Eric VanAusdal: Lennon714

One of the new members who I’ve enjoyed discovering is Lennon714, known in the real world as Eric VanAusdal. Eric was born in Utah but has lived in Arizona since 1988. He’s 28 years old and lives in Gilbert, Arizona, a suburb of Phoenix. His music has a straight ahead no-nonsense feel that is very appealing. I hear influences of The Beatles (and subsequent bands like Oasis and Weezer) in his catchy hooks, but what I enjoy most is the more current, unique feel he brings to his storytelling lyrics. He says he has a lot to learn about digital recording, which is one of the main reasons he joined Macjams. After being here for 6 months, one can already hear the difference (which is very cool, indeed).

His band, the Ex-Kings, broke up just about the time Eric joined Macjams. It seems Eric never really liked performing live (but, of course, you can’t discover that until you try). The band’s break up afforded him more time to write music on his own. As he puts it, “We considered the idea of getting back together but eventually decided against it. For me it had everything to do with being a control freak and just wanting to record, not play out.”

Is it accurate to say you don’t really enjoy performing live?

“That is an accurate statement. Every time I’ve been in a band, it’s somehow worked out that I’ve been the principal singer and songwriter. I live for writing songs, but I’m incredibly self-conscious about my singing. With the Ex-Kings in particular there was just so much noise and I could never hear myself. I found myself not enjoying a set to the point that I was looking forward to the end. I loved when we did acoustic shows because I could actually hear and felt my performance was fine. Not that it’s these guys’ fault, but Keith hits like a madman and Mike has tinnitus (from standing directly next to a PA while seeing the Ramones at a festival in Missouri – AWESOME). The stage volume just seemed out of control and no matter what I had going through the monitor, I couldn’t hear. I know how The Beatles felt, but only if The Beatles played in small bars for nobody. I’m playing with a band just for kicks right now and it’s fun because it’s someone else’s music, I’m not singing and I’ll even be playing bass for some shows. I’m really looking forward to that because I also do not like the focus being on me – not a good quality for a front man.”

How do you hope to get an audience for your music without playing live?

“As stupid as it sounds, primarily the Internet. But the first step is defining my audience. I’ve reached a point in my life where the idea of becoming a ‘star’ is out of the question. I’m a little rounder than I was, I’ve never been pretty, and I rely on the perks of my corporate pimp. With kids, I can’t imagine not having health insurance. So will I be rich and be able to stay at home all day with the audience I hope to reach? No. I’m not sure I’m willing/able to take the time away from work/school/family to go on tour. If I were single and it was just my mouth to feed I would be ok with that, but my kids shouldn’t suffer because dad wants to play rock star. That being said, if MacJams is my only audience I am ok with that. If my EP sells 4 pieces, but 90 MJers download it for free and enjoy the hell out of it, I would honestly consider myself a success.”

Do you want to become a solo act, and will you try and gain an audience by playing live around Phoenix?

“Tough question. I love not having to compromise on anything. But to be honest, the guys in the Ex-Kings would usually keep me from doing some stupid things musically. Sometimes you need someone to say ‘That idea is dumb’ or ‘You need to change the lyrics’. As far as playing live goes, when I’m done with the EP I’ll try to do some more of that. Phoenix is a tough town, musically. The market is primarily metal and indie rock. Although I would probably consider myself an indie rock musician, the indie scene in Phoenix is more about scene than music. Jimmy Eat World, the Format, Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers are all local boys done good and bands I love. And not that I sound like those bands, but it wouldn’t be unheard of for fans of those bands to like something I do.

“But scene kids are funny. They want the circus. Dress the part and you could probably do all right. Focusing on the Internet allows me to not have to play that game. MacJams breaks down those barriers for all of us. Sure there are other factors that drive people to your music on MacJams, but for the most part people are just putting their music out there for enjoyment. It’s not a business transaction (networking excluded) and it’s not about image or hype.”

Did the existence of the Internet and sites like Macjams make it easier to quit the band and pursue music on your own?

