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From rave cave to iTunes albums: a Q&A with Joe Hertler

A question and answer with the singer of The Rainbow Seekers

After a brief stint of being a student at the School of Music at Central Michigan University, alumnus Joe Hertler decided he would rather play music outside of the classroom.

Not long after quitting, he purchased a guitar and was convinced by a girl he had a crush on to perform at Kaya Coffee House open mic night.

Now his band, Joe Hertler and The Rainbow Seekers, have two albums available on iTunes.

The band performed at Max and Emily’s summer concert series on Friday. Hertler answered some questions from Central Michigan Life after the band performed.

“I was exhausted off four hours of sleep, so my band member slapped me in the face. That really got me ready to perform. Then it was a great time,” Hertler said.

CM LIFE: When was the Rainbow Seekers created?
HERTLER: It was at the end of college. We were just buddies that were hanging out, playing at Rubble's Bar. We really want to do a jam session at Rubble's unannounced one day.

What's it like to come back to your hometown to perform with your band?
It feels like coming home. This is where I spent six years of my life. I became myself here. I began playing music here as a freshman with a guitar. It all started here. This is a big feeling of nostalgia.

Did you see familiar faces in the crowd?
I saw a ton of people I know. It feels great. We really need that support. We wouldn’t be able to keep this up if we didn’t — the job is way too hard. It’s nice to see people get up and move to the front and dance.

Is there a difference between being a band in college and being a band after college? Was it hard to keep it going once you graduated?
We still have a lot of fun playing together. There’s just more business involved. We want to make it a career and feed ourselves. We care about it more too — before it was just drinking beers and jamming. Now we try to really do the best we can and be more serious about it. It’s a craft that we want to continue as long as we can.

Do you have another job?
Yes. You can only do this for so long. I work for the American Cancer Society. I work with a team of people to get businesses involved with the organization.

Is it weird to go from that serious of a job to getting the mindset to perform a fun show?
It’s really weird going from the cubicle job of a major health organization to performing, but they support me. They give me the time off I need to do this. I’ve never been told no to a show. It’s never even been an issue as long as I get my work done. A part of it is your boss comes to a show and thinks ‘oh, you don’t totally suck’ and enjoy it.

How does it feel knowing people want to interview you now?
I appreciate that people care about what we are doing. It’s something we are passionate about, so it’s great people care enough to ask thoughtful questions about it.

What's a good memory you have from CMU?
I ran rave cave in college. My roommate and I wanted to do an MMA talk show so we so we applied to 99.5. We got the 9 p.m. to midnight slot, but then he graduated. I realized I had to do something with this weird time slot. I was always into techno music, I started ‘School the Groove’ that had a monthly ‘Groove Academy'. My friends would bring their alcohol and sit in the office and drink whiskey, hanging out and jamming. They can't fire me now, so I can tell that story.