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Secondhand Serenade proves it is coming up first
by Krystal Bick
Jan 15, 2009 | 4501 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Courtesy photo - John Vesely, a.k.a. Secondhand Serenade, plays Saturday at the New Oasis in Sparks.
Courtesy photo - John Vesely, a.k.a. Secondhand Serenade, plays Saturday at the New Oasis in Sparks.
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John Vesely is more widely known by his artist name, Secondhand Serenade.

He is, however, anything but secondhand.

The California native and previous holder of the top unsigned indie artist spot on MySpace, Vesely as a solo artist has been making unique waves, having already released his sophomore album “A Twist in My Story” to much success.

And while his tour is bringing him all over the United States, including to the New Oasis on Saturday, Vesely keeps his roots humble, much like his music.

“My dad is a professional jazz musician,” Vesely told the Sparks Tribune, explaining he grew up with a lot of musical influence and went through several instruments as child. “I always knew I wanted to play rock though.”

Vesely started out with the bass guitar, later switching to the guitar and playing with occasional garage bands in high school. Despite his attempts, no band fit.

“I was a bass player without a band,” Vesely said with a laugh.

Later determined to make a go at the music business, Vesely in 2004 joined the MySpace music community and garnered nearly 140,000 online friends. Three years later, his debut acoustic album, “Awake,” was released.

True to indie form, Vesely, whose voice sounds uncannily like Chris Carrabba of indie rock band Dashboard Confessional, produced and recorded all 10 tracks, proving himself to truly be a one-man marvel.

“I started off acoustic,” Vesely said, explaining the sounds of his first album and describing his music as mainly alternative rock with a splash of piano rock. “Plain and simple.”

And while Vesely has now signed with Glassnote Records, he said he is still reminded of his simple beginnings, referring even to his attempt to name the band something besides his namesake, unlike other contemporary solo guitar artists like John Mayer and Jack Johnson.

“I was always a rock guy,” Vesely said. “I wanted a rock project, so with your name as the title, it kind of traps you. But when it comes down to it, the music is important, not the artist.”

Thus the name Secondhand Serenade came to be. As Vesely explained in previous interviews, he serenades his wife and now the love songs are “secondhand” for the rest of the world.

The world is listening, as now hits like “Your Call” and “Fall For You” are being played on popular radio stations, with “Fall for You” reaching as high as No. 6 on the Billboard Top 40.

“It’s definitely surreal,” Vesely said. “Nobody sits down and says ‘I want to be a rock star’ and really believe it. It just kind of happened for me.”

Vesely describes writing music as an organic and cathartic process.

“If I’m doing something and there’s something on my mind that I can’t get past, I write about it,” Vesely said. “And I grew up with Chicago, Simon & Garfunkel and the Beach Boys. I probably have taken a lot of influences from a lot of different places. I take something away from everything I listen to.”

Considering Vesely was the only unsigned artist ranked in the top 100 alternative albums on iTunes, perhaps people will start to take something away from him.

The show starts at 6:30 p.m. with musical guests Meg & Dia, White Tie Affair and Rookie Of The Year. Tickets are $18 in advance and $20 at the door and can be purchased at www.ticketweb.com.
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