“Absolutely. The Internet is obviously changing everything about the industry – which is fantastic. The industry is a dinosaur of a business model. With MacJams, I can post a track that no major label (and many indie labels, for that matter) would touch. Then people around the world can get exposed to that. It’s so common now for us to communicate with musicians in the UK, Middle East, Australia, etc. Think how impossible this was 15 years ago. I’m only 28 and the thought of sharing music outside of my circle of friends without label aid was unheard of 10-15 years ago. I’m not very good at networking, though. There are quite a few artists on MacJams that I really admire just as much as ‘traditional’ artists, but I can’t bring myself to think about it as a networking opportunity. I’d like to collaborate, but I still see myself as the annoying younger brother. So my purpose on MJ isn’t necessarily to further my ‘career’, but to just enjoy the music and to have an outlet for my own. I’m also learning way more about production than I thought I ever would, which is great.”

What bands have you formed?

“The only real band I’ve ever been in is the Ex-Kings.”

Tell me more the Ex-Kings

“The band is made up of some work buddies from the University of Phoenix. Though most of the material is mine, our drummer, Keith, is also a great songwriter and when I could sing his songs, we would. He and his brother made up the core of the Irish band Power of Dreams, so he’s usually pretty good in looking out for industry snakes. Power of Dreams did very well in Europe and Asia and his experience with the negative side of major labels convinced us to keep things low key. We broke up a few months ago but we’re still good friends and help out on each others projects. I’m playing bass on Michael Bassett’s project and Keith is pushing me to spend more time on developing my vocal tracks.”

I like the use of acoustic guitar that Power of Dreams employed before they got into heavy guitar sounds (Immigrants, Emmigrants and Me – 1990). Is that the kind of sound you are trying for now?

“Great question. Power of Dreams was a fantastic band. I can’t remember the name of the guy who produced their second album (maybe Dave Meegan). Keith says this guy pushed them and pushed them for perfection to the point it drove them crazy. He played the record for me not long ago and it is a fantastic sounding record, but I do have to admit I’m a bigger fan of their more relaxed numbers. I love Cathy’s World, but I guess that’s somewhere in the middle of what you’re questioning. Power of Dreams is Keith and Craig’s baby from several years ago that I wasn’t a part of. They have some great songs that I would be proud to be able to emulate, but I wouldn’t put that sound at the top of what I’m shooting for. Working with Keith a lot the past year has definitely affected my writing. Craig was the principle writer for Power of Dreams and I’m not sure if Keith got a lot of writing on those albums or not. However, along with being one of the most accomplished drummers you’ll meet, he is an incredible writer. He wrote a song that will be recorded this month, one that he does with The Bollox – it is easily one of the finest pieces of melody and story construction I’ve ever heard. As soon as it’s recorded I will be pimping it all over the globe. I actually make a copy of my demos and give them to Keith for review. He’s perfectly honest and knows what I’m capable of. So though Power of Dreams is a great band, my writing/recording/performance has been more affected by Keith alone. You can hear him at his two MySpace pages: Paranoid Saints and The Bollox.”

Do you hope to use any of Keith’s (or Craig’s) contacts to promote your own music in the future?

“I’ve actually never met Craig. From what I understand he lives in France or maybe back in Ireland or something. I’m not sure. In fact, if you said my name to Craig I’d be willing to bet he’d have no idea who you were talking about. As far as Keith is concerned, I wouldn’t turn down an offer from him for a connection to somebody, but I would never solicit that from him. Keith is more of a friend first and musician second. I’m not comfortable turning musician friends in to business contacts. He’s so supportive of me, anyway, that I usually get a heads up from him from a promoter that needs an acoustic act or something so it’s a casual sort of thing that tends to work itself out. I’m a marketing major (graduating in 6 months… hooray!) so I’m certainly aware of the difference networking can make. But if the product lacks, networking could be more damaging than anticipated. To explain a bit better, when the Ex-Kings first got together I had some knowledge of who Keith was. Keith has some very interesting and exciting contacts, especially for someone who’s never actually been in a ‘real’ band. They toured with the Pixies, Bono sent them flowers and BB King CD’s when their first album broke out. Stories that are unreal when your only experience is playing in coffee houses and recording awful demos in your bedroom. The idea that Keith had connections in the industry was exciting. We even got some of those connections to take notice. But even though we told ourselves to avoid it, we started chasing the connections rather than concentrating on our product – the music.

