What do a military man, an executive recruiter, a website designer and a theme park performer have in common? When it comes to The Company Men, it’s music, of course! But it’s also about a shared panache that echoes past generations. Respectively, this foursome of Stuart Ambrose (The Gentleman), Brian Purcell (The Lover), Daniel Tatar (The Charmer) and Shawn Perucca (The Playboy) all met through a business performance, and decided within a day’s time that they were destined to create the world’s best mashups together.
Now touring the country as The Company Men, the neatly-coiffed quartet are celebrating the recent release of their album #Throwbackpop, and their live shows have been applauded by the likes of Quincy Jones and Natalie Cole. No matter how crazy their lives get, they are determined to always put forth the class and demeanor of grown men from decades past – with a little fun, of course. More than just tuxedos and properly-shined shoes, their style is a head-to-toe experience.
Shawn Perucca may be known as “The Playboy”, but this married crooner is as serious as his bandmates in keeping the group’s business and sound as tight as a kettle drum. We talked with Shawn recently about his personal style, particularly his hair, and the routine the guys go through to prep for shows. In the process, we also found out more about how The Company Men are progressing, what their vision for the future is, and more. Read on…
What are some of your day to day rituals for keeping your look together?
Shawn Perucca: All the guys kind of have their own version of what they do, but for me it’s actually not nearly as strenuous as it looks on the outside. I wake up, I always take a shower, from a lot of people I get a lot of comments about the hair and “Why does it always look perfect?” I think personally, A) perfect is the wrong word, and B) I’ve always done my hair with product and all that.
In middle school, I was the guy who would walk around with the comb in the back pocket, and it was important to me. I think maybe now it’s so easy because my hair used to doing it every single morning for the last 25 years. So when I get out the shower I obviously blow dry my hair, and I do use a straightener so that helps.
What kind of straightener do you use?
SP: I use a CHI product. It’s a one-and-a-half-inch straightener, and to be honest with you, I got hooked on it because it was my wife’s [laughs]. I’ve used my wife’s straightener for the longest time, until I found out there are straighteners that are a little smaller for guys. So I got into that. My hair can be wavy and curly. I still use the straightener, and I use Tea Tree by Paul Mitchell, that’s kind of like a pomade paste.
I also use a thing called Beach Clay by Matrix. I’m not bougie enough to have my own hairstyle every day, but I do have a guy that I go to in Orange County, California, and he introduced me to Beach Clay. It tends to make my hair look the way it looks now, and more importantly, I don’t have to do it every day. I can wake up and literally use my hands, and I know it sounds gross, but it works. And guys are so much easier than girls. I’m very blessed to be a guy and spend five minutes on my hair rather than 20 to 30. [laughs]
When you go out as a group and you’re on the road each with your hair products, what’s your process like? Do you need two hours in hair and wardrobe at every show?
SP: Believe it or not, we do our own hair and wardrobe. Our pre-show routine is everyone gets their own space in the bathroom. Brian needs some hair dryer and straightener time at the mirror, but Daniel and Stuart get that hair that you love not having to spend a lot of time on it. It looks great as is. I think they were more blessed than I was.
I actually have to make my hair look good; with them it is what it is. Daniel has so much hair, and we always make fun of it being so not fair. So much of that black hair, it’s so thick. For us, part of being a gentleman is about that clean-cut look. It says something about your character as well.
What are you doing in 2015 to take the Company Men to new heights?
SP: You could read on our website how we started, and it’s all true. For Frankie Valli’s tribute show, we were put together by another company, and we did one gig together in Vegas in a casino off the strip – it was at a bowling alley. They put stage over the lanes, and let’s just say it was a very interesting gig. That next morning, we all decided to go relax in the hot tub, and I’m not joking when I say after about an hour and a half we came out with a concept that we wanted to do our own group, the four of us, and we wanted to call it The Company Men.
We all had nine-to-five jobs. Stuart was in the military, I worked for a theme park, Brian for an executive search firm and Daniel is a website designed/stay at home dad. That was all true, and we said why don’t we call it The Company Men? The only time we had to rehearse was at night, and that’s why we called our first album After Hours – because literally for the first six months to a year when we were creating the music, we would have phone calls and would rehearse after our nine-to-five jobs.
