Pilgrim75 Swashbuckler (Pete Mroz): I Can’t Do It Alone

by Traci Nubalo
Reprinted from Palais SL Magazine, Jan. 2011

“Give them the best show possible;
but do not take them backstage.”
- William Shakespeare

Life for a performing/recording musical artist can be downright tough. Even after achieving success he has to struggle to maintain that level and push further into new turf.

I recall being in NYC to see an amazing jazz/New Age artist play Radio City Music Hall. After the stunning show I walked with the band and a handful of major-label record executives to a restaurant for the after-show party.

To get into the restaurant the party had to take a tiny service elevator, big enough for six or seven at best. The band took the first car and I jumped in with the others, several of the most influential people in the international recording business. At the last minute a hand slipped between the doors and in stepped a very well-dressed, handsome young black man bearing an audio tape. “I would really appreciate it if you guys would take a listen to my songs,” the man said sincerely.

The record guys laughed right in his face, making vulgar comments like, “Not in this lifetime!” and “Not tonight. Not ever.”

The musician didn’t seem the least bit bothered by all of this rudeness. In fact, he winked at me as he slipped the cassette back into his jacket pocket. Exiting the elevator he said, “Nice to see you again, Traci.” And off he walked into the huge restaurant.

They all turned to me. I smiled sweetly and said, “You guys just insulted Darryl Jones. He’s Sting’s bass player, and was just signed to play bass for the Rolling Stones.” There was a brief “pin drop moment” then the hilarious visual of six grown men scrambling to find and apologize to Darryl.

While it’s a fun memory, what’s significant about it is that even if you are already successful, you still have to hustle.
* * * * *

Pete Mroz (Pilgrim75 Swashbuckler) knows what I’m talking about. After a couple of decades in the real life music industry, Pete’s been building his SL audience for about two years now. He sings with the voice of an angel, plays guitar like a madman, and writes killer originals. When merged, the three arts create a synergy of sound and energy that is second to none.

Several months ago Pete began dropping five-minute video clips onto his website www.petemroz.com, chronicling his effort to record a new CD. What a gift to give to Pete’s fans everywhere! Most music fans never get to see what really happens in the preparatory phases. So this could turn out to be a form of the true backstage pass that I like to talk about: a ringside seat to a process usually witnessed only behind closed doors.

To begin with, everything that Pilgrim touches turns to entertainment. On his website one finds the four installments amidst some high-quality recorded bits of Pete performing. Chapter 1 shows Pete heading off to check out a recording studio. It’s a pretty funny bit, not just your ordinary “talking head” delivery.

The second installment shows Pete dealing with two industry types over lunch. The table talk - about golf and free lunches - gave me a sinking feeling. The highlight of this clip is the great shot of the pickle bowl on the table - perhaps an unconscious nod to the future?

Part 3 involves Pete doing some cool and campy dance steps as he discusses hooking up with managers and publicists. He’s building some tension in reminding us that the deeper the deal goes the more people start dipping into his bank account.

And Part 4 is a brief - and somewhat poignant - discussion about financing a record deal. Pete nervously confesses that he has a month to raise $25,000. Pointing to a wall clock he says, “Time is not on my side.” He looks tired from the Herculean effort he’s made, and even points out some grey in his beard.

I found these all-too-short clips to be entertaining and quite revealing. But what really comes through is Pete’s heart. We see in his face that rolling this rock up the hill has been taking a serious toll on him; his honesty is totally endearing.

But why is it so hard? Pilgrim is an immensely gifted man. We’re talking about a musical package that is almost unparalleled in Second Life. He’s one of a few SL artists (including Pilgrim’s good friend Buckley Moonwall) who make me wonder what is going on in the RL music scene. How can people this talented and this committed get passed over while Willow Smith becomes the rage of the industry?

* * * * *

My lovely Mistress Becca Coveria and I arrived at Bottom Line in Pando for Pete’s first 2011 gig. We joined Palais SL Magazine photographer Jami Mills and settled in for the fun. Neither of my companions had heard Pete play before and it took less than a song or two before they were burning up my IM window with praise.

I’m not going to review this particular concert in detail. If you have not seen Pilgrim75 Swashbuckler perform, nothing that Traci - yes, THAT Traci! - can say will make a difference. Just go: support him and support the venues.

One comment I will make is about the audience. This was a love fest from the minute it started. The Open Chat window was alive throughout with woooots and whistles and comments ranging from happy to ecstatic. One great exchange overheard:

Neuro Wonder: “It's like Pete's voice is a serotonin and dopamine injection in my ears.”
Shady Forsythe: “Be still my synapses.”

Too funny. The audience went wild, and the music was smoking hot through the entire concert. It really was a great show, a perfect start for a new year.

