Imagine you’ve been on tour nonstop for almost a year. No time to see your family, friends, and the traveling is taking its toll. You have to endure another night where you don’t fit in because of your style of music. While you’re performing, you’re booed off stage, made fun of or ignored. Why would a group endure this type of hardship?
Action Item did and the success that has followed them since is well earned. Brian Cag (Action Item’s lead singer) took time out of his crazy schedule to talk to Campus Circle about the band.
Cag did not hesitate to point out a few important facts that separate this group from other boy bands and give them a little more musical substance that others might be lacking.
“All of the members of Action Item grew up playing instruments,” he said. “We were friends since childhood.”
This immediately sets them apart from other famous boy groups of the past and present (who shall not be named). Some boy bands were put together after an audition or by big-time music executives and did not need to play instruments or write their own songs. This resulted in a formulaic group archetype that we’ve seen over and over again throughout the past couple of recent decades.
Action Item turns all of that inside out. Not only are they cute, but they also sing, play instruments and write or co-write all of their music.
They’ve also been featured on MTV’S BUZZ section with their hot single, “Last Day of Summer,” and they’ve collaborated with some pretty familiar current pop idols.
With all of this going on you’d think they’d be signed to a huge record label, right? That’s not the case, as Cag pointed out.
“We are unsigned, always have been,” he said. “We are looking at a couple of labels…but if we can be with a team similar to the one behind Jay-Z and Rihanna…”
Cag left the rest up in the air because it goes without saying that if the people backing Jay-Z and Rihanna want to sign your act to their label, (as a musician) you don’t say no. And a deal like that hasn’t come Action Item’s way…yet.
As a group that admires such diverse musicians like The Beatles, Macklemore, Maroon 5, Ryan Tedder (of OneRepublic), Frank Ocean and Pharell, they hope to collaborate with these artists. With the success they're having, the dream might become a reality.
However, obstacles always fill the road to success. The cool thing is that Cag acknowledged that these roadblocks have helped Action Item get to where they are now.
“I was a sophomore in college when I told my parents I was dropping out, and soon after the group did crappy tours all over the country to support our music and get it out there,” he said.
Cag can laugh about it now and explained that his parents were foreigners from Poland and were devastated by his decision to drop out of Rutgers University.
But what about now?
Well, Cag said he is back at school at Penn State World Campus (the online version of Penn State), and he admits it’s a struggle to balance work and school. In hindsight, he has some very good advice for Campus Circle readers who are hoping to embark on a career in the arts.
“Honestly, don’t stop college,” said Cag. “I wish that was the one thing I had finished back then.”
Cag said that when he was enrolled at Rutgers, there weren’t many online courses, but now that has blown up and allows working artists like him to finish school and work on their careers.
Now back to those crappy road tours that Action Item did for a year, where they were ridiculed and endured obstacles that musicians pray they don’t have to deal with. That year proved to the world that Action Item was not a one-trick pony. They were in it to win it, and their hard work paid off with a very special phone call.
“We got a call from Live Nation to open up for Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez…” said Cag. “It was one of those fairy tale things you read in a book.”
After that came the Nick Jonas single that he wrote for the group to perform called “Learn How to Fly,” the opportunity to work with music producers Jason Reeves (known for his work with Colbie Caillat and others) and U4L.
Action Item, at first glance, would seem like another pop boy group, but they’ve proven that they are more than just pretty faces. Hard work and talent still matter in the music industry. This is a fairy tale that has not ended; it is just beginning.
For more information, visit ActionItemBand.com