Get the Led Out: How Rock and Friendship Formed into a Dream Career

Get the Led Out: How Rock and Friendship Formed into a Dream Career
Topics Choosing a Business Banking PartnerSmall Business LendingSuccess Stories

Like many aspiring rockers, Paul Sinclair and Paul Hammond have seen their fair share of challenges through the years, but persevered in pursuit of their dream, falling back on nearly forty years of friendship to guide them along the way.

“We first met in September 1984 as a pair of young guys looking to make careers in music like our heroes, Led Zeppelin,” said Sinclair, Lead Vocals and Harmonica, Get the Led Out. “I had just broken up with another band and thought, ‘I need to find lifers who want to live and breathe this with me.’ You only get one life, and I wasn’t going to spend it doing something I wasn’t passionate about, and thankfully Paul felt the same.”

“Ever since a young age, I was driven to want to play rock guitar and perform in front of large audiences,” said Hammond. “Meeting Paul Sinclair and finding musicians to help accomplish that goal soon became our lifelong pursuit of musical excellence. We quickly adopted the ‘whatever it takes’ mentality to make our rock and roll dreams come true.”

From taking a second mortgage out on Sinclair’s parents’ home to finance their first record to forming multiple bands and combinations through the years, the trials and tribulations of forging a career in the music industry can be daunting and deter many aspiring artists, but not Sinclair and Hammond.

They had developed a reputation as “the classic rock guys” through the years but along the way took a step back from being in an active band until being invited to play at an open mic at the Bridgeport Rib House in the summer of 2002.

“It was an invitation-only open mic, and they reached out to Paul and me because they thought we could add to it by performing a few Led Zeppelin songs,” said Sinclair. “Before we knew it, fans were asking when we were playing next, and the owner offered to pay us to perform the first Sunday each month as ‘First Sundays with Paul and Paul.’ That was really a catalyst for what would become Get the Led Out.”

Sinclair and Hammond’s reach would quickly grow, and they would soon join forces with the other band mates that would form Get the Led Out, with a mission to bring the studio recordings of Led Zeppelin to life on the big concert stage. Some members have come and gone through the years, but one thing has remained constant: the strong bond between Sinclair and Hammond.

“Life’s been good to us,” said Sinclair. “If nothing else, Paul and I are the poster children for persistence and sticking to it. It requires a team and partnership. I would not be here without Paul Hammond.”

“Initially when the opportunity arose to be a part of a Led Zeppelin cover/tribute band I wasn’t particularly enthused,” said Hammond. “It was Paul Sinclair’s vision of doing the music as it was performed on the iconic recordings and bringing them to life on the big concert stage that tipped the scales in favor of me being a part of it. That and just helping Paul with the latest musical endeavor, which is something I’ve always been willing to be a part of!”

The Importance of Relationships

Relationships have played a key role in the success of Get the Led Out, whether it is the bond between bandmates or the partnerships they’ve built with their bankers.

“We have been working with Michael Rex for more than a decade, and with the help provided by him and other great Associates, we’ve been able to meet our goals,” said Sinclair.

“Most recently, we worked with Ed Morris, Vice President, Small Business Portfolio Relationship Manager at WSFS to purchase a horse farm as an investment property. I’m a rock and roll singer, it’s what I want to do with life, so having the right people to work with has made our banking easier.”

Having the right team around you can be vital, both on the big stage and when it comes to your finances.

“You need a good bank and relationship to ensure you’re getting the right advice,” said Sinclair. “Everyone at WSFS has been a sounding board through the years. Me and Paul couldn’t be more opposite in so many ways but where we come together with a common bond is what makes it work. It’s all about establishing a great relationship.”

Reflecting On a Lifelong Dream

“Years ago, we had an agent going to Penn’s Peak in the Poconos for months trying to get us a gig,” said Sinclair.

From Brandywine Park to Yacht Stock to Harbor Fest to Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre, and more, Get the Led Out has grown its audience and popularity extensively since its ‘big break’ 20 years ago.

“All along the way it’s been a fascinating experience, both music and business wise,” said Hammond. “To see audiences grow from hundreds to thousands and tens of thousands in some cases is truly awe inspiring and validating. Persistence pays off in many ways, as does honest hard work. Being authentic to yourself and others goes a long way toward continued success in business and life in general.”

“The fact that I get to get on a tour bus every weekend, play 130 shows a year, go to Red Rocks and other amazing venues to play and then entertain the fans and bring tears to their eyes, it is truly a dream come true.”

Photo Credit: Danny Rosenberg
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