jam in “You Enjoy Myself”, and celebrated the victory with what became to me a familiar trophy, the “Loving Cup” (a personal favorite of my dad’s). So you get my point. From the audience perspective there are many similarities. But what about what happens on the field or on the stage?
Team sports are a lot like being in a band. Players must strive for both personal excellence and to then work together to best utilize their talents for the whole group. A game plan must be put together and executed at the highest possible level. Players must study and practice, and then study and practice some more, and then rehearse it all endlessly with the whole group. Players need to learn to anticipate. The intensity of the opponent or the audience must be respected, matched, and eventually one-upped. You never know what any given Sunday or concert will bring. You gotta do your best, not only for yourself but for your whole team, for your fans, for your moment in time. Sports are an art form, and there is much we can learn from playing or observing them at such a high level. It’s not necessarily about winning or losing. It is about finding the best in yourself and the collective appreciation that comes when you do. For those of you music lovers who have never been, do yourself a huge favor and take you and your family out to a ball game.
You can catch The Heavy Pets at:
* Post Phish after party w/ Kung Fu, Wyllys & NYHE @ Rebel NYC – 12/30 NYE – Purchase tix here
* w/ Brothers Past @ The Trocadero Philly – 12/31 – Purchase tix here
* Aura Music and Arts Festival @ Live Oak, Fla – 2/15-17 here
Stay tuned for more from the L4LM Direct Connect series including Kung Fu, Jimkata, Mun and more!