Sitting in a Denton coffee shop at 3:30am definitely brings me back to the year and a half I spent living here and going to college. It’s definitely an inspirational thing, in the weirdest of ways. The reason I only spent a year and a half here is because I had to make a decision between doing what everyone else in the world is told to do (going to college and getting a degree) and following my dreams. The decision stressed me out for weeks and as lame as it sounds, it was a Panic! at the Disco song that finally pushed me over the edge to follow my heart.
Back in 2005 when I was still in college, Panic! at the Disco was just releasing their first album and I found myself listening to the words “stop stalling making a name for yourself” over and over and trying to fight what I felt that meant to me. Most people wouldn’t view college as “stalling,” infact, most people would likely look at college as a catalyst to success. You graduate high school, you go to college, you get a degree, you get a job… right? Well I guess in my case I am an exception.
From a very early age I was taught work ethic. If I wanted a CD, a video game, even just lame stuff like candy, I had to earn it. When I was in middle school, I washed cars in my neighborhood, did yardwork for neighbors, and every other thing I could think of to make money. I learned very young that if you want something, you’ve got to earn it. By the time I was in high school, I was dying to get a real job. I started at your typical “waste of time” jobs like Haagen-Daz Ice Cream, Braums, and Hollister. These jobs only made me want to work harder and learn more. Junior year of high school I was the top student in my Computer Aided Drafting class and was promised a PAID internship my senior year of high school. This ruled. Not only did I get to go make $10 an hour sitting on a computer and creating people’s houses, but I got out of school at lunch… SWEET LIFE! But then I was handed a band’s demo.
I guess it’s time to rewind a little bit and explain to you why a band would hand me a demo in the first place. Having to explain this these days seems silly, I’ve probably been handed thousands of CDs since 2004, however, for the sake of properly telling this story, I am going to give you my background. Like I said earlier, my entire life I grew up knowing if I wanted something I had to earn it. My love for music that grew upon moving to Texas was very costly, so I did what any semi-intelligent 16 year old would do: I found out how to get FREE CDs and FREE concert tickets. I started writing for online magazines (webzines much like Absolutepunk.net) and used this as a legit excuse to get these free concert tickets and CDs. By the time I was 18 years old, I had interviewed every band from Fall Out Boy and Brand New to Anti-Flag and MXPX. I actually interviewed Pete Wentz 3 times between 2003 and 2004 just to keep finding out what was new with the band… can you say FAN BOY?!
By the time senior year rolled around and I was 18 years old, word started going around school that I had “connections” in the music industry because of interviewing bands, reviewing CDs, etc. I’m pretty sure a decent amount of girls and band guys became my friends for various reasons including free concert tickets and listening to their demos. I honestly didn’t notice it much because my entire high school experience was mostly spent hanging out with the same 5 or 6 people I still call my best friends to this day. On one random day, my girlfriend at the time Jackie, suggested that I talk to this band I knew called The Perfect Ending (who later became I, The Passenger) about managing their band. Did I REALLY know how to manage a band? Not really… but I was determined to figure it out and get my start. I met with the band, watched them practice, talked to their parents, and we all decided I would help them out. I was just stoked to love something local, so here’s where it all began…
When The Perfect Ending handed me their CD I had no idea that my life was about to change. I had worked on promoting all my best friends’ bands for battles and talent shows and shows at bars, but I never really managed any of them, to be honest, I don’t think my best friends took me too seriously back then, which is fine because they all STILL support me 1000000% to this day. So how did receiving this CD change my life? One of the biggest problems for all-ages bands back in 2004 was… WHERE DO WE PLAY? Seriously… there were very few venues that gave a shit about a band that couldn’t draw people at their bar besides The Door back then. When I was looking for shows for The Perfect Ending I called around and decided I would borrow $500 from one of the band members parents to rent a place called the Plano Centre. I had never done a show before but I knew the cost and knew a free sound guy and I knew we could get a lot of our friends to shows if we did it in the suburbs and not at a shitty Dallas bar.
In early 2004, I booked the Plano Centre, threw some bands on it, enlisted the help of friends and local industry friends that knew me from interviews and such, and put on my first concert. In the middle of all of this I came to the decision that I wanted to switch my major from Architecture to Business and switch schools from Texas Tech to UNT. This decision is why I am where I am today. I decided that I was doing something here with music, I was helping bands, I was giving my friends and other people music in their backyard, and I couldn’t walk away from that, I had to do more shows. My second show was in July 2004 and I decided to go to two stages and make it a mini-festival. I have not stopped since that day.
