Tell us about your tour vehicle. Any notable breakdown stories?
A Chevrolet Express van aka “Dick Van Dyke”. We’ve put 150k miles on Sir Dyke through the years…And it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. The worst of times was when we got stranded in Ogallala, Nebraska for 3 days when they shutdown the interstate on us due to a blizzard. See and hear all about it in this animated video by our web guru, Alex Rosas:
How do you eat cheaply and/or healthy while on tour?
I’ve been a vegetarian for almost 10 years, so you might think that’s a struggle. But even most fast food places these days have options. That wasn’t always the case. I remember eating a lot of peanut butter and jelly on early tours.
How many strings do you break in a typical year? How much does it cost to replace them?
Maybe a couple strings a year. I don’t really change my strings until I need to. I went a year once without changing strings but I’m a rhythm acoustic player. Usually acoustic guitars plugged into PA systems sound too bright and tinny, so I let ’em get worn down.
Where do you rehearse?
My rehearsal space is just my living room. I have a 100-year-old baby grand piano there that was gifted to me by a stranger. That’s pretty crazy, eh? We have these Christmas parties every year where we print out music and sing sad bastard songs. Those get pretty wild. One rule: No Christmas songs!
What was the title and a sample lyric from the first song that you wrote?
“As Long As You’re Feelin’ Alright” – I’ll spare your readers from any of the cringe-worthy lyrics!
Describe your first gig.
We had a monthly residency at this small coffeehouse called the Blue Moon in Red Wing, MN. It was right within the city’s old downtown which is home to Red Wing Shoes and is right off Highway 61. We’d pack it in with all our friends and of course play songs like “Highway 61 Revisited.”
What was your last day job? What was your favorite day job?
My last and favorite job was programming music for Milwaukee’s NPR station, WUWM 89.7 FM. They let me have my own theme time style show called “Lawyers, Guns and Money” after the Warren Zevon song.
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?
Well, I’ve gotten involved with some music licensing projects in recent years that have helped a bit. Fortunately, that’s one area of the industry where there’s still some money. Otherwise, I’m getting creative with merch like this “On, Wisconsin” Anodyne Coffee inspired by my co-write with Bob Dylan about my home state.
What one thing do you know now that you had wished you knew when you started your career in music?
Always pack extra socks!