Tonight, Ronnie O’Briant and Dave Sharrock look forward to putting on another stellar show and enjoying some good eats.
The kitchen staff at The Coliseum made O’Briant a believer with the ubiquitous bar staple, cheese sticks. “They were amazing,” he said.
That’s an adjective that also aptly describes the depth and breadth of Act 2’s repertoire, which spans decades of popular rock from James Taylor to Alice In Chains, O’Briant said.
What can people expect from an Act 2 performance?
An “unplugged” style acoustic rock show featuring songs that range from Pink Floyd to Mumford and Sons, along with some obscure favorites of ours and original material.
How did you become Act 2?
When our former band (Echo 7) disbanded, we thought it would be fun to play out as an acoustic duo.
Where did the name Act 2 come from?
Act 2 was a suggestion made by our Echo 7 bass player, Frank Roop. The band had been our only focus for so many years, and since this was something new and different, the name seemed to fit.
Who might not enjoy an Act 2 show?
Although we want to appeal to a wide audience, you can’t please everyone, right? Even though we’ve built a great portion of our song list around requests, we also like to leave room for a lot of music you may not hear often or expect from a cover/bar band. It makes it more fun and interesting for us (and hopefully the audience) to go off the beaten path instead of sticking to a predictable song list.
What television show would you love to have feature a Act 2 song and why? Which song?
The show would be “Shameless” and the song would be “The River,” because the show is about a family dealing with the worst that can happen at all times. This song is about dealing with the emotions that come with that type of situation.
Do any of you have day jobs to support your music careers? What are they?
Fortunately we live in an area with a lot of opportunity to do what we do, and we have built some great relationships with people and venues that keep us busy. Having three bands (Act 2, Bedford Falls and Pale Horse) helps us keep a pretty consistent show schedule as well. We feel really lucky to be able to play music for a living.
What advice would you offer aspiring musicians?
Be confident in who you are and what you do. Learn to be able to deal with rejection. Use it to drive you forward instead of allowing it to hold you back or get you down. And like most things, hard work and persistence make things happen.
What misconceptions do folks have about the life of a musician?
That every musician must live the life of Motley Crue in the ‘80s. For some reason, it amazes people that we have wives and kids. And that we get up early. That we coach our kids’ sports teams. I suppose because we play music, we are expected to fit into the “sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll” stereotype. I’m sure some do, but a lot of us are far from that cliché.
What are some of your biggest musical influences?
Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Tool, Sabbath/Ozzy, Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Kiss, Van Halen, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Alice In Chains, Sqwearl. There are really far too many to name, but these are a few.
What is your favorite place to a play a gig in?
Anywhere that people are there to hear live music. When a crowd is there for the music, getting into it, making requests and having fun with us, it makes a big difference.
If you weren’t musicians, what career paths would you pursue?
Dave Sharrock: Would have pursued a career in graphic design.
Ronnie O’Briant: Always thought about owning a small business, possibly opening a music store or a restaurant.
If you could have anyone, living or dead, join your band, who would it be?
What is each band member’s unique contribution to the band?
Since we’re singers, songwriters and guitarists, we end up contributing pretty equally. While we bring our own individual styles to each project, we contribute an equal amount.
What would people be surprised to learn about Act 2, individually or collectively?
Most people are surprised to learn how long we’ve been playing music together. It will be 20 years next year.
Do you have a song that you play at every gig?
We make sure to work in some original material at every gig.
Is there any music that you will not play?
Unfortunately, we do not do “Gangnum Style,” and we refuse to play “Freebird,” “Mustang Sally,” “Brown Eyed Girl,” and anything by Jimmy Buffett. So if you’re looking for “Brown Eyed Girl” and “Mustang Sally,” you won’t find them at an Act 2 gig.
How do you feel when you play music?
It’s a mixture of so many things. It’s adrenaline, it’s a release, it’s relaxing, it’s fun, it’s therapeutic. All those things and more. For a musician, it’s just a necessary part of life, like eating, sleeping or breathing. Whether it’s writing a song in your bedroom or performing live, the need to play music just doesn’t go away.
Do you listen to your own music?
It’s a love/hate relationship of sorts. It’s a great feeling to be able to listen to the music that you create, but in our case, we are both our own worst critics. A lot of times it’s hard not to only hear the things you wish you’d done better or differently. Sometimes it’s a lot of fun to revisit older songs. It’s cool to find some of the ones you forgot about. Sometimes you get a renewed appreciation for songs you haven’t thought about in a long time.
How is performing live different from recording?
The recording process and playing live are very different. Both are equally as much fun and rewarding, though. To write songs and then be able to go into a studio and create what you hear in your head is one of the coolest things about playing music, especially if you are in a studio that has a lot of equipment to experiment with. And when everything is done, there is a great sense of accomplishment to hear the final product and listen to everything come together.
What is your favorite Act 2 original and why?
That’s like asking which of our kids we like best … impossible to answer that one.