I would like to start this blog with, I am blessed for the good things that happened to me and the bad. I want to touch first on the fact of the delay for my post. The last thing I am trying to create with this blog is “drama”. Drama is usually caused by over zealous people, people that have no lives, or people that are literally just sick in the head. I’m very happy with the point I am in life. It’s crazy to think it’s been 3 years since performing last with VersaEmerge. Yes, the emerge still existed at the duration of me being in the band. So as you can see its taken me a long time to compose this. This isn’t a bash fest. For anyone that has known me or met me longer than 5 minutes, you know that from the first second I’m just real, Im me and that’s it. I’m more a timid person at heart, but with things I am confident in I hold my own. So that’s all I am going to be here. I’ve seen some of the other posts from past members in past years and I can’t quite say they were wrong in certain things that were said but posting in frustration is never a way to clarify validity of a point. But everyone has their way of communicating and that’s fine.
I started with Versa towards the beginning of 2008. I joined right as the original bassist was leaving because he decided to pursue school. Right In the midst of joining the group we already had some labels contacting us like Rise, Victory. Your “dream label” per say when you’re an inspiring hard core band or what not back In the day seeing as they were leading that scene with their plethora of bands. Of course, regardless of the deals , it was never something we personally wanted as the band as we saw the longevity of those bands were very futile and not promising nor could they ever get us to the status we wanted to be in the music scene. While negotiations were being processed and the band just released the cities built on sand album (which I was not on) keep in mind, the band started facing some tribulation. Our original (guy) singer failed to say he could not be in the band anymore because of “parent” hinderence , which was a load of shit but whatever, the band pursued on. As you also know, our guitarist left the band. This had our heads in a pretzel and dealt with some drama but didn’t take long to get back on our feet. After many auditions for a vocalist. We finally came across Sierra. To be honest, the majority of the band did not see this as a great option. The audition was honestly not solid enough in opinion to solidify a yes for me but honestly, it was more unique and saw the true potential of her voice which was more convicting than the others and we needed to act soon before the idea of the band became irrelevant. So we grabbed up 16 year old Sierra into the band. In this time we also picked up a new guitarist and went to the studio to unveil the new track which at the time revealed a little screaming. Now who remembers That shit haha. I guess that’s especially funny to me because if you were able to play a track from our first album than a current track, it sounds nothing alike. I understand bands maturing through the years but the differentiation of the albums is caused for many reasons which we will get to. At this moment of the release of the song, we had a booking agent and finally acquired a manager from New York. He was really shopping the song along for us and was getting much good feedback. So much good that labels were coming in left and right.
This… is where the plagues started to form.
As crazy as it sounds, the band ultimately received from 15 to 20 label offers, between labels like hopeless, science and tooth and nail, to combinations of labels like Sony/virgin so and so forth. Oh how life changes. What a cock sucking game the industry is. I find myself at these expensive ass restaurants I didn’t even know what half the menu was smozzing with all of these labels execs and what not talking about our music, songs, gear , hopes and aspirations. No matter how much I explain, it will never give you the full image of the world. As time goes on and we started narrowing down who we wanted to sign with. Roles were starting to shift. I tell you flat out that the band did not function as a band. The writing was solely done by Blake and Sierra on occasion other than vocals. It was never something I was okay with seeing as I always had a huge part in writing yet there is just a sense of ownership when writing your own parts. I understood that Blake is an amazing musician and can write and play many instruments and style but as a band, writing at some point should be shared. It’s understood that not everyone has pro recording gear at their houses nor have money for it but still. Who would’ve know that this was going to cause more problems in the future.. Finally, we met with the owner of Fueled by Ramen, had dinner with him and was convinced that label was the right fit. This is where there is much speculation. I can tell you that I feel signing with fueled by was such a mistake. A 360 deal doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing if the band is going to be pushed. The more money the label makes, the more the band makes. Except the label has a hand in every pot.
I feel the band was signed to not create competition for Paramore.
We were thrown on the back burner. Many opportunities that were given to Hayley were not given to Sierra. The band never really even acknowledged our band. Tour ideas were all being thought of by the band. Was finding more success over in the UK, just seemed like no moves were being made.
