We had the good fortune of connecting with Gary Seiler and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Gary, what do you want your legacy to be?
People! Making people feel better. The music business isn’t about the musicians or the band members. It’s about the people. Everyone gets to a place in life where they need something positive to help them forget about the bills they need to pay, their car problems, family issues, health concerns and so much more. When I’m performing I’m always trying to read the crowd to find out who this thing I do can bless for a few minutes. When I see smiles on their faces I feel like I’m doing something spiritual for this world. My wish for any legacy I may leave is that live’s were made better, even if only for just one evening. People are everything to me, along with my family.
What should our readers know about your business?
Like most artistic people the business side of things didn’t come easy to me. I failed miserably trying to stay afloat in my first twenty years. The business works like this: You need to have good equipment which costs money. You need to know how to market your product, which has little or anything to do with art. And you need to charge a fair price for your product, which in this industry rarely ever happens unless you reach the big show such as rock stars. Most people that hire musicians don’t have a sincere understanding of the countless hours of practice and the cost of doing business that musicians endure. By the time he or she is ready to take the stage you can figure thousands of hours of dedication. Then they’re offered $100 for their performances or $100 a man for a night. How can you live off that? So they work day jobs and then spend their nights performing. Talk about dedication. Professional musicians are truly underrated in every sense of the word. They work so hard honing their craft and then to be offered $100 for a 4 hour performance. It’s not fair. Sorry for the rant. The one thing I’ve seen over and over is how musicians are afraid to lose a job opportunity by asking for what they’re worth. They have been forced to accept $60 – $75, and if lucky $100 for a day’s wage. I’ve learned to say no thank you if the pay isn’t right or the circumstances don’t warranty taking less pay than acceptable. I’ve been lucky that way. I still stay busy enough. I guess this little thing I’ve created is just so unique that it keeps me busy. I am blessed and grateful. I owe most of my business success to my brother. I floundered in my early years as a professional musician. At the same time my brother was busy building his personal empire in the construction industry. At one point when I was tired of eating .79 cent gas station cheeseburgers 6 days a week I asked him for a job. He gave me the opportunity to earn a real living. But the best thing that happened is I learned some of his business practices. The most important is: “you can-not sell your product without a profit and succeed.” Buying better equipment won’t make you successful. Delivery your product on time, with the highest quality requires a premium price for the cost of those goods. The years I spent working for him are priceless and I couldn’t have done this without his help. Thank you Rob.
It’s hard these days to show any profit in music. You can download music for free everywhere these days. The same music you used to have to pay $10 or more to listen to. Somewhere in this mix the artists’ are getting the short end of the business stick. That truly sucks, but it reminds me of an old saying about the music industry, “It’s a sick, fowl, soul-sucking dirty business. And there are some down sides too.” Ha ha Ha. My hat is off to every one of the musicians I know that keep pounding away at it. This world is a better place with them doing what it is we do.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
The beaches are my favorite spots. North County beaches like Carlsbad and Encinitas are the best. Closer to town Mission Beach, Pacific Beach. The Wavehouse in Mission Beach is a must see if you visit our beaches. It’s crazy on the weekends but the location is Southern California at its best. World Famous in PB has the best lobster bisque anywhere. Old Town’s Rockin Baja Lobster is also one of the best places to spend an afternoon or evening. Food is phenomenal and so is the entertainment. Inland I would hit Ramona’s D’Carlos for Prime Rib and good music. These days places like North Park and Mission Hills have become great places for food and drink. San Diego is such a great city to live in and it’s probably better to be a tourist here.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My wife. She’s my biggest fan. She applauds even while I’m practicing songs at home. When I choke or sing them in a bad key she still encourages me. She loves everything I try to do. When I’m writing she’s the one I bounce things off of. There have been several times when my lyrics aren’t the strongest and she gets me to reach deeper. She wears a lot of hats. I guess the most important one she wears is being me executive producer. I live in the artist world and she lives in the real world. Say no more.
Jim Soldi is someone who for the past several years has helped me reach deeper and higher. He produced my new CD: “Turn It Up” and though we released it on March 15th, the day America shut down due to the pandemic it still is receiving great reviews. Jim is the one that made that project happen.
There are many other people I’m so grateful to have in my life. My sister, Renate, would have to be next. She has inspired me for over 40 years. She’s seen me grow from a musical seedling to whatever I am now, and that I assume was a long painful journey for her ears. My entire family is musical in that music is a great part of our lives. But my sister loves live music more than just about anyone. She’s also a heck of a good singer too but just won’t hold a microphone when there are people around. My son has also taken his talents and love for music and shared them with his son. It’s so awesome to see that process.
Some of my fans, especially George and Kaye come to mind. I have photos of them being in my audience when I was in my early thirties. They probably see an average of about 75 shows a year that I do. Priceless friends. Jim and Al head up a long list of fans that I see week after week. I have a great following of friends and fans from Arizona as well that I need to give a shout out to.
All these people have supported me beyond whatever it is I may have earned. I’m so grateful. My grandson Brecken is just starting to bud as a musician. He helped me write one of the tracks on my latest CD. He’s bright and has the passion. And he’s head strong and knows what he wants. When he comes out to see me perform he catches the nuances behind the performance that most people miss. He just might dwarf his grandpa’s musical accomplishments. And lastly for this interview I want to thank Fran Muncie who keeps believing in me. I’m so grateful for this life. I’m a blessed man.
Linkedin: Gary Seiler
Facebook: Gary Seiler and Gary Seiler Music