As an accomplished musician, producer, educator and filmmaker, Pete Vogel has been an active member of the Columbus music scene since 1981. His lifelong avocation eventually evolved into a full-time profession by 2001, and he’s enjoyed 10 years of making music as his sole source of income.
His experience in the field—and a background in business 10 years preceding it—has enabled him to enjoy a double-life: that of an independent artist as well as a professional businessperson. This duality has made it possible for him to sympathize with the traditional artist who is interested in art for art’s sake, but also to understand the practicality of art as commerce, as a viable business.
Pete Vogel’s career has been like the Chinese Proverb: a journey of 10,000 joys and 10,000 sorrows. He has flirted with success many times in his career—he left the band The Toll in 1983 to venture out west, only to find them signed to Geffen Records in his absence; and then left LA to venture back to Columbus, only to find his roommate, Tommy Caradonna, reap the benefits of playing with bands such as Lita Ford, Alice Cooper and White Lion. His career has been one of many “close calls.”
Vogel redirected his focus to the local scene after graduating from OSU; he took a “real job” and pursued music in his spare time. He enjoyed nominal success with bands such as Session, Brotherton, The Balance, Ragweed String Band, Matt Monta & The Hot Coal Band and solo work, working as both a pianist and guitarist with other singer/songwriters. He pursued his own material as well, penning 4 CDs of his own. His best work to date, Tightrope, was the culmination of 3 years of work and involved over 30 artists and 40 instruments. He was the producer and engineer of this CD as well, recording it in his own home studio, North Star Productions.
Vogel has been a full-time musician/educator since 2001. He started his company, Stay-At-Home Lessons, as a means to assist others with their musical aspirations. He got back into the music scene as well, playing with both cover and original bands as well as performing with the jazz trio, State of Mind, as well as numerous duets and solo pianist.
In 2010 Vogel decided to branch out his resume even further: he purchased video equipment and began producing local videos for various musicians around town. A lifelong photographer, Vogel adapted quickly to the world of video and was producing high-quality videos in a short time. He was hired by Chris Shaw to produce a video for his Columbus Duets project; he also produced videos for other bands such as Angela Perley & The Howlin’ Moons, The Salty Caramels, The Shaw Brothers and Joey Hebdo.
After producing dozens of videos, he took his talents to the next level: he filmed and produced a full-length documentary film about the Columbus indie music scene. The film, “Indie” was released in March 2011 and he’s promoted the movie to all the independent movie houses in town. He plans on hitting the festivals in the summertime as well as submitting the film to PBS for their Independent Lens series.
Currently Vogel works with two bands, produces videos for other bands, teaches private lessons, works with singer/songwriters in his home studio, and plays the occasional gig as a solo pianist. He feels blessed that he is able to keep his musical pursuits alive in such a volatile economy and is grateful that he can make a living doing what he loves.
cdbaby: Pete Vogel