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INTERVIEW: PETE EVICK of Bret Michaels Band – May 2015

Some conversations are more just a friendly catch up than they are an interview.  That is the case with EVERY discussion I have with Pete Evick.  The man is busier than hell, but always takes time out for a text, email, or call from a friend… Whether he is touring the country as lead guitarist for Bret Michaels, running his own Shining Sol Candle Company, or writing books, Pete always has a few moments for those around him.  On the verge of the 2015 summer concert season, Pete is ramping up to bring music to the masses and he has so many other projects bubbling just under the surface, but I will let him tell you about them…

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Toddstar: Pete, once again my friend, thank you so much for taking time out for us. We appreciate it.

Pete: No Todd, thank you for taking the time out.

Toddstar: Let’s talk about something some people might not know about you and your business ventures… we delayed the call a little bit. You launched a new site for Shining Sol Candles (http://www.shiningsol.com/).

Pete: Literally just one minute ago. [laughs]

Toddstar: We’ve talked about it before. It’s so cool that you’re able to take this other side of your life, this other artistic outlet, and really let it become part of yourself without riding your musical coat-tails. How does it feel to do that on a day in and day out basis?

Pete: From the beginning, I didn’t want people to associate the musical side with the candle side, so I was doing the split thing, like Bruce Wayne and Batman. Keeping them separated became hard and as soon as I let the two together, everything was a lot easier. I’m not saying that being in Bret’s band is the cause of the success of the candle company by any means. Again, I was just trying to hide the musician side of me from the candle world because I wanted it to live on its own legs and be a success on its own. The fact is I’m out there around the country 24/7.  I’m my best promotional tool and once I decided to do that, the whole thing took off.

Toddstar: You kind of hit on something. You are definitely your own best promotional tool. We’ve joked about this during an interview or just talking: you are constantly smiling, man. You always have a smile on your face. It doesn’t matter how stressful your day was. You can’t tell when you’re talking to you.  How is it that you can do that?

Pete: Interesting that you bring that up, because we have talked about this before. As you know, my biggest influence is Eddie Van Halen. You go back through the years, all the non-musician types that love Van Halen always talked about Eddie’s grin and smile. As the years go by – and I’m certainly not comparing myself to Eddie – but I’m the new guy with the smile, which is what he used to be. It’s just, you put that thing [guitar] in your hand and you’re happy to do it. As you know, I started playing guitar before I knew what money or women were. When I’m standing on stage and I can see the crowd, I don’t care if it’s this incredibly hot chick or this 70-year-old man smiling and having a good time. It means the same to me: that I have done my job. If one person walks away and forgot about their bad day, or forgot about the problem they were having, I did my job. It’s a gift to be able to do that. When you’re a live musician a lot of times you get instant gratification for the work. You get instant applause. You know right away if what you’re doing is working. How can you not smile when you know you’re making people feel better?

Toddstar: We’re going to talk a little bit more about Bret in a second. What’s going on in Bret Michael’s Band world? There’s something else. You made sure to send me a text not too long ago. What prompted you to put pen to paper and write The Moments that Make Us that people can go and pre-order on Kindle right now.

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Pete: You know what, it’s a really long story. I’ve been writing that book for almost six years. I was married for ten years and we split up. When we split up, I didn’t see it coming. No one sees that coming really. Whether you’re the one that chooses a divorce, or you’re the one that’s been told that the other person wants to leave, whatever position you’re in, you really start to doubt yourself as a parent and as an adult. How could you not make something work, especially when you are a parent? So I started a very in-depth sole-searching process. At first, I was almost in a rage about my life changing without me. I would write these things and then before I would write them, I would think about posting them on Facebook as these evil rants like so many people do. A lot of times the thoughts were so deep that I thought better of it. Sometimes I would write as if it was a journal or… I’m a songwriter, that’s what I do. I write to get my feelings out. Before long, I realized there was information there that may be able to help other people. It’s certainly not a book about my music career. It talks about these moments, very specific moments in your life, that define you and change you as a child. Parents themselves often think that they are solely responsible for the influence of their child, but the TV, the music, the video games, your aunts, your uncles, your teachers, your scout leaders are all a part of it.  It just takes a single word or a single feeling that can completely alter a child’s mind and make you become something else. As I was discovering who I was as an adult and why I’d become who I’d become, I started trying to trace the moments that maybe made me become who I am. You have to dig to your earliest memories as a child, start finding out where that influence came from. That became the book.