We had great success with the touring at first. Went out with We the Kings, Boys like Girls, Cobra Starship, headlined in the UK. Did warped tour 2 years in a row. Was filmed for an MTV episode of the world of jenks. Yet the focus started to shift. As I stated before we weren’t a band. members started to leave. Anthony was kicked out of the band but I can still say to this day. His temper was big but much of his words were truth. He didn’t like the direction of the band. The band’s focus started to become of the two who remain. Go figure. We even gained another guitarist after losing one and then that guitarist left. Was there a specific reoccurring reasoning for the members leaving.. There was
Like we spoke before, I’m mostly a timid person. I keep things to myself, give people the benefit of the doubt. Maybe you can even say I trust to easy. I’m easily content. As all of my friends were leaving the band I always had to re evaluate my choice in staying with the band. My choice of leaving the band was for more than one reason. Towards right before leaving. I met the girl of my dreams. Which is something I never even thought would happen so early and I’m so thankful. And we made at the time one of 2 baby boys I’m also so grateful for. He needed a dad In his life. And being gone 3 months at a time was not being there. It would’ve been different if I was being paid enough to support my family. So that’s what I was asked a lot. Would you have pursued the band further if I was paid better. The answer is, ” Yes, I would’ve stomached touring with them a bit longer. ” But money and being a father wasn’t the only reasons. And let me state that the money was only there for the first ep that we released with FBR. 13000 dollars. Which when you’re 21 that’s that’s a great lump some of money. After that, I was begging for 1000 dollars a month to keep me a float. We did get catering most days on the road. But other expenses always come into play. Even to this day I never got paid for royalties on being on any album. Our full length record def surpassed 30 to 50 thousand units. ITunes and so on. Even after leaving, I was sent a quitting agreement. That stated I could never say I was part of the band versaemerge. That I will never receive money from royalties, the merch that they sell with my face on it. This was the band that were supposed to be my best friends I traveled the world with. The band who “understood” that that I had to be with my family. The two were always being flown out to write, asked to do interviews with just the two. And just having a female vocalist. You already know the show is about her. I was still receiving phone calls up until last year’s taxes saying the band made money last year, so owe in taxes. Made no
My two “friends” couldn’t even make it to my wedding because one had a vocal lesson and the other had to go on a family trip. I wanted to be in a band. I wanted to be edgy, new, original. That was not the agenda they had in mind. Yea, I could’ve continued to sit in the background, played my bass, and went back to the van and do it all over again. I could’ve continued to play bitch and drive the van home from New Hampshire back to south florida while the two got flown around to cali. I could’ve continued to gave my opinions and visions ignored. Instead, I wanted to be a father and a role model for my kids. To teach them the true beauties and poisons of the world. To take care of my wife who works so hard raising our kids and dealing with a man who is working is way up from ground zero again. Worked two jobs just to keep my family afloat after our apartment flooded in a freak accident not caused by us. A man who never asked from a dime from anyone unlike other pitiful people who couldn’t succeed in a band. And yet I stand firm, with aspirations to manage a band to success knowing how the industry really works now.
At the end of the day, I have love for everyone that has been mentioned in this blog. We learn to live and live to learn. It has all made me the person I am today. I’ll probably never know the true intentions of certain people or situations. I’ll never understand why I was taken so advantage of and manipulated. I will never be given the money I deserved. But I will be given the satisfaction of knowing I made the right choice to leave when I did. Because at the end of the day, one day. These bands will not be in style or what’s in for the future. Music is becoming more and more fabricated. And the money will be given to someone else. But you will have to start at the bottom again and join real life. But I…. I came back to reality and paved a way for my family.
Thank you for reading. I’m sorry for any type of grammatical mistakes made or slang. I wrote from my heart on a spontaneous whim. I did not go through all the logistics of events that happened through out the band. This was just a general overview and to finally get off my chest so I can continue on with my life. And if anyone asks the story I can point them here. Thank you and thanks for the ones who always kept in touch and stood by my side and just an open ear.