It was Andy Warhol who once said that everyone is famous
for 15 minutes. Tommy Holmes experienced that fame by having
it thrust upon him. Holmes and his girlfriend were snorkeling
in the tranquil blue waters of Maui when he was attacked by
a nine-foot Tiger Shark that ripped a gaping hole in his butt
area and inner thigh. Bleeding profusely and in shock, Tommy
was rushed to the hospital where he received some 50 stitches.
The next morning, his 15 minutes began. Holmes received dozens
of telephone calls from every television network, the cable
news programs, radio stations, and discovered that he was
on the front page of the local newspapers. This was not the
kind of fame he had envisioned. Tommy was a songwriter and
musician and wanted to be known for those talents. Fate seemed
to be dealing him a nasty blow.
Tommy Holmes started playing piano when he was 10 years old
and never looked back. When he turned 12, he had already decided
on a career in the music business. "I was the youngest of
six children and my mother gave us all piano lessons. Everyone
hated the lessons, so when I came along, she decided not to
burden me with them. I, of course, was the only one who really
liked playing piano, so I taught myself. Then I taught myself
guitar and when I got bored listening to other people's songs,
I started writing my own at about 11. My first original song
was called 'Lady, Don't Leave Me.' "
Having had the opportunity to sing at one of his sister's
dance recitals, Holmes felt the applause; and knew that a career in music awaited him. "I performed
'Bridge Over Troubled Water' and the crowd went wild. I knew
this was it for me. I was the youngest of six children so
I was a little monger for attention. And I seem to have found
a good way to get it."
Holmes continued his musical journey with local bands in
high school (a group called Anyway) and studied composition
and harmony for two years at the Grove School of Music. Though
the response to his shows and original music was always very
good, he never really entertained the idea of interfacing
with the industry at large. Except for once--and he almost
"When I first came to town I got hooked up with a shark of
another kind. We had this agreement where I was recording
some stuff at a well-known artist's studio and just when people
started getting excited about the music, he slaps me with
this contract where he just about had 50% of everything. But
I was smart enough not to sign it. That experience soured
me on getting involved with the industry."
Tommy spent the next few years keeping a relatively low profile.
He honed his craft as a songwriter and pondered his next move.
"I toured Europe with a back pack. I was completely turned
off to the industry at that time," the artist revealed. "When
I got back home, I put together a band called the Passion
Addicts and started playing little coffee houses, continuing
to get a good response. That's how I heard about TAXI. A friend
of mine told me that there was an easier way to get my music
heard without having to personally get involved. So a good
friend of mine, Lisa Gold, paid for my membership."
Though he received over 25 forwards in his first year, Tommy
has yet to negotiate a deal, but believes that too will happen.
End of story? Not by a long shot! Taking a break from recording
a new CD, Tommy opted for a Christmas vacation of peaceful
snorkling in Maui. And, well, you know the rest.
Besieged by requests for interviews, the hospital set up
a press day for Tommy, who drew instant fame for getting bitten
on the butt. Through it all, he hoped this would not be his
15 minutes! His brother, who lived in San Diego at the time,
called local radio DJs Jeff and Jerr of station Star FM-100.7.
Tommy's fame had spread to the Mainland.
Holmes was gracious enough to do a live interview from Hawaii
with the radio jocks but was surprised when the pair played
three tracks from his CD that his brother brought to the station.
The station was impressed. New fans began buying his CD from
the website (www.tommyholmes.com). It was all good.
Upon returning to Los Angeles, Holmes is greeted by Paul
Jackson, producer of the Rick Dees Radio Show on KIIS-FM.
"Paul wanted me to do an interview with Rick but told me there
was no way my song was going to be played on the air. So Rick
and I did a 15-minute interview and he was genuinely concerned.
He even asked for my CD. A few days later, I brought the CD
to the station along with some photos of my shark bitten body.
During a commercial break, Dees played my song 'Supergirl'
for himself and was so impressed that, after the break, he
gave me this huge introduction and played the track on the
air. The website went crazy. I was selling CDs like candy.
It was very nice of him."
It's been several months now and the excitement died down.
Tommy Holmes has gone back to leading a normal life as a songwriter
and musician. Yet, through it all, he still relies on TAXI
to get his music out there. With the newspaper articles and
quotes from Rick Dees and Star-FM, Holmes realizes that the
success he is seeking has to last more than 15-minutes. And
he's counting on TAXI to help.