Tom Ciurczak

Member Spotlight: Tom Ciurczak


EmpowerLogic Studio is proud to present The Tom Ciurczak Band at Melody Minutes on Friday, June 14, 2024. In anticipation of his headlining event - which is happening on the same day as his latest record release - we sat down to chat with him about his music and membership with ELS.

ELS: Let’s first talk about your new album, I Ain’t Ever Growing Up, which is being released as two separate volumes. What was the inspiration for the title?

Usually you focus on one of the songs as the core meaning for the album. Many of the songs on these albums go back decades into my past. That particular song is in many ways my life story. I thought, that’s a great line for the album, because I’m getting to be almost 70 years old. And yet, I’m out there writing music and playing music and acting like a kid half the time. It goes back to what Springsteen and Meatloaf did. They took inspiration from Peter Pan. Springsteen did it with Born to Run. He had a poster of Peter Pan on his wall and he was singing to Wendy. 

ELS: So, why two volumes instead of a double CD?

It originally was a 16-song album, but my marketing company said it would be too much to digest. Better off splitting it into two, they said, and you’ll get better longevity that way. That’s why it’s 8 x 8 and that’s why the title track is on the second album only.  

ELS: You started producing your music into recordings only over the last decade or so, right?

I went to this amazing songwriting camp ten years ago called Camp Copperhead, hosted by Steve Earle, and met all these songwriters. It was really inspirational and at the end, everybody handed me their CD. I felt like I needed to do something to keep up. I talked to my wife and daughter when I came home and said I thought I should record an album. The day we released my first album the world shut down for Covid-19. So I went back and recorded some Christmas songs. Then this past fall I recorded 20 more songs; none of those have been released yet. A bunch of the guys I knew from the camp recently said let’s get together and record an album. We met on Zoom for 3 months, plotted it all out, we rented Muscle Shoals in Alabama and an AirBnB and recorded an album there that will probably come out later this year.

ELS: What advice would you give to a young undiscovered songwriter such as your younger self?

I don’t know how today’s kids can make it in today’s music world. You’re not making any money on recordings or streams. Every which way you turn they’ve pulled the rug out from under you. It’s not lucrative. But you still have to follow your dreams, and never give up. You don’t wanna die saying I wish I did this or that. You may have to have a day job, but that shouldn’t stop you from doing the things you enjoy most in life. You’ve got to have some type of artistic release, whether you’re a painter or a poet or songwriter.

ELS: Tell us more about your musical background.

I come from a musical family. My dad was a professional musician and was in the US Military Academy Band at West Point. It had 125 members and they were housed in the same neighborhood. I was a five-year old kid walking around outside with different horns and instruments practicing and playing all day long. I picked up a guitar the day after the Beatles first appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show and never looked back. But unlike the many that were inspired to be guitarists and performers, I wanted to be a songwriter. I started writing songs in my early teens and never stopped.

ELS: How did you become a part of the ELS family?

I was there from the beginning. I knew Glen from Sammy’s Original, where he hosted open mic night. He encouraged me to use the studio as a practice facility. It is a bit more of a drive to get to ELS, but I knew it needed some early adopters. I thought that making ELS my studio home was something positive I could do to help get the ball rolling.

ELS: What are the best benefits of your ELS band membership?

I admit I don’t take full advantage of it the way that I should. I should be there more on the weekends, but family obligations conflict. I do think ELS has a ton to offer. I think Fridays and Saturdays at the studio are phenomenal. And the after-hours jam - I mean, a 10 o’clock start time in OC is unheard of! I honestly believe that if you are a local musician, this is the place to go, network, play music and have fun with many talented and likeminded people. If your gigs is over at 11 then that’s the time to go to ELS!

ELS: What are additional benefits you’d like to see built into the membership or the studio?

Most bands have to build a virtual team to support their need for professional photography, videography, high quality recording, merch design... If that could all be vertically integrated into ELS’s membership, I could see that being uniquely valuable to musicians. Also, getting gigs booked that are not pay-to-play is a monster of a job. If that could be done, where ELS is a gig broker, that would be very valuable to a lot of upcoming bands. I also think everyone who plays a live gig there should be video recorded. ELS is already a little bit down the path of creating merch for artists, like hats and shirts, which is great.

ELS: What is next for you in your career as a musician?

I have a lot of music coming, all original. I'm taking a more active approach in getting involved in the Southern California Music Scene. It’s been a thoroughly enjoyable journey. I‘ve put together a fantastic band that has allowed me to take my songs and perform them out live at many top venues.  We’ve performed at the Coach House, The Mint, Viper Room and Molly Malones in LA. This summer we’ll be playing at the Mint and the Whiskey, and I am hopefully some local clubs as well.

ELS: What are you most looking forward to for your headlining event on June 14?

I’m really focused on bringing a big crowd, as this is an album release party so I want to make it as large of an event as I can.  I’ll be giving away free t-shirts and CDs to the first 35 people that come. Plus, I’ll be bringing my old friend Jerry Newton, who is a member at the Magic Castle and when the band is on break, he will do some magic tricks and entertain the crowd. I am focused on bringing a crowd. When you’re a songwriter you want people to hear your music. I know ELS wants to build chemistry. The late night jam is a great way to do that. There are a lot of people who view things in a competitive manner, but I don’t. I ask how we can create a better bond amongst everybody. I think that is the spirit of ELS.


Catch The Tom Ciurczak Band at ELS on Friday, June 14. RSVP on the Membership page.

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