3227 N. Davidson St.
Doors 7:00 PM / Show 8:00 PM
What is it to be living the dream? The expression typically inspires a no worries, no hardship lifestyle. But that’s not quite it. All that jazz comes after, potential rewards for having worked at the dream. Really living the dream is found in the daily self-application to pursuing the dream. It’s not easy street. It’s solid commitment, blood, sweat, and tears which define the weathered lines and crevices spread across the face of living the dream.
When a hotheaded and very green 19-year-old Joe Firstman set out from Charlotte, North Carolina, in 2000 in pursuit of his dream, he was capable of filling whole Hollywood nights with the knowledge of a youth reaching for the stars.
“When I got to Hollywood it was a spectacle,” he concedes. “I must have been something to see, because I was as brash and as ignorant and as loud-mouthed, and as passionate as anyone; I could do no wrong. Youth has something to do with that, maybe.”
All the same, it seemed he could do no wrong. By 2001 he was named singer-songwriter of the year at the Los Angeles Music Awards, and soon landed a record deal with Atlantic, only two years into his pursuit. After releasing his first LP on Atlantic and touring in the opening slot for major acts like Willie Nelson, Sheryl Crow and Jewel, he moved into a 4-year stint as band leader on the Carson Daly show on NBC. Concurrently, he abandoned the ego-fueling, dizzying roller coaster of Hollywood to settle into a slower-paced approach to life and his music, in El Porto.
Still riding the clout from his prior successes, Firstman became a local fixture – surfing these waves, shopping these markets, jamming these clubs, quietly sipping tequila in these bars while analyzing every potentially song-oriented detail surrounding us all. He’s a loud man by nature, even when silent. He’s a curiously crafted mix of a boisterous stoic (if you can imagine such a thing), and when he’s roaring out a song or barking an opinion he commands even more of your attention. But he doesn’t sit still for too long and comes and goes with the tides of his music, following his heart and songs in and out of the area, across the country and over the border, until returning to this home base with a next album in the works.
By 1999, "Firstman" was well known in the Carolina's college scene. It had become a mainstay supporting act for most regional and national bands that came through the area, including Far Too Jones, Edwin McCain, Jupiter Coyote, Blue Dogs, and Hobex. The band was featured as the "Backroom Band of the Week" by Raleigh's 96-Rock station.
In 2001, Joe decided to attempt a personal journey towards stardom. He quit his wait job at Southend Brewery and Smokehouse in Raleigh, NC, and packed his bags. He bought a one-way Greyhound bus ticket and went to Hollywood. Joe met other local Sunset Strip musicians and made a name for himself as a local act. While "beating the streets", Joe met a number of music industry executives, and they began to notice Joe's talent. Joe formed a new band under the same band name of "Firstman" and obtained a number of gigs at small venues such as Whisky a Go Go, The Troubador, and others. Along the way, Joe wrote and performed with signed musicians such as members of The Black Crowes.
In 2003, Joe was signed by a major recording label, Atlantic Records, and his album The War of Women was released. In support of this record, Joe went on tour nationally, opening for famous musicians such as Jewel, Sheryl Crow, Willie Nelson, Josh Kelley, Jason Mraz, Michelle Branch, and Lisa Marie Presley. The album, however, did not sell well. Though Firstman himself never achieved commercial success as a recording artist, his band helped launch the career of My Morning Jacket guitarist Carl Broemel.
In 2005, Joe separated himself from Atlantic Records and set his focus on being the full-time house band/artist for Last Call with Carson Daly, a gig which lasted until 2009.