Welcome to Don’t Quit Your Day Job episode 3 where I introduce you to local musicians and explore what exactly they do to pay their rent! Whether you know this man as Greg of Hate, Greg to Fight or by his real name, Greg Chihoski, you know that Greg is one of the hardest working guys in the Providence hardcore scene. He plays bass in a band, books shows all over the place and supports tons of other local bands … and that’s in his downtime! Greg is a hardworking blue-collar married father of two. Let me introduce you to Greg, his band and the day job that he just can’t quit…
Josh Hurst: How old are you and what’s your location?
Greg Chihoski: I’m 40 years old and I live in Warwick.
JH: What band(s) are you in and what do you do in them?
GC: I play in a hardcore/punk band called Reason To Fight that I started 14 years ago. I play bass, write music and some of the lyrics, and manage.
JH: How long have you been at this rock ‘n’ roll thing?
GC: I’ve been involved in the music scene for about 25 years. At 12 years old, I got introduced to punk and hardcore through skateboarding and went to a few shows. I played my first hardcore show at AS220 when it was above Babyhead on Richmond Street. I was 15 years old and I guess I got hooked. After that, I sang and played bass in a band called Keg of Hate that played parties for a few years, then moved up to shows at The Living Room, the Old Met Cafe & The Elvis Room in Portsmouth, NH. We even played Lupo’s & The Temple of Music at Roger Williams Park.
JH: What do you do to pay the rent?
GC: I am currently a master plumber and master pipefitter. I have my own company, American Pride Plumbing & Heating, LLC, that I started in February 2011. We do commercial and residential work all over RI.
JH: How did you end up in the field of your current “day job”?
GC: About 16 years ago, I was touring with a band called Closer Than Kin, out of Massachusetts. We were doing long weekends and 2- to 3-week tours. So I started working part-time for a plumber who surfed and used to play drums. It was hard work, but rewarding. He was worried about me on the road, so he gave me benefits before I was even full-time. That meant a lot to me, so I ended up leaving the band and started my apprenticeship and school. I stayed with him until I decided to go out on my own. We are still good friends.
JH: What drives you to keep making music if you need to have the “day job” to pay the bills?
GC: I’ve been doing it so long, I really don’t think about not playing. I’ve made so many friends all over the world through this music. I always played music for fun and or as an outlet. I love the process of humming a tune or scribbling some words on a page, hearing it transform when you bring it to practice and other musicians add their input, then watching a crowd react to it at a show or hearing it recorded in a real studio. I’ve loved playing original songs on stage since that first show. I would love to be able to pay the bills as a musician, but it’s not as easy as it looks. I know a lot of touring musicians who are in successful bands and are jealous of the path I chose. I get to rock ‘n’ roll when I want, then go home to my family every night. My life doesn’t depend on my image. I have the skills and licenses that guarantee me a job anywhere I go.
JH: Besides the income, what keeps you at your current “day job”?
GC: The best thing about my job is the people I meet and the places I get access to. I am on a different job almost every day. I am constantly learning new things. Every day I walk into someone’s worst nightmare. I calm them down and usually don’t leave until the problem is solved. It is a great feeling to help a family without heat or hot water. Or someone’s grandmother who’s 50-year-old faucet won’t turn off. Plus, the hard work really helps you sleep good at night.
JH: Does anything in your “day job” correlate to your musical endeavors?
GC: Yes. I’d say my music career has helped my plumbing career and vice-versa. I do plumbing work for most of the bars and clubs in Providence. Sometimes I’m so busy that I bring my tools to the show and work before I rock. Usually I get about three new jobs every night I go out. Customers involved in the RI music scene are about 40% of my business.
JH: Where can anyone interested find you during your day work or night work?
GC: I’m usually out the door at 7am, and I work all over RI. You can call American Pride Plumbing & Heating, LLC at 401-536-2716 or connect through Facebook. At night, I’m either still working, home with my family or playing at a club somewhere. You can find out what Reason to Fight is up to on Facebook, also.