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Meet Wes Geer of Rock to Recovery

Today we’d like to introduce you to Wes Geer.

Before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I am a recording artist who, after struggling to get a record deal, developed horrible alcohol and meth addiction. I chased my career for a decade, and was doing better than ever. I got the record deal – my band Hed P.E., got a giant deal with Jive Records. I toured addicted for years.

Ultimately, I ended up in a rehab – lost, looking for answers. In that rehab program, I did art, yoga, all sorts of therapies. But there was no music therapy. I did, however, have my guitar and would write and perform silly songs with my peers in treatment. I saw the magic, connective, transformative power of playing music, especially for those dark, and hurting, and that stuck with me.

Only as a result of getting and staying sober, after being out of the music biz for over five years, I changed my resolve and decided I wanted back in music. I had a painful yearning in my soul, that I was ‘supposed to be’ still playing. I started meditating to manifest a career, and was not interested in playing in a small punk band, touring in a van. Within days of doing these meditations, Korn texted me, out of nowhere, asking if I would come play with them. I did. Sober.

I played with Korn for several years, but as that gig was coming to an end, I was again lost, without a career. I turned to all I knew, my spirituality, and started praying and meditating, asking for direction. I could have slipped into self-pity easily, to be yet-again an out-of-work, sober musician. Instead, I said, “Ok, God, if this is who I am destined to be, how can I make a living and help people? What can I create that could help people long after I am gone?” Then, the idea came to me; there was a need for music in treatment – it was largely absent. I wanted to change that.

I founded Rock to Recovery on 12/12/12. The concept came to me in an instant. The idea was to get non-musicians to access the magical, transformative power of playing music. I took me months and months of pitching the idea, and though everyone loved it, no one wanted to hire me. Finally, Paul Moen, CEO at Balboa Horizons (at the time) gave me a shot.

Out of the gate, I was terrified, but the program worked magically. I watched this program, even in its raw form, transform the hopeless, the dope sick, the dark – into bright and light, and full of hope.

We now have 13 full-time program administrators. They are all very similar to me; former recording artists and rockstars who are sober, and dedicate their time to helping people suffering from PTSD, mental health, addiction. We work with wounded warriors, foster kids, you name it. We perform over 500 sessions every month. We are all over San Diego, Orange County, LA, NorCal, Nashville, Portland, and just keep growing and growing. We don’t have a marketing department; word of mouth has been more than enough.

The company has a non-profit segment as well, so we can donate services to state-funded or non-profit programs that could never afford something like Rock to Recovery©.

It’s also spawned other ventures. I host a radio show, Rock to Recovery Radio. I interview rad humans, rockstars, celebs, actors, and athletes, on their struggles and journeys. We do an A-list yearly fundraiser in LA for the non-profit, with people like Moby and Chester Bennington. We also host retreats called Soul Song Workshop and have opened a new business that offers sober companion services.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It’s actually been really smooth. The largest struggles have been raising funds for the NPO. We bring in about $120k a year, but think we could get it in the millions in time. The need for our services is great.

But aside from my months and months of pitching, we have been very blessed to have extreme success. We work our tails off, but the outcomes, the manifestations, have been there the whole time.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Rock to Recovery – what should we know?
We take people struggling, hurting, lost, depressed, suffering or stuck in so many different ways, and get them all singing and playing music. We write and record a song, with a group, in each session. We show people that no matter how dark, and how thick the shell is surrounding them, that there is a way to crack it open, and let that childlike, happy, joyful, hopeful, playful, creative spirit free once again. It’s transformational, profound, and very powerful. We let people find a way to express themselves, even the darkest parts, through our process. So, our songs’ verses may be dark, but in the choruses, together, we create a mantra of hope and transmission that acts as a permanent refrain, to be referred to again and again.

We didn’t invent music therapy, but no one does it like Rock to Recovery, and we are proud of what we do. We witness miracles of transformation every day!

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Our success comes from our heart and talent. Each one of our staff members knows what it’s like to have those dark, hopeless hours and knows what it’s like to find the light. We LOVE to share that journey with others. Our staff is all incredibly talented musicians who combine love, connection, expression, and passion to help change lives.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Paul Hebert, Eddie Kasparian

Getting in touch: SDVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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