How Seven Artists Got Their Start In The Music Business
Our research staff just pounced on a copy of On The Record, by Guy Oseary, in which music professionals share the stories of their paths to fame.
Chester Bennington (Linkin Park)
His first paying gig was at age 15 with his first group, Grey Daze, playing for a block party in Phoenix, Arizona, in a rough neighborhood divided by rival gangs. They were paid $1500 for the evening, but the night ended up getting out of hand with a riot and police were called. Later, Bennington was working an office job at a company called Diversified Information Services Corporation, when he got a call from an agent asking him to audition for a band's lead singer. Bennington's first question: "How did you find me?"
Sean "Puffy" Combs (aka P. Diddy)
Combs was studying to be a doctor, of all things, at Howard University in Washington, D.C., but his eye was on the music business. He kept calling Uptown Records offering to work there as an intern (and there really aren't such things as interns in the music business). His first big break from there was producing and remixing Mary J. Blige's debut album What's the 411?.
Jonathan Davis (Korn)
His dad owned a music store, so starting from age three, Davis was banging on drums and fooling around with every instrument in the store. The store also taught classes, so he could wander in and out of classrooms listening to teacher's lectures. It should be noted that his dad, Rick Davis, was a musician in his own right, having played keyboards for, amongst others, Frank Zappa.
After graduating high school in New York, Farrell moved to California to basically live as a beach bum, sleeping in his car and working odd jobs. While there, he worked for a liquor distributor in Newport Beach, California, and ended up loitering around at a bar at a club waiting for the manager to sign off on his order. The manager then asked him if he could model, sing, or dance, to which Farrell responded in the affirmative. Three weeks later, he had his own band and was headlining the show. What a life, eh?
Noel Gallagher (Oasis)
Before the music business, Gallagher had worked odd jobs in construction and warehousing. His first job in the music business was as a roadie for Inspiral Carpets after meeting the guitarist by chance at a Stone Roses show. He stuck with that for two years, before joining his brother Liam, who had joined a band called "The Rain".
Steve Jones (The Sex Pistols)
Jones was a career thief - he even had juvenile criminal convictions in Hammersmith, London, England, and was the subject of a care-order by the court, spending a year in a remand center. Jones, by his own confession, started stealing musical instruments and had a lot of them sitting around to practice with, including trombones, electric guitars, and even a French horn. That led him to a series of punk bands which eventually led to The Sex Pistols. Inspiring, isn't it?
He started as a staff writer for Almo Irving Music. He was 17 and living on the streets at the time, despite having been the son of a famous TV actress (Roxie Roker, who played Helen Willis as one-half of the inter-racial couple on The Jeffersons). Another staff and session musician there, David Lasley, discovered him and listened to his music, taking his to see a publisher.