Tag Archives: Artists

group4

FROM CAGE TO STAGE

DAN FARMER AND THE JUICE BOX HEROES ROCK SOUTHERN INDIANA

BY LAURA ROSS

PHOTOS BY TONY BENNETT OF TONYBENNETTSTUDIO.COM AND CHRISTIAN WATSON FOR EXTOL MAGAZINE

In this season of graduations and new beginnings, lots of high school seniors eagerly scoop up college scholarships. It’s a rite of passage for many – but that wasn’t the case for Dan Farmer in 2006. His story winds around like the lyrics of an epic ballad. 

“I was a basketball player and loved musical theatre at Jeffersonville High School,” said Farmer, now 31, and the founder and lead singer of The Juice Box Heroes, one of Southern Indiana’s most sought after cover bands. group1

“Not a lot of people have that combination of athletics and theatre,” Farmer continued, “but I was friends with everyone – from the jocks to the artistic kids. I had several scholarships for theatre, and I had the opportunity to play basketball at a few schools as well. I turned them all down.” 

But why? 

Farmer chuckled. “I was in love with the sport of mixed martial arts and had every intention of becoming a professional cage fighter.” 

Following a heartbreaking loss in the basketball regional his senior year, Farmer said goodbye to basketball, and days later, started training in mixed martial arts with New Albany police officer Craig Pumphrey and Ivan Dale, who trained other New Albany police officers in martial arts. Later that summer, Farmer added a boxing coach, Rock Cruz, and was on his way to his dream. 

It might not have been his parents’ first choice for launching his post-high school life, but Farmer had a vision. He enrolled at Indiana University/Bloomington, earning a degree in fitness specialism-kinesiology, but trained night and day to be a professional cage fighter, with the goal of eventually opening his own gym. “I trained six days a week in Jiu-jitsu for hours a day,” said Farmer. By the end of his first year at IU, he was ready for his first cage fight. “I was 19 and I fought a 29-year-old,” he said. “The fight lasted just under two minutes, and he (Farmer’s opponent) got 47 stitches in his face. It was the first physical altercation I’d had in my entire life. I was never rough, I never fought anyone. I saw this as a sport I loved and wanted to master.” The adrenalin was the lure for Farmer. “If you’re going to beat someone in sports, a fight is the ultimate physical competition,” he explained. “It’s not who is the toughest, it’s who is the most skilled in martial arts. I dedicated myself and worked so hard on my skills, my cardio, and my strength. I loved every second.” 

danWhile his parents grudgingly supported his fighting, they insisted he remain in school. “It was really hard for them to watch it,” said Farmer. “My dad would lose sleep all week worrying about my well-being before a fight.” 

He participated in cage fighting for five years and wound up with a 7-1 record. As he finished college and hit his 23rd birthday, he realized that it was time to move on. He was well-known regionally, and still loved mixed martial arts as a sport, but he knew hitting the elite – and most profitable – level of the sport was probably not in his future. 

Farmer emerged from the sport relatively unscathed, “Other than the fact I can’t breathe out of my left nostril now. I’m otherwise OK,” he laughed. He graduated and worked for Jasper Engines and Transmissions, running their wellness programs initially, and later, moving into a supervisory role on the factory floor. He currently works for Cintas as a sales representative. 

But Farmer knew he had to follow another lingering passion. Music and theatre had always been a part of his narrative, with stage appearances as early as 10 years old. He sang in the choir. College karaoke was great fun. He loved people, he loved music and he loved to entertain. 

A fateful evening out with friends to see the Louisville Crashers band in 2010 led to a conversation with his friend, Jordan Rajchel, and the birth of The Juice Box Heroes. 

“We were having a great time, and I said, ‘Man, we could do this better than anyone,’” said Rajchel, who was the band’s drummer until 2016. “I’ve loved seeing this thing we built grow into something pretty amazing.” 

group2“We said, let’s do it,” added Farmer. “We put together five friends, and we were terrible.” 

They practiced in a garage, though, and soon landed a few gigs in early 2011. Then, an opportunity arose to play at Louisville’s Hard Rock Café, and the band with no name faced a conundrum. 

“We didn’t have a name,” Farmer laughed. “Everyone brought a list of names to rehearsal, and everyone hated each other’s suggestions. In desperation, our lead guitarist, Kyle Reagan, threw out the name Juice Box Heroes and it stuck. I thought we might change the name later, but we never have, and now everyone in Southern Indiana and beyond knows us.” 

