Tell us about your tour vehicle. Any notable break-down stories?
The last time I toured was in 2011. We had a eight passenger van and a trailer for our equipment. We toured the east coast and midwest including Bonneroo by Nashville. We did not have any breakdowns or repairs.
How do you eat cheaply and/or healthy while on tour?
We stopped at restaurants and some truck stops along the way. We ate decent food and fast food too. It was pretty cheap. I don’t know how healthy it was. Lot of burgers, fries and other fast foods.
How many strings do you break in a typical year? How much does it cost to replace them?
I break a few strings a year but change sets every four months starting out with a new set at the beginning of a tour. A set is about $20. When I fly, I loosen the strings a whole step so they will not break during the flight.
Where do you rehearse?
We rehearsed in the basement of one of the band members. Things ran pretty smooth.
What was the title and a sample lyric from the first song that you wrote?
The first song I ever wrote was an instrumental called Holding Hands on May/Colpic Records in New York under the name of Clark Summit. The label said no one could have hit under the name Dennis Coffey —Scorpio was a million seller under my given name Dennis Coffey.
Describe your first gig.
My first gig was playing in a teen club at the age of 16. I would play every Friday night at a teen club and every Saturday night would play a wedding. I was a working musician by the age of 16 and was hired to play on my first record date at the age of 15. A record called “I’m Gone” by Vic Gallon. You can find it on YouTube. That is me doing the guitar solos.
What was your last day job? What was your favorite day job?
After 25 years in the music business, I went back to Wayne State University and got a Bachelor’s Degree and a Master’s Degree in Education. I was a Training and Lean Manufacturing Consultant at Ford Motor Company for ten years and then went back to music. That was probably my favorite day job.
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?
My music related income fell after 25 year so I got a job at Ford.
After I left Ford, I had an album out on Strut Records in 2011, an album out on Resonance Records, and two albums out on Omnivore Records. I will have two new albums out this March on Mack Avenue Music Factory label and the Omnivore Label. I have no idea what my career will be 5-10 years from now.
What one thing do you know now that you had wished you knew when you started your career in music?
The one thing I wished I had done was finish college instead of stopping and then going back to finish it later. You should always have another skill to make money when the music business gets tired of you.