* * * * *

It’s January 2, and Pete and his awesome manager Jemma Bonne have just tp’d onto a cozy skybox rooftop for the interview. We all settled in after a little small talk, then began:

Traci Nubalo: So Pete - after you did the four videos for your website what happened next?
Pilgrim75 Swashbuckler: Well, the music biz is fickle. My investor went MIA on the 25th hour. I had everything planned but it takes money. But I’m still working with a great producer named Warren Huart. He has worked with The Fray, Howie Day, Augustana, James Blunt, and others.
TN: Was Warren in the videos?
PS: No, Warren has never been in the video. The guys you saw were potential people. Warren lives in LA.: warrenhuart.com. I had contacted him because I really liked his work. He listened to my stuff and decided to work with me. This is HUGE, Traci!
Guys like him get the music to the peoples’ ears. They are a bridge. With his production value and name the right people will listen.
TN: Is he part of the project officially as of now?
PS: Yes.
TN: *smiling biggly*
PS: Me too. I have waited a long time for something like this.
TN: Now, backing up just a bit - your fans and I watched the four vids and loved them. Did anyone we met in the videos make it to the team? The publisher? The tour manager? The guys eating pickles?
PS: The publisher, yes and the tour manager in some ways. The guys eating pickles, well Glenn is a great friend and the other guy I’m pleading the 5th on.
TN: LOL So at the last minute the financing fell apart.
PS: Yes, I mean at the very last minute; ten days before recording.
TN: Damn.
PS: Big damn cause a lot of people are affected by this. It was an expensive mistake. But the good news is that Warren and I are right on track.
TN: Pete, let's get down to it. How were you able to keep going after that?
PS: Music is in my soul and no one will ever take that. Some people look at it as a let down; I look at it as a opportunity to show my true colors and build a stronger relationship with Warren. You see someone’s true self in the face of adversity and I hope the way I dealt with it made Warren and my relationship more solid.
TN: But in the middle of the night what were you feeling when this happened?
PS: When it happened? Well, can you guess? Let down, but I won't let anyone squash my dream. I am not gonna back down when I believe in something and music is what I believe in most. I am the captain of my ship. I mean that.
TN: I hear it. So you got up and went back to work. What came next?
PS: Well, I had to regroup - get through the holidays and the shock.
Then I had different people come to me and tell me about a site called kickstarter.com. It’s a way to reach out the fans, to have them truly be a part of the record by pledging cold hard cash. I want you all to be a part of what I do because YOU are why I play. You are my energy. Otherwise I am playing in my room or at a party. And while that is cool I want to reach out and get the music to as many people as possible.
TN: So the fans can put up some cash on the site to help with the production costs. How does this work?
PS: You pledge whatever you see fit and if I hit my goal then you pay. This way you are protected from people that don’t raise all the money and keep it. Here’s the "kicker": if I don’t raise all the goal money I don’t get any.
TN: Awesome.
PS: Yeah, I am really impressed by this site. I have never seen something so interactive.
TN: When does the campaign begin, Pete?
PS: I am in the middle of editing the video for the project now, so I am shooting for Jan 14th.
TN: I just LOVE this concept. It's a take on "Pay It Forward".

* Pete shows us some of the printed material for the campaign*

PS: As you can see this is BIG stuff and I know it will be hard but I believe in power in numbers.
TN: Will your website have the information we just saw?
PS: Yes! My website will have links. And believe me I am gonna let the world know!! LOL
TN: *smile*
PS: Ready for the goal number?! Sitting down?
TN: *squinting*
PS: 20K…and not Lindens! *smile* It is actually gonna cost 35K but I am funding the other 15. And I should be. We can do it!!! I just know it!!

All I can say is this: a lesser man would be down for the count by now. I kept trying to picture how I would have felt - sitting alone on a motel bed, having just learned that my project funding is gone! I would have been emotionally devastated beyond repair. But here he is, still positive, still upbeat, and most importantly still in the game! My admiration for Pete Mroz as a man and as a member of our music community has gone sky high. I intend to support Pilgrim through the kickstarter.com website, and I encourage all of my readers to join in. Let’s get this guy into the studio where he belongs!

TN: At your set yesterday I kept getting this image of a boxer, battered but still on his feet, fighting back.
PS: Haha! That’s me, girl!
TN: You were inspired vocally. *yesses from all those present*
PS: I am very competitive. I have to win and if I don’t I try again.
JB: If he goes down, he's going down swinging!
TN: Is there anything else we can share with the readers, Pete?
PS: I just hope people know how much I appreciate them. I try and give my best show possible and I hope that people know when they hear me it is just that - ME!
I feel like we are all on this journey together. I can’t do it alone, nor do I want to.

Copyright (c) 2011 Traci Nubalo/Palais SL Magazine. All rights reserved.


  1. I've been to listen to Pilgrim twice so far and will definitely go again. Yes he's one of the smoothest singers and a great entertainer !!
    Wondering why some artists are noticed more in SL .... Perhaps excitement and the unexpected are a factor which draws in the crowds.

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