The Best Week of My Life.
After posting my little story about Tomo, I’ve had a few people ask about the entire experience. So I’ll attempt to keep you interested and tell my story!
Triple M radio station were running a competition, and the winner would get to play on stage with Thirty Seconds To Mars. A friend of mine, Brooke, told me about this competition. Naturally, I jumped at the chance. All I had to do was record myself playing ‘City of Angels’ and send it through the boys. So I called up my boss, and asked for the day off so I could get a nice clean take of me playing the song (got it first go might I add!) I filmed and sent it through on Friday and the competition closed on Sunday.
It was now Wednesday and I was yet to hear anything about it. I checked my unlisted, youtube, audition video and saw it had 22 views on it meaning that the boys had definitely seen it. I thought 'oh well, at least you gave it a shot!’. I was stuck at work in a completely empty office, filling out paperwork, when my phone started ringing. It was an unlisted number, which was odd so I just answered it.
“Hello, Josh speaking”
“G'DAY MATE ITS UGLY PHIL HERE FROM TRIPLE M HOW ARE YA!?”
“Uhm, great thank you! *heart begins to race*”
“Hey so I’m sitting here watching your audition video to play on stage with Thirty Seconds To Mars and you’re really good man!”
“How long have you been playing for? What kind of guitar is that? And do you like Thirty Seconds To Mars?”
I started thinking 'oh okay, he’s just calling me up to make sure I’m 100% legit. I understand, it’s a pretty big competition’
“Since I was 14, and im 21 now, so 6-7 years. It’s a Fender Deluxe Strat. Yeah they’re my all time favourite band”
“Nice man…well lets cut to the chase, you’re going to be playing on stage with Thirty Seconds To Mars this Sunday night at The Riverstage”
It was about this time I began to freak the hell out. I started shaking really badly and tried to form coherent sentences in response to Phil but I failed pretty badly.
“Go take a breather mate and I’ll get Erin to give you a call back shortly!”
I hung up the phone and sat in silence for about 10 minutes. Trying to not genuinely lose it, considering I was still at work and still had about another 4 hours to go.
Soon after, Erin from Triple M radio station called me and asked if I could come in the next day to hang around the studio, play my guitar a bit and speak on air. One of my dream jobs has always been to be on radio, so that was a big deal for me. I went into the studio the next day and had a fantastic time. I soaked up as much as I could.
Lets get to the fun stuff.
Sunday afternoon rolled around and I met, probably the nicest guy ever, Johnno. He’s a Universal Music employee who was there to hang out with me for the night and take photos and what not. We walked backstage and instantly I was greeted with the sight of Shannon Leto, pacing, and Jared Leto looking at me and giving me a cheeky smile. I smiled back and tried not to become a total fangirl. I turned to my friend Danielle (who was my plus one for the night) and mumbled something along the lines of 'what the fuuu-’.
Emma, Jared’s assistant, walks over and introduces herself. I don’t think people realise just how pretty this woman is in person. She is beyond gorgeous. “Do you guys want to join the end of the VIP line and get some stuff signed and a photo?” I had actually bought a VIP ticket before this whole thing happened so yes, yes I am going to join the line.
I stepped out from backstage and into the VIP area. Instantly Tomo noticed me and yelled out to me. “HEY! GUITAR GUY!? SICK! I’LL SEE YOU SOON!” This was all so surreal and nothing had even happened yet. We then met the guys and had photos then it was time to head backstage and await for the chaos to ensue.
We went and watched the support act 'White Lies’ side of stage and it was about this time I caught a glimpse of the size of the crowd. You’d think I’d be nervous but I was so so so excited. We watched them for a bit before deciding it was time to get some food before the show started.
Whilst I’m chowing down on some delicious vegan food (catered for the band) I feel a big thump on my shoulder. “Hey man how you doin!?” Tomo said as he slapped me. I almost choked. “Hey whenever you’re ready just come down to my dressing room and we’ll run over the song a few times!”. I raced through my dinner and sprinted downstairs to Tomo’s dressing room.
We sit down and I pull out my guitar “Man, that’s a nice guitar” says Tomo. (you have no idea how cool that is, to hear a world renowned guitar played compliment your equipment). He stops, looks at my Sea Shepherd shirt and says “hey, I noticed your shirt…are you into that whole animal saving world?” I replied with “yeah well, animals need a voice too”. He sits in silence, staring at me for a few seconds then fist bumps me and says “hell yeah man that’s amazing, I love that”. We speak briefly about animal rights, but start practicing. We start playing the song and he shows me all the parts I’ll be playing. NOTHING is the same as what I had previously learnt. I had to learn an entire song in about 15 minutes and then remember it and then play it on stage in front of 8000+ people. That was a little daunting, I won’t lie. Whilst we’re practicing, I hear the door open behind me and think nothing of it. We run through the song and Tomo says “you got it man, you’ve got it easy”. “Do you mind if we run through this one particular section just real quick? I’m not too sure on the timing of it” I said. Suddenly this BOOMING voice scares the shit out of me. “AWWW COME ON MAN! YOU DON’T GOT IT YET!?” Jared has been standing behind me for the past 5 minutes just hanging out. “Nah man, I’m just kidding, you’ve got that nailed” he says as he walks over to the mirror to FIX HIS HAIR. The guitar tech showed up and took the guitars off us which meant it was showtime. We raced downstairs and stood side of stage and awaited the show to start.
So here I am watching my favourite band SIDE OF STAGE and just losing it. I look over to my left and there is MY GUITAR, in TOMO’s GUITAR RACK. (once again, to me, that is just too cool). I also took the time to take a peek at Tomo’s guitar setup. I now know all his little guitar secrets hehe. Don’t ask me about them though, I’ll take that to my grave.
They start playing Kings + Queens so I race backstage and stash my keys, phone and wallet in my guitar case. Do or Die was up next and I danced my little legs off side of stage. As the song is ending, I go pick up my guitar and strap myself in. In the corner of my eye I can see some of the VIP side stage members looking at me as if to say “what the hell do you think you’re doing touching his guitars!?”
Suddenly, I hear Jared “Tonight we have a special guest, Joshua Brown”. HOLY SHIT, this is ACTUALLY HAPPENING. I walk out to Jared. The roar from the crowd is phenomenal. He says “So Josh, you won the chance to do what?” I replied “Play City of Angels, live with you guys”. The noise the crowd made was deafening. I was in awe. The song started and I looked out at 8000+ people and did not feel a single bit nervous.
Truth be told, I’ve never felt more comfortable in my life.
I played the song, stepped off stage, bawled my eyes out, and raced out to the crowd as quick as possible so I could dance with the crowd to Closer To The Edge, My favourite MARS song and possibly my favourite song in general. The second that song is done, I grab my friend Danielle and race back to side of stage, I HAVE to get her on stage for Up In The Air!
They played bright lights and start lining up the VIP members, ready to go on stage. Once people started walking out on stage, Danielle and I just followed as we had All Access Passes (which is now stuck on the top of my Mac over the Apple symbol). I think that was one of the coolest parts of the night, being able to drag my friend out on stage and dance way up back with her and just have the best time. I can’t express how much fun I had.
The show wrapped up and as Tomo started walking off stage he saw me, ran over, hugged me and said “see ya Josh! Keep fighting for the animals!”
And that was that. My greatest dream had just come true. Well actually, about 4 or 5 of my biggest dreams had come true over the past week.
I’ll never forget it and I’ll be forever in debt to Thirty Seconds To Mars. I’ve never felt so happy in my entire life and it was thanks to them. I love those guys.
Thanks for reading!