It's been a little since we've done a Building the Community interview and what better way to get back into it than with Nick Tressler, the Founder of Raised Rowdy. Around the Country Music community, Raised Rowdy has had quite the impact over the last few years, whether it be individuals in the industry or die-hard fans who love to tailgate and travel around to concerts. From hilarious memes, shotgunning beers and being in the front row getting rowdy at country concerts, Raised Rowdy has brought entertainment to so many in this space. As fun and entertaining as their content can be, Raised Rowdy is also known for keeping up to date with rising artists in the industry and tracking their journey. Nick and Raised Rowdy have left a footprint in Country Music and it's still the beginning.
When I asked Nick what Raised Rowdy is he replied with: "Raised Rowdy is the Country music fan that knows what is good before everyone else does. It’s for those that show up early. Those that stay late. The Country music fans that really feel like the live music experience is a part of their personality. It’s a good time with your crew but not at anyone else’s expense. It’s about finding a like minded crew and having a good time.
In Nashville, Raised Rowdy has become even more than that. It is a voice for the songwriter, a voice for the unheard or under-appreciated and a nod to knowing the good stuff. It is an Ambassador for what you think Country music should be".
I have the utmost respect for Nick Tressler and what he's built. He has created an outlet and a community for individuals to have a Country Music home and to find many other like minded people who share a love for Country Music. I sat down with Nicky T and we talked about how he was raised on all genres of music, how Raised Rowdy came to be, moving to Nashville and his vision for the future.
Get To Know Nick
"I was the youngest of four boys in the house growing up. At any time during the day, because my dad did ship work, he would be blasting 90's country to drown out the noise of us boys running around the house. I was listening to Country Music before I knew what it was. He would listen to Y108 which is the big Country Music station to this day in Pittsburgh. From listening, I knew all the songs. I may not have known who was singing the songs but I knew "Chattahoochee", I knew the words to the songs. When my dad wasn't listening to the radio he was listening to guys like Conway Twitty, George Jones, a little bit of Waylon, The Eagles and stuff like that. Mix that with my brothers who were listening to all different kinds of stuff. My brother Steve was into heavier Rock 'N Roll, my brother Chaz was heavy into Grunge, my brother Sean listened to a little bit of everything and my mom was into R&B and the oldies. I had all that stirring around in the house and I was a sponge for it all.
My real country "addiction" came after I got to college because in high school it wasn't a cool thing to like Country Music. There were songs I really related to, but I was a big Rock music fan back then. When I got to college, that concert life really drew me in. One of the albums that brought me back into Country Music was Zac Brown Band's Foundation album. When that album dropped I thought "this is amazing, I don't care what genre you call it, I love this". Went down a hole from there. I went from a job where I worked 3 out of 4 weekends to a job where I had all these weekends off. I could start going to all these Shed shows which are the big amphitheater shows. I found a crew of friends who liked Country Music, liked having a good time... drank too many beers and took turns driving home. I built a bond with those people. I think when you're talking about music, it can bond people together faster than almost anything else. I fell in love with that bond I had created with people over music as well as that live show experience. It was being in the back of the lawn getting too drunk, finding out what pit tickets were and trying to get those for every show I could.
I went from simply listening to what I knew on the radio to "oh man, what else is out there?" Once streaming hit, I could really find new music and it was a game changer for me. Instead of having to know what you were looking for, it was queueing up songs for you. I could dive down the well of listening to one artist and then be directed to 10 other artists who sound like them. Click on another artist and you found 10 more. It really made being a Country Music fan even easier.
Country Concert is a festival I've been going to for 12 years, and for the last 6 years our crew went to CMA Fest too. We have a group of friends that go every year. All year long we plan the trip, which is a great way to stay connected with friends. I am always the one that keeps everyone in touch. I am the one keeping a group chat going or being like "hey, who wants to go to this concert?". I relate it to Fantasy Football where if you are in a league, even when you don't see people, you're staying connected with them."
Q & A With Nick Tressler
Q: How did you come up with the idea for Raised Rowdy and how did this journey start for you?
"It got to the point where our crew were on the road traveling 3-4 hours to watch a band every weekend. I've seen The Cadillac Three 23 times...we've chased them around. It's one of those things where it becomes a lifestyle and that's really where Raised Rowdy came from. I was always the one who would say "have you heard this?" like when Thomas Rhett and Old Dominion first came out and now they are big stars. Friends told me that I had to figure out something to do with this interest but I had no idea what to do.
We had a thing called "The Rowdy Gentleman of Leisure". It was what we called our group chat. We had t-shirts and koozies made. We made enough t-shirts for just us, but we had to make a minimum of 200 koozies so we started to hand them out at shows. There were artists and bands we had given them to at meet and greets that started using it on stage. Guys like The Cadillac Three, Jon Pardi's band would use them and we were like "this is insane". From that point we formed an LLC and acquired the name "Raised Rowdy". We designed a logo that we really love and we struck gold with the name. People used to call us "the rowdies" so I wanted to keep that and from there came up with “Raised Rowdy."
Q: Most memorable moment so far with Raised Rowdy?
"The first event we ever did was at CMA Fest, which was the first live show we hosted. That was super cool. We had Meghan Patrick, Jobe Fortner, Ryan Nelson, Terry Lee Palmer, Joe & Martina... a lot of people we still mess with.
Our first Whiskey Jam takeover brought us in with open arms and let us pick the lineup. I remember the first time an artist wore one of our hats on stage. Watching the lead singer of one of your favorite bands lead on stage with your hat on was insane.
One of Riley Green's band members wore our gear on the Ryman stage. I will never be on the Ryman stage singing... I don't sing and I'm not a performer, but having a representation of what I'm a part of on that stage is amazing.
And starting Rowdy on the Row, we've been very fortunate to have some crazy partnerships and some insane lineups. We have great friends who believe in what we're doing. You don't make a lot of money with live events. Instead what you do is build goodwill with the people that are playing and you build friendships with a lot of amazing folks. It's a great way to get your name out there."
Q:What is your vision for Raised Rowdy?
"There's tons of things. I would love to have a Raised Rowdy imprint on records somehow, get 10 artists together and do 1 track deals and make a Raised Rowdy record. Continuing to grow the live events - whether it be in town or out of town - is something I have a passion for and love doing. Trying to figure out the future of social media and what that's looking like is another vision. I want to be looked upon as a premier writer's round and look to partner up with record labels and others."
Q: What advice do you have for anyone who's trying to become an entrepreneur and start their own podcast, business, service, etc.?
"Find other like minded people. Their work and their struggle can help your work and your struggle. You see things they are doing and they see things you're doing. It's mutual motivation. You might not think you're working hard, but you are working harder than a lot of people. One of the other things that I recently figured out is taking time for myself. For a while, I was grinding and burning it at both ends, and you can't live like that forever. Make sure you make time for what you love, but also take time to enjoy what you've built and what you're building."