Now is not the time to start a band. Not if your intention is to be rich and famous. Not if you think you're going to get by on talent alone. Not if it's for anything more than an innate need to create and make people, yourself more than anything, happy with your music.
The music industry isn't for every man, but for Lake Worth's Everymen, there's hardly any other choice.
"I feel like if we did it for money, I would have quit a long time ago," says singer Sergio Witis, AKA Capt'n Bobo. "We really do it because we love to do it. I feel like if we didn't have that -- and we talk about this all the time -- I don't know what the fuck I'd be doing."
Bobo and his band of merry men have to believe in what they're doing. They work themselves to the bone, sacrificing time, energy, money, and personal relationships all in the name of art.
"If we did this ten years ago, we'd be making a shitload of money," says Witis. "With the internet and iTunes and all that shit literally raping us for whatever hard work we do, the industry just sucks. We work really hard, and then we have second jobs that we work really hard at so we can work really hard at this job. It sucks -- but it's worth it."
The band has worked up a kind of cult following across the country centered on their high-energy live shows and fierce dedication, but now it seems important to take their craft to the next level. Generations is a real statement for the band, perhaps their proudest moment yet, and it almost didn't happen.
"There was a moment before we decided to put to this record out that we sat down and were like, 'All right, are you guys willing to keep doing this?'" Wittis says, but once again, the reward outweighed the bullshit. The band members have matured a lot in their years of touring. They've honed their skills on the road and in the studio, and they wanted to make something more than just a collection of tunes they're playing live.
"I just want to know that ten years from now I can look back and be like 'Man, we put on a fucking awesome record,'" he says. "I have gotten places. I've traveled all over the U.S. for free. I get to play music with my best friends. We've definitely made a name for ourselves on the road, and not just in Florida. Now, we're closing shows. We have opportunities for next year. I feel like we've become established. I'm going to remember this. I can talk to my kids about this one day, so to me I feel like we've succeeded."
Everything the band has at this point is the result of literal blood, sweat, and tears. Everymen doesn't release music through a label; the guys don't see the point. It is a DIY band in every sense of the word, handling all their own merchandise, recording, distribution, bookings, web presence, transportation, and whatever comes along the way.
"[Labels] are just a middle man taking a pay cut," he says. "It feels good to know that we do it all, and I know it's going to get done and it's going to get done right. Honestly, the record labels should realize that we don't need them; they need us. That goes for every musician in the world."
This balls-to-the-walls work ethic has landed them some pretty enviable gigs, but Witis says it's not because they got lucky so much as he's just "ruthless." He reaches out to the people he wants to work with, and he doesn't take no for an answer. He's relentless, but because of it, the album release party has support from Eric Peterson of Mischief Brew.
"He's flying here from Philly to play with us, and that's somebody I've been listening to since I was 18," Witis says. "That alone to me is incredible, and we're playing his CD release when we go up to Philly. We get to play with bands that I look up to. Not to mention all of the other bands on there are amazing."
Besides a stacked lineup, Everymen's members built a massive stage setup with their own hands (of course). They've got some big surprises in store, from stage props to special guests onstage. They even brewed their own beer for the event, Everymen Brown Ale, with brown sugar and pecans.
"The CD release really important and really special because we get to see what we created," he says. "We get to see the love and appreciation we get from the crowd, and our crowd is amazing. I can literally say we have some of the best fans I've ever encountered."
They've got people coming in from all over the state and even the country to get down and celebrate the work of friends who can never give up.
"It keeps life positive for us," he says. "That's the one thing that kills me in this society. They teach us that you should make money, you should get a job, you should go to school. In school, when I was a baby till now, no one has told me I could be happy. That's what I need to strive for: just to be happy. And I think that's what our whole CD Generations is about."
"A week from today, a year from now, I'm still going to have to pay bills," he continues. "That shit doesn't go away, and one day this van is going to break down, and I'm gonna have to get a new one, but the thing is if I die tomorrow, and I know I never tried to do what I love, then I'm fucked. What was the point in living in the first place?"
Everymen Generations CD Release Party featuring Mischief Brew (Erik Peterson acoustic set), Birthday Candles, S.S. Web, the Zoo Peculiar. Saturday, October 18, at Propaganda, 6 S. J St., Lake Worth. The party starts at 8 p.m., and tickets cost $10. Ages 18 and up. Call 561-547-7273, or visit propagandalw.com.
Follow Kat Bein on Twitter @KatSaysKill.