We had the good fortune of connecting with Roger Langdon and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Roger, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
Creating a brand that is recognized as high quality but not just in subjective perception but in objective reality. Many brands / services make the claim of being high quality, but few truly deliver on all fronts. Your product / service must sincerely, methodically and thoughtfully be brought to life through every facet. From design to execution to sales to service, it all has to be given equal consideration whether it is all being done to the highest standard so that at no point, can a consumer say, “I was let down by X or Y.”
If they can be let down, then you haven’t created the highest quality.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
For most of the 1990’s & 2000’s, I was working in the corporate sales world and moonlighting as a singer in a reasonably successful cover band in Southern California. In 2008, the So Cal economy took a severe downturn, and my day job became very unstable. I made the decision to work that job as long as it lasted but to begin focusing on the music side of my life. In the fall of 2012 while performing a local show, a patron had made the comment that I “kind of sounded” like Huey Lewis, a major 80s pop star so our band discussed starting a Huey Lewis & The News tribute band. I was naive to the tribute band world but knew that high quality tributes can be very successful. However, I was skeptical that a Huey Lewis tribute would work because he isn’t considered as popular today as many 80s pop stars still are. Having spent two decades in the corporate world, I approached this entire project from a very market driven perspective.
“Is this a viable product?”
“What would we need to put in place to get it started”
“What level of success, if any, can we project?”
With this approach in mind, we came to the conclusion that our best tactic was to brand ourselves as a niche / boutique type of tribute. We may not have the mass appeal as other 80s superstar tributes, but we were determined to be the best show that anyone had seen by any tribute artist. That formula had been a challenge in the number of bookings we received early on, but through persistence and word of mouth in a very tight knit industry, the word spread that we are one of the highest quality tribute artists in the country.
My biggest take away from the early years, is determine what your “brand” will be and stick to that. In my opinion, your brand has to make sense to you and be authentic. It can’t be something you choose because it’s “the trend” or because you think it will lead to huge success. It has to come organically, by what you value and can hold to. That will translate to a genuine love for what you do, and your clients / customers will latch on to that.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I’m born and raised in Southern California and so the options are literally limitless. Family and friends that visit can usually expect spending some time in San Diego. Breakfast at Hash House A Go Go is always a favorite and I’m a huge baseball fan so we’ll definitely hit a San Diego Padres game at Petco Park, considered one of the most beautiful ballparks in the country. Afterwards, we’ll head to the Gaslamp Quarter, where dozens of restaurants and bars are located. I’m more of a bar hop kind of person so we’d hit 2 or 3 places. A favorite bar is Barley & Mash. For friends that like to party a little harder, Pacific Beach is the place to go. In north San Diego county is Carlsbad, which I love. Super locals vibe. My favorite spot there is Dini’s Bistro. My wife and I live in Temecula, which is home to dozens of wineries so free days are often spent at one of our favorites, Leoness Winery. You have to do a morning hot air balloon ride over the wineries and maybe later catch a live band at Pala Casino. They have national touring acts as well as amazing tribute artists. My band has played there many times. I grew up in L.A., but I don’t get up that way too often anymore.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
A key inspiration early in my journey was / is Steve Nieves. Steve has been a professional musician for decades. He was signed to Motown and has toured with Grammy award winning artists. When I was just starting my project, I was very green to the industry and was really making up my path as I went along. It was Steve who saw the potential for my first tribute project. He joined early on and was extremely encouraging along the way. I saw his support, the support of a seasoned and talented artist, as the validation that I was on the right track. He has proven to be an invaluable resource for me, and his continued support is a major reason for any success I have.