Inside Independent

Welcome to my blog "Inside Independent" . This is like my public journal of life lessons and my journey through music, wherever thats going...  
Newer entries at the top, scroll to the bottom to start from the the first entry and get some backstory if you're into that kind of thing. There is a comments section for each entry, feel free to share your experiences, too! we're all friends here. 

The Independent Revolution (Entry 10 --- 2/20/2019) 

Call me a hipster, but I love hearing about things before they are “cool”.  Not because I want to beat someone to the next trend, but because I love an underdog. As independent musicians, we are all underdogs in a way. We work around not having a record labels marketing budget by blowing up our friends facebook feeds with events, new music, and announcements. Often times it falls on deaf ears. Its not that people don’t respect the work we’re putting in… It’s just not their thing. For one reasons or another, local music doesn’t get the time of day that a song getting played on the radio would. So I’ve decided to try and change that. 

I have a point that I want to really drive home with this entry before I dive into the topic, and that is that you owe it to yourself to open your ears and hearts to the locals. For ten years I’ve been seeing artists from my hometown that can easily rival acts on the national stage, and I want you to see them, too. So here’s what we’re going to do. 

The 4th Friday of Every month, I will be hosting a series called “The Independent Revolution” at Keynote Cafe (227 south fourth street, Jeannette PA. 15644). These events will feature interviews and 30 minute sets from local artists on the rise. My mission with these shows is to get everyone ore involved. That’s why we ask each artist a few questions about themselves and their musical journeys. We want you to get to know and love them like we do. Another cool thing about these shows is that they are an affordable night out! There’s a $10 dollar door charge, but everything else is covered! All you can eat pizza, beverages, and adults are even allowed to bring their own bottle of whatever they choose to sip on! 

When you combine the passion of these local musicians to the relaxing artistic vibe of Keynote Cafe, you get a complete picture of what it means to be a part of a not only thriving, but blossoming local music scene that is second to none. I will not rest until i show everyone! 

If you would like to see show dates for “The Independent Revolution” series and more, head over here:

Thank you for reading, I’ll talk to you soon! 

Your friend,Brad Abbott

Things I do that don’t involved music (Entry 9 — 2/7/2019) 

So I’m a musician (shocker). 

And while I love music with everything I’ve got, i have countless other things I’m passionate about. Today, I wanted to share some of the things that make me who I am, none of which have anything to do with music. 

I grew up as an only child. So when I went into school I wasn’t super comfortable with socializing and making friends. So I skipped that part until like 6th grade when I finally got a real friend (what’s up Ray?!) 

As a kid, you need to entertain yourself. Without any friends or siblings I was on my own. So my kickass mom hooked me up with an original PlayStation at an early age. Once I played all of the games that came on the demo disc (which took like an hour) I was hooked. I loved it so much. I especially loved Lara Croft, whom I met at the Area 51 stage of Tomb Raider 3 that came on that demo disc. So that was my first video game. I didn’t play through the story line, just walked around Lara’s home and somehow enjoyed it. As I got older and started understanding how to actually play games, I got even more into them. I wanted to play everything! Especially racing games. My first one was Rage Racer. You could change the color of your cars, buy new ones… that game was the shit! The coolest thing about it was I wasn’t one of the shielded kids. Game rating did not matter at all. I was one of the few kids in elementary school talking about Grand Theft Auto Vice City. By the time I was in Ten, I had a rather impressive stack of gams for PS1 and PS2, and I played most of them! When I was in Third grade, the home my mother and I lived in burned, wiping out the entire game collection we had built (Probably around 60 games). 
Of course there were new games to be had now, so most of what was lost in the fire I didn’t get back. All of my favorites for PS1 were a thing of the past. 

