On that beautiful Minnesota Autumn morning as I listened to Norm Tallackson humbly reflecting back on his life’s work in his community, I remember thinking, “These are the kind of people that I want to work with.”

It was a beautiful brisk Minnesota morning back in the Autumn of 1980 as Sy Foss, the President of the Bank of Willmar, Minnesota and I made the five block walk to Norm’s Tallackson’s office. As we walked, there was a slight breeze carrying the last traces of fallen leaves burning in the distance. Winter was coming.

I was producing a series of radio commercials about the life of Otto Bremer, the Founder of the Bremer Bank Group and Otto Bremer Foundation. Norm Tallackson, then in his 90’s, had known Otto Bremer personally. We were on our way to interview Norm.

Sy had told me that Norm had long since retired from his position as

President of the Bank of Willmar but that he kept a small office to look after his own personal business interests.

After the introductions were made I let Sy do the interviewing, as he had suggested it would make Norm feel more comfortable.

I ran the hand held tape recorder.

Sy asked Norm about the “Great Willmar, Minnesota Raid,” a famous bank robbery by the Machine Gun Kelly Gang that had taken place at the bank in Willmar on July 15,1930:

Sy : So, Norm you were there when they robbed the bank of Willmar?

Norm: (Laughs) Yeah, but they did it anyway! (Laughs)

Norm went on to tell the story about the robbery, the three people who were wounded and the whole town being in a panic over their losses and how Otto Bremer, a majority owner of the bank, came out from St Paul and held a Town Hall Meeting where he personally guaranteed to handle the losses out of his own pocket.  This was back in the days before FDIC Insurance.

Norm spoke of how he had worked night and day on the procedural accounting details to follow through on Mr. Bremer’s promise. Then Norm reflected back on a personal conversation he had with Otto Bremer.

Norm had told Otto Bremer, “When I finish this job of tracking down all the details and get all these folks their money back I think I’ll be able to retire from banking in peace.”

Norm said Otto winked and replied, “Well, then Norman, maybe you better slow it down a little because we don’t want to lose you. You’re too valuable to the bank.” As Norm was speaking  his eyes lit up like a 10 year-old at Christmas time.

Norm went on to tell us of how he and four other bankers formed and founded what is now the Independent Community Bankers of America. (ICBA)

On that beautiful Minnesota Autumn morning as I listened to Norm Tallackson humbly reflecting back on his incredible life’s work in his community, I remember thinking,

These are the kind of people that I want to work with.”

Gary Michaels is the Founder/Executive Producer of MTI Studios and Gary Michaels Online. Since entering the Brand Syndication field in 1980 he has produced Syndicated Branding Campaigns for over 5,000 local and regional advertisers throughout the US, Canada,New Zealand and Australia. (Photo by Thinkstock)

Our work is national quality. Our clients are local advertisers.

© 2011 Gary Michaels Online Corp

 

Advertisements
Posted in Why don't you get a real job? | Leave a comment

Custer’s Last Artist… “I’ve seen Rembrandts, Van Goghs and Picassos up close and personal but I never saw anything like this.”

It was early Friday afternoon and I had just finished up a successful brand marketing meeting with First National Bank in Buffalo, Wyoming.

Now it was time once again, to play my favorite Wyoming driving game,“Count the Antelope,” as I headed north up I-90 on my way to Montana.

I had two full weeks of appointments scheduled in Montana. I was looking forward to it. I’ve always loved Montana.

A couple of hours into the drive I decided to stop for some coffee at the Custer Battle Field gift shop/restaurant on the Crow Indian Reservation outside of Hardin.

As I walked in the door I noticed a fellow about my age hard at work putting the finishing touches on an oil painting. I was intrigued as it is not something you expect to see on a coffee break. So, I walked closer to take a better look.

When I saw the image on his canvas I just froze. I was speechless and for me speechless is not an every day occurrence. My eyes were riveted to the canvas where he had depicted a more life like than life image of a Viet Nam Vet visiting the Viet Nam Memorial in Washington. In the painting the Vet was kneeling beside the memorial with his head down and his right arm out stretched with his finger touching the name of a fallen friend. On the other side of the memorial out of the line of sight of the vet you could see this ethereal yet somehow realistic image of the fallen friend in camouflage extending his hand out to the vet reaching through the monument with his finger touching the finger of the vet in a gesture which seemed to say, “I’m OK. It’s you I’m worried about. Find some Peace, my brother.”

Now, I’ve been in and out of some big time art galleries and art museums over the years. I’ve seen Rembrandts, Van Goghs and Picassos up close and personal but I never saw anything like this. That image and the moment I first saw it will remain with me forever.

In my twelve years working my way across America there were many unforgettable moments, breathtaking panoramic views and good hearted people I wish I would have had the time to get to know better. America is a beautiful place.

