NASHVILLE SINCE 2007
Tim Montana didn’t exactly have a typical upbringing. The artist and songwriter grew up off the grid in Montana – no electricity, chopping wood for the wood stove, lighting propane tanks for hot showers. It instilled in him a work ethic that’s taken him to some incredible music industry highs, like touring with ZZ Top and having the theme song for the Boston Red Sox’s World-Series-winning 2013 postseason run.
“We went off the grid when I was like six, I think,” Tim recalls. “We got rid of television, moved into the woods, lanterns, candles. At the time I thought I was missing out on a lot of stuff, but as an adult, I’m like, that was a pretty special experience I wish my kids could experience.”
With no TV or video games to entertain him, Tim’s escape was playing guitar. “It was always something I wanted to do,” he says. “I either wanted to go in the military or play music, and a motorcycle accident led me down the music road.”
At 18, Tim moved from Montana to Hollywood, CA to pursue music further. “One of the biggest things my roommates would squawk over was the microwave,” he recalls. “I’d never had one, so I’d put metal stuff and tin foil in the microwave constantly and my roommates were like, ‘Dude, are you a caveman’? I’m like, kind of,” he laughs.
His first steps in LA were to attend the Musicians Institute, where, he says, he “got my PHD in partying.” In 2007, he followed that move up with a transition to Nashville, where he learned how to really get into the music industry.
Though he’s notched some pretty cool achievements, it hasn’t always been easy. “I feel like if I had set out to be a doctor and I had given 11 years of just working my ass off constantly, I’d probably be an amazing doctor and I’d have several practices,” he says. “The music business, you can invest that much time and come out empty at the end, but you’re so far in you just have to keep trekking. It’s just every day you kind of just got to wake up like I’m in this ‘cause I believe in it.”
His love for songs and performing get him through all those moments.
He’s been on some pretty cool stages. He’s become friends with Billy Gibbons, and tours opening for ZZ Top, driving long hours behind the wheel of his sprinter van keeping up with the band’s massive touring capabilities. He and Gibbons’ song, “The Beard Came Here To Party,” was adopted by the Red Sox as their 2013 postseason theme song – the music video is included on the MLB DVD of the postseason before footage of President Obama calling the team to congratulate them. He’s had two songs recorded by Kid Rock. He’s also building a strong, growing fanbase, doubling his attendance with each tour he does with only one song getting radio play, on Sirius XM. His song “Hillbilly Rich” – and the video, which features his friend Robert O’Neill, the Navy SEAL best known for killing Osama Bin Laden – gained much recognition.
“My work ethic, I think, is my biggest thing I have in life,” he says. “Nothing ever really seems hard ‘cause I think back to when I was a kid, and I didn’t know that work was hard until I got out and realized how easy things are. Even touring, like okay, you’re tired, but I grew up in 30 below zero and hiking up mountains and just the constant logging and getting wood put away. It’s difficult work, but you didn’t know it when you were doing it, ‘cause that’s your life. It definitely gave me a perspective that’s helped me in the music business, which is like, we just became tough when I was a kid and keep on trucking.”
Follow him @timmontana