Toddstar: This is so insightful and it’s so deep just on the surface. Even friends of yours can’t get this thing ahead of time. I had to do the pre-sale and wait for it like everyone else. Again, it’s kind of like the whole candle thing. It’s just another artistic outlet for you that just really shows how well-rounded as an entertainer and as an artist you are.

Pete: I appreciate that. But I will say that I think that the book goes past being an entertainer and an artist. Despite the fact that I play and always have played in fun-loving rock bands, I’ve always been driven to believe that I might have something important to say one day. It’s funny because I am a U2 fan and an REM fan, but I never followed that path of the political lyric and that whole thing. I don’t want to shove my theories down anyone’s throat. There’s always been that part of me that hoped to be as powerful as Bob Marley was. Again, that’s not saying I will ever be Bob Marley. These days, people aren’t looking for that influence from singers or bands anymore. It’s not the 60s or the 70s. We don’t have a new U2 that is trying to prevent war. There’s no more “We Are The World.” There’s none of that kind of stuff. With my book you’ve got lots of influencing. Maybe the book will be what was inside of me to help change the world.

Toddstar: You talk about how you’ve done the party thing and I don’t mean party like drugs and sex and rock and roll, but just the party band, the feel-good music. That got increased just recently with the release of “Girls on Bars.”

Pete: Yeah, the video is amazing, right?  As much as I just talked about changing the world and trying to be a positive influence, at the same time, I believe that feel good rock and roll has an important place. Some people have two or three jobs, work weekends, do everything they can to make ends meet, pay the bills, and eat. So there’s a place for the people that need to escape. If you can create a three minute song that takes somebody somewhere else, makes then dance and makes them laugh, that’s important too. It’s not all the maniacs pulling guns out and killing people or the breakdown of the world we live in. Something that can ease your mind, even if it’s for three minutes and allow you to laugh and enjoy the good time that the video represents, I feel like that’s just as important now.

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Toddstar: You bring up a valid point. Everything Bret seems to do, I don’t want to use the words tongue-in-cheek, but he doesn’t take himself too serious when it comes to the entertainment world. Being the entertainer, business is business, but with the new Nissan commercials and everything else, how much of a guiding force or a directing force or just a shoulder or an ear are you when Brett’s making those kinds of decisions?

Pete: I said before, he’s my best friend and he’s just a wonderful human being, but he knows where he’s going. He doesn’t need any outside influence. He’s been an independent artist from day one. He’ll let me speak my mind if for some reason we have a difference of opinion, but he’s going to do what he’s wants to do from beginning to end. That’s what’s amazing about him.

Toddstar: But watching you guys live on stage, you control the flow of the show. As his band director and what have you. He’s the front man in the band. When you’re up there controlling the flow, what’s it like for you to take the things that you’ve done with Bret and combine them with the hits from Poison and just days after day knowing that you’re helping create more of the legacy.

Pete: Some people in recent times would argue I’m hurting the Poison legacy rather than helping. As we’ve talked about before, I’m a Poison fan through and through. As far back as my high school talent shows I played Poison songs. It’s an honor to step onstage and play those songs that influenced me. It’s a lot of fun. It’s a wave of energy and I’ve been really lucky because those songs are a progression of his life, and when I came on board we worked together. So, it’s really just a smooth transition, there’s not a lot of work to it. So the question of how does it feel, it feels amazing to be able to pick up and carry on. He’s a legendary rock star. I’m part of carrying that legacy on; I don’t know if I’m part of Poison’s legacy, but definitely part of the Bret Michaels legacy. It’s an amazing feeling to know that I’ve been a part of taking him from one place to another and he’s let me come along for the ride.