So when I got older and got my own job, I started collecting. Everything from Atari up through the modern systems. My absolute favorite part of collecting is flea marketing. Even though my interest lies in Video games, I get a lot of enjoyment out of seeing the antiques and the countless other items you find. I even got a baby guitar at one once! Flea Markets are an adventure all by themselves, and one of the only places you can find games dating back to the atari era, and those games are crucial to have in any collection. The ones that started it all. Pong, Pac Man, Galaga… They had no idea they were creating a powerhouse of an industry. 

But I didn’t just nerd out with a controller in my hands for my entire childhood. I also loved riding my bike. There was a skatepark right by where I grew up, complete with rails, dirt jumps and quarter pipes. I would have a blast beating the shit out of myself at that place. I once took a set of ha`ndlebars right to the no-no zone after some showboating... Fond memories. Eventually I grew out of getting hurt all the time because I wasn’t so good at the whole “Freestyle BMX” thing… But I still had the desire to get dirty and sore through the air… So I picked up mountain biking. I started to get heavy into about 3 years ago and I’m head over heels in love with the sport. You’re riding on narrow singletracks that have rocks, roots, and drops, so you have to be ready for anything. You’re whipping around trees and tight turns, hopping over obstacles, and getting a damn good workout while having a ton of fun. I’m at the point now where I can’t picture my life without the bike… Much like the guitar. 

I’ve actually learned something about myself while writing this. That is that everything I enjoy has an element of adventure to it. Even music. One of the things I find most appealing about being a musician is the fact that I could possibly tour one day, seeing places I haven't before.  Tonight’s adventure will take the band and I into the winter wonderland that is Pittsburgh for a show at The Glitterbox Theater. Maybe I’ll see a few of you there! 

Till next time, your friend 
Brad Abbott 

Written 2/1/19

The Songwriting Process (Entry 8 --- 1/26/2019) 

I love to sit down on a Saturday morning. No one else is awake in the house. Just me, my coffee and my guitar.  This is the beginning of my creative process. This is the reason i work for the weekend. Being able to wake up with a clear mind knowing the only thing on my to do list today is be creative. 

Everyone’s song writing process is different and lately I’ve seen this topic come up quite a bit in some of the songwriting groups I’m involved in around the web. What comes first, lyric or melody? Where do you start? How do you get inspiration? The topics on the songwriting process are nearly endless. The short answer is it’s different for every one of us, and there is no correct way to do it. What I can tell you is what has worked for me and what I find most enjoyable, so let’s go back to Saturday morning. 

I usually start with the acoustic guitar. I’ll play around for a bit and eventually I’ll hit a chord that I like the sound of. I’ll play with it and find what chords work alongside it. Having laid all that down, the chord progression has a sort of mood about itself. Is it sad or happy? Chill or anxious? This dictates how the rest of the song will play out. The most evident effect this has is on the lyrics of the song. A lot of times a chord progression will give me an idea of a topic and I’ll run with it and start writing words down. It also can affect what instruments will be used and how the song will be arranged, rather it will have a repeating chorus, a bridge, or a solo of some sort. All of that, in my case, usually starts at the acoustic guitar. But not always… 

Other times I will get inspiration from personal experiences, or a line or melody will pop into my head, giving me something to run with. These are the exception to the norm though. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, I stop what I’m doing and i sit down and write whatever comes to mind. One example of that is “Living for the Moment” from my debut EP, “Memories”. It is easily one of the most personal songs I’ve ever written, and I attribute that largely to the way that song started. The lyrics just flowed onto the tablet with no music behind them at all, and that stemmed from my wife and I looking back on what got us to the point we were. That song is also what sparked the title of Memories EP. 

One thing I find very handy is the voice memo app on my phone. Rather its with the guitar or vocal melodies, I can just keep playing around and recording lines. If i come up with something I like I focus in on that, record a basic skeleton of the song and play it back as many times as I need and just sit and write lyrics that come to mind as the music plays. 

For me it’s very rare to finish a song in one sit down. Most of them change shape a few times before they are in their final form. Even then there’s no guarantee I won’t make changes. I usually have a couple in my back pocket waiting for something to strike me that’s just right for the song. Sometimes its just comes right out, others it takes months. 