“Looking back, even the EP we put together (posted on my MacJams page) was rushed. We didn’t work to make the songs more interesting or at least reflective of a common musical goal. They existed and were good enough, but we just didn’t push ourselves to make them great. I’m getting to the point, I promise. So my thought now is that I need to just reevaluate what I’m trying to do and whether or not I should be active in getting connections and networking. I never wrote material that I thought would be more palatable to industry folks, but I did put a lot of credence in to what they thought and said. As much as I’d love to think I’m a industry-hating maverick, it appears I’m not mature enough to handle that. So, like an alcoholic who stays away from the temptations of bars, I’ll concentrate on my craft first, and then go balls out, uncompromising, and sure of where I stand.

Do you plan on using your EP to help your music be heard by performers, producers of commercials, etc?

“In a way, yes. Performers? not so much. My writing doesn’t lend itself well to professional performers. I heard one of my songs on the radio once and it sounded like it fit, but I’m not sure I would consider myself someone who has the ability to write for other performers. It was me singing so it sounded natural enough. Maybe I just have issues with someone else singing my material. Like watching someone dressed up like you and going through the motions. It’s a weird thought. Not that I would ever turn it down, I just don’t think that’s my strongest area. Other than the primary goal of just getting my music out there, I will be using the EP somewhat as an attention grabber. I lived with a guy a few years ago that directed documentaries. Unfortunately, he worked for a company that got to keep all of his work so unless you’re at his house, you can’t ever see it. I did the music for two of his documentaries and loved it. One was just a single theme for his documentary on a bi-racial lesbian wedding that our friend was having. I recorded it on a 4 track using the worst instruments imaginable but I love how it came out. There’s a company here in Scottsdale, Arizona that does commercial songs/jingles but I’m a little intimidated to approach them with what I have now so I’m working on my production and writing before I try that.”

Besides Keith, any people you’ve worked with we might recognize?

“I have played with Jason DeVore of Authority Zero. Not a band I’m crazy about, but the guy is 100% sincere, a great musician, and has zero ego. Interestingly enough, Keith and Jason DeVore are working on an Irish folk/rock band called The Bollox. As of this writing, they don’t have any songs recorded, but I’ve heard some already and it’s some of the best writing I’ve seen Keith do.”

Will you try and get Jason or Keith to perform on any of your tracks for the upcoming EP?

“Probably not Jason. Not for any other reason than I just don’t know what role he’d play. He’s a great guitar player and a very clean singer but I think there’s a style clash that wouldn’t work out for the theme of the EP. Keith will most definitely be playing drums on all tracks. I’ll also see if he wants to jump in on some vocals.”

Will you try and get Keith and Jason to post stuff on Macjams?

“Absolutely. Keith and I tend to disagree on exactly how positive the effects of the internet are changing the music industry. We do both agree that it is inevitable and a huge force with unimaginable potential. I’m also recruiting some other musician friends.”

Care to share any conceptual details regarding your current projects?

“I have two projects. The first is a collection of weird songs under the name of The Alternate 85’s. This is a nod to Back to the Future and a favorite band of mine, the Old 97’s. The Alternate 85s isn’t really meant to be seen as a project, rather just an outlet to release anything I want (including my then 3 year old nephew screaming ‘potty’ and ‘poo poo’ while I play a drastically out of tune guitar. The other is my more serious project under my given name: Eric VanAusdal. I’m writing and recording an EP right now that is going to be made up of stories from history that interest me. One song is about the Italian artist Caravaggio and the other is about the architects of the Golden Gate Bridge. A demo of this song can be heard here: Song for the Liar Joseph Strauss. There’s a few more coming down, but I haven’t decided on the subject matter for the other 2-3.”

Anything else in the Phoenix area (besides your musician colleagues) that you take advantage of?

“I love baseball, the Arizona Diamondbacks in particular. They’re putting the murder on the NL West this year so it’s kind of fun. My musician friends scoff at this because in their eyes, jocks and musicians are two totally different breeds. A musician following any sport is comical to them.”

Does living in Phoenix affect your music?

