Real estate agent by day, musician at night
By Mark Ambrogi
John Dick has toiled as a professional musician for 30-plus years, but it’s always been more a labor of love.
“Don’t quit your day job,” the Geist resident said of his philosophy.
Dick, a residential real estate agent with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Indiana Reality, has been with The Fabulous Imports for those three decades. The group has played all over the county, including Las Vegas, Florida and California.
Dick, 65, also performs as the front man for Johnny Dollar and Loose Change Band. Dollar is the name of his Fabulous Imports character. He performs as Johnny Caribe with
“Island Girl” Pat Kniola, a Fishers resident, better known as “the Girl in the Band” from The Fabulous Imports, in Florida. Dick also performs two weeks each year as Johnny Caribe at a bar in St. Martin Island with some musicians from the area.
The Fabulous Imports performs some new songs and classic rock.
“It’s kind of like being in a bowling league you got paid for,” Dick said. “We would normally practice two nights a month and play two gigs a month. Now it’s not quite that much.”
The biggest perk has been the people has met being involved in music.
“I sat in and played on stage with Firefall,” Dick said. “I played on stage with Ringo All-Starr band, minus Ringo (Starr) who wasn’t there.”
Dick played with Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, a swing rock band. Dick has a Beatles mural on his basement wall and some memorabilia, such as autographed guitars from Eric Clapton and Chuck Berry.
Dick became a huge Beatles fan when Rubber Soul came out in December 1965. He had gotten his first guitar when he was a sophomore in high school. He began playing more in college, playing a lot Beatles and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young songs.
“I used to play ‘Norwegian Wood’ and ‘Blackbird’ on the guitar when I first started,” he said.
Dick said others were impressed he could play “Norwegian Wood” but at the time it was one of the few songs he could play.
Dick could have gone in with his sister and mother to see the Beatles at the Indiana State Fair in 1964 as he was selling pineapple whip outside.
“I could probably hear them just as well as people inside because of all the screaming,” he said.
Still he has little regret he didn’t go inside and to Woodstock in 1969.
“I had a friend who wanted me to go but I had a summer job,” Dick said. “He went and took like 800 photographs and not a single one of a band.”
Other than that he has few regrets about his musical pursuits. Dick said his favorite gig was The Fabulous Imports’ outdoor show in San Diego’s Gaslight district in front of about 5,000 to 6,000 people.
“We opened up for around 5,000 people for Howie Mandel in Las Vegas at a convention,” he said.
Dick said in the future he’ll likely play more with the duo or by himself because of traveling to Florida often.
“It’s (economy) coming back now but when we had the big downturn a lot of corporations didn’t feel like letting people go and then hiring a big band to come in and party with them,” Dick said. “If I have three or four friends over to play, I’d be just as happy sitting around playing.”
Get to know John Dick
Personal: Graduated from Warren Central High School in 1967 and Ball State University in 1971. Married to real estate agent Tobi Weinstein with three children, Lisa, Chicago; Laura, New York City, Brad, Indianapolis, and five grandchildren.
Work: Worked for insurance company for four years before becoming a real estate with F.C. Tucker. Started a Century 21 franchise with seven other people and it was No. 1 Century 21 office in the world for several years. It switched to Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Indiana Reality office. He was a co-owner but sold his interest in January.
Hobbies: “I love to play golf. I used to water ski and play basketball. I love to exercise, ride a bike or swim. We’re doing a biking trip in Cape Cod this summer.”
Favorite musicians: The Beatles and Eric Clapton.
Favorite sport: “My wife and I love the NFL and the Colts. I’m writing a parody song on Deflategate. I might put it on YouTube and see if it catches on.”
Websites: thefabulousimports.com and facebook.com/JohnnyCaribeandTheIslandGirl.