MUSIC EDUCATION BLOG – “ON THE ROAD” WITH CHUCK AND SANDI
Introduction to “On The Road” - Ad..
Enjoy this interview with Tim Mac from Feed the Dog band! Thanks for reading.
TIM: I started playing the violin when I was 3 ½ in the Suzuki program. I played classically in orchestras and took private lessons through high school, and received a performance degree from UW-Oshkosh. I did it because I was good at it, and I had put in so much time but I never felt the true passion for what I was playing until I discovered an outlet in bluegrass and alternative music when I went to the Chicken Town music festival in Iowa a few summers before I graduated college.
TIM: I like to play original music of all genres. The more creative control I am given, the more I enjoy myself.
TIM: For the longest time I wanted to be a professional baseball player. I was really into playing ball and following the Milwaukee Brewers. It became clear in high school that my athletic talents were going to keep me from that dream.
TIM: I do play fiddle in all of the bands. For the most part, music pays 75% of my bills, depending on the season. I have a few 1099 side jobs where I am my own boss to cover expenses if I’m not playing enough gigs or have a few too many exposure gigs.
TIM: I have one main band; Feed the Dog, which I make very clear with other projects that it takes precedence. I keep a personal schedule that is shared with Feed the Dog so gigs do not get double booked. As far as arrangements, I have no idea. A lot of what I play is improvisational, but I have a good memory for structure. When I was little in the Suzuki method, everything was learned by ear and memory. I had to play every song I had learned in the books once a week to stay fresh. I guess that early mental practice has shaped the way I learn and retain information.
TIM: I play roughly 160 – 180 shows a year. A lot of them are in the midwest, but I also get hired to play tours across the country. I’ve played anywhere from New York to Seattle, Wisconsin to Texas, and Costa Rica
TIM: I founded the band in 2015. We all have a goal to make this our #1 project and to financially sustain ourselves with the band. The sky’s the limit!
TIM: We have a new album coming out soon. You can hear some samples on Sound Cloud
TIM: I had a really fun time playing with Twiddle. They are a pretty well-known Jam band throughout the world. I sat in with them to a crowd in the thousands in Costa Rica, and then again to a sold-out show at the Majestic in Madison I also really cherish my time sitting in with Dave Simonett. Trampled by Turtles was the first bluegrass band I ever got into and when I first started playing “live” I never imagined being a peer on the stage with him I’ve played with him in Menasha, Wi, and out in Oregon at the Northwest String Summit.
TIM: This question changes all the time, and usually with what direction I want to take my band. Right now, it would be awesome to collaborate with Wood Brothers, Greensky Bluegrass, Trampled by Turtles, String Cheese Incident, Railroad Earth… Not only because I love their music, but It would also bring more attention to my band Feed the Dog and help us grow.
TIM: Not until I started being a professional musician. When it started happening I loved every moment of it.
TIM: Probably working a boring office job and busy being miserable.
TIM: Everett Goodwin. He was very goofy and fun, perfect for me as a hyper A.D.D. child.
TIM: Bachelor in Violin Performance from UW-Oshkosh
TIM: Sam Bush. He is doing what he loves, played with nearly everyone, and has some very positive inspirational songs.
TIM: It was a tool to teach me how to hold the instrument. A crackerjack box with a paint stick attached with rubber bands. I had a pizza cardboard circle with footprints drawn on to keep me standing still and show me how to stand.
TIM: Probably a recital when I was 4 or 5. I don’t remember. My first solo paid gig was playing Christmas songs at a craft fair where I made $40. I was stoked! I had a string quartet for many years before I started playing in bands.
TIM: I played in; the Oshkosh Youth Symphony Orchestra, church, high school orchestra, lots of retirement homes, and special events that wanted classical music.
TIM: Sometimes mistakes turn into great sounds! If it is a timing issue or intonation I’ll make a mental note never to do it again. It’s all about your energy when playing a show and the audience usually never notices, so I don’t sweat them.
TIM: I like playing with effect pedals, they’re kind of like playing another instrument while playing your same instrument. You have to practice to get them to sound right. I’ll practice a lot by myself after I buy a new one I play with so many groups that doing solo practice isn’t as much of a priority anymore, I’ll practice with Feed the Dog once a week for 3 hours.
TIM: I am not a lyricist but I do write instrumentals or songs for someone else to write lyrics.
TIM: Could be 10 min, could be 8 hours.
TIM: Random melodies that pop in my head.
TIM: Never stop thinking about how you can improve yourself. Be mentally strong, stay away from drugs and alcohol, and act professionally at all times. You’re selling yourself!
TIM: Training helps, but is not the end-all. As a professional musician, your job is to entertain. Do that in any way you can.
TIM: Playing in the same project too much in the same market. Underselling yourself. Staying in unhealthy situations. Be kind, try to make a good impression on everyone you meet. The music scene is a lot smaller than it seems and you need your peers and contacts to succeed.
TIM: I feel there is growth, I’ve been finding a lot of very supportive people, festivals, communities, and venues dedicated to music. The longer I do it, the easier it gets.
TIM: Keep on Keeping on. Love what I play, and spread positive vibes while sustaining myself.
TIM: I can’t pick just one, I love being on the road, seeing the country, and playing music. Meeting so many kinds and supportive people across the country while expressing yourself with your music is what is all about.
Answer the first thing that pops into your head.
TIM: San Francisco neighborhood where there is an amazing studio but the streets are like day 3 of an EDM festival but without music.
SANDI: The Blue Opus
TIM: Great venue
SANDI: Oshkosh, WI
SANDI: Potato Pancakes
For more information on Tim Mac Visit
Special thanks to Tim Mac from Feed the Dog for taking the time to do this interview. Hope to see you “On the Road“! – Sandi Millar
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