My wonderful wife, Pat, and I recently moved to Santa Barbara (aka Paradise) from Green Bay, Wisconsin. With this move, we have changed the focus of our lives. To reach our new goals in California, we need to have the respect of the persons needed for our success. I have found that experience and knowledge are valuable traits in the eyes of others. We need their trust and respect, so here's my story.
I've been in music and sales for over 50 years, starting as a keyboard student at the age of six and learning the art of sales and marketing as an assistant Milwaukee Journal paperboy in Menominee, Michigan. I was lucky to have a successful band leader, Arnie Smiltneck, as my father. I could feel his pride and approval as I learned and grew as a musician. Eventually I started sitting in with his variety band.
At the age of eleven, I started my own band, The Drifters, We were able to get most of the gigs my father couldn't take because he was already booked. Since his band was one of the most popular in the area, The Drifters had a good supply of referrals from my dad, and most turned into a booking. Being a leader of a band, added to my sales and marketing experience while grooming me as a manager.
My dad found that open band dates could be filled by renting a hall and taking on the role as promoter of a public dance. My mother was the greeter and cashier at the entrance of the hall. So I copied this for my band, and that was the beginning of my entertainment promoter role. Mom and dad helped me develop the role. They were intense with their support for me and my motivation grew bigger and bigger, along with the geographical area I was searching for gigs.
In the early 1960s I became part of The Vikings band. We became very successful in Upper Michigan and Wisconsin.