I downloaded every show I could find during 2003. Most of which Jason was playing with a percussionist named Toca Rivera. I was so intrigued by their unique sound as a duo that I listened to show after show learning the words to songs never put on studio albums like "Rand McNally" "0% Interest" and "Halfway Home". When his first studio album came out "Waiting for My Rocket to Come" it took me some time to get used to the full band sound, and I still often turned back to those solo and duo/trio shows that got me hooked. If you have never listened to them do yourself a favor and go check them out.
In 2004 we finally had the opportunity to see Jason perform live at the 5th Ave Theatre in Seattle. This was during the Curbside Prophet tour I was super excited to see that he was playing with a duo again, although it did lack that of his counterpart Toca. Instead another percussionist named Jen Lowe was performing with him. It was still fantastic. Hearing songs like 0% the first time and being one of the few that knew where to insert "Foxy" was a treat, unlike the loads of people there that only knew the song "The Remedy" or "You and I Both". After the show I may have thought about hanging out to meet Jason but with 2 kids at home we felt we did not have the time.
Fast forward through those years of Mr A-Z where life was busy and the scene of trading music was overtaken by downloading everything on the internet. Sure I preordered the album and would find a bootleg DVD here or there. I had also discovered the site RKOP http://rightkindofphrase.yuku.com/ . As 2007 came and gone there were some amazing recordings shared on archive.org. My all time favorite being the solo show in Ootmarsum Netherlands. For a couple years Jason had been playing a tune called I'm Yours and it became an underground fan favorite that had never been released on an official studio album. However the B side studio cut had been shared through fans for sometime.
Jason's upbeat music and attitude is infectious. We would travel just about anywhere to go see a show, meet new friends on the way and love life. Seattle, Vancouver, Portland, Tucson, Red Rocks, Hollywood Bowl, Las Vegas, San Diego, Indianapolis, St Louis, to name a few. Chicago...oh Chicago. There are some huge fans in Chi Town. The first time we were introduced to a LRC (Living Room Concert) was in the windy city. The night before A Beautiful Mess Live DVD was recorded we had the pleasure of watching Bushwalla perform for a small packed room. Never before had I thought about having my own LRC's in my hometown and this made me want to.
Our first LRC in my hometown was with Bushwalla. We have since become good friends and he is one of the best performers you could ever see live. Check him out at www.bushwalla.net . Over the next few years we had the pleasure of hosting a number of artists such as Dawn Mitschele, Alysse Fisher, Todd Carey, Kris Orlowski, Parker Ainsworth and The Makepeace Brothers. Some of which have played numerous times. During this exciting time we were introduced to our very own local group Luc and the Lovingtons. The Lovingtons had a song that Jason had heard and started to perform called the "Freedom Song". Later they toured with Jason and after that I even became part of the band playing the saxophone for a year or so.
As the years rolled by I continued to get my camera into shows. Not only Mraz shows, but any show I could. This was my school. My love for the music and passion for photography continued to grow. Soon a photo here or photo there was used on Jason's Facebook page a fans were submitting their favorite photos. There are many people for me to thank for helping me get to the point I am at now. One of them is Philly Brentnall, if you are actually taking the time to read this you probably already know who she is. But if you don't know, she is a rock star all on her own. Philly is a long time friend/fan of Jason's who eventually started working for his management team. If you have had an opportunity to meet her, you know just how great she is. Philly is one of those who on the inside saw my photography and thought it was good enough to use. Another person I like to thank is Tricia Huffman. She was Jason's self proclaimed Joyologist. http://www.yourjoyologist.com/ She has a can do attitude that has rubbed off on so many. Jason and his friends have this same attitude. Songs like "Anything You Want" come to mind with the lyrics "anything you want can be yours in anytime". As Tricia would say "F*** Your Fears" if you want something go after it. DO IT, achieve it. Make your dreams reality. So that is what I was trying to do. Slowly over many years of hard work and learning I received my first photo pass, I saw my first photo go on a PR poster, magazine, cover shot of a guitar play along book and eventually the back cover of the YES! Bonus EP sold by HSN. "Look at that, that's my picture and that's my name!", I say with each new photo use. It is still very exciting to me and I love trying to capture that "moment".
Over the past year I have been fortunate enough to see one of the first live Jason and Jane shows and after my many years of climbing that wall I received my ALL Access pass to take pictures during the entire show from anyplace in the venue. I still geek out a bit with each opportunity. And just over a week ago I was able to shoot the 4 Northwest shows on tour with Jason Mraz and Raining Jane. If you took the time to read this, I say thank you. I think like many people I probably wrote it more for myself than anything. But I do thank you for your support and excitement for my photography.
ALL ACCESS - JASON & JANE NW TOUR
The first stop was in Seattle, WA on Oct 21, 2014 at Benaroya Hall
After each show I would try and get a few favorites out on Instagram or Facebook friends to see. Also sending management and the band a few to share if they would like. Then I would get a few hours of sleep and drive to the next location. Lots of miles and little sleep, but oh so worth it.
The next show was in Vancouver. We were able to get there early for sound check and after getting approval from management and the venue I took a few shots from the stage with no one in the crowd. Something I had always dreamed about doing but haven't had the opportunity. I was thrilled. After taking a family portrait in comfy clothes at the end of sound check, Jason asked if I wanted to take one at the end of the show. Ummm...let me not geek out too much here YES! What a thrill to capture a full house with my friends on stage.
People sometimes ask me if I can really even enjoy the show taking pictures the whole time. And my answer to them - sometimes it is hard for me to enjoy the show if I don't get to. I work hard at what I do and sure I see the show through a box on my camera pressed up to my eye. But when you leave with that special "moment" captured in time it is far beyond worth it. Plus...I am there for the music ultimately and I can hear it with my ears the entire time.
On the way to Portland, little sleep, more miles and more fun. Portland ended my tour with my wife having a front row aisle seat. She was super excited and so was I. because of her seat I cuddled up close to her on the ground and it became the only venue I was able to sit really close to the stage and get great close ups. I always try and stay out of the way of people while working to make sure I am as little as a distraction as possible.