Gary Michaels is the Founder/Executive Producer of MTI Studios and Gary Michaels Online. Since entering the Brand Syndication field in 1980 he has produced Syndicated Branding Campaigns for over 5,000 local and regional advertisers throughout the US, Canada,New Zealand and Australia. (Photo by Thinkstock)

Our work is national quality. Our clients are local advertisers.

© 2011 Gary Michaels Online Corp


 

Posted in Why don't you get a real job? | Leave a comment

Branding- “Does your marketing match your brand?”

Gary Michaels is the Founder/Executive Producer of MTI Studios and Gary Michaels Online. Since entering the Brand Syndication field in 1980 he has produced Syndicated Branding Campaigns for over 5,000 local and regional advertisers throughout the US, Canada,New Zealand and Australia. (Photo by Thinkstock)

Our work is national quality. Our clients are local advertisers.

© 2011 Gary Michaels Online Corp


Posted in Why don't you get a real job? | Leave a comment

“From the minute I got into to town until 2:30 AM, I was in this little room with an upright piano, just down the street from a Broadway theater frantically writing the notes the orchestra was about to play”

The year was 1978. It was my first recording session in New York. I was nervous.  The downbeat was scheduled for 10:00 am. The orchestra was tuning and everything was about ready to get underway.

I had just arrived  in New York the previous morning on a red-eye flight from the Midwest. From the minute I got into town until 2:30 AM, I was in this little room with an upright piano, just down the street from a Broadway theater, frantically writing the notes the orchestra was about to play.

As the music copyist handed out the violin parts, Rod McBrien, the music producer, looked over at me and said,

I think it would be a good idea if the violins held a high note at the beginning.”

I showed Rod the score. It was what I had written. He seemed to relax a little. It was the first time we had worked together.

I had only slept two hours in the previous two days, but I wasn’t tired. I was excited. I was here. This was the studio. Today I’d be working with the same musicians and singers that I had heard so many times on Rod’s demo reel:

Click to listen Rod McBrien Demo

The recording session went great and Rod and I were off and rolling on what would become a 30-year collaboration and friendship.

It was while working with Rod that I got the idea to syndicate national quality music and branding campaigns to local advertisers. I will always consider having had the good fortune to work with Rod McBrien one of my life’s greatest treasures.

Gary Michaels is the Founder/Executive Producer of MTI Studios and Gary Michaels Online. Since entering the Brand Syndication field in 1980 he has produced Syndicated Branding Campaigns for over 5,000 local and regional advertisers throughout the US, Canada,New Zealand and Australia. (Photos by Paul Landry)

Our work is national quality. Our clients are local advertisers.

© 2011 Gary Michaels Online Corp

Posted in Why don't you get a real job? | Leave a comment

Rod McBrien… “Gary Michaels first called me back in 1978. He said he loved my music and wanted to go to work for me. I had no idea who this guy was,calling me.”

Rod McBrien…Gary Michaels first called me back in 1978. He said he loved my music and wanted to go to work for me. I had no idea who this guy was, calling me. An ad agency in Sioux City, Iowa, I believe, had given him a copy of my demo reel. Back then I used to mail my reel to agencies all across the country.Gary offered to present my reel and sell my services to agencies in person. He said he would pay his own expenses and I wouldn’t have to pay him a dime unless he sold something. I couldn’t lose,right? Then he said, ‘Rod there’s one more thing…On anything I sell, I want to come to New York and co-write and produce it with you. I want to learn what you know and how you do what you do.’ I liked his spirit and said,Why not? Let’s go for it. That was over 25 years ago and we’ve been writing together ever since.”

Gary Michaels.. When I first heard about Rod McBrien, I was producing jingles for local advertisers back in the Midwest. I got Rod’s demo tape from an ad agency in Sioux City,Iowa. I must have listened to it a thousand times. The singers and musicians were incredible and I knew I wouldn’t be happy until I was working with them,too. So, I worked up the nerve and I called Rod McBrien and offered to work with him as a sales representative. He said yes,we became the best of friends and wrote together for over 30 years.

Rod McBrien was a natural born songwriter. When he picked up his guitar and began to write, magic happened. Melodies that hooked you the very first time you heard them. It was often said that a Rod McBrien song was easy to remember and impossible to forget.

Rod McBrien was one of the all time greats in advertising music. He was a four-time Clio Award winner for his work for Coca-Cola and other national advertisers.

Rod’s credits as a producer, songwriter, and singer included:

  • “Coke Adds Life” (Coca-Cola)
  • “Have It Your Way” (Burger King)
  • “Soup Is Good Food” (Campbell’s)
  • “Look Up America” (Coca-Cola)
  • “Who Wears Short Shorts” (Nair; Clio winner)
  • “If You’ve Got the Time, We’ve Got the Beer” (Miller Beer)

I will always consider having had the good fortune to work with Rod McBrien one of my life’s greatest treasures.

