Joshua Kennedy: Musician, The Black Moods

(Photo credit: Jim Louvau)

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Bio: Two hundred miles south of Phoenix, AZ sits a sleepy little Mexican town called Puerto Peñasco - the roads aren't paved, the streets are identified by only the occasional sign, and the rocky coastlines are some of the most beautiful you'll ever see. The English translation is, appropriately, Rocky Point - because on this summer weekend, a short hop over the Mexican border, Tempe, AZ, rockers THE BLACK MOODS are demonstrating just how expansive their homegrown blend of rock and roll is, performing five shows in four days - including a sunset show on the town's only expanse of sandy beach, headlining a festival for more than 3,000 fans, and an acoustic set for a private party, performed on a patio overlooking the Sea Of Cortez.

How did you get into the industry?

I got into music through my parents. My dad is a musician and my mother always had music playing in the house. The business side of it really crept in slowly. We knew we were having fun and wanted to do it all the time, we just didn’t have the road map. We made a lot of mistakes to figure it out.

Any emerging industry trends?

The emerging trends I see these days  seem to be catching up with us. We have never veered off of our pattern of being a straight up rock’n’roll band. From our brand, to our music style, we have kept consistent. Now you are hearing more “classic rock” influence in the bands that are making records today, as well as seeing less skinny jeans and more bell bottoms.  Lucky for us, “Vintage” - as it seems - is the new trend.

Any industry opportunities or challenges?

Both.  The challenges we’ve faced are similar to those of major label bands.  What is occurring is that a booking agent will book you, having people just straight up take advantage of you because of your ignorance of the business, there are numerous hazards along the way.  Accountability and communication are things that can fix all of that. We had never had that in the past until we finally built what we consider to be our “A” team.  As far as the opportunities with the way the internet is today and all of the various different ways to get your music or videos out there, it makes the business more accessible to everyone - the artist AND the listener.  It used to be major label or nothing, now that’s just not the case.

Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?

Our inspiration came from friends of ours that have had success - and had hard knocks - in the business and went and did it themselves.  They were with a major label and now they have created their own thing away from constraints and limitations. My vision happens to be just that.

What's next for The Black Moods in the near future?

We just released our first single called “Bella Donna” June 1st from of our new EP.  We have a big festival in Mexico June 8th, kicking off our summer tour. The video for the single will be coming out soon, and we have our own line of wine coming out to coincide with the song “Bella Donna”.

What does success look like to you?

Success to me has always been to be able to play music for a living.  Having accomplished that, success to me now is being surrounded by like-minded, amazing people that believe in us and the music we make, and are helping us get it to as many people as possible.

Your most difficult moment? (and what did you learn?)

There have been many, but the one that sticks out right now is deciding to exit a business relationship  that I worked hard at developing.  Almost immediately after entering the relationship, we realized it was a bad match.  To leave was the best - and scariest - decision we ever made. From that, I learned to go with my gut.

Share a recent example of a great fan experience?

Some of our fans are school teachers. They invited us to come and speak to the kids on career day. They were great and had so many questions about what we do. It was amazing to get to speak with them and enlighten them on what all goes into the music business outside of just playing shows.  They made us the closing act of career day for the school. Having our career on display along with the Policemen, Firefighters, Doctors, Farmers, Lawyers and every other important career that’s out there was a great feeling. Just another reminder of the importance of music.

How do you motivate others – and why?

It took me a while to figure this out. Early in my career, I just assumed everyone had the same drive and ambition I had, and that’s just not the case. I would go about it the wrong way and I would get the exact opposite reaction I was going for. Now it’s finding out what people's strengths are and building on that. Work with like-minded people.  Lead by example. I work 200% of the time, all the time and it usually inspires and drives everyone to do their best and give it their all….or maybe it just drives them crazy:)

Career advice to those in your industry?

Work as hard as you think you possibly can then work harder. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE. Surround yourself with motivated, smart, positive and creative people…..and have fun.

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