We had the good fortune of connecting with Adam Gardino and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Adam, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
My parents have run their own martial arts school for over 30 years here in Colorado Springs. So in high school when I discovered I enjoyed teaching and performing music it seemed like a plausible direction to go. It helped to have so much support from teachers and mentors all chanting ‘Shoot for the moon, because if you miss and land in the stars at least you’re in space’ – or something like that.
I kept asking local musicians how they were doing it and the answers were so varied it looked promising. I could do it however I wanted. Or rather, however it would work. Some were Bruce Wayne by day and Guitar George (he knows all the chords) by night. Others were private lesson teachers or public school teachers, with the occasional yearly gig. Still others gigged all the time for nickels and dimes and figured out how to live in a piggy bank.
At each step of the way, I fully expected the bottom to fall out. And it nearly has a few times. I went through the motions to make it happen, all the while having my hand on door to the alley way for a quick escape. Problem is, nothing ever happened. After graduating from UC Denver in music performance and working at Papa Murphy’s for a year I had enough students and gigs to quit. I’ve been very fortunate.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
A wise man once told me that if you make everyone else around you succeed, you also will succeed. A rising tide raises all ships. (Actually, I’ve heard it a few times from a few people who are mentioned under the ‘Shout Out’ section).
This is how I approach all my projects, whether it’s teaching students how to play their favorite riff, or playing behind some of the best musicians I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. Primary concentration is on making everyone around me look good. I don’t need to be in the spotlight. Which is a funny statement coming from an award winning solo fingerstyle guitarist and songwriter. But I enjoy playing those shows that are ‘Wall Flower’ gigs – background music for a brunch or Christmas party. I enjoy supporting the people I play with from the shadows so they can shine their brightest.
Sharing music is the goal. There is something true inside of a good song, whether it has lyrics or not. Pulling out that truth to show the listener gets me excited. Some of the most fun I’ve had revolves around sharing covers of popular tunes in a way they haven’t been heard yet. When words fail, music speaks and often times the soul needs a good song to reflect what we are feeling.
And it doesn’t have to stay in just one genre. I write and perform in a variety of styles because I’ve found something I enjoy in each – from bluegrass to opera, rock to pop, rap to polka. Searching for the nuggets of truth breaks down barriers like ‘I don’t like classical music – it’s boring’. I uttered that sentence once – in an interview actually. But now it’s not remotely true. Turns out I was listening to boring classical music, and that’s on me.
I hope to live in obscurity and provide a decent living for my family.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Colorado Springs is home to some amazing scenery. If it were up to me, we’d visit Garden of the Gods for a hike, Manitou Springs for shopping and a drive around Pikes Peak to some of the little mining towns, like Cripple Creek and Victor.
Eating is always a good time – there are several places around town worth visiting. The Omlette Parlor is famous for their breakfast having been in town for longer than I’ve been alive, The Pub for the best brews and pub food in town, Jake and Telly’s for some high end Greek cuisine, Adam’s Mountain Cafe for delicious vegetarian friendly food in Manitou, Cucuru Cafe for Brazilian fare, and Senior Manuel’s for awesome Mexican food.
There’s a few venues in town worth visiting for shows – Stargazer’s Theatre always delivers, Third Space Coffee provides awesome coffee with local music, Back East Bar and Grill for the bands with pizzazz and the Broadmoor band on the weekends can’t be beat for dance music.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
No one lives a life completely without others. But how can I begin to list the hoards of people God has placed in my life who have given me encouragement, let me stand on their shoulders, provided insight into music and life, and held me to a high standard? I will try – but know that there are so many more than those mentioned here.
My lovely wife Tylor threatened me into joining the first working band I was in and continually pushes me to continue in the direction we’ve chosen together. I love you.
My parents Joe and Marty, who support and encourage me. My brother Gabe for getting me to think outside the box. My in-laws Larry and Randi for their generosity. Their love helps feed my soul.
The musicians I have worked with on the daily – Luke, Verolen, Dave, Lewis, Ron, Chas, Michelle, James, Sam, Kelly, Barbara, Jon, Eric, Daniel, Drew, and so many others. They’ve influenced and guided me as they would never believe.
Teachers and mentors are paramount to living a successful life – Charlie, Sean, Roger, Bill, Verolen, Lewis, Stew, Doug, Raul, Gayle, Paul, Owen, and more all have a hand in shaping the path before me and furnishing me with knowledge both for music and for life.
Family and friends too numerous to count who give their unconditional love and support.
Thank you! I love you all!
Other: Spodify, iTunes, CD Baby and wherever music is streamed.