So if getting that CD from The Perfect Ending changed my career path, college, and goals in life… what does Panic! at the Disco have to do with anything? In the fall of 2005 I was struggling majorly with depression, dealing with living across the apartment complex from an ex-girlfriend that taught me heartbreak for the first time, and the rising success of what would ultimately become Third String Productions and everything that has happened since then. The pressure of making my shows bigger and better each month and the pressure of passing my classes was not a good combination. All of this mixed with the normal things that you deal with in college was becoming too much to juggle. I was also helping grow a company called Buzz Oven and had recently been interviewed for a cover story called “The MySpace Generation” by Business Week. Things seemed right for change and with the words “stop stalling make a name for yourself” repeating 24/7 in my head and being surrounded by the right group of people that could help take Third String Productions to the next level, I told my parents I was dropping out of college or “taking time off” as I called it then, and was going to focus 100% on Third String Productions. Lucky for me, they were supportive but made it clear if I did this I was on my own for as long as I wasn’t in college. I had to pay rent, car payments, insurance, everything.
I was taking the biggest chance of my life.
It is now 2011, I have been putting on concerts for almost 8 years now. I have started and run two clothing companies, multiple booking agencies, managed dozens of bands, put on hundreds of shows, started a social media marketing company that has worked with dozens of brands including On The Border, Live Nation, and more, and to be honest… I still don’t know EXACTLY what I want to do with my life, I just know it involves music and changing the world… making a difference.
Every time I step outside of my day to day routine my mind races. Staying up all night at a coffee shop with a laptop is the most dangerous thing I can do. I can wake up a concert promoter and go to bed wanting to be a doctor… that’s just how my brain works. Lucky for everyone that follows and supports me, I can honestly tell you I will NEVER stop working with music. I will always listen to your band’s demo, I will always offer up advice, I will always take risks, and I will always reach my goals. I am driven by far more than what could hold me back and the fact that I can wake up every day and love my life because I feel so blessed to do what I am doing, is reason enough to smile.
All of that being said (if you have even read this far)… there are a lot of changes going on. There are a lot of reasons it is now 4am and I am jacked up on my third coffee of the night sitting next to my best friend Chase and working the night away. A lot is changing. We are evolving, we are growing, we are expanding, we are changing. EVERYTHING I do has a reason and a purpose behind it. The stage I stand on that all of you gave me will be used for more good than you can imagine. We are going to change the world and that’s not just talk. It starts with our community and it will spread like wildfire. Life is too short to not leave your mark while you can. If what you are doing is not what you love, don’t do it. If what you are doing is not POSITIVELY helping the world around you, don’t do it. The world will not stop changing, technology will not stop evolving, we have to adapt to change and turn it into fuel for positive growth as humans.
I am blessed to be where I am today, I could have never done it alone and I will never pretend that I have done it alone. Things are changing, it’s time to grow up and it’s time to make a bigger impact. I got the fire under me to quit school and make something of myself, now I have the fire to make something even better out of myself. I hope you will all continue following this journey and be a part of it. We will never turn down help from someone with passion and drive that wants to do this for the right reason.
I will leave you with my favorite Steve Jobs quote that I ask myself everyday “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do, what I’m about to do, today?”
Just think about it.
From 8-10PM tonight single day tickets to SEPTEMBER TO REMEMBER are only $10.
Get them ASAP!
DAY 1: http://bit.ly/co3XZf
DAY 2: http://bit.ly/cRloqt
Third String Productions presents…
The 4th Annual…
SEPTEMBER TO REMEMBER MUSIC FESTIVAL
September 11th and 12th 2010!
THE SCENE AESTHETIC
THE DANGEROUS SUMMER
MY GENUINE FIND
THIS IS THE GOOD FIGHT
+ more TBA soon!
I SEE STARS
SET YOUR GOALS
TAKE IT BACK
SCHOOL BOY HUMOR
DON’T SHOOT THE MESSENGER
THE KID HAS HEART
+ more TBA soon!
2 Day Regular tickets: Access to Day One (Saturday) and Day Two (Sunday).
2 Day VIP tickets: VIP Access to Day One (Saturday) and Day Two (Sunday).
*VIP ticket includes poster, early entry, access to the sponsor tent with FREE beverages (non-alcoholic), and more! VIP tickets are extremely limited! Be sure to order now.
*2 Day passes only available while they last, 2 day passes are VERY limited
PLANO OAK POINT AMPHITHEATER is located just east of Jupiter on Spring Creek in Plano across from the CCCC campus.
I am looking for HARDWORKING local / regional bands willing to promote hard and sell pre-sale tickets for SUMMERFEST. The show is July 25th at Palladium Ballroom w/ Shwayze, Silverstein, Senses Fail, Emery, Dance Gavin Dance, and a lot more.
If your band is interested in “submitting” for summerfest follow these steps.
1. Follow @TSPR and @MikeZiemer on Twitter.
2. Tell all your fans to follow @TSPR and @MikeZiemer on Twitter.
3. Tell all your fans to @mikeziemer the band(s) they wanna see on Twitter.
4. Tell your fans to RSVP for the Facebook event (here) and comment with your band name.
5. We will be announcing bands this week! Stay tuned!