Daniel Mills, with the help of his two children, Holland, 18 and Jordan, 21, pick up their guitars and head downtown as many as four times a week to the front of a Fuddruckers restaurant to perform live.
“Performing keeps us sane in a way,” Holland Mills said. “In a time when it is so hard to afford anything, at least we can play music.”
Daniel Mills recently had his graphic design job got cut back, and his wife, Lori Mills, a California state employee, may have her wages cut back due to the state budget crisis at the end of this month. They knew they had to find a way to pay the bills.
“These economic times are very sobering, I think everyone is in a state of shock,” Lori Mills said. “It’s been a couple months now since my wages and overtime were cut, and we are struggling paying our basic bills, so we had to take action and do something.”
So far, their plan has been working.
The band has collected as much as $75 from listeners during one of their concerts, Lori Mills said.
Daniel Mills, who learned the guitar in the 1960s for “hamburgers and money,” formed the family band six years ago, he said.
“I’ve always been around music,” said Holland Mills, the lead vocalist for the band. “I thought it was normal to have a dad with long hair who was constantly playing the guitar . . . I just thought that’s the way every dad looked. It is great to get out there and perform because people get so excited . . . I feel so lucky to be able to share something that I am so passionate about with my family.”
Performing not only raises their spirits, but it also cheers up locals who walk by and hear them play, Jordan Mills said.
“People always want to hear music; if you go back and look at the Great Depression, people were still going to the theater,” said Jordan Mills, who taught himself to play the guitar at the age of 13 by studying every song in a Beatles lyrics book. “People need an escape from the noise outside, and it’s great to be able to put a smile on someone’s face.”
The band is looking to add even more playing time at events such as birthday parties, Daniel Mills said.
“We are controlling our own destiny in some way,” he said.