Tell us about your tour vehicle. Any notable breakdown stories?
Well lots of the time it’s a 2014 ford Econoline named ‘north star’, but currently we are out on a 2002 Prevost tour bus that is officially called ‘Saenger’ but which I have named ‘Ol’ Grey’. I’m not sure how many miles it has on it, probably a lot but it’s still the happiest travel situation I can remember. We have a great driver named Brett Walker and every night is like a sleep over. Any repairs that need to be made he handles and I thank my lucky stars for that every day.
I’ve been broken down and had to escape weather more times than I can count, but right now it’s smooth sailing thanks to our friends at chariot coaches.
How do you eat cheaply and/or healthy while on tour?
I’m not particularly good at either. Tonight as I type this I ate more fried food than I can ever remember eating in my life. Ironically it was not particularly cheap either. But tomorrow is a new day and I’ll try again (-=
How many strings do you break in a typical year? How much does it cost to replace them?
What an interesting question. I break maybe 6-7 strings a year. I change strings every 3-4 shows on a couple guitars so I spend a few hundred a year on strings.
Where do you rehearse?
My basement in my house has drums, keys, a pa etc. It’s kind of a mess and once got completely flooded (makes sad face). Not too many crazy experiences down there other than teaching lots and lots of folks my songs repeatedly.
What was the title and a sample lyric from the first song that you wrote?
I’m trying to remember this…there was one called ‘politics of religion’ that had a chorus to the effect of…
Have you drank the wine, ate the bread
touched the hands of the man whose dead
gave us the right, the freedom to express
and those dc mother-fuc*ers drove it straight to hell
More or less’ subtle.
Describe your first gig.
Well, I got sick right before it and was on penicillin which it turned out I was allergic to. I broke out in hives and the bass player in the band wasn’t happy I’d joined so he quit days before the gig. Amidst no small amount of drama, I ended up going with hives and a sub-bass player. The teen center we played at was packed and it was really fun. Girls seemed to like me more after that too, which wasn’t a bad side effect.
What was your last day job? What was your favorite day job?
I have never enjoyed any job that wasn’t being in business for myself. I haven’t worked for a company other than Stephen Kellogg LLC since 2001, but having said that there are lots of challenging and/or administrative sorts of aspects to what I have to do. Which is to say it’s not all glamour by any stretch but it does beat any other work I’ve ever had!
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?
Hmmmmn. Interesting question. I guess I make a bit more money than I used to because I have a few more skills than I used to. More songs at work too. My income hasn’t changed dramatically, but the quality of the work that I get to do certainly has and, for a guy like me, that’s a bit more important than the amount of money I make. I’d love to see it grow in the next 5-10 years and I believe it will, but if I’m 100% honest I’m not sure exactly how that’s going to happen because I always have and probably always will be a person that shoots from the hip.
What one thing do you know now that you had wished you knew when you started your career in music?
I wish I knew that this was not some elaborate test to be passed or failed. This ride is the whole thing. You have to swing the bat as hard as you wish to swing it all the time without hesitation. Play the songs that you were made to play. I was so worried about failing, I sometimes played it far too safe, didn’t dare to dream big. I enjoy my life as a songwriter, musician and entertainer more now than I ever have.