The band plays Drais at the Barbary Coast Casino at the Channel Partners Expo in Las Vegas earlier this year.
The OC-192 Band members dont want to work they just want to bang on their drums all day!
If youve been to a telecom event in past decade, chances are youve seen Bruce Barnes, Greg Stilwell, Jeff Waddell and Rick Sheldon rockin out as The OC-192 Band. Greg and Bruce started recording at studios and playing gigs together in 1979, and Jeff started sitting in with the band in 1984. The entire band relocated to Orlando in 1985, where everybody got into the telecom business for their obligatory day jobs. Although the members have moved to different telecom companies, and lived in different states throughout the years, the band has always continued. Greg currently lives in Dallas, while Bruce and Jeff are in Vancouver, WA. In 2004, Bruce was working in channel support for New Edge, and master agency Intelisys was one of his accounts. He offered up The OC-192 Band for a party Intelisys was hosting in Las Vegas at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo, and Intelisys co-founder Rick Sheldon was invited to sit in for a few tunes. When the band got together, Rick turned out to have great chops, and was having a great time, so he started playing with the band at all of the performances, says Bruce.
Prior to garnering the moniker, The OC-192 Band, the group was also known as Thoze Guyz and Band-O-Gram, and they also have done a parody act called Amish Rage. They used to be the backup band for Tommy Tutone, and they also have done backup for various artists, such as Dee Clark and The Tymes; they even opened for bands such as Rare Earth, The Ventures and Lynn Anderson. The band usually practices every couple of months and performs about once per month. In addition to telecom gigs, the band does a lot of winery parties in the Northwest, along with private parties, corporate events and weddings. They play popular party music, heavy with hits from their heyday in the 80s, including artists like ZZ Top, The Police, Steely Dan, U2, Toad the Wet Sprocket, The Beatles and Elvis.
The band members admit that playing with The OC-192 Band has enhanced their networking abilities when theyre jammin on their home turf of telecom. Theres nothing like singing Play that Funky Music at the top of your lungs one night with the same person with whom youll be discussing the details of your commission structure the next day. Wild Cherry would be so proud!
Sultan of the Snare:
Bruce Barnes, director of channel programs for New Edge Networks, is the one who lays the beat down for The OC-192 Band. Bruce played other instruments in school, but started playing the drums on his own and has been playing for 36 years. He had his first band at age 14, started playing in bars at 15, used the band to pay his way through college, and ended up playing for a living for seven years in his 20s. He quit when he turned 30, after the drunken bass player in his road band fell over a mountaintop hotel balcony. I realized that these were not my people anymore, says Bruce. Telecom people are so much saner, and have better aptitude with hotel facilities. The bass player survived, with only a severe dislocation.
Bruces first job: Farm hand
Words to live by: Nobody ever died wishing they had spent more time in the office.
Thoughts on telecom: The way the telecom business continues to change and grow makes it as exciting and full of opportunity as ever.
Chairman of the Fretboard:
Greg Stilwell is the managing member of InnerCity FiberNet LLC, where he manages ICFNs Dallas fiber network; but look out, Eric Clapton, theres a (fairly) new kid in town. As one of the original OC-192 Band members, Greg has been the groups guitarist for almost three decades. When asked about his long history of performing, Greg quips, I started studying guitar at 7 and stopped at 7:30. And although Greg loves his spot on the stage with the band, this funnyman says his favorite thing about playing with The OC-192 Band is the breaks.
Gregs first job: Pot and pan scrubber at KFC
Words to live by: I want to die in my sleep like my grandfather … Not screaming and yelling like the passengers in his car.
Thoughts on telecom: Things are looking up!
When hes not fly-fishing, working in his vineyard or serving as the vice president of sales for New Edge Networks/EarthLink, Jeff Waddell flexes his musical muscle as lead vocalist and bass guitarist for the band, playing slide guitar on occasion as well. Jeff started playing guitar when he was 13, and has toured with or played backup for bands such as Sly and The Family Stone, Ted Nugent, Cheap Trick, REO Speedwagon and Bon Jovi.
Jeffs first job: Jeff started in indirect sales as a child by running a team of kids who would shovel snow. He subcontracted to them to do the jobs he secured. I owned the neighborhood and collected my commission each day after it was done, Jeff says. Global warming hit me hard and I was forced out of the business by the local big bully who took my jobs away. Sound familiar?
Words to live by: Dont disrupt your opponent while they are making a mistake.
Thoughts on telecom: Consolidation is going to make things dicey for the next few years, but within chaos, there is opportunity.
Starting at age 8, Rick Sheldon, co-founder of Intelisys, was trying to steal the family guitar while his older siblings all had their try with it and then gave it up. When it was my turn, I guarded it like Fort Knox and never gave it back, Rick says. He was going full shred from ages 13 to 26, and then subsidized his college years with gigs four nights per week through the 80s. Today, in addition to playing with The OC-192 Band, Rick has another band locally in Sonoma County. Rick says he really enjoys just hanging out with Greg, Jeff and Bruce. The gut-busting stories they tell are hilarious, he says. I just try to fit in and add some energy where I can. When not playing with The OC-192 Band, this party hound can be found throwing tequila bashes at a private nightclub on his property called The Taj Ma Garage.
Ricks first job: Shoe salesman
Words to live by: Nothing ever got done until somebody sold something.
Thoughts on telecom: I think the opportunity for channel sales in telecom is awesome at this time. Customers need solutions and the technology from mobility to VoIP to applications is on a growth hormone.
Do you know someone who has Personality+? Were looking for interesting characters in telecom to take the spotlight! Please send nominations to Cara Sievers at email@example.com.