Do you think of yourself as a Rock Star? Most people don't… As a matter of fact most rock stars are thought of aging idols who partied too hard and are showing their age… (some are better than others at getting to an age where they can show it).
Well I am a ROCK STAR (well sort of). I play in a two man acoustic band called DOUGH! We do cover songs for the 50's-90's (and a few current hits). We play to crowds of 10's (not 10's of thousands)… We have screaming fans (but usually it's neighbors of the parties we play to shut up after 10pm)… and we have young girls throwing themselves at our feet (and they run away crying and disappointed after we tell then we don't know any Lady Gaga or Justin Bieber).
No M&M's or Perrier in our dressing room (in 13 years… the only dressing room I've seen was at a Kohls). We just show up, play for 2-5 hours (most Rock Stars do a 45 minute set) and lug our own gear (with a little help from some fans at the end of the evening). Why? Because we have a passion for music… and people love the music we play.
Thirteen years ago, I called Mark after our band the Pretzel Boys imploded… DOUGH! was rising. We were part of a five piece cover band who played bars for $250 a night. We would start at 4pm loading gear and get home at 4am unloading gear. When we paid the sound guy and the booking agent for the night we would each end up with $40 each (covered a beer and strings). All that for the hope of being discovered or landing that elusive big fest where we could make $1000 (and take home $100 each). The Pretzel Boys was a band playing for ourselves (and crowds of 10's). I learned a lesson… The bar owner hires a band to make money… bring a few people and you are never invited back… bring a crowd and he calls the booking agent and says “Who else you got?”.
DOUGH! was different… We play songs people loved to hear (Beatles, Eagles, Monkees and other Animals), We were low maintenance (we fit in a 10′ x10′ space – including PA), we are low volume (two acoustic guitars and vocals at a volume where people can still talk to each other). It was a hit and thirteen years later we are still going strong.
Granted… you will never see us on American Idol (too old) or America's Got Talent (not pretty enough and too old), or Dancing with the Stars (not pretty enough, too fat, too old, and knee and other various surgeries), but you may see us at a back yard near you! That's because we learned something… PEOPLE LIKE TO SING… especially when they can hear themselves over you! We bill ourselves as HUMAN KARAOKE (and we don't disappoint).
So… you are saying to yourself… “Self… What's the point?”. We (DOUGH!) treat our band like a business… and we get our role as vendors (not ego driven Rock Stars- well maybe). First off… If we are playing a bar or restaurant… we market our butts off (bring in fans, friends and family via Facebook Fan Page, Website, and eMail broadcasts). We work hard to be on time, work the crowd (during performances and at breaks to make them feel valued) and make sure we acknowledge and praise the staff and the venue. Finally, we treat the owner or manager with the utmost respect (as if we are employees) and talk with them and listen to them to see what we can do better or do to help them.
We so the same when it comes to private parties, and make sure, we are promt, professional and make it as pleasant of an experience for all as possible (short of playing any Lady Gaga or Justin Bieber). We get most of our private party gigs from private parties. We have been known to play 2 in one day and we are almost totally booked all the way through October at this point.
The point to self (“Self?”) in order to be a Rock Star… you have to be willing to humble yourself to make sure that those who are relying on you… feel valued and can see the value of having you as a part of their business (personal or entrepreneurial).
This last weekend we (DOUGH!) embarked on our first ever WORLD TOUR… “Dewd… That's a Lot of Corn!”. It was a family reunion in Syracuse Indiana – and the first ever gig we had that required us to stay overnight (over 6.5 tens of the nicest people, kids and grandkids you ever met). It was in Eastern Indiana at lake Wawasee at a beautiful home that felt like Lake Geneva Wisconsin – just further).
Mark drove and I was the navigator. IPHONE to the Rescue… Although I have not upgraded to the new IPhone 4 (hardware) I did upgrade to the new IPhone 4 (software). So here is what follows…
I used the GPS to map our route and give turn by turn directions all the way there. I entertained Mark by playing tunes from my IPod of old Pretzel Boyz tunes (IPhone) as I looked up trivia on those songs. When we got there… we stopped at a gas station and asked a local for a motel to stay at. Then this guy wearing a “US Census” hat pulls out his GPS and looks for one… I say ” I have an App for that!”. We go to the only one in town… booked. So I call the closest one (in Goshen) and book a room. During the gig… I use the IPod for break music. Then after we pack up, I navigate to the motel (the GPS was close but off a mile or so on the map of where it said the motel was).
The next day, on the way home there were horrific storms through Indiana. So as I navigate home (while playing music from the IPod), I am watching the weather and saying “We are 1/2 way through this cell and another is 3 miles up.”. Finally after we make it to my house and unpack all the gear… I head to a church golf outing and played 18 holes in a scramble using the GolfLogix GPS on the course.
Needless to say. the IPhone battery was as tired as I was once this weekend was over!
Here is a Video of Mark from Dough! in the early years (back when we all had more hair)… playing at one of our campground private party gigs… Messin' with Sasquatch…