Then the inevitable happens. Every so often you just dry up. There is not an ounce of creativity to be found anywhere in your body. It’s a lot like writers block. When that happens i step away from the pen and pad for a bit while I wait for the creative dark cloud to pass over. I see a lot of artists talk about these ruts and some seem to struggle with cutting them short. I’ve found the best way for me is to not try to write. I’ll do anything else music related like play shows and practice my existing material, but I won’t break out the notepad and consciously try to create something. At that point it feels forced and ruins the vibe of my creative process, making for an end result that I likely won’t feel to great about… So I wait… Until finally,  out of the blue an idea will come to mind. Magically the creative dark cloud passes and everything is back to normal again. It’s funny how it works. No one quite knows why it happens, but it does. It’s like the creative part of the soul gets tired… But it never dies. I’m eternally grateful for that. 

The songwriting process is something I cherish, and its different for everyone, but the goal should always remain the same. Let it out! The love, the rage… Let it flow through you and become something that is truly your own. Something beautiful. Its magic. Embrace it. 

Until next time, stay in tune. 

Your friend, Brad Abbott.

How to: Support Local Music (Entry 7 --- 1/12/19) 

“Support Local Music”. It gets said a lot, but what does it mean? Most think it’s that we want every single one of you to buy our cd or the tickets we have to sell for the next show. Don’t get me wrong, those things help, but there is so much more that you can do for your local music scene that won’t cost you a dime or more than a few seconds of your time. In this entry, I’m going to touch on a few of the most helpful things you can do for the local musician. 

In the past, we’ve talked about how with today’s technology we can record and publish our work by ourselves, without the financial help or control of a record label. Having that creative freedom is great, but there are some things record labels are able to do that we as independent artists cannot accomplish. Effective radio promotion, tour management, and press placement to name a few. Without those, getting in front of a large audience can be quite a challenge, but thankfully, 
there is one incredibly accessible platform that independent artists can put into play. Social Media. One of the most helpful and meaningful things you can do for a musician is share their work with your friends on social media. All it takes is the click of a button, and it helps immensely for artists that are trying to build a following. Anytime an artist releases a new song or announces a show date, share it around! It won’t go unnoticed. 

But what about beyond social media? Do you have Spotify? Why not throw some local music on your playlist, because with the melting pot of genres and style here in the Pittsburgh area, there is DEFINITELY something for everyone, everywhere. I actually have a playlist of local music that I like to jam at work. I love when someone walks by and asks “What are you listening to?”. It gives me a chance to talk about some of the local musicians that I enjoy sharing a scene with. 

People tend to forget that musicians aren’t all that makes up the music scene. It’s the people in front of us that are the heartbeat of it all. When you’re cheering us on you are part of something a lot bigger than you realize, and you don’t necessarily have to be in front of the stage to do it. That being said,  the most fun way to support your local music is to come to a show. Some of them are even free! Bring a friend along, snap some pictures and post them on your facebook or instagram and tell everyone how you’re having an awesome time chilling with local bands as they live their dream. And hey, if you happen to have an extra couple bucks, grab a CD or a shirt from one of their merch tables. While your at it, say hello to the band and let them know you enjoy what they’re doing. While the need to be creative and the love for our artform will always be our driving forces, all of these things go a long way, too. So treat your local bands just like one you discovered on the radio. If you like what you hear, go back for more, and tell your friends that you think they should,  too. When you share music, you share love, and that’s really what it’s all about. 

Thank you for reading,  until next time. 
Brad Abbott

Oh, What a Night (Entry 6 --- 12/29/18) 

WOW!! I have to tell you about last night! 

