West Valley guitarist pivots from live career to online

Tom Mein was playing 20 gigs a month and teaching lessons prior to pandemic

Posted 4/6/20

Try to understand how busy local musician Tom Mein was before the coronavirus pandemic.

He plays guitar with 56 (rockabilly/rock and roll), Tom Mein and the NEXT Band (instrumental …

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West Valley guitarist pivots from live career to online

Tom Mein was playing 20 gigs a month and teaching lessons prior to pandemic

Posted

Try to understand how busy local musician Tom Mein was before the coronavirus pandemic.

He plays guitar with 56 (rockabilly/rock and roll), Tom Mein and the NEXT Band (instrumental rock/jazz/funk/all-styles) and Tom Mein and the Shuddups (instrumental rockabilly/surf/rock and roll trio), and as part of the Amber and Tom duo alongside Amber Rogers, all to the tune of almost 20 live gigs a month from Peoria to Fountain Hills and even out of state.

He also teaches private guitar and bass lessons in his studio to students aged 7 to 75.

Now the Sun City resident has been in lockdown with the rest of his community, bringing a sudden stop to his music.

Well, sort of.

“I’m actually playing and practicing even more right now,” he said through email. “I’m taking advantage of this downtime to concentrate on more creative efforts - writing, recording, and collaborating with others through the Internet who are also confined to their homes. As a working musician I often spend my time practicing and learning songs i HAVE to play for jobs, rather than writing and practicing music I WANT to play. Now that I have no gigs for a while, I can get back to playing music that makes me happy, writing original material, learning new techniques and refining my skills, and collaborating. I’ve heard many of my musician friends express this same sentiment. I think when this is over we are going to hear a lot of great players and some great new music.”

Many of those players are getting some of that music out now. Mr. Mein has been hosting virtual Tuesday night open-mic jams at 7 p.m. on his Facebook page (www.facebook.com/tommein).

When he isn’t on stage he’s teaching music, and that also has changed dramatically. He teaches bass and ukulele and Rock Band Class at Desert Ridge Music Academy in Phoenix. Now in this new way of living (and working), the academy has set up a Zoom account so teachers like Mr. Mein can instruct from home.

“Unfortunately I cant teach my four band classes that way,” he added, “and all gigs have been canceled, so I’ve lost around 60 percent of my income. I have some money stashed away so I should be fine. It will be tight but we are all in the same boat!”

He does have that time on his hands at the moment, though.

“If anyone needs private guitar, bass or ukulele lessons, let me know,” he said. “I have openings.”

Email thomasmein@gmail.com or call 602-367-3865.

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