Our first introduction into the world was through the corporate and private event market. It was a market that we felt, as far as a business standpoint, we could do well in because of the concept we have with mashups, which was taking six decades of music and blending them all at the same time. We really looked at this group originally from a business standpoint, another reason The Company Men makes sense.
What’s our main objective? First and foremost we all have wives and kids, so we had to create something that supports our families. Secondly, all of our passion and our dream is to do music, perform, and give music out to the world. So this is what we came up with to do both of those functions. Support our families and follow our dreams in music. We started that out as a corporate and private party function… for the past two years that’s what we did, and how we built up our business.
It wasn’t until a year ago that we felt like we had something more to give, and we wanted to create. All of the inspirations that we got from covering those artists and creating our niche sound, our own sound, and that’s how the Throwbackpop album was created. You’ll find that on the second album, every single song is kind of a different genre of feel and music, and it’s from the inspirations of us covering all of the different artists we have covered in the last three years.
You guy have done a lot in the last three years…
SP: It helps to have a great team. We have the best team that we’ve surrounded ourselves with. It also helps that we are full owners of the business. Most owners of a company are one or two, so we are able to move at a pace times four, rather than one person who owns their own business by themselves.
What do you have coming up within the next few months?
SP: We just got off our month-and-a-half-long tour at the end of 2014 – we were able to do that with our sponsorship. We have Global Cash Card as our main sponsorship, and they allowed that to happen and it was just a great experience. We were on an RV Bus. There were ten guys on a small bus and it was a great experience. What we learned from it is that we can’t stop. We were tired, but we’re not gonna stop.
For this year, what we’re doing is looking at ton of different avenues and markets. We’re going to look at more casinos, maybe some residencies around the country. A week here, a month there, just to give people a opportunity to see and hear us. You can hear our album on the radio or buy the album on iTunes and listen to it, and it says only one small factor of what we feel we’re trying to do, which is create an entire experience of the night like they did in the ’50s and ’60s. You would go to a club and have a lovely dinner over candlelight and drinks and you would see an actual show. You wouldn’t just hear a band play great music.
We call ourselves the modern day Rat Pack. In between a lot of the numbers, we would actually just talk with the audience. We banter each other and it’s all improv, to really bring out the character of what the “gentleman” is all about. It’s not rock star status. We are normal people trying to pursue a dream of music.
How do you balance family life and doing this work?
SP: Schedule, schedule, schedule would be my advice of balance. What we’ve learned is balance with everything. All of four of us are lucky to have very supporting wives. I think that’s a huge key. They are very supportive, understanding, and in a way they are after this dream as well. The amount of sacrifice that they make on our behalf because we’re gone is immeasurable.
From my personal standpoint, I try to section out my day of “How much of the day am I actually working on my music?” I treat my music and this group as a business, because it is. When a normal person goes to a nine-to-five job and they come home, they are with their family. It truly is that important to maintain that kind of schedule in our daily life.
What do you want people to know most about you at this stage of your career? And what do you want them to know about The Company Men as a group?
SP: From a personal standpoint when it comes to Shawn Perucca… The reason I got into music and the reason I love it so much is because of the emotion it gives you when you listen to it. Even if its for one hour or set onstage, if the audience smiled, had a good time and even for a moment forgot some of the stresses that come with life, then I’ve done my job and I have really achieved the goal. I’ll never stop, but I can say that I’m successful because that moment occurred for the people who listened to all the work that I put into making music.
For the group, I don’t think it’s far off that. We all have our individual goals when it comes to music and what we like to be put in to the show and all, but ultimately it is about what you see is what you get. We are a brotherhood, we’re family, we try to create good music, have a great time onstage, and we try to provide a great experience for the people watching us or who listen to us.
What do you see yourself doing long-term?
SP: It’s always a tough question to answer… My answer always is, there is no end. If Broadway is next year, then that’s what it is. If a residency is next year then that’s what it is, and during that time we will continue the mark for what’s next in the future after that. It will never end, music will never end. Maybe a world tour happens next year. Maybe we’ll take our stuff over to the Asian market. We’re also real guys with real families, so there’s a timing for everything. We’re just gonna ride this train with no end, and we love to be aboard it.
Follow Shawn Perucca on Twitter @ShawnPerucca
Check out the gentlemanly style and sound of The Company Men in their video “I’m Taking You Home” and their live performance mashup “The Collection” from The Key Club