probably equate my life experience to the travels that I have done. When
I was little I had the fortune of a mother who owned her own travel agency
and a Latin-American father. I am glad to have grown up with an international
perspective on economy, politics, and culture. Having done three tours
of Europe, countless visits to Central and South America, and a great
deal of domestic travel, there is something deeply ingrained in me having
seen the juxtaposition of true poverty and privilege. My life springs from this awareness and
I am proud to say that the bulk of my accomplishments have been influenced
by the people I’ve met all over the world; especially when it comes
to music, because that’s where this story really starts...
This particular journey began early; taking piano lessons
at the age of seven in a broad campaign by my parents to remedy hyperactivity.
We had a baby grand in the house, and from the moment I touched the instrument
I couldn't keep myself away from it. The keyboard was a progressive track
to the drum kit at age nine (I always played piano percussively anyhow).
From there I sat at the drums as a primary instrument and devoted myself
“to owning the pocket,” as it goes. Growing up next door to
Chris Taylor of Grizzly Bear - who then was mastering woodwind performance
- we ended up playing jazz like nobody's business. This led to my involvement
in the school band programs and where we met the other two members of
our first band Dub Tribe.
were mostly stereotypical, but an underbelly of self-motivated individuals
developed quickly and we took our curricular musical skill to the streets.
After Dub Tribe, my second band Subunit
1 released an original full-length album entitled, “All
American Gyros,” and I was able to produce
concert events in our area. We would single-handedly rent the venue, sign
contracts, book acts, provide concessions, run merchandise booths, manage
the sound and lighting, and secure the event. This became quite a profitable
enterprise as we began to sell out one of our local venues.
same time I hooked up with a then modest Jeff King, who played bass in
the high school jazz band with me, and together we would jam experimental
funk polyrhythm almost daily. Throughout high school
I was consistently asked to perform community events with my ability to reach
into a network of musicians and put together diverse groups for any occasion.
But it was at the end of high school that my performance career took on
a radical broadening.
I had been a hobby pianist, a professional drummer, and a band/event manager,
but I had a lot more ambition than I knew what to do with. My senior year of high school was spent learning how to play the
guitar and record an album for my senior project. I took off using the
school’s multi-track hi-8 tape machine and recorded "Dream
Render," my very first solo album. It was a self-produced 12-song
record with myself as the chief engineer, songwriter, singer, guitarist,
and drummer. I had the styling of Jeff King on bass because I respect
the bass too much to have attempted it myself.
I was accepted
to Western Washington University due to my album with a “music interest” tagline
on my registration papers, but I quickly found out that I was not cut
out for the college symphonic band. It was all the stereotypes
again; but they were real! And they had beards, all of them! I spent a good deal of my first two years playing drums for Chuck
Israels’ jazz band, taking random world music classes, and jamming
with my recording teacher Tony Wishik in our band, Asymmetry.That band was the
most absurd music I had ever experienced. Dubbed “math rock,” Matt
McGovern and I would spend hours reinterpreting Wishik’s 13-section,
non-repeating flow of notated sound into actual songs with real momentum
and organization. With Wishik’s connections and my cold-calls, the
two of us booked our summer 2003 tour. We
enlisted the now infamous Kristen Allen Zito (The
Trucks) to be our front woman and set out to rock the west coast.
But I hit a wall after those first years. I had started my first company, BlackMarketBooks.com which was an online book exchange forum designed to combat the middleman
prices of buying textbooks. On the recommendation of my father, I hired
a web developer who basically swindled thousands out of me. It became
that midlife crisis feeling that takes you over and makes you think you
haven’t completed anything worth paying college tuition for…
I had to do something great with the time I had left in school.
summer, I spent a lot of time with my brother Julian in the Treehouse
(that’s what we called my corner bedroom in my dad’s bachelor
pad which was rigged with a drum kit, guitars, keyboards, mics, and usually
a crew of 8 or more people). I had produced music on the computer through
college, but it was Julian that got me into hip-hop. He had begun using
my beats in class projects, rapping his lyrical essays to replace parchment.
The first two songs would be appropriately titled “Manifest Destiny”
and “Civil Rights.” Based on the first single releases, we
decided that summer to start a group and compose an entire album: Los
FancyLadz for the fancy lads. The light above my head turned on at
the moment I realized that we should not only do that, but start a record
company to get this album out. I had my two-year plan, and two years it
PROLIFIKentertainment was the final trade name for the company I registered. I self-designed
my major through the experimental college at school in Music Business
and pursued that goal through a broad selection of business school classes,
independent study, and internships. I was lucky to have been able to have
this project going in the extracurricular. I would take each of my classes
from the perspective of attributing assignments and projects to the PROLIFIK.
It took two years of writing, producing, mixing, and organizing all the
resources necessary to promote the premier release from Los FancyLadz,
“The Audio Circus.” Our songs hit number five on the local
radio charts and we were submitted to the College Music Journal charts
because of it.
I found work at LOUD Technologies as a Product Specialist. This was a
sweet deal, because I was representing the company as a technical marketer,
traveling across the nation to schools, dealers, and trade shows. Unfortunately
the program was cut three months after I was hired and they needed folk
in Tech Support, so I stayed with the company under the assumption that
the position was going to open again in a very short time. I’d been
in support since, but I took initiative to make my job and the company
better in the meantime. I am responsible for developing and maintaining
the communications technologies that the company still uses to transmit
Service data interdepartmentally. Sales, Tech Support, and Customer Service
are all use the workflow and web forms that I developed.
I left Loud spending a little over a year solidifying my comprehension of bar operations at Azul Lounge. I worked as a bartender, generally supervising while mixing specialty drinks. I made plans for a long-term cultural jourey around South America, and in October 2008 I set off. During my stays, I greatly enhanced my command of the Spanish language, and also elaborated on my multi-media skills producing video blog episodes of my travels. I entitled the series: "El Mundo Real," or in English, The Real World.
Upon my return to the States in the summer of 2009, I resumed work as an audio/video engineer as a freelancer for AV Factory. For the most part, I would work events at the WSCTC in downtown Seattle with the occasional call out and about around Puget Sound. Combine that with a server position at Lake Union's 5-star seafood restaurant Chandler's, and I was employed again to the extent that I could begin work on another music project. Having not released any creative project since 2008 became an itch that gradually snowballed all of the songs over the last couple years into "The TonyG Show." However production was slowed due to an opportunity at Seatac's boutique business hotel Cedarbrook Lodge. I was offered a position as their AV/IT Supervisor in the fall of 2010, which has since evolved to the job of Technology Manager. At the Lodge, I manage the hotel's information technologies department in addition to providing audiovisual support for guests in our twelve-space conference center.
To be continued...