“Phoenix has a music scene, but not really with what I’m in to. Metal is huge in Phoenix, but in a bad way. There’s usually a solid wall of noise coming from Guitar Center. Not music. Just noise. Kids tuning guitars on 11 with every imaginable effect. If you play drums and have two bass pedals you can be in any band you want. Indie rock does all right, but it’s certainly not what Phoenix music is about. I like to think that helps my music, though. It makes you work harder and focus more on what you’re doing, as opposed to ‘keeping up’ with those around you. I’m also not in a band any longer so that has less of an effect. I play a few solo acoustic shows here and there but really I’m in my room recording. That’s all I want, anyway. I hate shows. I never liked playing them and I don’t really like going, either.”

Your vocals remind a bit of John Lennon. Is that where your screen name comes from? (and is 7/14 your birthday?)

“I’ll take that as a compliment, run with it, and not ask for a qualifying statement on ‘a bit’. Perhaps you mean his vocals on Revolution #9 or the outtakes of Mr Moonlight from the Anthology. I would love to sound like John Lennon. Listen to him on the chorus of ‘I Should Have Known Better’ or the bridge on ‘This Boy’. Both are from the early bubble gum period of The Beatles but his vocals on those parts are so heartbreaking.

Lennon714 actually comes from me being an idiot whilst trying to create my login name for MJ. I usually use ‘DyLennon‘ for a forum login (it’s a mashup of Dylan and Lennon, not Die Lennon). But when I created it I thought the error message said there was already a Dylennon. I was shocked, but not deterred. I decided to use my daughter’s name and birthday. Lennon Marie VanAusdal was born on July 14, 2004. If you met her, you’d walk away knowing that her name fits her. But we recognize it has the potential for being a lame name when she’s 15 and she hates The Beatles because mom and dad love them so we gave her Marie as a fallback. She’s my Lennonhead and I hope it doesn’t come to that, but I also know how 15 year olds can be. My son who was just born in February is named Harrison. I fought the Beatle-themed kid fiasco until Lennon started referring to Renee’s (my wife) belly as ‘baby Harrison’. It sounded so cute and perfect I couldn’t fight it any longer. Then in a case of irony my wife went in to pre-term labor and Harrison was born a month early on February 25th…. George Harrison’s birthday. Well, that’s the birthday George always knew. He was actually born on like 11:50 pm on February 24th, but his family somehow got it wrong and he always celebrated it February 25th.”

How has having kids changed your music?

“Having kids and being in a happy marriage has seriously derailed my music – in a good way. I’ve always been into brooding, self-loathing songs about unrequited love and the girl that done you wrong. So that’s where my lyrics naturally go. But now I’ve got a great, supportive wife and two wonderful kids. I read an interview with Dee Snider and he was saying the same thing. Once he got married and had kids, he found it difficult to be so edgy and angry. So I’ve either had to make up sad subject matter or change my direction. Lately I’ve been opting for the latter.”

I noticed that you mention collaborating with “Fat Frances.” Who is that?

“Fat Frances is nobody. 10 years ago I sat down and told myself I was going to write a Pixies song. Of course I failed, but during the chorus I just sang ‘Black Francis and me…’ Because the attempt failed so miserably I made it Fat Frances instead of Black Francis. As weird as it sounds to sit down trying to deliberately rip off another artist, it’s actually a way for me to break out of writing the same Eric VanAusdal song. I usually never come up with something that sounds like who I’m trying to rip off so it tends to work out for me.”

Beside providing a stable, loving context for living, how does your wife affect your music?

“My wife is a British Literature grad and is always pushing me to be more lyrically creative. Even when I’m thinking I’ve done something decent she tells me I can do better. She’s very supportive and I’m always willing to take the criticism. So now that I don’t have a sad love-life I’ve had to shift my writing. I’m big in to history so I’m starting to write more along those lines. I posted a song recently about the architects of the Golden Gate Bridge, I have another about the Italian artist Caravaggio. I’m trying to come up with a song about when Pee Wee Reese put his arm around Jackie Robinson. (I’m also a huge baseball fan and this moment showed a lot of courage on both player’s parts.) I was going to write a song about Ted Bundy’s daughter but my wife is bothered by the idea that Ted Bundy’s daughter might hear it. A very small chance, and it wouldn’t be disrespectful at all, but it’s enough to make me rethink writing songs about notorious people who still have fresh wounds/connections. I just find it interesting that during his trial women were still enamored with him and he even married one. They conceived a child while he was in prison and she eventually wised up to who he really is. She left him but they had a daughter together. Does the girl know who here father is? What does the mother say about the situation? It’s a fascinating topic for me, but I respect that these could be very difficult situations for somebody.

