Music Stars Helping Rock & Roll Make A Comeback: Charlie Sub Of Charlie Sub & Sound Dogs

An Interview With Eden Gold

Eden Gold
Authority Magazine
10 min readJun 23, 2024

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Do NOT accept Patience. Most everyone will probably say that it’s a virtue. But it can also seriously hold you back if you think you can coast because you’re being patient. And that your goal is just around the corner. If you take that attitude you could set yourself up to be always holding back, waiting and waiting and maybe thinking tomorrow, tomorrow, some day. Then you’ll always be patiently waiting.

Rock & Roll has been extremely popular from the 50’s until the 2000’s. But with the rise of Hip Hop, Pop, and electronic dance music, it has seen mainstream decline. But some observers have cited that Rock & Roll may be on the verge of a comeback. The frustration and turmoil of the past few years align well with the message of angst, protest, and rebellion that rock & roll conveys. In this interview series called “Music Stars Helping Rock & Roll Make A Comeback” we are talking to music artists, music groups, and music producers who are helping Rock & Roll make a comeback.

As a part of this series I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Charlie Sub of Charlie Sub & Sound Dogs.

Charlie Sub of New York indie band Charlie Sub & Sound Dogs came of age in the heydays of rock and roll. Music is such an indelible part of his life that even after a lucrative real estate career in the West Coast, he found himself returning to New York and opening the 1970s themed bar and restaurant Ethyl’s. Soon after he resumed playing music and formed Charlie Sub & Sound Dogs with a handful of brilliantly talented artists. The band also inspired him to start composing original material for them to perform and eventually record into a well-received EP — “The Bronx is Burning”

Thank you so much for joining us in this series! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us a bit of the ‘backstory’ of how you grew up?

I grew up in New York during the Sixties and the Seventies when everything seemed rife with uncertainty and possibilities. It was such a culturally vibrant era that I was surrounded by rebels and dreamers. My dad, Paul Sub, ran his own club called Coventry and it became a crucible for the emerging rock and roll scene. We had iconic groups like Blondie, KISS, and the Ramones appearing there before they became household names. This musical environment was my playground. But even while I was a kid scraping gum off the floor of the club, I became aware of both the struggles and triumphs of this world.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

It wasn’t as inevitable as you might think. My entire family was entrepreneurial. We had no doctors or lawyers. And frankly, I didn’t want to be lawyer working for somebody else. I tried that a couple times and got fired. I was the worst employee you could imagine. So I did my own thing. I moved out to LA at some point in the late 70s and I was going to Northridge college in LA when I picked up a book by Ralph Dickerson on how to invest in real estate. This idea about achieving your wildest dreams in real estate really resonated with me so I pursued that goal and bought and sold properties. I must have been among the first real estate flippers and was quite successful at it.

Are you able to share a story with us about what first attracted you to Rock & Roll in particular?

It’s always been in my blood. I was already performing at a very young age. I started playing the drums when I was at school, and at that time it was about hanging out with friends. I think it’s the raw power of rock and the authenticity of its artists that really first drew me in. Whenever a band took the stage at Coventry, there was a rebellious, loud, and unapologetically bold kind of magic in the air. And that energy was infectious. It also made me realize that I had things to say. Later in life, I learned my grandfather was once a cafe owner, pianist, and band leader in Austria. Unfortunately, he lost his hearing during the war. But as you can see, music has always been in my DNA.

Can you tell us the most interesting or most funny story that happened to you since you began your Rock & Roll career?

There are never ending stories in rock and roll. One time, I was living above a liquor store and would play drums and people heard it outside. They’d then just come up, out of the street, knocking at my door. They just dropped in, saying ‘hey dude what’s going on? What are you doing? What are you playing up here’. So I had these impromptu performances for people who just sat in while I played the drums. I remember doing mostly Creedence Clearwater music at the time for total strangers just sitting in my bedroom.

Then there were the fun times I played the Borscht Belt as part of the house rock and roll band for a hotel in the Catskills. It was like the poor man’s Vegas. The cast of characters there was completely insane. All the counselors were either on heroin or gambling — and they were supposed to be taking care of kids! Our band was bunked with the jazz band and I was trying to learn from their drummer but the guy was literally shooting up all day. The only thing I learned was to stay away from him.

What would you advise a young person who wants to emulate your success?

Let me just start by saying that there are no surefire formulas for success. It’s your personal journey. So the advice I can give is for you to just get into your own car, stick that ignition, figure out how to drive and cross your fingers you don’t drive into a wall. Rock and roll isn’t just about music, it’s life itself. You have to embrace your own truth and take the plunge into the chaos and beauty of it all.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I owe a huge debt of gratitude to my father, Paul. He was a serial entrepreneur who did anything and everything to provide for his family. Without his realizing it, he actually cultivated this passion in me to go out and take those big swings, to try for a life that for most people might seem unconventional, even risky. While he wasn’t really into music itself, his club became the foundation for discovering my own creativity. And, I learned the ropes of running a business from him. So, all around, his life shaped the ways I lead mine.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

We have a lot of things going on at my own club Ethyl’s, with the band, and on a personal front. And sometimes all three combined. Currently, I’m thrilled to be working on projects that blend the historical significance of rock with new musical explorations. This includes producing music that tells the story of “Bliss Street” which is my way of preserving the legacy of Coventry. The Sound Dogs and I are also holding jam sessions at Ethyl’s while touring the TriState area to meet up with fans and connect with new audiences.

