Daniel Madsen (3)
Danny first started playing the guitar when he was eleven years old. In the 6th grade, he and a school friend, Jim Rosinski, decided that they wanted to start a band, so they asked their parents to buy them the necessary tools. Madsen was originally to be the drummer, but after a week or two of pestering his mother for a drum set, she convinced him that playing the guitar would be better and more glamorous. So Danny readily accepted a guitar in lieu of a drum set. His first guitar was a hand me down from a friend of his parents. The body of the guitar was apparently home-made and had a Fender Squire 2 Stratocaster neck. It had no clear coat of paint, the action was high, and the intonation was far from perfect. However, it far exceeded Danny’s needs, and the sheer weight of the makeshift frame in his hands made him feel like a rock star. For an amplifier, Danny’s father supplied him with an ancient, pre-distortion era, fixer-upper amp head which he had had lying around along with numerous other electronic relics. A loose 10” speaker was also salvaged from the pile of antiquated electronics, and his father helped him to attach the guitar to the amplifier and the amplifier to the speaker with a couple clipleads. Dan’s friend and neighbor, Curtiss Niece, even built a little wooden box for him to mount his speaker into. His parents, after acknowledging Dan’s promise as a guitar player, eventually bought him a modern amplifier.
Danny fell in love with music and began playing his guitar every day. Days at school were built up with anticipation to get home and be able to play his guitar. Madsen was constantly being reprimanded by teachers for disrupting class by playing the drums on his desk with his pencils. Over the next couple of years, Danny played music with many friends in many different groups. He recorded his first recording when he was 16 years old with a band called Fallout. It was recorded on a four track cassette recorder. Danny’s musical prowess was growing exponentially, and it was clear that he was extremely determined to become a successful musician; however, by this time he had also become somewhat of a juvenile delinquent. He had never really been a stellar student, mostly due to a lack of interest in his school’s curriculum, but by now he had been kicked out of several schools, been smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol since the age of 14.
Then, when he was 17, due to a fall out between his father and his grandfather on his mother’s side, within whose house the family had been living, the family moved from Hunterdon County to Easton, PA. By this time his mother had lost any hope of Danny actually graduating high school, but Danny made good use of his new school setting. Desperate for a venue for his band to perform at, he recruited other bands from his new school that were equally as desperate for a place to perform and borrowed $200.00 from his father to rent out a local hall for all of them to play at. He printed flyers with all the information about the event (date, time, place, bands performing, etc.) and handed flyers out to all of the bands and to everyone in his school. In order to repay his father for the hall, he charged $5.00 to get into the show. Much to Danny’s surprise and delight, he actually made a profit for himself as well. So, he began hosting shows regularly over the next couple of years.
By the time Danny was 19 he had dropped out of school and earned his GED. His all time lowest grade was a 6% year end grade point average in history. He was playing in a Spanish rock band with a school friend, Jheison Lopez, performing at paid gigs, or drink-for-free gigs, in New Jersey and Queens. At this time, Danny had recorded music with some local rappers, as well as hip hop artists from NYC and Philadelphia that were also new to the Easton area. Throughout this process, Danny acquired a reasonable collection of hip hop recordings stored in a computer which a friend had sold him for $100.00. He created a compilation out of these recordings and began selling copies of the CD. He was very successful at it and sold thousands of copies. This provided him a good income but forced him to have to battle for market turf with corporate retail outlets who have a monopoly on the marketplace. This was because the only places that he could go to sell his CD's in reasonable quantities were marketplaces owned by some massive retail corporation who, upon discovering Danny's presence, would call the police and accuse him of tresspassing.
After a couple years and a couple of court appearance and even a brief stint in Northampton County Prison, Danny became more effecient at his guerilla style marketing tactics. He avoided police by constantly moving. Every couple of days he was in a different state. He would go into a retail outlet, get as much money as possible, get out as quickly as possible, before the police arrived, and immediately find his way to the next nearest market. Danny did this for 12 to 13 hours a day, six days a week. He traveled all over the north eastern United States sleeping in his car. On any given week Dan might’ve been anywhere, ranging from Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Long Island, New Jersey, Eastern Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, or Virginia.
By the time he was 28, Daniel’s total record sales, from when he first began selling records, had reached well into the tens of thousands, just by simple direct, producer to consumer, hand to hand marketing.