“Anyway, the idea is that I’m putting 4-5 songs that have historical themes and recording the EP around that. I’m saving up to have a local artists create images for each song that represent the main theme. I plan on doing all the tracking with GarageBand, with exception of drums. Keith will do the drumming for me in a controlled studio. The midi drums I have constructed for the pieces now are way too fake sounding and other than vocals, I think drums make or break a song. I’ll be putting the song up on iTunes and playing that game, but I’ll definitely put it on MJ for free download.

What do you do for a “living”?

“I love that ‘living’ is in quotes. Right now I’m an enrollment counselor for the University of Phoenix. No Child Left Behind requires that public school teachers renew their licenses every 5 years and they have to be highly qualified. I enroll teachers for the courses that help them achieve this ‘goal.’

What are your early influences?

“My mother is a wonderful singer and my dad is certainly not. I like to think I’m right in between the two of them. I’m adequate vocally, but just barely. We got cable when we first moved to Arizona and spent every waking hour watching MTV. It was entertaining, but I never thought much about being a musician. I played trumpet for 4 years and even won first chair a couple of times. But when my 8th grade music teacher said she wouldn’t recommend me for high school band because of my attitude I basically welcomed the exit. I was getting braces anyway. I’d love to have a trumpet again, but that’s more expense than I can justify right now.

“Around that time my dad bought a Credence Clearwater Revival tape on a roadtrip to San Diego. I loved every single track and knew I wanted to play guitar. A few months later he bought a Beatles tape, which is funny because he hates The Beatles. He only likes ‘Hey Jude’ and ‘Let It Be.’ That was it. I spent everything I earned on Beatles tapes and read everything about the band. I never went anywhere on the weekends my first few years in high school. I would just sit at home and read about The Beatles. There was a time I could tell you the release dates for each single and album among other things no regular 14 year old should be interested in.

“My mom had a classical guitar that she let me get restrung and I bought a lesson book. After two weeks I got so frustrated with learning ‘Jingle Bells’ and scales that I just gave up and taught myself by ear. BIG MISTAKE. I’ve since forgotten how to read music and I have the guitar skills of a corpse. All I wanted to do was write songs and I’ve been plugging away at it ever since. I’m an ASCAP member but all that’s given me is a letter every now and then telling me that my music didn’t show up on any of their surveys. It’s a nice little reminder in the mail every now and then that I’m a commercial failure.

What made you want to perform, initially?

“My brother is two years older than me and he plays drums. When he first started at our elementary school band we went to go see him play. The elementary jazz band was also playing and the kid on trumpet played ‘Wipeout.’ I thought it was coolest thing ever and my parents were supportive enough to rent – then buy – me a trumpet when I got in to 5th grade (when the band program starts in Arizona).”

Do you recall the first song you ever wrote?

“I’m not sure what the first one is. I think it’s a song I wrote about Glendale, AZ (where I grew up) and I’m pretty sure I could sing most of it. When I first started writing songs I was really into mid-1960s Dylan and early Beck (Beck Hansen, not Jeff). I would carry around a notebook and write down words I thought were interesting/funny. Thought the song is ‘about’ Glendale, it deteriorates quickly in to nonsense about tablecloths and the State of the State address.”

When did you start writing music, after you formed your first band?

“I wrote tons of songs before I even thought about a band. When I was in high school, punk and third wave ska was all the rage. I was more in to the English bands of the time (Blur, Pulp, etc) and 60’s garage rock. I was really, really in to Weezer but their 2nd album, Pinkerton, came out. It was the opposite of cool at the time and was considered a commercial failure. It is now seen as one of the most important albums to come out in the 90’s. This was the era of Puff Daddy and Sublime all over the place and I just didn’t relate. I met a guy who was in to most of what I was and we did several coffee shop shows in the suburb of Phoenix that I grew up in. One time we played for 3 hours and made a dime… but only because we found the dime on the way back to our cars after we were done.”

