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Posted September 19, 2012 by Always Acoustic in Interviews

Secondhand Serenade Interview with John Vesely

Sunday, April 27, 2008, 6:12 p.m. CST


John Vesely and I discussed on Secondhand Serenade’s tour bus his father, the success of Secondhand Serenade, John’s favorite songs on Awake and A Twist in My Story, the incorporation of a full band and personal relations with his fans after the show and on MySpace. 

AARON KEKER: Hey everyone! This is Aaron Keker from Always Acoustic™ on the tour bus with John Vesely – –  


AARON KEKER: of Secondhand Serenade. How you doing dude?

JOHN VESELY: I’m doing great man! I’m just chilling! Getting ready for the show!

AARON KEKER: … Before Secondhand Serenade, what other bands did you play in?

JOHN VESELY: … I played in a few. I mean the one that I took most serious was probably Sounds Like Life. That was my acoustic project prior to this… And with this other artist … who’s now Ronnie Day… But yeah, that and I was in some new rock band called Words Fail for a while. Bunch of like really local… bands that we didn’t play that much but it was kind of a high school thing before that.

AARON KEKER: Are you from the west coast?

JOHN VESELY: Yeah. Northern California. Bay area.

AARON KEKER: Cool! So, where did the name Secondhand Serenade come from? 

JOHN VESELY: … I mean it’s pretty much a very simple, you know straight forward concept. I mean… I write my songs and obviously I write them about somebody. And… when I go out on the road, I kind of you know give everybody else the Secondhand Serenade that’s already been kind of done [laughs] originally. And … get to play for lots of people, so…

AARON KEKER: So, your wife must love being the Firsthand Serenade then?

JOHN VESELY: Yeah, definitely! I mean… well yes and no. A lot of it was bad stuff and kind of – –

AARON KEKER: [laughs]

JOHN VESELY: like going towards… a very tough time in both of our lives. And so like it’s rough.

I’m always going to do… the autographs after the show no matter what… whether I have billions of people contacting me or two people contacting me, I can still answer as many people as I can and read as much as I can


JOHN VESELY: You know it’s a bittersweet project.

AARON KEKER: I read online that you are touring with a full band. – –


AARON KEKER: Is this a permanent move for Secondhand Serenade?

JOHN VESELY: … Well I mean it’s permanent as long … as I want to play songs from this album it’s definitely permanent… I mean… I kind of mix it up. Whatever song I need a band on, we have a band. Songs I don’t need a band on I don’t. Its just kind of more you know …  I’m just trying to like move forward creatively and go the places that I want to get to. You know, take it as it goes.

AARON KEKER: So, you still playing acoustically?

JOHN VESELY: I am still playing acoustic during the shows, definitely.

AARON KEKER: Would you credit MySpace with a majority of Secondhand Serenade’s earlier success?

JOHN VESELY: … Yeah, I would definitely credit it to you know how I kind of got noticed in the first place by fans, by labels, by everyone. So, definitely!

AARON KEKER: Cool. Last time I counted the number of plays on Secondhand Serenade’s MySpace page it was approaching almost 14 Million – –

JOHN VESELY: … 14 Million, yeah – –

PRESTON JONES: Now it’s like 39 Million.

JOHN VESELY: Now it’s like 39 Million. [laughs]

AARON KEKER: Oh, is it? [laughs]

JOHN VESELY: [laughs]

AARON KEKER: Are you surprised by the success of Secondhand Serenade?

JOHN VESELY: … Well yes and no. I mean I knew it was definitely a special project. And I knew it… had unlimited potential but then again… What’s that worth in a world where you can’t really… I mean, originally you couldn’t really decide your fate but now with the means of the Internet maybe you can kind of decide your fate. So, I mean yeah I’m definitely surprised… that it took off because originally I recorded the album for myself. You know, I just wanted to have an album but didn’t think… it would turn into anything huge. But, yeah … it’s good music man and I worked really hard on it, so hopefully it will pan out.

AARON KEKER: Good luck! What are some of your favorite songs on Awake and A Twist In My Story?

JOHN VESELY: … Awake, I would probably have to say one of my favorite songs is… My favorite song to play was “The Last Song Ever.” I had a lot of fun recording that song. It’s a pretty intense song… You know “Vulnerable” was my single. Actually, I really didn’t like “Vulnerable” when I recorded it. I thought the recording [laughs] didn’t – –

AARON KEKER: [laughs]

JOHN VESELY: turn out that great and then it turned out you know to do really well. But… that’s how it goes… A Twist in My Story has a few songs I really like… I mean I like all of the songs. Honestly… the way I write albums, I don’t allow any song to be on the album unless I absolutely love it. I want every song to be you know something special for someone and… I think that’s the whole idea behind writing albums. Like you know every song has to have it’s place… But if I had to pick… I kind of like “Why” because it is a little different from some of the other stuff that I’ve done. I really like “Like a Knife” and “Goodbye” is a great song too.

AARON KEKER: Right. When A Twist In My Story was released on February 19th, where did it debut on the Billboard Top 200?

JOHN VESELY: … I don’t know. Where did it debut on the Billboard Top 200?

AARON KEKER: I thought I read 40?



AARON KEKER: Were you excited at least for it reaching that – –

JOHN VESELY: Yeah, definitely! I mean you know… it was like the #3 debut that week right? And so, it was pretty big.


