What local musicians do when the sun is out - East Valley Tribune: Get Out

What local musicians do when the sun is out

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Posted: Thursday, March 30, 2006 6:38 am | Updated: 2:44 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

They may sell millions of records, hang out at the best parties and live in the biggest mansions, but before they scored big in the music biz, every rock star had to do something to pay the rent.

For instance, Rod Stewart has been riding the charts with his “American Songbook” series in recent years after being one of the biggest rockers of the '70s and '80s, but he used to dig graves for a living.

And nobody has had a bigger career in the past quarter-century than Madonna, but before she was all over MTV, the “Material Girl” worked behind the counter at Dunkin Donuts.

Here's a sampling of East Valley musicians and what they do to put food on the table while waiting for their ship to come in.

STEVE BORICK

Who is he?

Renowned Tempe sideman — playing guitar, bass, banjo and mandolin — with a variety of artists including Dave Insley, Kevin Daly, Fools on the Hill (Beatles cover band) and bluegrass bands The Nitpickers, The Breadwinners and The Jambusters.

Where do you work?

‘‘I'm a chemistry instructor and the physical science department chair at Scottsdale Community College.''

What other jobs have you had since you've been a musician?

‘‘I moved to AZ in 1995 for a one-year postdoctoral research fellowship at

ASU. After that first year, I continued with research and started teaching chemistry part time — for a year at ASU and for about three years at SCC.

It was during my part-time teaching at SCC that I met a student named Kim Lankford, who is good friends with (Valley country artist) Dave Insley. Through Kim, I met Dave in about 1998, and that's when I started really getting involved with the local music scene.''

What's the worst job you've ever had?

‘‘I'd say the job I enjoyed the least was working as a bank teller during a couple of my high school summers. I found people can get really snippy when you're handling their money.''

Is your present employer supportive of you being a musician?

“Because I rarely have to take time off, I've found both SCC and my students to be very supportive of my traveling for music. The chair of the math and science division, Doug Sawyer, who is my immediate supervisor, is a fine working musician himself, so he understands the occasional ‘call of the road.' Many of my students think my being a musician is pretty cool and interesting, especially since I use music in the classroom when I sing ‘Schoolhouse Rock meets Weird Al'-inspired chemistry songs.''

ADAM JACOBSON

Who is he?

Bassist/singer with Valley hard rock trio Steppchild, Black Sabbath tribute band Sabbathotage and a solo artist.

Where do you work and what is your title?

‘‘I work for Childsplay — a professional theater for young audiences — and I have been everything from an actor, a carpenter, a teacher, a musician, a composer and a stage hand, and currently I am the director of backstage operations.''

What other jobs have you had since you've been a musician?

‘‘I've been a waiter, a bartender, a painter with Kevin Daly of Grave Danger and a gondolier at the Hyatt Regency in Scottsdale, where I pushed people around in a boat and sang love songs in Italian. I had that job for two years, but the rich people really started getting on my nerves.''

What's the worst job you've ever had?

‘‘The worst job I've ever had was being unemployed. I tell you, I'd rather shovel (expletive) for eight bucks an hour than continue to be unemployed.''

Is your present employer supportive of you being a musician?

‘‘We work together very well that way — they can accommodate me as long as I'm aware of where my responsibilities lie. I will try not to let my shows come in the way of their shows, with one exception — when Long Wong's (in Tempe) closed (in April 2004), there was a long show day (at Childsplay) and they let me have that off so that I could be a part of that.''

SHELBY JAMES

Who is he?

Singer/songwriter with Shelby James and The Cryin' Shames, solo artist

Where do you work and what is your title?

"I work repairing drywall, and we work all over the Valley."

What other jobs have you had since you've been a musician?

"I've been a factory worker, bartender, landscaper, painter, tow truck driver's assistant and a short-order cook."

What's the worst job you've ever had?

"The worst job I ever had was hanging garage doors in the middle of the winter in Ohio. I worked with a few guys who were real (expletives), and smashing your thumb with a hammer hurts a lot more when it is four 4 degrees outside. I worked there with half-witted perverts and crummy degenerates, and it ended badly when I left. I remember plotting to burn down the shop. I'm glad I never did."

Is your present employer supportive of you being a musician?

"My boss is extremely supportive of the music. When we go on the road in the summers it's never a problem — he's a great guy."

ROB KROEHLER

Who is he?

Singer/songwriter with acclaimed pop combo The Loveblisters.

Where do you work and what is your title?

‘‘I work at Spencer's TV & Appliance corporate office. I'm the buyer and special-order coordinator.''

What other jobs have you had since you've been a musician?

‘‘I had a brief tenure as a waiter, a youth counselor and a promotions intern at ABC, but I've always ended up back at Spencer's.''

What's the worst job you've ever had?

‘‘The worst job I've ever had was my original job at Spencer's when I was 16. I started out cleaning used appliances for our reconditioned department — you wouldn't believe what people leave in their refrigerators.''

Is your present employer supportive of you being a musician?

‘‘I work directly for and with the owner of the employer, so he's ever aware of my commitment to music and the sacrifices I'm willing to make for it. I think he realizes that it's more than a priority — it's a lifestyle — so he's extremely understanding and gracious. I've been fortunate enough to travel all over the world playing music, literally — India, Africa, Europe — and I've always come home to an open door at Spencer's.”

Pre-fame gigs

Before they were famous, these rock stars had a “real” jobs. Match the artist with their former employment.

1. Elvis Presley

2. Mick Jagger

3. Mariah Carey

4. Jon Bon Jovi

5. Dee Dee Ramone

6. Ozzy Osbourne

7. Coolio

8. Sheryl Crow

9. Elvis Costello

10. Stevie Ray Vaughan

11. Bette Midler

12. David Lee Roth

13. Roger Daltrey

14. Ronnie Van Zant (Lynyrd Skynyrd)

15. 50 Cent

a. Pineapple chunker

b. Emptied grease vats at a hamburger stand

c. Prostitute

d. Sheet metal worker

e. Hat checker

f. Truck driver

g. Drug dealer

h. Hospital orderly

i. Porter in a mental hospital

j. Computer programmer

k. Auto parts clerk

l. Worked in a slaughterhouse

m. Made Christmas decorations

n. Firefighter

o. Elementary school music teacher

Quiz answers

1. Elvis Presley: f, Truck driver

2. Mick Jagger: i, Porter in a mental hospital

3. Mariah Carey: e, Hat checker

4. Jon Bon Jovi: m, Made Christmas decorations

5. Dee Dee Ramone: c, Prostitute

6. Ozzy Osbourne: l, Worked

in a slaughterhouse

7. Coolio: n, Firefighter

8. Sheryl Crow: o, Elementary school music teacher

9. Elvis Costello: j, Computer programmer

10. Stevie Ray Vaughan: b, Emptied grease vats at a hamburger stand

11. Bette Midler: a, Pineapple chunker

12. David Lee Roth: h, Hospital orderly

13. Roger Daltrey: d, Sheet metal worker

14. Ronnie Van Zant (Lynyrd Skynyrd): k, Auto parts clerk

15. 50 Cent: g, Drug dealer

  • Discuss

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