Al Elbaz a.k.a Al Lojack, is a South Beach Indie Rocker making waves with his music all across the web. His mix of wicked, creative guitar riffs, feel good lyrics and musical themes most listeners can identify with, can be found on his Homepage as well as on Youtube where you also find his latest song, “You Don’t Have To Go.” Lojack’s early guitar influences were the Allman Brothers, Jeff Beck, and Jimi Hendrix. “Their music reached me in a spiritual and emotional level which I refer to as the “feel good effect. This experience creeps up on me with many other musicians and groups. It seems to be my spirit’s response to the diverse creativity of many musicians since my early days.”
Al is man who has spent most of his life building a successful real estate and plumbing business while waiting patiently for his musical career to take off. Lojack has now assembled a production team that’s ready to take his Miami-based rhythms to the Grammy’s. “It’s time,” says Lojack. “Anonymity is just not me.” Recently Al Lojack let Jamsphere into his ‘Guitar Room’ so to speak, in an exclusive interview with Rick Jamm.
1. How long have you been doing what you’re doing and how did you get started in the first place?
Al Lojack: I have been playing guitar since I was about 17, although my 1st instrument was the double bass while in junior high at 13yrs old. I first got really into wanting to play after I saw this neighborhood kid with a black les-paul with a loud amp, and it just smelled good.
2. Who were your first musical influences that you can remember?
Al Lojack: The Beatles, Mo Town
3. Other than financially, how do you think your experience, building a successful real estate and plumbing business might help your musical career?
Al Lojack: Hard work and perseverance. If we were to break it down, in both my businesses I have to bargain, estimate, etc. Dealing with criticism & rejection is part of daily business life. It’s just like auditioning when it comes down to it. All that really matters is how much you really want it and how hard you are willing to work to get there.
4. Describe the first piece of musical equipment that you actually purchased with your own money.
Al Lojack: 1968 Gibson Meli Maker Cherry wood electric, I still have it.
5. Tell us something about the ‘Guitar Room,’ your current instrument set-up and the brands you are using right now?
Al Lojack: My guitar room is where I can just be me, let go & be free, just create my music like writing short stories or poems with lyrics & music. It’s my Sanctuary! My weapon of choice are American made Fender Strats ranging from costume shop to relics, all stock. I also prefer Maple necks. For my Acoustic American made Guild 1980s. I travel with a Baby Taylor
6. What do you think is the importance of video in pop music today?
Al Lojack: To give a visual to our audience in order to better understand us as musicians
7. Many independent artists fall flat when it comes to making good music videos. What kind of budgets do you allocate and how do you go about making your highly entertaining music videos?
Al Lojack: For me it is not so much about our budget it is more about the story and how we execute the ideas. The way I like to approach videos or the productions is to “let’s have some fun & make something we would enjoy watching” Love, Laughter, Sexiness-we can’t attain any of this without music. We all listen to music even if is not our own genre. Music makes us feel good.
8. Which of your songs do you consider your personal favorite, and on which one do you think you delivered your best performance so far, from a technical point of view?
Al Lojack: It’s hard as an artist to answer, that is like asking a parent which one of your kids do you love/like more. The performance that I think went the best (more easy in terms of recording & writing) Don’t Mess With Me.
9. Which ingredient do you think is most essential in making Al Lojack music, sound the way it does?
Al Lojack: Really I would have to say connecting with your guitar (or instrument of choice) & really being able to transport yourself to whatever it is you may be feeling during that moment of inspiration.
10. If you were forced to choose only one, which emotion, more than any other drives you day after day to stay in this rollercoaster business. Is it joy, anger, desire, passion, hysteria or pride and why?
Al Lojack: Passion, without it we can’t succeed
11. What aspect of being an independent artist and the music making process excites you most and what aspect discourages you most?
Al Lojack: I feel that there are no real barriers between my listening audience & me and I like that. What I don’t like is not being per-say able to reach a wider audience faster.
12. Live gigging or studio work? What is your preferred habitat and why?
Al Lojack: Love the studio. To me it is like going to the park as a child. It’s my playground
13. As we understand Allojack Records handles all its own recording, producing and marketing processes. In the long-term will you eventually see, being ‘self-financed’ as a limit, or as an achievement, and why?
Al Lojack: I see it as a limit, why because I think it is important to have the best marketing and producers at your side. If given the opportunity it affords you the luxury to create more of your craft
14. What do you consider the best piece of advice in this business you actually followed so far, and one you didn’t, but now know for sure, that you should have?
Al Lojack: The best of piece of advice that I’ve followed is NEVER GIVE UP! There really hasn’t been anything that I could say gee I really should’ve done that…
15. This time in your career, as an independent artist, which is the one factor you desire most (increased music distribution, better quality production, more media exposure etc.…)?
Al Lojack: Validation & recognition
16. Tell us something about your latest project and with whom you’re currently working or would like to work with?
Al Lojack: Currently recording several songs to be released soon, working with Eddie De La Cruz (drummer), Debbie Duke (Bass Player) & Looch (Producer) at the Miami Beach Recording Studio. If given the chance I would like to work with Butch Vig or the likes of.
17. How do you handle criticism? And who is your worst critic, if any?
Al Lojack: Open heartedly. My sons are brutally honest, but you have to love that.
18. Apparently you have assembled a production team ready to take you all the way to the Grammy’s. Is going platinum or winning a Grammy important you? Where would you like to see your career within 5 years?
Al Lojack: Hell yeah winning a Grammy is important to me; it means that I have arrived! In 5 years I hope to have more than 1 Grammy
19. What do you think is the biggest barrier you have to face and overcome as an indie artist, in your quest to achieve your goals?
Al Lojack: My biggest barrier or obstacles would be time, but I’m not giving up without a fight
20. Finally, with a successful real estate and plumbing business behind you, do you consider yourself a successful businessman with a passion for music, or rather a passionate musician who currently earns a living in real estate and plumbing?
Al Lojack: A passionate musician who currently earns a living in real estate & plumbing. When I started my business I told Robin Gibbs from the Bee Gees if I dedicate 10% of my music energy into business I’d be more famous & successful than the Bee Gees in Miami Beach. Let’s just say that leaves 90% of energy to allocate to what I love so much……. MUSIC!