Gary LaBarr: “Always believe the people that work for you”

Well just think about it…We are all human and have different talents, come from different cultures, and have various behaviors of expression. Why should entertainment just be about only one race, religion, culture, or idea? It is all about the world that we all live in! As a part of our series about pop culture’s rising […]

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Well just think about it…We are all human and have different talents, come from different cultures, and have various behaviors of expression. Why should entertainment just be about only one race, religion, culture, or idea? It is all about the world that we all live in!

As a part of our series about pop culture’s rising stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Gary LaBarr of the Band “Walker’s Cay.”

Gary LaBarr is a gold and platinum award-winning musician, producer, and entertainment personality. Renowned for his distinctive harmony writing and pop/rock achievements, He is a multi-instrumentalist playing guitar, bass, piano, keyboards, drums, percussion, harmonica, voice, and sax. He is also an airplane pilot, and a past Fire-fighter/EMT achieving the rank of Captain. Currently, he owns a production company based out of New York and Toronto. Gary is also the President and Senior Executive Producer of his Internet radio station RealityRadio 101.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

You are welcome! I grew up in a very loving family with 4 other siblings. We were very family oriented, doing a lot of things together such as sports, music, outings, visitations, etc. My parents were ALWAYS dedicated to their kids!

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

I was actually on a carrer path as a Firefighter/EMT in Rochester, New York. However, I ALWAYS loved music since I was so involved with it in my junior and senior years in school. I knew that I was missing something, and when MTV came about, look out! I wanted it!

Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

Well that would probably be when I started to meet some very famous people in this business. Also, working with the late great record producer Paul Curcio was a thrill in itself!

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

That’s an easy question! Forgetting the lyrics to my songs while performing live on stage! In fact, I still do it, (forget my lyrics) so what have I learned from it all? Use a lyric monitor!

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

The two new releases from Walker’s Cay entitled, “Tell Me,” and “Why Oh Why.” I am actually writing similar “follow up” songs to those, as they truly represent what the human race is going through right now.

We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?

Well just think about it…We are all human and have different talents, come from different cultures, and have various behaviors of expression. Why should entertainment just be about only one race, religion, culture, or idea? It is all about the world that we all live in!

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

1. You WILL deal with all kinds/types of people…Good, bad, and indifferent. The good folks are great and want to help you, (and they try to support you in any way that they can). The bad people hate you, hate what you are doing, and can be mean, jealous, and irresponsible towards you…And the indifferent people? It is all just a job to them…They do not care about you (or your career) either way…Examples could be agents, managers, roadies, venue personnel, and media personalities that do not communicate with you properly, respond back to your messages to them, or do what you would like them to do regarding any problem or situation that may arise in the studio, on tour, etc.

2. Equipment failures are in fact inevitable. When I first started out in this business, your “money situation” is very limited, so what you can purchase to have as a “back-up” regarding equipment on the road is also very limited. That mantra came as a true understanding of an incident playing a show in Rochester, New York in the late 1980’s at Art Stock’s Playpen North. This was a very cool Rock venue that was packed to the brim to see us doing a show to support our new album, and my amplifier started on fire mid set in concert. Bummer of course!

3. Always believe the people that work for you. RIGHT! There is MORE BS in this business than any other business in the world. Be it either because of drugs, alcohol, or just the share fact as an ulterior motive for some, folks DO, (and will) tell you just about anything to get something from you for themselves.

4. Expect to get some money, (or get rich) fast! Another…RIGHT! That is a misnomer if I ever heard one. It takes a lot of work, (and I mean a LOT of work) to ever achieve financial success in this business! Even a “one hit wonder” will eventually have you ending up in the poor house if you do not keep on writing good music, re-invent yourself, and continue to work with smart, intelligent, creative, honest and dedicated people. Look at the hundreds and hundreds of amazing artist’s that have lost millions of dollars in artist fee’s, sales, concert revenue, merchandising, etc. Sure, they could have all come from reckless spending over the years, and poor financial planning, but NOT having anoither hit song or project definitely helps you to become a “nobody” in this business!

5. Everyone is a “Rock Star” that you meet. (Or at least they think that they are). So many people WANT to jump on the “band wagon!” (No pun intended). MOST of the folks that I have met in this business (if not directly working with me) were ALL “Rock Stars!” (At least in their minds already). The pompousness, egotistical, and ‘holier than thou” attitude tht they had, and they cannot even tune their guitar. I have seen it all, (and it “ain’t” pretty)! Ha!

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Well actually, it is all about taking care of your self. That means physically, mentally, and spiritually, coming to a balance in life. We all have our “ill’s” and “want’s and need’s” in life, some good, some bad. But if you have more bad, balance is what it is all about! Eat well, sleep well, don’t do drugs, and watch your alcohol consumption. Any of these substances in excess will definitely burn you out a-sap! Just look at the thousands of musicians that have ended up in rehab…Not pretty…

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

How about just being nice to people? How about showing some respect, manners, and forget the “entitlement” factor/belief system that so many people think that they deserve? And don’t be a hypocrite! Man, that is the worst!

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I think that I would have to thank my Cousin Lainne. She started me off by teaching me three guitar chords, A,D, and E when I was 11 years old. Without her, I probably would not be where I am today. By the way…Where am I?

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Well basically, think things out when you can. ALL things. I understand that It is not always possible, but your decisions can have terrible consequences on your, and someone else’s life!

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

Ha! I do not think that you could tag this person…It would be Jesus Christ. Not for anything “significantly religious” at all, but just to ask him…”Why Oh Why” (get it?) are we really here on Earth, and please “Tell Me” (get it again?) where are we all going?” Now THAT would be a conversation!

How can our readers follow you online?

Very simple! A “one-stop” shopping experience!

This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!

Well, thank you! I cannot thank you enough for your time, (and putting up with me)! I really appreciate all that you are doing, not just for me and the band, but for all of the other folks that you interview as well!

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