Interview with Musician/Booking Agent/Dog Rescue CEO:
Dee Alschuler

Goodness Gracious Great Balls of Fire!

From Punk, to Rockabilly and howling good times with dogs of all sizes- women are doing it all, creating it all, and living it all! Women must learn to empower themselves, we can no longer blame society, as the doors of opportunity have been opened, sure there are still some barricades, but everyone has hurdles to overcome... that's life! This is the 21st century and the movers, shakers, dreamers and doers among the female entrepreneurs and humanitarians are showing what they've got! MOXIE with a capital M! This is my interview with one of the leading women who doesn't just talk... she puts her words into action!

Musician/Booking Agent/ Dog Rescue business owner: Dee Alschuler.

07/2015- Song River

Song River: It would seem you have a music connection that runs deep. From what I understand, you were and or still are, a musician in a punk band? What was the band's name?
Give us a little background on your music history.

Dee Alschuler: Well, I have played guitar since I was about 12 years old. Ever since I can remember I wanted to be in a band. I was in my first band when I was 16. Three guitar players and one singer, we didn’t know any drummers. In the mid 80’s I was in a punk band called “Abraxas.” I had black long spiked hair and neon clothes, oh how I loved that look! We played at place called, Nita’s Hideaway, a few times and the Sun Devil House in Tempe.

I had to put my guitar playing on hold for a bit in the 90’s since I was simply working too much. In 2000 my husband took an assignment on an US military base in Germany, so we moved there (with all our dogs) for 4 years. Two friends of mine who were in the band “Clockpeople,” and they moved there with us. The three of us performed all over Germany, as an acoustic duo or trio, sometimes as a full band when our drummer would fly in from the US. We performed under the name “Peralta Road,” and “Misha Music.” My duo partner in Peralta Road was Scott Staley of Clockpeople, he ended up staying in Germany after meeting a girl. Scott and I played in the US occasionally from 2004-2010. Peralta Road was mostly country and classic rock and some originals.

SR: What was the music scene like when you were performing?

DA: In the mid 80’s it was way different. It seemed people had more fun going out, and really got into live music. The music scene was great all the way through to the 90s. Of course there wasn't social media. If you wanted people to come to your gig, you had to call them and invite them….

SR: Coming forward you decided to go to create your own booking music company. When and how did this company begin, and why?

DA: I started my booking company in 2000 when I was performing overseas. It was easier to book my own shows if I was calling pretending to be someone else. It is easier to say, “Oh they are really good” than to say, “ Oh I am really good.” I also met my friends from “The Booze Bombs,” over there and promised I would book them a tour in the US, which I did in 2001. I have had 14 tours with them over the last fourteen years.

SR: Your company, Whammybar Productions, is an agent for the band here in the states known as, Tramps & Thieves as well other bands. You set up shows between Europe and America. Can you share with us how you go about doing this, and tell us more about the shows you do in Arizona every January.

DA: I am the US booking Agent for the German Rockabilly band “The Booze Bombs,” (they are a “Gretsch” endorsed artist band, a very big deal over there). I have booked their 5 week tour in Jan/Feb for the last 14 years. I am very well-connected in the Rockabilly scene. I know all the car clubs and pin ups (they do a lot of shows and events) and have connections in our neighboring states to other bookers and they help me finding shows in TX, CA and CO.

Photo Credit: John Alschuler
For the last four years the Booze Bombs have played at the, Rockabilly Reunion, in Lake Havasu. I have all the Booze Bombs’ gear and instruments at our house, including a HUGE double bass and a PA. When I tour with a band in Germany we get to use their gear. So, we never have to rent anything. Since I only work with real professional bands, I have made a name for myself with club owners they know I will bring them a quality show that will pack the house. It is fairly easy for me to book shows here in town as well.

I have also toured with Rockabilly Band the “Rhythm Dragons” (two times Germany) Martin Shear, a brilliant Singer/Songwriter formerly of “The Scones” (late '90s- mid 2000) and Ronnie Winters. I also toured Germany with Stephan Ashbrook. Here in the States, I mainly work with “Tramps & Thieves,” but also work with TX Rockabilly band “The Octanes.”

SR: When and how did you become involved with Tramps & Thieves? And how did the European tour ideas come about?

DA: I have known Scott Seymann, the drummer from Tramps & Thieves, for almost 10 years. He was the drummer for the Scones, a band I was very close to. We just stayed friends throughout the years. I was excited when Scott told me he will be drumming with T&T and he said I should come and listen to them. I did and I loved them. Pretty soon after that Germany came up and they asked me if I would be willing to book a tour and take over some of the other things that had come up with the band. That was this last summer.

SR: You all leave this fall (2015) for their European Tour, what has been Tramps & Thieves reaction to this tour? 

DA: They are VERY excited. I think especially Emmett DeGuvera (Vocals/Guitar) and Scott always wanted to do this. I think it is fun for them to bring their music to a totally different part of the world.

SR: How do you survive several weeks on the road, putting up with security, organizing, booking, anxiety, misplaced guitar picks, driving long distances, flying, and all around mayhem?

DA: That is a good question. I am VERY organized and leave little to chance. But the key to my happiness is my very own room. In my younger years I didn’t care if four of us slept in one bed, it was cheap and we had to watch our money on tour. Now I would NEVER do that. I have learned to write very exact schedules so the band member knows when we have to leave for where. I want everyone to know when they have “free” time. I also make very sure I am aware of any kind of “special” needs a band member may have. Food preferences and such. I make sure everyone eats well. I am very easy-going, not much upsets me. I keep it positive even when if we should hit a rough patch. But most of all I have to say I have learned to surround myself with a great support team even when on the road or overseas.

SR: Aside from owning your own agency, booking, etc... I understand you have a heartfelt connection to dogs. Tell us how this all began. When it was established, and the aim of the program. Do the two companies... Music and Dogs ever end up in the same bark park camp?

DA: I got into rescue in 2006 after I lost two of my very own dogs to very tragic circumstances. I started volunteering for a rescue which I then took over as the executive director in 2007. 

Lucky Dog Rescue” was started by my good friend Dr. Lisa Maturo, she turned the rescue over to me to concentrate on building up per practice. Lucky dog Rescue is a Non profit corporation and we are all volunteers. I have 120 dogs in our care and over 90 active foster homes and volunteers. We mainly get dogs out of harm’s way, we take in unwanted dogs, sick dogs and puppies. We now run on a $200,000.00 budget, ALL donations we get through fund-raising and sponsorships.
Sometimes I combine the two ‘businesses” by having a fundraiser where my bands will play. We have a great show at the Rhythm Room each January called, “Rockabilly for Dogs.” I love dogs and music, I am very fortunate to be able to work in both fields.

SR: If you want a job done right, ask a busy person. However, if you want a dream brought to fruition ask a passionate determined person. What is it Dee you receive from the outreach of passion you have given to your determination of living?

DA: I simply love dogs, I am a real do-er, I can’t sit by and say, "Oh, this is a shame!" Too many people talk without action. I realize I can’t save all dogs, but for the few that I do, I sure make all the difference in the world and that is the BEST feeling in the world. Each and every dog that I pick up I promise that I will never let anything happen to them ever again, and all I can tell you is that they understand. I can’t tell you how this little sentence while I hold their head seems to transform that… I think they can look into my soul and know that they can trust me.
Same with the music, it is easy to go far beyond anything if you really love and believe in something. And I believe in my bands that I work with and will continue to help any way that I can.

Lucky Dog Rescue
Whammybar Productions

Tramps & Thieves
The Booze Bombs