Toddstar: You’re so humble, Pete. You not just along for the ride, you’re part of this. It includes Jammin’ With Friends and the True Grit release that just came out. You’re part of all this.

Pete: I certainly am. I’m not denying it. But I’m grateful for it. It could all be over years ago and it could all be over tomorrow. So every day you just… if you’re lucky enough to come from a small town, and make a living by playing guitar, you just be grateful to do it for as long as you can do it.

Toddstar: Aside from the Bret Michaels Band, you got your own project. You still go out there, and I see posts on Facebook and stuff like that. You still have your own project out there. How often do you get a chance to go out and play with Chuck and Ray and do your own thing?

Pete: The longest time while Chuck and Ray were in the Bret Michaels Band, we didn’t worry about it as much so maybe we played once a year or so. But now that they’ve moved on, I miss them enough that I’m making more of an effort. We’ve done probably three Evick gigs this year, where normally we only do one. So we are making more of an effort. The difference in the two bands is obviously… when you’re going to do and do the Bret Michaels thing, everything is 100% professional and you’re rolling in with a full crew. You’re rolling in and you’re doing a 75 minute set of nothing but hits and its hit them fast and hard. When we play as Evick, we go into these smaller venues. I like to do the beach bar / dock bar type of things.  That’s where my life and my soul are. We go in there with Evick and we play for four, four and a half hours. We don’t take breaks like normal bands. The show stops when the owner tells us its last call and he’s got to shut down. So I enjoy it. I could go for six hours straight and just keep going when we’re doing the Evick band. It gives me a ‘back to where I came from’ feeling. Every Evick show is like a high school reunion, if that makes sense.

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Toddstar: Oh yeah, definitely, definitely. I know you’re busy so I want to wrap this up. Looking back, Pete over everything you’ve done, whether it is your stuff with Evick, you’ve released CDs with them; you have the newer stuff you release with Bret. You’ve got everything going on. You’ve got the writing and you’ve got Shining Sol Candles. Looking back, what are the couple things that you’re most proud of or that you want to be remembered for?

Pete: Jeez, that’s hard to say. I think that, and some people will have a different answer, but I think the thing I’m most proud of is that I’ve been able to influence my children that dreams can come true without having to sell your soul. You don’t have to move to Hollywood or New York and fake it and do all those terrible things that everyone’s supposedly done. Not that you don’t have to suffer. I was dirt poor for a long time. That part sucks. I’m not saying you don’t have to pay your dues. Certainly, I believe I paid my dues more than most people because I didn’t live in Los Angeles and New York. I had to travel; I had to play every single night in any bar that would let me play… I just wouldn’t go away and eventually got heard. But I believe that my proudest moment was that I was able to show my children that your dreams can come true without selling your soul.

Toddstar: Pete, I appreciate everything and you taking time out for us. We can’t wait until everybody gets their hands. We can’t wait until everybody gets their hands on True Grit; we can’t wait until everybody gets their hands on your eBook The Moments that Make Us. And for us here in Michigan, I can’t wait to see you guys roll through in mid-July.

Pete: Uncle Sam Jam, right? (http://unclesamjamfest.com/)

Toddstar: Yep.

Pete: It’s going to be great, I’ll see you then.  As always, we will catch up at the show.

Toddstar: Sounds good Pete and we’ll talk to you soon.

Pete: Okay Todd.  Thank you buddy! Bye.

PETE EVICK LINKS:

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

BRET MICHAELS LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

SHINING SOL LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

Todd ‘ToddStar’ Jolicoeur

Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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