Tell us about your tour vehicle. Any notable breakdown stories?
The majority of the time I travel by myself so I don’t need an incredible amount of room. These days I drive a 2016 Subaru Outback, generally covered in mud.
Happily nothing major to repair on this one just yet. However, my last car broke down in the middle of South Dakota. My tire blew out in the middle of nowhere. I went to the trouble of taking out all of my equipment on the side of the highway so I could get to the doughnut. Got the doughnut on and took the car off the jack only to find out the doughnut was flat too. I sat there for 5 hours before a tow truck came and got me, which towed me to the closet town which was another hour away. I always make sure the doughnut is full now.
How do you eat cheaply and/or healthy while on tour?
Ha! I don’t. Or at least not the healthy part. Generally I get comped a crappy bar meal at my shows for dinner and in the morning, if I can find a decent cup of coffee I consider the day a win.
How many strings do you break in a typical year? How much does it cost to replace them?
Countless. I am always questing for the perfect set of strings. As I write this, I realize that’s sort of a fool’s quest. Considering I always break the same string I try to be as economical about it as I can, but I generally spend about $8-10 on a set of strings.
Where do you rehearse?
These days, my rehearsal space is my attic. It’s the quietest and most removed part of my house so I can play the same song 100 times over and not annoy my wife (fingers crossed). Nothing extraordinary has happened… the only thing I would mention is that my house is old and crooked and so goes the floors. After sitting at the drum set for a while and playing you realize things start to shift towards the center of the house, because the house is that crooked. I’m constantly chasing my floor tom.
What was the title and a sample lyric from the first song that you wrote?
“Shine On Me”— Lord Lord won’t you shine on me. I know I ain’t the worst that you’ve seen. Make me believe.
Describe your first gig.
I’ve been playing music for a long, long time. If we are truly talking about my first ever gig, it was for my crappy teenage punk rock band. I was probably around 14, hair colored blue and myself complete with studded belt and angsty whiney music. The show was at nunnery of all places. A room of full nuns watching some teenage privileged punks rail against the government. I always get a kick out of that. I have no idea how we got that gig.
What was your last day job? What was your favorite day job?
I have been a full-time musician for almost 5 years now. Pretty incredible when I think about that. By far my favorite day job was as a baker. I have had a lot of good jobs, guitar tech, bartender, teacher, printmaker… but then one that satisfied me the most was the baker. People would be so happy to have a warm loaf of bread. Something so simple could brighten someone’s day…. I loved being able to provide that.
How has your music-related income changed over the past 5-10 years? What do you expect it to look like 5-10 years from now?
I have little expectations. Almost every year I expect to go back to my day job as I really never know how long I can keep this up. Being an independent musician I just kind of always feel like I’m living from quarter to quarter. Haha. My income as a whole has provided me with a chance to pursue this, that’s all I can say. Is it sustainable? I have no idea.
What one thing do you know now that you had wished you knew when you started your career in music?
I think everyone knows what they are getting into when they choose this line of work… or at least I hope they do. I remember a mentor of mine, once likened the music industry to a knife fight. You are going to spill a lot of blood, the trick is not collapsing. I’m just trying to outlast everyone else. I knew that going in, and I remind myself of that daily.