Do you hope someday to have a commercial failure like Weezer’s Pinkerton?

“I wouldn’t say that I aim for commercial failure, but what Weezer did with Pinkerton is definitely something worth admiring and aiming for. Rivers made a deeply personal and inventive record. Some would scoff at the ‘inventive’ part, but for the past 10+ years bands have tried to make that same record. Critics and fans hated it. It sold 250k initially – and I bought it twice! But people eventually came around. So if you’re asking if one day I would like to stand back and look at a collection of work that I would consider my Pinkerton, then I would answer yes regardless of sales.”

What are your musical aspirations?

“I have ZERO interest in being a rock star. I’m a loner by nature and the whole rock star thing is kind of pathetic. I want to write and record music and that’s it. I don’t even care much for performing it. The ultimate dream for me is to write music for commercials or maybe even for performers. If I could make a decent enough living to where I could stay at home and just write and record all day I’d be tickled. We’re not talking about a 6 figure income, even.”

What obstacles have you overcome in your musical endeavors?

“Confidence. I’m still not all that confident, but I’m aware that I’m actually better at what I do than I want to admit. I’m not great, I may not even be that good, but I’m happy with my results and that’s been a big thing for me to come to. Also, it might sound weird, but my family has been supportive and I think that has slowed me down. I really think if my dad hated that I was in to music, I would have fought harder. Not that it’s their fault. I love them for it. It’s me being a stubborn, contradictory cuss that made it a problem for me.”

What is your main instrument?

Fender Telecaster and Yamaha acoustic. My wife has a Fender acoustic that I’ve been playing a lot lately. I also play a Yamaha keyboard quite often. I have a Fender Jazz Bass, but I hate recording in GB with it. I just can’t seem to get the sound I want. For my bass tracks, I actually use my keys and do Midi bass. I get a bass sound I’m more satisfied with than if I actually use my bass guitar.”

Recording gear?

“I use GB08 and my M-Audio Fastrack Pro. That’s it for now as I’m still learning and I like to master things before I pile on the extras. I have some SM48’s that I think I borrowed from a friend 10 years ago or so. Isn’t it amazing how much equipment you accidentally accumulate? Anyway, I’ve never purchased a microphone, but will be doing some of that soon. Yikes.”

What is your recording process?

“I hate recording guitars to a click. So I will usually record scratch guitars to a click and then build the drum tracks around the guitars. Once I have my drums basically set, I’ll record guitars. The drummer sets the tone so it only makes sense to record my guitars to the drums, even if they’re programmed from MIDI or loops. My mixing is very basic. I read A LOT about best practices and then just tinker from there. I’m very bad at mixing but I can already tell I’m getting better. I hope that continues. I don’t master my tracks yet. I can’t get a half decent mix, but the minute I do, I’m going to get in to mastering.”

Musically, what is your strongest point?

“I think its writing melody. They’re not complex, but I think they’re catchy. Hank Williams once said something about not writing songs you can’t whistle. I know I’m on to something when it gets stuck in my head and I’m humming it or whistling it.”

What is your weakest point and how you get around it?

“Singing. I don’t really get around it. I just run with it because I have to. My friend pushes me and pushes me with singing. I can usually put together a decent vocal track if I put in the time. Problem is I hate to sing and rush the process. I recently spent an hour developing the feel of a strum pattern for background acoustic guitar, then spent half an hour recording vocals. I have faith in my singing and would rather someone else do it.”

How do you come up with a song?

“I write primarily on guitar or piano. The chords come first and then the melody does. I usually sing gibberish as I’m coming up with melodies. As I determine a subject matter, I replace the gibberish with more thoughtful lyrics. I’m never satisfied with my lyrics. Lyrics are usually the thing I listen to in someone else’s music that makes me the most jealous.”


“I think this tip is mostly for myself: I put so much into writing songs that when I hear a great song I get so excited by it and so depressed by it. I start to question why I even bother. I have to remind myself that only I can write the songs I write – good or bad – so I just need to plug away.”

How did you find MacJams?

