How a steady gig changed my attitude towards these entertainment staples.
December 31, 2020 marked the first year since 2012 that I wasn’t hosting New Yearâ€™s Eve Karaoke at Dohenyâ€™s Tavern Grill & Sports Bar (formerly The Tartan Room) in Garden Grove.
There I was looking for work after nearly 25 years in Music Distribution.Â The Compact Disc revolution had come to an end.Â Along the way, I purchased a home, produced a Hard Rock Band(Doom Kounty Electric Chair), got my own Record Deal and traveled the world while selling 29 million worth of CDâ€™s, LPâ€™s and DVDâ€™s.Â Music has always been good to me.
It was early in 2013 and everybodyâ€™s pal Boris Bengin was filling in as an Open Mic host at a Bar down the street.Â My experience with Open Mics was limited.Â Iâ€™d venture out every few months and sing a few, usually running into familiar faces.Â I managed to piss off an established and â€œloveableâ€ Newport Beach Open Mic host due to a scheduling mishap.Â I won a month long Open Mic songwriters contest at a popular Costa Mesa spot (Bilbo Baggins), but the locals didnâ€™t embrace my effort.Â Looking back, I didnâ€™t do much to be embraceable.Â After all, Open Mic is for losers.
So I go to Borisâ€™s Open Mic and sing a few. Â The Local â€œDive Barâ€ had a kitchen and since I worked my way through college in Anaheim Food & Beverage, a few days later I printed up my Resume and went back to the bar to talk to the owner.Â To my surprise, Paul Doheny, the bar owner proceeded to offer me a job in Entertainment!Â â€œHost Open Mic on Wednesdayâ€™sâ€¦and I want you be the Friday Karaoke Hostâ€, he said.
I was doing the occasional cover gigÂ only bringing in a few hundred dollars a month and had nearly exhausted my reserves.Â Iâ€™d done some big sold out shows Solo opening for BJ Thomas, Judy Collins, Roger Clyneâ€¦Smithereens, The Cramps, Ozomatli in previous bands.Â Yes, occasional rock stardom but the lack of consistency didnâ€™t help much with my mortgage.Â Accept the local Dive offer and I add 8 gigs a month in one quick move?Â Yes, I took the job and while I had anticipated the added cash flow, I didnâ€™t expect that gainful employment would improve my musical chops and garner so many friends and fans.
So to all the Singers and players over the years, Thanks for the Rock!