The Mike & Carolynn Band

Orangevale, CA

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About this pro

How does your business stand out?

The first thing that differentiates us from other duos is the quality of our vocals. Carolynn's vocals can be easily considered as good as singers like Bonnie Raitt, Joni Mitchell, Linda Ronstadt, Stevie Nicks and all of the current female country singers. We spend a lot of time working on the BLENDING for our harmonies. Any two people can sing two different notes that should provide a pleasing harmony, but it takes talent, training and experience singing together to do it well. We have been singing together for 40 years and our harmonies tend to stand out. Also, most bands seem to believe that their music alone is enough for a live performance. The truth is that all of us have very easy access to perfect, flawless music in our homes, cars or portable devices. We work hard on our music, just like anyone else, but we also put a lot of effort into "the live performance". We make a special effort to connect with our audiences as this is the key to providing a positive experience for the audience. They feel they are part of what's going on, as opposed to sitting at home watching a performance on TV. This is why all of us go to live concerts, even though we have the CD (or digital media) and have the songs hundreds of times! We all still like to be a part of the musical energy and experience, and Carolynn and I do this better than just about anyone.

What do you enjoy about the work you do?

I believe music is the physics of human emotion and the part we enjoy the most is taking the message expressed in a song and passing that emotional and life message along to others. Sometimes we do songs that have a funny message but the theme is still the same. So being involved in the interaction with the audience is the thing we like the most. Some people are merely "Musicians", and they are musical geniuses, and they do very well in a vanilla, studio-like environment. We add audience involvement and interaction to create a special atmosphere that is rare in live music today. Modern performers tend to rely upon fancy lighting, fire, swinging through the air and other fancy special effects to create a positive entertainment atmosphere. We use our talent and ability to connect with other human beings, and this make our job fun.
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Location

Orangevale, CA 95662

Times hired on Thumbtack

9

Reviews

4 Reviews
  • Pat N. May 25, 2017
    Band Entertainment
    Verified Review
    There music was amazing. It was the type of music that all age groups enjoyed at the party. My people wanted them to continue to play.
  • Shannon S. Jun 26, 2016
    Solo Musician Entertainment
    Verified Review
    Everyone loved the Mike and Carolynn Band, great talent and lots of fun!
  • Pam S. Sep 20, 2015
    Band Entertainment
    Verified Review
    They were awesome. Would absolutely hire them again. Loved every song they played.
  • Tricia D. Jul 13, 2015
    Solo Musician Entertainment
    Verified Review

Q&A

What should the customer know about your pricing (e.g., discounts, fees)?
Nope! Pretty straight forward! $150/hr minus any discounts that may be considered, plus actual travel fees for travel over an hour away for Roseville, CA. We usually end up playing 3 hours for $450.
What is your typical process for working with a new customer?
We require a deposit to formally book a date - usually $100.00. Once we receive the deposit we submit a Booking Sheet to the customer, which formally books the date, provides information regarding the event and shows the balance due. We arrive about 30 mins to 1 hour prior to "Downbeat" for equipment set up and sound check.
What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
Nope! We just rehearse once a week, try to grow our talents on our instruments and vocally, and we try to stay on top of any improvements in equipment. sound systems have gotten better and lot lighter recently and we were able to take advantage. Our new sound system is about half the weight of our previous one, and cost about 60% less. so it's easy to handle (loading and set up), it's easy on our wallets and it sounds just as good!
How did you get started doing this type of work?
I went to school to be an engineer and I had long forgotten about music and my clarinet. But in my freshman year, my roommate bought a cheap guitar and he would drag it along to parties, beer busts and most social events we went to. And the girls would be all over him! and he totally sucked on guitar and was not an attractive fellow at all! and due to my musical background I could hear the many mistakes he'd make in trying to play a song by Dylan or the Rolling Stones, but it didn't matter. So I decided I need to try my hand at this GEE-TAR thang!! It has served me well - let's leave it at that!!! (Smile!)
What types of customers have you worked with?
Our favorite type of gig is what I'd call the "Backyard Party". It's usually an anniversary or birthday for one of the hosts and these are an absolute BLAST to play! There's very little stress and everyone is in a party mood. All we have to do is add a heaping helping of musical talent and fun, and a good times is had by all! Weddings are a little different. If it's the first time then the bride is usually a handful and her mother is worse! (Smile!) You can cut the tension with a knife as this day has been dreamed of, thought about, and fought over for months, sometimes years!!! And the band gets caught up in all the emotion. To be successful you just have to use your experience of playing hundreds of these things and pass that calmness along to the customers. But I don't like doing weddings for this reason - too much drama!! But second weddings for couples over 35 or 40 are fun! they've done this dance before and they are there to enjoy the day. But our favorite gigs are backyard parties - they totally rock!!
Describe a recent project you are fond of. How long did it take?
We played for a memorial service and fund raising event for a Galt Police Officer who was killed in the line of duty (Officer Kevin Tonn). This was obviously not a wild and crazy event like a Backyard BBQ but I was asked to write a song in honor of the fallen Officer and play it during the event. We got to meet the Officer Tonn's parents and it was a very humbling experience to say the least. But it felt really good, deep down inside to be able to provide our special gift for such a special occasion. Our music has taken us to all kinds of situations and provided untold opportunities, but this one stands out for sure. Loss is a very special human emotion, and music has the ability to help us deal with it. I can't describe how it felt to have the family step out on to the grass in front of the stage, and stand holding hands while I played the song I wrote. This was what I refer to as a "God Wink", and it's one of those things in life that tells you you're on the right track.
What advice would you give a customer looking to hire a provider in your area of work?
Try to hear or see the band play live before you hire them if at all possible. A video on their Facebook page or website is a poor alternative, but still way better than nothing at all. Live music is such a personal thing, that it should have your personal input before you decide. If you can't see them live and if no video is available, ask them to tell you a little about a recent gig they did and listen carefully for items that you consider to be crucial. What was the average age of the guests? Did they have to learn any special songs? Were there any special issues and how did they address them? Ask them to talk about their favorite gig lifetime and ask why that one was their fav.
What questions should customers think through before talking to professionals about their project?
Most customers don't realize how much equipment it takes to do a decent live performance. Most of their experience with live music is AFTER all the gear has been loaded in, set up, plugged in and sound checked. And they never see the Load Out portion of the event either. We play as a Duo and our equipment takes up an entire full sized SUV and takes us an hour to unload and set up. So it's about 30 minutes to load all the gear into the truck at home, then the drive to the gig, then an hour of unload, set up and sound check, and the gig hasn't even started yet!! then we play the 3 or 4 hours, and then the opposite occurs, We tear it all down, load it back into the truck, drive home (each home), and unload all the gear and put it away. I always say "The playing of the music is free - it's the load-in and load-out that costs so much!" (Smile!) So some people are surprised by the price, thinking that musicians should earn a hourly rate similar to fast-food industry workers. This is simply not the case and if you pay those rates you'll likely get exactly what you've paid for - people who don't know what they're doing. Musicians have been doing what you see them do for most of their life. Most started playing an instrument in grade school, with countless hours of practice, rehearsals to go with the costs of instruments, lessons, etc. The audience sees what they do as fun and sometimes expects them to play for free, or my favorite "Free Beer"! It just doesn't work that way. If you're getting a root canal, or giving birth to your first born, you don't want a doctor that charges $10/hr. Music is a profession, just like nursing, doctors, attorneys, engineers and consultants. So their compensation should be given similar consideration.