“I stumbled across Macjams while researching Garageband and interfaces. I Googled two pieces of gear and it just so happened that someone a few years ago asked the exact same question. My first MJ song Square Pegs is a good example of how little I know about digital recording. But if you read the comments, you can see how helpful and friendly the commenters are. Now that I’m aware I can’t record in stereo, my mixes aren’t automatically going to the left side. I love that Macjammers are friendly first, and critical second. That’s a tough combo to get in the real world. I was amazed to see just how good ‘amateurs’ are… and how helpful they can be.”

What MJ song you are most proud of?

“The song I’m most proud of is usually the song I’m working on at the moment. I learn so much more every day that my current projects are more focused than the previous ones.

How has the Internet changed your music goals, your way of creating music, etc.?

“I’ve never been a big fan of the recording industry. I’m glad to see that the internet is going to bring them down – at least in their traditional role. They’ll never completely go away, but their stranglehold is over. The internet offers me the chance to record and release music on my own terms. I love writing melodic indie pop tunes, but I also love to record 20 minute avant-garde pieces. Nobody can tell me no and people across the globe will have access to my songs. I don’t have any unique goals associated with what’s possible. I plan on putting together some quality recordings and releasing them on iTunes and other outlets. I’ll probably do some silly YouTube videos and other stuff. Will I be rich and famous? Probably never. But did you pick up you first instrument because you wanted to be rich and famous? The internet, and MacJams in particular, has already positively affected the way I make music. I don’t have but one song writing friend so the chance to talk about song writing and production with a diverse group is immensely valuable. I can already hear great strides in my processes.”

You call yourself a “contradictory cuss.” In fact, many of your answers sound kind of Eeyore-ish and cranky. Can you give me your positive life philosophy so I can put things in a positive framework?

“HAHA! That’s great. Your interview on eDrew was like reading a page from my own history. I have terrible social anxiety. Self-deprecating humor is how I manage that demon. I also have zero confidence in my abilities. I often hear a great song and it damages me knowing that I couldn’t do that. I’m getting positive… I swear…

“I am fully invested in what MacJams offers. As much as I dog myself, I am wholly committed to improving and the people at MJ are an essential piece of my improvement. We’re musicians with different backgrounds, styles, opinions, etc., but we’re coming together to be part of what I like to see as the catalyst for a renaissance in an artist-driven music industry. When I went to post my first song on MJ my wife asked me if I was scared. I was excited, but it hadn’t occurred to me to be scared. I asked her why I should be scared. She mentioned how posting something I’m passionate about online really just leaves the door open for the spineless and anonymous people of the world to try to bring you down. I knew what she meant, but explained that I had read a few song comments and read through the forums extensively. All communication was positive and directed towards making the community a better place. Just because I’m not shooting for the stars and aiming to be a music legend doesn’t mean I don’t take a great deal of pride out of what I’m doing here. I really see MacJams as the future of the industry. If I can learn from the resources here and start to impress the more refined ears, I will count myself a success.”


• MacJams Artist Page: Lennon714
Ex-Kings on MySpace


15 Responses to “Eric VanAusdal: Lennon714”

  1. Yeman A. Al-Rawi Says:

    Good to know about you my friend, cool music you share and thanks for being here. Interesting read and thanks for doing all this Mr. Tobin and Eric, will check your old stuff later hopefully!

    Take Care
    – Yeman A. Al-Rawi

  2. davisamerica Says:

    yep … cool read!

  3. michael2 Says:

    fascinating read, and we have a lot in common in regards to family, goals and influences. glad you’re around.

  4. Lennon714 Says:

    Thanks for putting these together, Tobin. I had fun answering your questions and I enjoy learning more about everyone else. When is the Tobin self-interview coming?

  5. Vic Holman Says:

    Good story Eric. I’m sure a lot of people can relate. important thing is music should be fun. If not, it becomes just a job. Good to have ya here

  6. Allen Dean Says:

    I am continually interested in how many people here have had the experience of working with named, signed, or otherwise mildly famous people. I always worked with nobodys…hahahaha!
    Great blog, really interesting stuff. Love the music, and if you think your vocals are bad, you are wrong. they are lively, and strong. good stuff!

  7. rsorensen Says:

    Another geat interview. Love the frankness of the questions and answers. Good to know there’s someone at MJs who thinks Weezer’s Pinkerton is as important as I do :) Really looking forward to the EP. Will definitely download AND buy.

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