Thursday, 20 June 2013 13:01

West Michigan Musicians' Day Jobs

Written by  Elyse Wild
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We followed six musicians to their day jobs and found out what they do when they’re offstage.

Shane Grehan
Band: Gunnar and the Grizzly Boys, 30 hours
Day Job: Valet at JW Marriott, 32-40 hours

Grehan splits his time between playing guitar for local country rock outfit Gunnar and the Grizzly Boys and parking nice rides as a valet for the JW Marriott in downtown Grand Rapids.

“This allows be flexibility with the band … I can hit the road when something comes up. We are weekend warriors right now, but I would love to be full time.”


Nicholas James Thomasma
Band: Nicholas James and The Bandwagon, 40 hours
Day Job: Bartender at Founders and Clerk at Harvest Health, 28 hours total

Thomasma has been putting 40 hours a week into music for the past eight years, while holding down two part time jobs pouring beer at Founders and selling organic goods at Harvest Health.

“I get a discount on beer and a discount on groceries; they are both good part time jobs. I already work on music 40 hours a week … this is really the best scenario for me.”


John Hanson
Band: Strawberry Heritage, 20-30 hours
Day Job: Photographer specializing in medium format photography, 20-30 hours

A core member of Strawberry Heritage, Hanson works as a freelance photographer. Before he got into the photography racket, he says his worst job ever was working maintenance at an airport in Traverse City in the middle of winter, from 4 to 8 a.m., five days a week.

“My plans are really to work more with motion picture … I would like to be a director of photography.”


Emilee Pertersmark
Band: The Crane Wives, 15-20 hours week
Day Job: Music Content Coordinator for AMI Entertainment, 40 hours a week

Petersmark puts in 40 hours a week updating playlists and contacting labels and distributors to ensure that the jukeboxes at AMI Entertainment are full of the latest and greatest tunes.              

“I love this job … I feel like I have a vested interest in the music industry.”


Ben Scott-Brandt
Band: Ribbons of Song, nine hours
Day Job: Hair Stylist at Salon RE, 40 hours

Scott-Brandt has been playing music in his band Ribbons of Song for six years and dressing hair at Salon RE for two and half, all while raising a second grader.

“If my future includes doing music full time, it will be a long way down the road.”


Erin Lenau
Band: Tokyo Morose, six hours
Day Job: School Teacher, 40 hours

Tokyo Morose frontwoman and co-founder of Hollywood Makeout Erin Lenau spends part of the year teaching at an elementary school. The best part? Not just having summers off, but getting to use her knack for music and creativity with her students.

“I love it … I can be a musician and a teacher, they go so well together.”

Photos: Elyse Wild

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