If there is one thing I can go on and on about, it’s how amazing it is to be part of such a beautiful, supportive musical community. Not only do I get to perform locally, but I have also been given the opportunity to host and coordinate shows at the venue that started everything for me. Getting to work with these passionate and incredibly talented ladies and gentlemen is a privilege that I am so grateful to have. Last night I hosted one of these shows, and the performances blew me away. Before I tell you everything that made it so special, I want to get into what my goal is for the series of shows I am putting together at Keynote Cafe. 

Having experience in performing in my local area, I see little things that could be adjusted to make our scene a little more vibrant. We have the musicians, we have the variety, we have the venues… What we struggle with sometimes though, is interest. Bringing people to shows is one thing, but we need them to be into it.  Getting crowds that want to be involved in a big way. 

So my idea was to introduce people to what’s behind our music. Show them what we as a community are all about. I see every one of these musicians pouring their heart into every single aspect of their craft. They are writing songs that hit you in the feels, they are delivering emotional performances, every one of them is incredibly down to earth. Not to mention the amount of love that we have for one another as musicians. We’ve spent hours and hard earned money recording and publishing our work, no labels or AR folk required, no one to tell us who we need to appeal to. Just real, passionate artists that do it for the love of it. 

To showcase all of this, I interview each act as they take the stage. I ask about influences, what they’re working on in the studio, what they already have released, and what makes them who they are. Then they proceed to blow the audience away. 

Not only was every performance last night stellar, but there was a nice crowd who stayed till the end and cheered on every single act. They listened to what the musicians had to say, they felt the music. They felt that same love in the air that we as musicians do. It was incredibly inspiring. I don’t just want more people to see it,  I want them to feel it. I couldn’t imagine my life without it. 

So i encourage everyone who reads this to check out these acts that performed last night and give them your support. They deserve it, and so do you. Also, share this entry with your facebook friends. let’s show everyone what it’s all about! 

Future dates: 
Feb. 22nd 
Mar. 22nd

"Kids" (Entry 5 --- 12/14/18) 

This one is short and sweet:

So I’m PUMPED! I’ve been working with my two very good friends for a couple of months now, and we finally have our first release as a group ready to be published on New Years Day, right at the start of 2019. If you’ve been to recent shows you’ve gotten a sneak peak at what we’re doing now. Basically, we’re a three piece, Myself on guitar and vocals, Andrew Chemski on drums, and Josh Troiani on bass and sometimes keys. We have a lot of history together. In fact, we’re even going to be playing some Villa Manor songs from back when Josh and I first started jamming together. It’s exciting for me because its like old times. Very nostalgic. ANYWAY back to the new release. 

We’re doing a stripped down acoustic cover of “Kids” by MGMT.  Piano and acoustic guitar, and some vocal harmonies courtesy of Josh. We’ve got a video for youtube and we’ll also have it available on Spotify,  whatever Apple is doing now, and pretty much everywhere else online. We’re even doing a watch party on facebook live where we’ll chit chat with you, play some games like Cards Against Humanity (or maybe evil apples with you guys…. Hmm. We’ll see if that could work.) Whatever may happen, I’m looking forward to chilling with those of you who support what we’ve got going on here. We’re having a ton of fun and hope you are as well. 

We’ll also be discussing some of our plans for 2019. Its going to be a big year for us,  full of live shows and recording, and we look forward to having you along for the ride. If you’re interested in joining the watch party, that’ll be on facebook live, so be sure to get in touch with my page over there! (I’m also on IG, Youtube, And twitter!) 

As soon as the new cover is available I’ll put it up here on my website and send an E-mail to those of you on the mailing list. Thank you so much for your support, See you in next week’s entry!

The Reality of Dreams (Entry 4 --- 12/06/18) 

Life is weird… When you’re young, you’re told you can be anything you want to be. All you have to do is set your mind to it. Believe in yourself,  and you will succeed! 
Then you start approaching graduation and shit changes fast. What college are you going to attend?  What’s your career path? Music!? That’s not a career! 

