Living the Dream …

June 23, 2009 § 15 Comments

My BFF from high school days has a daugther, Em.  
Em went to art and design school in Savannah and while she is amazingly gifted with a needle and thread (and those complicated sewing machines) and is a designing natural, she began quite another “career” a few years ago.

She sings. And she sings in such a way you’d never expect. She has amazing pitch and can move her voice around without missing a note. We are not talking church choir or piano smokey jazz stuff. Nope, Em sings with a band that her boyfriend has put together and while you might call it rockabilly or punk or something akin to the CBGBs, it’s darn good stuff and they work hard at it. 

The band calls itself The Designer Drugs though I’ve never once asked why.  Their lifestyle has naught to do with drugs though they enjoy the occasional beer but music is their game and they’re determined to make it big enough to be their  full time job. In the meantime, they all work to support themselves.

As we all know, even before the dawn of all the TV talent shows, that there is a lot of talent out there. And a lot of energy. The DDs are a combo of guitar drum and voice talent working the groove.


The band, this morning, sans bass player who will meet up with them in the Southwest 

Two years ago the band went on tour across the US, stopping to play at all kinds of little clubs, sometimes paid, and just as often, not.  We were on their route and they stayed a night with us, lugged all their instruments in the house and played for us. I filmed some of it and have kept it.

And two summers ago, they had a CD and tee shirts and made  money on “merch” that summer. (They’ll do that again this time).   Their goal was twofold: 1) tour and 2) not create any debt while touring. They accomplished both.  Last summer went by and they stayed home, in New York, working on their music, dropping their bass, a lead guitar and drummer only to find another lead, bass and drummer.

It’s a merry band, not egotistical, fairly independent but not cynically so, and Em seems to keep them organized and on track.

Last week, Em emailed to say the band “made it” to be part of VANS Warped Tour 2009 this summer. They were heading to Cali where they’d be doing their first performance, then three other stops as part of the nationwide Tour. Following that,  they had nearly a dozen of their own gigs booked across the country.

Em asked if the band could stay the night as they drove through St. Louis on their way west.  Of course! Stay with us!
And so they did. (and my BFF, Ro (Em’s mom) was sooooo happy, too.)
Snarl helped me on the cooking side of the kitchen to set out hot, home-cooked food for them when they rolled in around 8:30 p.m.  They had driven straight through from upstate New York.  HM sat down with them to chat about music, and how they were managing. (HM toured with his band at the same age.)

Later, we jumbled about getting out towels, making up beds, doing a B&B kind of thing (though I knew that in the a.m., I’d be offering only cereal cuz I’m not too brilliant in the kitchen on workday mornings) and finally HM and I trundled off to the Land of Nod and the Band stayed up, working on a song.

They were up this morning, spit-spot on time and at the ready, packing up and suddenly climbing into their van as we turned our own cars in the direction of our respective offices. 

At the second STOP sign,  we waved to one another before they turned left, and we turned right. 

The band’s stage persona. (I did not take this photo; it’s from the band’s myspace page)

It’s important to have a dream and to live that dream. May we all be doing that.


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§ 15 Responses to Living the Dream …

  • laylou says:

    VANS Warped Tour? That’s pretty freakin’ awesome. Good for them =)

  • qugrainne says:

    Oh, to be young and in a band and playing ‘cross country!

    The Warped Tour stops in Milwaukee – I will tell my daughter to check them out (she LIVES in the audience).

    Oh yes, to be young again. sigh….. Well, I am doing my best to pursue my dreams, anyway.

    • oh says:

      Laylou – Yup, the Warped Tour – the real deal. You gotta come over next time they’re in town!

      Q – These kids keep us current, don’t they? And you’re doing great on your dreams! in fact, you mentioned building a cabin (in your b’day blog?) and I knew I wasn’t going to do that BUT I thought it over and over and realized I could “build” my own garden in the backyard rather than calling in a landscape service. And so I did and so we are “growing it” bit by bit! You inpsried me.

      • qugrainne says:

        Landscaping – garden….. where are the pictures!!?? That is great!
        As for the cabin; that has been put on the back burner until next spring. I had to balance my stress level. Bali in two weeks, though! 🙂

  • I couldn’t agree more – I have a niece in NYC right now, trying to “make it” in theater. Long live dreams!

  • Py zahn says:

    My thoughts exactly….

    Ah, to be young again and on the road…band or not…just enjoying the adventure at hand.

    So when they are hot hot hot, can you get me tickets to their concert?

  • Kim L says:

    That is pretty darn awesome that they are following their passion! See, that’s what too many people who want to be a singer don’t get… working hard, having fun, and getting your name out there is the way to be, because no matter what happens with your music, you’ll be satisfied. Anyhow, awesome story 🙂

  • oh says:

    Jen – Hope your niece is doing great in NYC. They keep all young and inspired, dont’ they?

    Py – Oh, yeah. Once they get to “selling tickets” status, I’ll get tickets for all of us!

    Kim – What a great comment. It’s so true about the hard work.

  • ds says:

    To be on the Warped Tour is fantastic!! Will ask the CS & a couple of others to keep an ‘ear’ out for The Designer Drugs. Best of luck to them; may their stops be nothing but good ones.

    As for you, you bring new meaning to the term “Band Parent.” 😉

  • Becca says:

    Isn’t it great to see young people out pursuing their dreams? Best of luck to them, and good for you for being a safe haven along their way 🙂

    • oh says:

      DS – LOL! you know about band parents? Yes, we were that kind, too, for awhile when our daughter did a 2-year stint in the hs band. Always good to hear from you!

      Becca – thanks for your good wishes which I’ll pass on to the band – who knows? they may stop by on their way back east, altho’ I think they’ll be taking a more southern route.

  • shoreacres says:

    Well, I went looking to see what this was all about, and discovered the Warped Tour’s rolling into Houston 7/3.

    The only band in the lineup I’ve heard of is Bad Religion, but I was intrigued enough to go to youtube to check out The Devil Wears Prada. The cut I listened to,”Goats on a Boat” sounded to me just like – goats on a boat, and not very happy goats at that!

    So, I went over to the MySpace page and checked out The Designer Drugs. Great drummer, and you’re right about Em. Every, single word was clear and understandable, even with all that “stuff” going on around her.

    Looks like their last stop on the tour is San Antonio, but they’ve got a gig at Headhunters in Austin, a club that even I’ve heard about 😉

    Py zahn’s right – being “on the road” is great!

  • jeanie says:

    This is a great post — isn’t it fun to have young people around? Such a terrific energy! And oh, they sound fabulous!

    • oh says:

      Dear Shore – you have done amazing homework! Yes, they’ll be in San Antonio – I was hoping they’d bne therte when I was there… but the way we worked down there for the past four days, I wouldn’t have had a second to se them perform. How cool that you went to their MySpace page! I’ll tell Em!

      Jeanie – thanks for stopping by (you must still be exhausted from your trip, non?) I’m gonna let Ro (Em’s mom) know about all these great comments – you help give the band positive energy.

  • cool! I’ll look them up on Myspace…

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