We had the good fortune of connecting with Jeff Milkey and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Well the first thing I would like to say is my story isn’t an overnight success, it’s been a long and winding road. I have been playing professionally for over 50 years with my greatest success coming as a solo performer over these past 8 years. I learned to play guitar and sing at a very young age and won the city talent contest in Wisconsin Rapids when I was 12 years old. $100! That was a lot of money for a 12 year old. My High School Band was called Ecstacy and we did pretty good for high schoolers. We played many high school dances and proms and house parties. We even had a booking agent and played at hotels and nightclubs when we were under 18, what an experience. Then it was off to college after high school. I was in a number of bands during my first go-round at University of Whitewater in Wisconsin and studying Business and Music, a double major. I ended up in a really cool jazz fusion band and with a year of school left, I quit and moved to Madison to become famous. Well that didn’t work out too well with no gigs booked the band broke up just a few weeks after the move. I floundered for a bit until by sheer luck, I met my soon to be lifetime friend and drummer Tim Pleger. We hit it off instantly jamming like crazy and soon after that Tim and I became roommates. Tim had some connections with some other musicians around town and we had the best rhythm section around and so we recruited the beautiful and talented Lynnea Godfriaux as well as Todd and Dave. We looked around and found a sax player Scott….and the band Java was born. We clicked and before you know it, we were out playing and people really loved us. Three months later we were opening for the Pointer Sisters at Headliners in Madison! I could go on and on about my adventures with Java, but as most bands do, Java broke up and then you just get to start over….or quit. Here is a little secret, real musicians cannot quit, it’s not an option, it’s in your blood. So I joined a couple other bands but decided to go back to school to study Mechanical Engineering. I graduated from University of Wisconsin Madison in 1989, got recruited by Motorola in Scottsdale AZ and made the move from Wisconsin to the amazing state of AZ. Back to music, I played in a number of bands here in AZ and opened a commercial recording studio (Dream Catcher Studio) with my two friends Andy Joslin and Jim Hornaday. We started a studio band Andy, Jim and I. We had some great times and played some great shows. Ultimately we sold the studio and I just kept playing in bands including a really fun band called Soul Source with my brother Andy Milkey on Drums and Tami Jensen and Dave. A few bands later after a particularly painful band breakup, I decided I had had it with being in bands and decided to go solo. I learned so much being in all these bands since I was just a kid, and now I could apply everything I learned to my solo career. One challenge I had in all the bands I played in was that I had a very low bass voice. That was my dad’s greatest gift to me….my voice. In all the bands I played in, the lead singers all had very high voices which meant I got to do a lot of background singing. I knew I could sing well but rarely got to step out into the spotlight. When I was in Soul Source, Tami started to turn me on to all these new country bands with lead singers who had low voices and almost all of them were part of this new country music scene. So I have to thank her, if it wasn’t for her I might have missed this train. Suddenly I am the lead singer and from my very first gig and on, people seemed to really love my voice. So I worked and worked practicing every night after work and picking up gigs wherever I could. I also figured out something that did provide me with a special niche. Being an engineer and a technologist, I was not afraid of applying technology to my solo show so I started to develop what I call the ultimate gig rig. This is a system of systems that I use on stage that has allowed me to sound like a full band. With full fledged automation (like some of the big stars use) to control all my guitar rig sounds, my digital mixers, effects processors, harmonization technology plus backing tracks produced in my home recording studio (Where I can apply everything I learned back at Dream Catcher Studios) which enhances the live sonic presentation which allows me, Moon Dog, to provide a rich, full, studio quality live performance. Between my day job as Director of Engineering for an enterprise software company and my music career as Moon Dog, there are not enough hours in the day. So come on out and see and hear what I have created, I believe that you will be excited by what I have become.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?

Day 1: Sedona and Prescott

Day 2: Saguaro Lake

Day 3: Lake Havasu

Day 4: Hiking in North Tucson

Day 5: Rocky Point

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My Shoutout goes out to the two most influential women in my life, my wife Delia and my sister Rebecca. If it wasn’t for all their encouragement and help I would not have the success I have had. Delia is my manager, booking agent, webmaster and road crew. She has only missed a couple gigs over the past 8 years and that’s a lot of gigs. She inspires me to work on new material and has so many great suggestions to make my show better. Without Delia there would be no Moon Dog! My beloved sister Rebecca helped me with many song suggestions that enables her to come up and harmonize with me. We sang together in church when we were young when I led the guitar masses. So you could say, we have had a lifetime of experience singing together. Rebecca also was able to book me for some incredible gigs in CA that I would never have gotten without her help. A few notables would be The Whale Festival in San Diego, John Wayne Park Dedication and performing on John Wayne’s yacht with Runaway June in LA, KSON Boat to Stage Coach on Hornblower Cruises in San Diego and multiple Dinner Cruises, Sights and Sips cruises on the Hornblower in San Diego to mention a few.

Website: www.moondoglive.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/moondoglive/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MoonDogLive

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/moondogsolo

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutArizona is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.