Many people seem to only see the surface of music, and therefore view music as a “dream”. They think we find it appealing because it’s “Money for nothing” as Dire Straits once said. I believe that view is based heavily on the idea that as musicians,  we don’t really have a plan beyond someone noticing us and catching our “Big Break”. The truth is, in today’s music industry things are far different. Now, anyone can record their music in their home with a few hundred dollars worth of equipment. If they want to go further they can release it to iTunes and Spotify with affordable services, and can proceed to market themselves with social media and various forms of paid advertising. In today’s music industry we don’t have to hope for a break, and instead we can work toward goals we set ourselves. 

Another misconception has to do with our expectations as musicians. When most people think of a successful musician, they think of MTV Cribs, and think that’s what we find appealing.  As a musician I can tell you first hand that at the rate I’m going, I will never own a house that’s deserving of a time slot on MTV. Everyone’s definition of success is different. Mine has nothing to do with wealth, big houses or nice cars. I just want to play music for the rest of my life, hopefully to a point where I can quit my day job. THAT is the dream. 

With all the benefits technology has given to us musicians,  it does have some slight drawbacks. 
One is that while it’s easy to get onto streaming platforms such as spotify,  the royalties from such streams are quite low. Fractions of a penny to be exact.  This holds true for all streaming services. The good news is these services killed software like Limewire and Kazza that allowed people to download music completely free,  without the label or the artist getting any reward for the time they put in. Since these streaming services exist, many no longer see value in purchasing a CD, when they can listen anywhere by pulling out their phone! It’s great for exposure and accessibility, but much like other individual aspects of music, it doesn’t pay the bills. 

There are other forms of revenue for musicians aside from the selling and streaming of music. There is also the live performance. If you have enough material (mostly popular songs from established artists) you can make decent money playing bar gigs. However if your focus in more on original material, not only do you tend to have less material, but the audience doesn’t find the material you do have engaging because it’s unfamiliar. There are some people that are the exception to that rule, and as a musician, I love them. Generally speaking however, many aren’t interested in hearing new music from someone they’ve never heard of. For those of us who are more focused on originals, we play another type of show. The local showcase. These usually work in one of two ways. and unless you have a seriously large and loyal fan base, these aren’t a great source of income. Either A.  The promoter sets up the date and tells each band (usually 3-6) to sell at least X amount of tickets to play the event (the pre-sale method). Or B. The promoter asks you for X amount of money up front, and tells you to sell tickets to recoup it (the “pay to play” method). 

Either of these set ups can be great for exposure, but usually don’t have the interest of the musician in mind. Don’t get me wrong, I understand promoters deserve to be compensated for their work too, and these methods are used to keep promoters and venues from losing money,  but often times these promoters intentions are solely based on profits, not the betterment of musicians and the scene as a whole. 

From the day of my first show I knew I wanted to play music for the rest of my life, so I figured I might as well take it seriously and try to make something out of it. I understood that even if you are dedicated, the income from your music may never be enough to pay the bills, so I would need a full time “real” job, and that’s fine with me... So if all this is true, and you need to work anyway, what’s the appeal of being an independent musician? 

At the risk of sounding cheesy, it’s people like you. People who support those of us crazy enough to dream this big. The reality of dreams is that in order to achieve them, you have to be committed, you have to be ambitious, and you have to work hard. But there is no feeling in the world like being on stage in front of people who are engaged in what you’re doing. It’s the freedom of creativity. And it’s the rewarding feeling after you finish recording your own music. It’s amazing. So from the bottom of my heart, thank you for your support, and thank you for reading. 

Your friend, 

-Brad Abbott-

My soft spot (Entry 3 --- 11/27/18) 

My favorite thing about being a musician is playing shows. As a musicians it’s what you live for. You get up on stage and you have to bring cause everyone’s is watching you, and bringing it is soo much fun. I have a lot of love for the countless places in my area that allow us local musicians to take the stage, but there is one that I have a special soft spot for, and that’s the Keynote Cafe. This will be the third time I’ve talked about it in these last 3 entries, but we're still in introduction mode so we’re doing it anyway!

