Even before google ad-sponsored piracy and Spotify’s abysmal streaming rates eradicated the chances of making a respectable living, musicians have supplemented their incomes with day jobs until their dreams of making it big came true. R.E.M.’s Peter Buck worked in a record store. Soul Coughing front man Mike Doughty worked the door at The Knitting Factory. When the Velvet Underground broke up, Lou Reed worked as a typist in his father’s office.
But it’s rare that you hear the story of a musician like Scott Quist, who not only made a career out of his day job, but created a really strong brand that gives back to the community, too.
Quist is the owner and CEO of Real Rock n’ Roll Movers, an L.A.-based moving company with a unique business model. Their movers are all working musicians who schlep your stuff in between encores and recording sessions, and after cross-country tours. It’s a steady gig for unsteady schedules. And it’s one where both company and customer alike help support the local music scene.
Quist played drums in The Shocker and toured Europe for a few years in the mid 2000’s. That on the road/off the road experience taught him a lot.
On the road, musicians who don’t have private jets and can’t afford to employ an army of roadies have to pack their own stuff into small vans. Quist realized musicians are good at packing. Especially drummers. They always have the most equipment to pack.
When you’re on tour, you’re employed. When you’re off the road, the income goes away, but the bills don’t. Quist worked as a mover to supplement his income. A few years later, the concept fleshed itself out, and Real Rock n Roll movers became a proper, licensed moving company with great employees, some who have been with the company for years.
In other words, Real Rock n Roll Movers doesn’t employ flakey hipsters who show up to your house two hours late with a case of PBR and a roll of duct tape. Don’t let the black matte van with the skull and dolly-crossbones fool you. Although that logo is pretty kick ass.
The Real Rock and Roll Movers brand is a compelling enough story to warrant its own documentary. But it also represents the direction more brands should be headed. To not only provide a service, but provide great solutions to a problem at a grassroots level.
In a time when musicians are finding it harder and harder to make a living, Real Rock and Roll Movers is helping them do just that.
And just as importantly, they’re keeping the rock and roll dream alive.