Word began to spread, and The Juice Box Heroes quickly established a popular following in the area. Weddings, corporate events, fundraisers and bars began booking the band, and their popularity soared. Farmer equates that to their varied and ever-changing selection of music, from the 1960s through today’s hits, covering all genres of music. 

“All of our shows this year have been sold out, and this year is nearly filled with shows,” said Farmer. “We average about 30 weddings a year, lots of events like Harvest Homecoming, and we travel regionally. We have even played the Fourth of July celebration for Pinehurst Golf Resort in North Carolina for the past two years.”

group3The Juice Box Heroes currently number six members, including Farmer and guitarist Kyle Reagan. Drummer Josh Howe, bassist Josh Inzer, keyboardist Dexter Neal and singer Sydney Magers round out the band. Rick Day runs all sound and light and heavy lifting for the band. 

Everyone has day jobs as varied as school bus driver (Inzer), sales rep (Farmer), Humana employee (Neal), music teacher and choir director (Reagan), medical assistant (Magers) and theme park set designer (Howe). 

For any locals keeping count, there are three New Albany High School and three Jeffersonville High School alums.


“ THERE AREN’T MANY THINGS THAT FEEL BETTER THAN TO BRING JOY TO PEOPLE AND THIS BAND IS DEFINITELY IN THE BUSINESS OF DOING JUST THAT.” 

– Sydney Magers 


Female vocalist Magers joined The Juice Box Heroes in 2015. “It’s like having five brothers I never knew I needed, but I can’t imagine life without them now,” she said. “We have an absolute blast performing together. There aren’t many things that feel better than to bring joy to people and this band is definitely in the business of doing just that.”

And Farmer’s parents? “They are much more in tune with this lifestyle. In fact, they are two of Juice Box Heroes’ biggest fans. My dad even watches our videos when he works out.”

“My dad taught me a mantra a long time ago, that reads, ‘Expect to be good. Preparation builds confidence. Confidence builds greatness.’ I live by this every day,” Farmer added. “I’ve gone from an honor roll kid playing basketball to a professional cage fighter to the leader of the band and rock singer. I’ve been so lucky and blessed with so many opportunities. Every time I get on stage, I relish that feeling.” 

“Dan is one of the most motivated, passionate and competitive people you’ll ever meet,” said friend and former bandmate Rajchel. “If he does something, he’s going to do it right. There’s no in between. That feeling is priceless when you walk away from a show knowing we were a huge reason those people will remember that night forever. There’s nothing like it.” 

“I will never forget the first time we played the Jeffersonville RiverStage,” added Magers. “There were thousands of fans beyond excited to see us. As the Heroes took the stage, the crowd grew even louder, and in that moment, I knew I was home.” 

“We’re just regular people from Southern Indiana who love to perform,” Farmer said. “We’re up there, with so much energy, and we sing and dance and have a blast. We love it and that translates to the audience. They see how much fun we’re having on stage, and they want a piece of that.” 

Life continues to evolve for Farmer, who is now a father to his six-year-old son, Bas. 

“This band has been around his whole life, and I love having him at shows,” Farmer said. “Bas loves to sing at the top of his lungs and dance around the house. I think he might have some star power in him.” 

Farmer hopes to keep The Juice Box Heroes rolling into the future. “We can play 200 songs on the spot, but we are constantly working on new songs, and we are very prepared. We’re always growing and getting stronger, and we’ve become family. We just love what we do.” 


MUSIC NOTES WITH DAN FARMER 

SONG OR BAND THAT MADE YOU WANT TO SING: Seeing Coldplay in concert made me want to be in a band. The Louisville Crashers made me think it could be a reality. 

SONG YOU LOVE TO PLAY: “Bust A Move” by Young MC 

SONG YOU WISH WOULD GO AWAY: “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” 

ONE HOUR. NO LIMITS. WHO WOULD YOU LOVE TO TALK MUSIC WITH BACKSTAGE BEFORE A SHOW: Prince 

BIGGEST “ROCK STAR” MOMENT: Performing in front of 5,000 people at the Jeffersonville RiverStage in 2018 

WHAT’S YOUR DREAM BACKSTAGE RIDER INCLUDE: Blue M&Ms, sushi, caviar and a pedicure. 

IF THE JUICE BOX HEROES IS STILL AROUND IN 2040, WILL YOU HAVE THE “MOVES LIKE JAGGER”?: Yes! I’m already been called the Jagger of Jeffersonville, so it’s a guarantee! 

WHAT LYRICS WILL BE ON YOUR TOMBSTONE: “Here I go again on my own!” (Whitesnake) 

WILL YOU EVER PLAY THE ‘HOKEY POKEY’ OR ‘CHICKEN DANCE’ AT A WEDDING: NEVER. 