Are you able to summarize the message of Rock & Roll in a sentence? Why do you think that message is more relevant now than it’s been in a while?

The best thing about Rock & Roll is that the message is personal to every single person listening to it. It’s about freedom. It’s breaking down barriers to find what unites us all. It’s about self expression. It’s about rebellion and taking risks, making a stand. It’s finding your own truth beyond the digital facades we seem to be all overwhelmed with these days. But most of all, I think Rock & Roll is the wide open door to choices. Your choices.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why?

1. Do NOT accept Patience. Most everyone will probably say that it’s a virtue. But it can also seriously hold you back if you think you can coast because you’re being patient. And that your goal is just around the corner. If you take that attitude you could set yourself up to be always holding back, waiting and waiting and maybe thinking tomorrow, tomorrow, some day. Then you’ll always be patiently waiting.

2. Instead, be always Hungry. Take that fire inside of you and use it to fuel your need to be out there hustling and playing your heart out. Rock and roll isn’t about planning or strategizing. It’s about stepping up on that stage and giving it your all. There’s no way of predicting the outcome. You may suck, or then again, you might shine. So it helps to embrace that burning need to play. Compromises happen, but never lose sight of why you started. I’ve seen many artists stray from their goals, only to struggle to return.

3. Don’t turn your back on the past. When you’re young and starting out, there’s a strong temptation to be looking ahead and thinking the future is the only thing that matters. But the past is always present. And there are so many things to learn from everything that has gone before. The legacy of music is a rich tapestry that anyone can tap into to create new things, explore new ideas in a modern context. Because after all, music is as universal as the human condition.

4 . Do find your own voice. Everyone has heroes they want to emulate. Whatever your profession is, whatever your art is — we all look up to someone whose work is something we wish we could only hope to somehow duplicate. But if that’s all you’re going to do then that’s what you end up becoming — a duplicate. What you want to do is learn from your heroes but find your very own way of expressing it.

5 . Practice, practice, practice. In music the only way to improve your craft is to keep at it. By constantly playing, you constantly learn. Each note you play leads to the next. And every time you strike a chord, you take the step toward the next one. You’ll be amazed at how much you can grow as a musician by simply playing and trying different things and finding new ways of expressing yourself. Keep in mind that every gig is important: From playing to a half-empty room in a local bar to a packed house in a famous venue, every performance is a chance to hone your craft.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

If I could inspire a movement it would definitely one that brings more authentic music to more people. It would be such a joy to get everyone, especially the young to experience rock and roll in the way it was pre-autotune and digital manipulations — especially when it’s live. It would be a great service for mankind to rediscover what connecting to the music is all about — in its raw, unadulterated form, when sometimes your voice might not be as pristine but it will still have the honesty of the emotion, the magic that can be conjured in the moment.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Maybe it’s not quite a life lesson for everyone, but the late great Charlie Watts once said, ‘Rock and roll has probably given more than it’s taken.’ I think that’s true of youth, the stories it tells of the moment, and its impact on my life and my family, and I am sure others in the industry feel the same. Life’s a moving target so you always have to aim ahead a little bit but remember your roots. That give and take is important in life. Now that we have Ethyl’s for example, I realized that one of the most loyal patrons of the establishment is my father. He’s probably my biggest musical influence. Not because he plays, but because of his spirit. He’s there every week, dancing with the girls. Last week I found myself dancing with him and it occurred to me that 94 is only as old as you feel. So live your life and dream your dream and make the scene.

We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.

Undoubtedly, there are numerous legendary musicians I would relish the opportunity to share a meal with, if only to hear their captivating tales from the early years of rock. And of those who are still with us, the chance to listen to Bob Dylan, Neil Young, or Van Morrison recount their personal journeys would be a true privilege.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

People can keep up with all our performances and appearances on our website SoundDogsNYC.com or follow us on Facebook — Charlie Sub & Sound Dogs — and Instagram @thesounddogs

This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!

About The Interviewer: Eden Gold, is a youth speaker, keynote speaker, founder of the online program Life After High School, and host of the Real Life Adulting Podcast. Being America’s rising force for positive change, Eden is a catalyst for change in shaping the future of education. With a lifelong mission of impacting the lives of 1 billion young adults, Eden serves as a practical guide, aiding young adults in honing their self-confidence, challenging societal conventions, and crafting a strategic roadmap towards the fulfilling lives they envision.

Do you need a dynamic speaker, or want to learn more about Eden’s programs? Click here: https://bit.ly/EdenGold.

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Eden Gold
Authority Magazine

Youth speaker, keynote speaker, founder of Life After High School, and host of the Real Life Adulting Podcast