We had the good fortune of connecting with Toney Rocks and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Toney, we’d love to start by asking you about lessons learned. Is there a lesson you can share with us?
That things rarely go as planned. Whether it’s a good or bad outcome, each endeavor is going to come with some surprises. Typically BIG surprises.
Whether it’s people not coming through, vehicles breaking down, necessary tools not making it to the show, shows getting cancelled, checks being written out to the wrong name, venues closing down with out telling you, flights getting delayed etc. SOMETHING is going to pop up.
Also, things rarely work in the time frame you think they will. If you’re confident it’ll be done fast, rest assured it’ll take way longer. If you think it’ll take forever, 9 times out of 10, it’ll be surprisingly fast. If you think it’ll be super easy, something tricky typically pops up. If you think it’ll be a grueling experience, many times it turns out to be rather pleasant.
So I guess the moral of the story is, don’t have expectations. Especially in something as subjective and unpredictable as the music business. Have goals and desires but not expectations because your expectations typically won’t be met.
How do I navigate this? Well, I don’t worry about things that are out of my control. Once I get to the venue, I don’t worry about what could’ve been done better. I’m there to play my ass off no matter what went wrong getting there, how many people didn’t show up or anything else. Whoever is there deserves my all because they paid good money for it. They don’t care about all the crap you went through to get there or excuses of why this or that isn’t working. .
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Oh I’m not sure what sets me apart other than me being ME. I actually try very hard not to pay attention to what anyone else is doing because they have a completely different story than I do. I know for a fact that there is only one ME and that no one on the face of the earth does what I do the way I do it.
These days, after the past year and a half, I’m just thankful that buyers still book me and people still show up. Im grateful for that and I hope it continues to grow exponentially.
How did I get here? Chasing a dream, tuning out the BS and staying ultra focused on what I want to achieve. When those things breakdown, I end up in a very dark dark dark place. Honestly, I don’t even know where “here” is. We’re all just holding on. No matter how big an artist gets, most of us are barely keeping it together.
So was it or is it easy?!? HELL NO! It’s freaking hard. It takes so many sacrifices. Relationships, time, money A LOT OF MONEY, 14 hour drives from one stage to the next, people close to you picking you apart, plenty of nights where you just want to quit… it’s NOT easy. Anyone that says it is is full of it.
How do I overcome the challenges? Sheer stupidity lol It’s either I beat it or I die trying. Crazy things happen and you have the choice to say “okay you win… I quit” or “F this I gotta find a way to win”. It’s literally insanity. I get up everyday and say “okay let’s try this again…”
I’m constantly learning… I’m no where near where I want to be and no way an expert. Everyone’s journey is different. But the biggest lesson is HONESTY and a fight till the death mentality. When I started being honest in my writing, in my personal life and onstage… things started to click. Fans, promoters, buyers… they all want authenticity. Without that, it just a bunch of BS. I don’t have time for BS.
Hey world, I’m an artist… an expressionist… so I want people to find themselves in what I present to the world OR get kicks out of seeing me be my weird-honest self onstage. Other than that… I just want thousands of people to love and support what I do… let’s be real… that’s really what an artist wants… right? Acceptance.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Meh I’m not a touristy go out on the town kinda guy. So, I’d probably take them to the grocery and get some food, whiskey and some stout beer. Then hit the dispensary before packing the kayaks and taking them up into the mountains next to a massive lake for a week long escape from humanity lol. You’d be surprised at the fun a couple people can have in the wilderness for a week with the proper libations.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Those people behind the scenes know who they are and they probably won’t see this anyway. So I’ll thank the fans that show up, listen to the music and pay their hard earned money to give me this opportunity.
Mike Dunn (main Image in front of drums) Syrus “Syro” Robinson (Onstage images)