Everyone who’s local has either been there or heard of it, because it’s such a staple in our scene. The Keynote has many admirable traits. It’s friendly to everyone who walks through the doors, it’s beautiful and decked out with amazing local art, and it’s resilient. The keynotes first building was torn down due to old age and wear from a harsh year of storms. 

But back it came, and with a vengeance. I remember when I first found out. I was singing for my first serious band, Villa Manor, and I received a message from Jill. Jill asked if my band mates and I would be able to play the grand re-opening of the Keynote Cafe at its new home on South Fourth Street in Jeannette. I gleefully called my band mates to make sure everyone was available, they gleefully said HELL YES and we proceeded to be excited until the night of the show finally arrived. 

I remember that show like yesterday and how it brought a new hope to our entire scene. People were freaking out. The Keynote was back, the heartbeat of westmoreland counties music scene could be felt again. It was incredible. 

The Keynote has been going strong since, but recently I got my chance to be more involved. Having been playing there for nearly 8 years, I asked Jill if I could try my hand and hosting events at the Keynote. I had some ideas for a series of shows I wanted to do and I wanted to gauge interest and get a feel for running these events. Jill was crazy enough to let me and The Independent Revolution Series was born. The idea is to take local acts that are unsigned and serious about their craft and showcase them to people that are there to hear new music that’s outside of mainstream radio. Each band or act gets interviewed prior to taking the stage to tell the audience their story and about anything they may have at their merch table. So far the 4 dates I was given have gone well (I still have one more chance to mess up December 28th). 

I’m currently planning for 11 dates next year at the Keynote. The 4th Friday of every month except January. I have all kinds of ideas going through my head as to what all we could do with this series. Different headliners and themes, maybe some cool sponsored events? The possibilities are there and I'm excited to have these events on the horizon for our robust and talented local scene. 

As i've stated in these 3 introductory entries,  The Keynote has played a large roll in not only where I am,  but who I am, and I'm eternally grateful for that fact. I think everyone should check out the Keynote Cafe at least once. That is all you'll need to fall in love with the vibe there. The amazing music and free pizza is just an added bonus.

Being thankful (Entry 2 --- 11/21/18) 

So in the last entry,  we left off on surrounding yourself with good people. I am fortunate enough to have many. I can never thank them enough for all they do for me, but that doesn't stop me from trying. Every year I write up a facebook post for the people I'm thankful to have in my life. These people shape me into who I am and inspire me to be the best person I can be.

"Up until last year, I’ve made an annual post about what I’m thankful for. After losing my mom on December 8th 2017, I wasn’t thankful for shit. Since then a lot had transpired. So here goes. 

I’m thankful for every second I get to spend with any one of my many loved ones. With my career path time isn’t a readily available resource. I have awesome family and friends who understand that complexity and never hold it against me. I’m thankful for that too. 

I’m thankful for my beautiful wife who would bend over backwards to make my day a little better. She could’ve chosen anyone else, but she choose the guy who makes as much noise as he possibly can at any given time for the sake of making music. Just because I love her doesn’t mean I agree with her decisions. But yeah, she’s pretty cool. 

I’m thankful for my grandparents who continue to support me in everything I do, I’m thankful that they’re always here when i need them. You two have never and will never let me down and it’s because of your support that I’m where I’m at today. I couldn’t have done it without you. I love you both so much. 

I’m thankful for anyone who has ever shown their support towards my music. Rather you purchased a song or shared a video. Every little bit helps not only to generate buzz and help word of mouth, but also as a confidence boost. Thank you! 

Here comes some name dropping. 
Thank you to Jill and her beautiful Keynote Cafe. Without her and the keynote, who knows, I might have just had a guitar playing phase. Here I am, 5 records and almost 100 performances later. Jill, What you do is HUGE. Thank you soo much. 