Gary Michaels is the Founder/Executive Producer of MTI Studios and Gary Michaels Online. Since entering the Brand Syndication field in 1980 he has produced Syndicated Branding Campaigns for over 5,000 local and regional advertisers throughout the US, Canada,New Zealand and Australia. (Photos by Paul Landry)

Our work is national quality. Our clients are local advertisers.

© 2011 Gary Michaels Online Corp 

Posted in Why don't you get a real job? | Leave a comment

“I would park my meat truck where no one could see it, go to the black tower at Universal Studios, get my pass and then go to the sound stage for the ‘Kojak’ scoring date.”

In the early 1970’s, I had the good fortune to study and work with John Cacavas, the music composer for the television series,“Kojak.” John got my music published. For this I am forever grateful.

I worked with John writing big band arrangements for Columbia Screen Gems and the Belwin Mills Company.

As my children had this habit of getting hungry everyday, I was also “SELLING STEAKS” door to door in Los Angeles full time to pay the bills.

Every morning I would get up very early, drive out to Gardena, pick up a load of steaks and then go out and sell them door to door in office buildings, factories, residential areas,retail stores and anywhere else meat eaters would congregate. Selling steaks door to door in LA was quite an experience.

On “Kojak” scoring days I would park my meat truck where no one could see it, go to the black tower at Universal Studios, get my pass and then go to the Sound Stage for the scoring session.

I lived for those “Kojak” scoring session days . Some of the best musicians in the world were playing in the orchestra. There was a full string section, legendary brass players as well as keyboard players, like Artie Kane and percussionists like, Joe Porcaro.

It was like this alternative reality where music was the only thing that existed.

I remember one session in particular when I was talking to John and Lalo Schifrin, one of my favorite composers, walked over to us. John introduced me to Lalo and said,

“Lalo, this is Gary Michaels, he’s a young composer I’m working with.”

Mr. Schifrin was very gracious and I was excited to meet him and a little full of myself as I left the sound stage. I was walking on air as I made my way through the lot at Universal and then it hit me square in the face.

REALITY… I had a whole truck full of steaks I had to sell.

Gary Michaels is the Founder/Executive Producer of MTI Studios and Gary Michaels Online. Since entering the Brand Syndication field in 1980 he has produced Syndicated Branding Campaigns for over 5,000 local and regional advertisers throughout the US, Canada,New Zealand and Australia. (Photos by Paul Landry)

Our work is national quality. Our clients are local advertisers.

© 2011 Gary Michaels Online Corp

Posted in Why don't you get a real job? | 2 Comments

“Much to my surprise there weren’t any ads in the paper for composers, so I took a job selling air conditioned umbrellas and cutlery sets on the streets of Dallas.”

When I left the University of North Texas I was ready to take on the world and make my mark in the music business. I was ready to start working. I wanted to put my study of music composition,arranging and orchestration to work.

Much to my surprise there weren’t any ads in the paper for composers, so I took a job selling air conditioned umbrellas and cutlery sets on the streets of Dallas.

That’s right, “air-conditioned umbrellas.”

The umbrella had a handle at the bottom with “D” Batteries that looked like a flashlight and a fan on top of the umbrella that would twirl when you flipped the switch and blow the outside air in your face. I did that gig for about week and then “moved it on up” to a gig selling pew cushions for a church furniture company out of Florida.

My first appointment for the church gig was at 7:00 am on a Monday morning, at a small country Baptist church, with a very enthusiastic pastor, in a little town, 50 miles outside of Dallas. At that point in my life I didn’t even know that 7:00 am existed. To paraphrase the Frank Zappa song,  “If  you call before noon you’ve called to soon.”

I stumbled into the church half asleep , as I had been up most of the night practicing my “oodle-ees” on the saxophone.

We said our, “Hello how are you’s?” and before I could get in a word of my well rehearsed, “Quality of our pew cushions speech,” the pastor almost jumped out of his chair as he urgently asked me,

“BROTHER GARY, HAVE YOU HAD AN EXPERIENCE WITH CHRIST?”

To which I replied, “It’s 7:00 am, I haven’t even had a cup of coffee,yet.”

I gotta say this for him, he sure scared the hell out of me.

When I got home that night, my sales manager from the church furniture company called and asked me if had any special problems that day he could help me with. I said,

“Other problems, you mean other problems than getting SAVED 6 times today?”

The manager laughed and told me it was an occupational hazard.

From then on I started my appointments by saying,

“Halleluja! It’s a great day Pastor. I want to show you some pew cushions.”

I wondered if this was what my Dad had in mind when he said,

“Why don’t you get a real job?”

Gary Michaels is the Founder/Executive Producer of MTI Studios and Gary Michaels Online. Since entering the Brand Syndication field in 1980 he has produced Syndicated Branding Campaigns for over 5,000 local and regional advertisers throughout the US, Canada,New Zealand and Australia. (Photos by Paul Landry)

Our work is national quality. Our clients are local advertisers.

© 2011 Gary Michaels Online Corp




Posted in Why don't you get a real job? | Leave a comment