MARTIAL ARTS ON STAGE: I throw the occasional high kick and pray that my pants don’t tear. 

THE JUICE BOX HEROES REALITY SHOW TITLE: “The Definition of Weekend Warriors” 


The Juice Box Heroes 

thejuiceboxheroes.com 

@thejuiceboxheroes 

 

stj1

62nd Annual St. James Court Art Show Returns Oct. 5-7

With fall on the horizon, the 62nd Annual St. James Court Art Show is back and will again be held the first full weekend in October. What was once just a way for residents of the neighborhood to pay their bills has become a “Top 10 Fine Arts and Craft Show in the U.S.” – as ranked by Sunshine Artist Magazine (September 2017).

Howard Rosenberg has been named the new Executive Director of the St. James Court Art Show. Rosenberg has been an active member of the Old Louisville community since he moved there in the early 80s. He currently serves as the chair on the Old Louisville Neighborhood Council and the Garvin Gate Blues Festival. Rosenberg is also an active member of the Jewish Community Federation.

“I have felt it important to be involved in this extremely unique and beautiful historic neighborhood. I believe in the value that the SJCAS brings to this region,” says Rosenberg. “To be a part of this great event in a meaningful way is a life’s dream. To be able to contribute to the value that it brings to our community is humbling.”

The St. James Court Art Show takes place on Friday, Oct. 5 and Saturday, Oct. 6 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 7 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free, and the art show is a rain or shine event held in historic Old Louisville, one of the largest preserved districts of Victorian architecture in the United States. The show began on St. James Court and has since expanded to Belgravia Court, South Fourth Street, Third Street, 1300 Third Street Neighborhood Association and the West End Baptist Church.

stj2In addition to the plethora of local Kentucky artists, hundreds of artists travel to Louisville from all around the world to participate in this incredible show, and only about one in four that apply are selected to show their work at St. James Court Art Show. During this three-day event guests will discover unique works of art in 17 artistic mediums, from clay to wood, and everything in between. Food and drink from local vendors will also be available for purchase.

In the early years of the art show, profits were around $700 and attendance was approximately 40,000. Today, the St. James Court Art Show attracts over 150,000 visitors and tops $3 million in sales, while showcasing more than 700 artists. A portion of those profits profits also help fund scholarships for the St. James Court Art Show H.S. Scholarship Competition, which annually awards over $52,000 total to six deserving high school art students. St. James Court Art Show also has a grant process that supports several other Old Louisville non-profits and events such as, The Cabbage Patch Settlement House, Garvin Gate Blues Festival, Old Louisville Springfest, Shakespeare in the Park, Central Park Clean Up and many others. Profits also benefit the preservation of the iconic St. James Court fountain and the Old Louisville neighborhood. The maintenance of the iconic St. James Court Fountain alone can cost $10,000-$30,000 a year, and the neighborhood is also responsible for maintaining the greens, trees, sidewalks, gas lights, lions and urns of the court. Those who live in Old Louisville benefit from the amenities of the neighborhood, as do the thousands of visitors.

Those traveling to Louisville for 62nd Annual St. James Court Art Show will find plenty to do after the art show concludes each night. Named “One of the Great Places in America,” by the American Planning Association, Old Louisville is located a few miles from other notable Louisville attractions such as the Kentucky Derby Museum, Churchill Downs, Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory, 21c Museum and Hotel, and numerous bourbon distilleries. Walking distance from the art show are a number of other local restaurants, bars, and businesses, like Old Louisville Brewery, Amici Café, Pizza Donisi, Granville Inn, Seafood Lady, and Old Louisville Tavern.

For more information about the St. James Court Art Show, visit stjamescourtartshow.com and follow on Facebook at facebook.com/StJamesCourtArtShow.

The St. James Court Art Show® is a juried fine arts and contemporary crafts show held among the country’s largest collection of Victorian homes in the heart of historic Old Louisville. St. James Court Art Show® was founded on October 12, 1957 by St. James Court Association president, Malcolm Bird. Back in 1957, St James Court Association was faced with an empty treasury, mounting debt for recent fountain repairs, and an immediate need to generate funds. The Art Show seemed to be a perfect means to generate funds and bring residents together. For over 60 years, the first full weekend in October has meant that it’s St. James Court Art Show time. What originally began as a way to pay the bills has become an autumn tradition that draws hundreds of thousands of visitors to see (and purchase) original art from talented artists.