To Andrew, the man you’ll see accompanying me on stage behind the drums. This dude has been the definition of a real friend since we were in 11th grade at 2 separate high schools. He’ll call and check up on you when he knows you’re having a rough time. He’ll listen to you vent for hours on end if need be. Even though he spends his entire workday on the phone. I always knew I wanted to do music with you, and I’m so happy to be where we’re at and that is in no small part tHanks to you. 

Josh, my man. The amount of laughter to be has when we’re in a room together... not even just our laughter but the laughter we cause with our numerous shenanigans. I'm Fully convinced someone could write a sitcom using us as subject matter. Get us working together in the studio and it’s a recipe for a beautiful, not very well thought out but somehow genius disaster. Wouldn’t have it any other way. There was one night in particular where my life took a bit of a turn. You were there for me. I’ll never forget that. 

For my aunts and cousins Missy, Shaine, Katie, and Miley for being awesome and always having my back. Thank you for that amazingly thoughtful and creative birthday gift! 

The awesome, thoughtful birthday gift:

To SOURLOON! You can’t ask for better band mates and friends than these gentlemen. 
So fun to be around, very talented and energetic even in their old age. What’s more important is how understanding and supportive they are. I’m so happy to see you guys rocking out with Justin after I made the decision to take a step back. Keep doing what you’re doing, I’m glad I had the opportunity to be a part of it. 

And I'm thankful for every lesson my mom taught me. She was strong-willed, determined, and one of a kind with a heart of gold. I miss her everyday.

To anyone I’ve missed, there’s a slight chance it was an accident and a greater chance that I don’t care. Sorry for that. I love everyone of you with everything I’ve got. Here’s to the next year of our journey together. Let’s not take it for granted."

If you read this far,  thank you,  you care more than most. I started this blog for 2 main reasons. One is to tell a story as I go. I'm having the time of my life doing what I do and I want you to be along for the ride because there are certainly fun times ahead. The other is to keep a log of life lessons, so heres the first. Even if you're a loner or an introvert, do not bottle shit. Talk, write, express yourself somehow. Its vital. 

Until next time
-Brad Abbott-

My wonderful mother:


The Beginning (Entry 1 --- 11/20/18) 

I’ve been at this for years and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. The story of what got me here is an interesting one to say the least, and it makes me believe in fate. 

None of us when we’re running around with our high school girlfriends think that one of those moments could shape the rest of our lives. Let me elaborate, because right now it sounds like I caught a disease. 

When I was a Junior in High School I was dating a girl my age from another school. We were together one night and her friend invited us over to meet her new boyfriend,  also from another school (thats 3 schools now) 

Somehow music came into conversation,  probably because of a band shirt, and this random boyfriend of my girlfriends friend and I hit it off. We did most of the bullshitting that night as our girlfriends contemplated how they we’re going to dump us. We talked about the band that he co-founded and his experiences in the local scene, and exchanged myspace info so we could set up a time to jam together. Yes,  this was in the days of myspace. 

This dude and I would go on to be pretty tight and eventually he’d introduce me to Jill and her wonderful Keynote Cafe in Jeannette PA, leading to the date of my first performance. I was so nervous I didn’t think I’d even show up. I took the stage sweaty palms and all and I gave it my best shot. Everyone was supportive. It felt pretty amazing to be cheered on and I was even compared to one of my idols at the time,  John Rzeznik of The Goo Goo Dolls. I knew right away that I was going to be doing this for the rest of my life. There really isn’t a feeling like it. 

Fast forward to 2018. This dude and I are still bros. His name is Andrew... Yes,  the same Andrew that you see behind the drum kit with me on stage. One of the things I will be talking about in my blog is maintaining a positive attitude even through the hardest of times, and surrounding yourself with good people plays a vital role in doing so. I have a lot of great people like Andrew surrounding me, We’ll talk more about them in my next post. Until next time! 

Brad Abbott

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