Strike a Cord: The Sondag Interview

Mr. Sondag, age 19, playing with his band

| Courtesy of Mr. Sondag

Mr. Sondag, age 19, playing with his band “Near Myth” at the IEU Celebration of the Arts Festival in 1982.

- Lindsay Wilson

Q: How long has your band been playing?

A: 20 years going on the 21st

“The Mystery Dates” playing at the OKC Boathouse for a private party in 2016.
| Courtesy of Mr. Sondag

Q: How was playing at Hollywood Corners? How many times have you played there?

A: “How’s playing at Hollywood Corners? It’s awesome, our favorite place to play.

It’s like being rockstars!”

 

We get to play on a big stage in front of all of these people. We were lucky, it was right after everything just opened up again so everyone wanted to get out of the house. It was our biggest show, it was our biggest show all summer, there were like 1000 people in the crowd.”

Q: Did you have to take any extra precautions because of Covid? If so what were they?

A: “We were far enough from the crowd that we got to take our masks off. The stage is 6 feet up from the ground and the tables were pretty far from us. People sat in clumps with their families, but, because it was outside, it was better.” The band didn’t go talk to the crowd because of Covid risks and later found out that multiple people in the crowd tested positive for COVID-19. 

Mr. Sondag performing at Hollywood Corners, summer 2020. | Scott Oglesby

Q: Did you lose listeners to Covid?

A: “Because of COVID we only played about half a dozen shows in nine months, which isn’t usual for us! All of them were outside and socially distanced, in parks and stuff, and one of our shows was actually virtual. The City of Norman was raising money for the shelters and for food and they did a livestream in April. It was actually a recording we sent to them for them to post on their YouTube channel, and my wife was like, “is anyone actually going to watch?” We were pretty surprised when we were watching the live stream there were like 500 people.”

Q: Why do you play music?

A: “It’s one of the things I feel like I do well, so why wouldn’t I want to do it? Everyone gravitates towards things they feel like they’re good at, and I like it. I always tell my students to do something they love. My dad died when I was a senior in high school, and he worked at a job he absolutely hated because he felt like he was obligated. He told me that if playing rock music makes me happy, that I should do it and that the money would find a way to me. His dream was always to open up a sporting goods store, and he never got to do that. Teaching also makes me super happy, it’s like working at Disney world! This is my 22nd year

Q: What’s your favorite song to play/sing? Why? 

A: “My favorite bounces around. Fooled Around and Fell in Love (by Elvin Bishop) used to be my favorite, and for a while it was I Want You to Want Me (by Cheap Trick) because you look out into the crowd and everyone is singing along, it’s a fantastic feeling. We added I’m Gonna Be “500 Miles” (by The Proclaimers) to our show recently and my wife is always the judge, she says, “no one’s gonna sing along,” and I always prove her wrong. Jessie’s Girl (by Rick Springfield) is a crowd favorite and she said no one would care. I love playing songs where the people know what you’re singing because I was in a band where we wrote our own music and I’d much rather do songs people can sing to. Why work so hard when someone wrote a fantastic song and I can just cover it? I love singing anything by The Beatles.”

Sondag has been playing music professionally for 45 years.  | Courtesy of Mr. Sondag