On That Note
Wayne Faust - One Cool Bald Guy!
by Corey Columbin
Colorado Serenity Magazine
man knows he's bald. And he knows bald can be cool. In fact, Wayne Faust's most
popular song to date is called, "Bald Guys Are Cool." On Stage, Faust invites
the hair-challenged guys in the audience to join him. No problem getting
volunteers; one eager guy even ripped off his toupee to come up on stage. Faust
sings, "Bald guys are happenin', really gettin' hip..." and the dancing chorus
shouts, "Bald guys!" The song continues, "We don't waste our male hormones on
growing hair..." and again they shout, "Bald guys!" shimmying to the music.
Hilarious! Depending on how enthusiastic the performance, dollar bills have been
thrown on stage or tucked into the bald guys' waistbands. This song even got
aired on the Today Show a few weeks back.
Not just about being bald, if you Google "comedy music," Faust's website, picklehead.com pops up first on the list. Not surprising, considering he has been a professional singer, songwriter, and comedian for the past thirty-one years. He has even written a book on the subject, Thirty Years Without A REAL Job. So how does a college student on his way to becoming a lawyer turn into this cool bald guy with over five thousand performances under his belt, a CD, and a published book? Even though he's worked hard every step of the way, I think Wayne himself is still scratching his head over that one.
Have you ever wanted to pitch it "all" into the nearest body of water and just work at what you love? And then reason won out when you thought about the things you wanted - marriage, and a family, a home of your own, and a life? What if you could have it all? Wayne Faust asked that question, put it into motion, and made it happen. The first test to his resolve: convincing his college sweetheart's dad that a professional entertainer would make a good husband. He passed that test, after delivering his detailed plan, won Sally's hand (his wife still today), and began life as a professional entertainer.
He started in Chicago in the usual way: playing coffee houses, open mic nights, parties, and then spread out to bigger and better venues, even playing a six-year stint in the night club and stand-up comedy scene in Los Angeles. What brought Wayne to Colorado was an invitation by Jerry Cooney to perform at the Briar Rose restaurant in Breckenridge during the ski season. That was in 1983. The Briar Rose became one of his regualr seasonal gigs and that exposure hooked him up with other gigs at places like Sloppy Joe's in Key West where he played for fifteen years and The Beer Barrel Saloon in Put-In-Bay, Ohio (home of the world's longest bar), where he entertained an audience of three thousand. On the wall of his basement office, Wayne proudly displays a map dotted with stars, marking all the places he's performed all over the United States and Mexico. He has also traveled overseas to perform in England, Holland and Scotland.
So what does he do? Wayne describes his act as "music, comedy, and improv," explaining that every show is different. He has a knack for parody, making up new words for old songs or making up songs on the spot about subjects shouted out from the audience. Wayne admits that most of his really good stuff comes to him in the shower, but his improvisational material he gets when the lights come on on stage. For instance, a room full of brain surgeons gathered at a convention can be hilariously funny. It's the same with the annual appearance for N.A.R.F. E. (National Association of Retired Federal Employees). He caters his material to his audience - be it shows for kids, senior citizens, business conventions, parties in a bar, or skiers fresh from the slopes. Wayne keeps the rating peaked at about PG-13. On stage, he strums along with his guitar or banjo and sings songs from his humorous shower-inspired repertoire or makes them up as he goes. He doesn't always perform alone, either. Sven often accompanies him. Sven is his two-foot wooden sidekick - a Swede of few words, proudly topped with a Viking hat, who joined the act several years ago. I met Sven, who lives in a custom wooden case, ready for travel. "You haven't lived until you've tried to go through security with this guy!" says Wayne, adjusting one of his Viking horns. And for nearly half of his career, Wayne partnered up with Rusty Lewis, taking their act on the road. Faust & Lewis wrote many songs together, including the song "Bald Guys song, "Onetontomata," Lots Of Things Rhyme With Duck." Still friends, they broke up in 2001, and Faust went on with his solo act - solo if you don't count Sven.
"The performing is the best part of show business," says Faust, "because the business part of show business is work." Admittedly, Faust works hard at promoting and managing the act and his Website, picklehead.com, which was established in 1996 - a little ahead of the cyberspace domain craze. "Why Picklehead?" I asked.
"Because you may not remember my name," Wayne explains, 'but you will remember Picklehead. It was also the nickname my father had for me when I was a kid."
After thirty-five years of entertaining, and with his secret-to-success book published, his CD Bald Guys Are Cool out, his career at a comfortable point, and his three kids nearly all grown, you'd think Wayne and Sven might just kick back on the couch for a while.
Always planning, in addition to performing, Wayne would like to spend more time writing in the future, and continue as captain of his adult hockey team.
"I don't think I could ever stop," says Faust, "even when I'm in an old folks home, I'll still be trying to make people laugh."
Now that's one cool bald guy!
For information about bookings, performance schedule, and song clips, log on to www.waynefaust.com.