AARON KEKER: [laughs]

JOHN VESELY: Kids bop beat me… Kids bop is kids bop but yeah.

AARON KEKER: Cool! “Fall For You” is Secondhand Serenade’s most popular downloaded video and even surpassed “Vulnerable.” What other videos can we expect on iTunes?

JOHN VESELY: Oh, boy! I don’t know. Well we have to decide on the next single for that but we’re juggling a few ideas. But it will definitely… have to give you a rain check on that I’m not sure – –

AARON KEKER: That’s cool!

JOHN VESELY: I know that I want to… get even more creative with it and you know see where we can go. Hopefully… we can have a little bit more budget this time around to get more creative too.

AARON KEKER: Cool! I read online that your father is a professional jazz musician.

JOHN VESELY: Yeah! Well was in the Czech Republic for about twenty to twenty-five years… But when you know he escaped, moved here he kind of had to get a job and support us here so…

AARON KEKER: So, you never actually performed with him at all?

JOHN VESELY: No, never performed with him. No!

AARON KEKER: What bands or musicians inspire Secondhand Serenade?

JOHN VESELY: Oh, man! You know, to tell you the truth like there are lots of bands I listen to and have listened to in the past. Of course … everything from like when I was in middle school like Deftones and Nirvana and stuff like that. All the way down to like Jimmy Eat World, Muse, Bryce, The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel. There’s like so many bands but mostly what kind of inspires me is being on the road with other bands that I really think are great and kind of hearing them every night… That’s when you really, really get into you know the music is if you’re exposed to the music constantly. So yeah, I mean I’m just happy to be tour with some of the people I’m touring with and enjoy it.

AARON KEKER: Do you think you sound similar to Dashboard Confessional?

JOHN VESELY: I think that… we definitely got both of our starts in the acoustic rock realm… In that aspect, yes… but I think we definitely each have our own writing style, you know.


JOHN VESELY: Everyone has their own writing style… But, yeah so.

AARON KEKER: If you could tour with any band or musician who would it be?

JOHN VESELY: Ah man! I would love to go out with Jimmy Eat World. I’ve been a fan of theirs for years and years.

AARON KEKER:  Cool! If you could play any venue, where would it be?

JOHN VESELY: Any venue? Ah, God! I don’t know. What does everyone say Madison Square Garden?

AARON KEKER: [laughs] Yeah!

JOHN VESELY: Let’s do Madison Square Garden. [laughs]

AARON KEKER: [laughs]

JOHN VESELY: Let’s do that then [laughs]!


JOHN VESELY: Radio City Music Hall would be kind of fun.

AARON KEKER: Lucy Walsh performed “Fall For You” on Rock the Cradle this past Thursday – –

JOHN VESELY: Indeed she did.

AARON KEKER: How excited were you to at least have another musician try and sing one of Secondhand Serenade’s most popular singles?

JOHN VESELY: I mean I was really excited. She’s like a good friend of mine and we kind of met through a mutual friend… She’s like really, really into the album and she was really into that song at that time when they were kind of deciding on what songs that they wanted to do. She you know called me and asked me about it and I was really, really excited. It’s a great thing. It’s… the fact that she did great and the judges loved it. It was just like good all around and just hearing another musician be really fond of the music that I am making is a great thing to hear. 

AARON KEKER: Besides Rock the Cradle has any other Secondhand Serenade song been featured on any other music reality show? 

JOHN VESELY: No! No, but you know… there have been bunch of placements, like tons and tons of placements, in like a bunch of MTV shows. Like… The Hills had you know my songs, like Newport Harbor… Engaged and Enraged. Like all the MTV shows pretty much have aired my song. The Real World… Vegas Reunion had my song on there. So, it has been placed quite a bit especially on MTV, so it’s been good. 

AARON KEKER: Cool! All right! Final question. Secondhand Serenade has a reputation of meeting with their fans after the show and even answering MySpace emails. But as your popularity continues to escalate, I think it’s like 327,134 something like that MySpace fans alone and counting, do you think there will ever come a time when you are unable to be this personal?

JOHN VESELY: … Yes and no! I mean, of course like certain shows… I’m not even allowed to go out in the crowd – –

AARON KEKER: [laughs] Oh really?

JOHN VESELY: because of security. Well I mean you know like when I did the Plain White T’s shows… St. Louis had like eighty five hundred kids there and… there was just me and Plain White T’s and they were all there to see us. And so like going out in the crowd… security reasons they did not allow me to go out without… an escort and stuff. And so it’s like hard for those reasons. But I mean… I’m always going to do you know the autographs after the show no matter what… I’m always you know definitely MySpace like… whether I have billions of people contacting me or two people contacting me, I can still answer as many people as I can and read as much as I can. So, I will definitely be doing this for the long run.

AARON KEKER: That’s cool because I think actually fans like to be you know personal – –

JOHN VESELY: Of course!

AARON KEKER: with the bands.

JOHN VESELY: Of course! With this project I mean it’s all about that you know being personal with them and having them have a personal connection with the music.

AARON KEKER: All right, dude! Well thanks a lot! And… good luck this evening!

JOHN VESELY: Awesome man! Thank you so much!

AARON KEKER: No problem!

JOHN VESELY: Thank you!