“Eric McKenna is a Rock ‘n Roller and an avid entrepreneur. In that order.”
Someone sized me up once and spoke that exact statement. It’s spot on, I suppose. But it’s far from everything.
Hi there. Eric McKenna here. Thanks for your inquiry or curiosity.
The ERIC MCKENNA PROJECT. So, what is THE PROJECT? How did this happen?
The whole story is discussed here in my interview with Jaime Chesney.
The shorter version reads this way…
I am a lifetime Pittsburgh native. I’ve enjoyed a ‘good run’ as some say. And the Universe permitting, hopefully much more ahead. I’m an individual who has always wanted a life on my terms. Rock ‘n Roll records I played as a young child encouraged a strong desire to do things – my way. The music was driving. Always loud. And full of lyrical content which often questioned authority. Questioned the status quo. Questioned societal norms. And daring the listener to reach toward something – different. This music gave a sense of empowerment and determination. This is the music I gravitated toward. Whether it was the guitar of Jimmy Page, the lyrics of Neil Peart, the vocals stylings of Paul Stanley or the angst of Johnny Rotten, I was indeed a different kind of kid.
Early on and often, the big hand of life would, sometimes viciously, slap me back into place. Reminding that life was hard and nothing desired was going to be easy. Ever. Yet, again and again, I’d regroup and wonder, “Why not my way?”
Schooling certainly wasn’t easy. I was a college dropout and an easy target of scorn from those who thought they knew best. And there was a lot of them.
While not a stellar academic student, I discovered I was a student of people and their behavior. I would study people’s decisions and their lifestyles. Good and bad. Always deeply rooted in a fascination of what makes people ‘tick.’
This fascination and the general enjoyment of people led to a successful career in the field of Sales. With confidence and success came new friends and an ever growing social circle. All the while, that constant music soundtrack in my head remained.
By 1999, the unrelenting wish to live life on my own terms led to the idea and launch of Boogie Street Guitars. An online-only, worldwide guitar sales and design company. For 15 years, BSG was a journey that could not have been scripted. Customers were amazing. Vendors were awesome. The places traveled, the people met and the music experienced were all over the top. Many of the musicians we worked with were childhood heroes. Including Paul Stanley of KISS. And on top of it all – the incredible guitars. Thousands and thousands of guitar creations. And many of these guitars were created and branded with our Boogie Street label on them. It was, at times, overwhelming. But always amazing. To say I was fortunate, would be an understatement. Quite lucky as well. And I recognized that all of this good fortune happened because of a my genuine fascination of people. And the diligence to care about them and always try to remain helpful. To cap off this remarkable era, my two children, Austin Major and Gwendolyn Leigh were born.
Along the way, there have been setbacks. Buried Brian, my only sibling and best friend, due to drug abuse and bad decisions. His death was a devastating and profound loss. And a series of lessons.
And I’ve also lost many loved ones, friends and business associates along the way.
There is the pain of two failed marriages. And watching my parent’s trials as my father suffered with viciousness of Dementia while ultimately passing in May 2020 during the Covid Pandemic.
And there has been the challenges of confronting, addressing and coping with my own demons. All of this comprises a deep valley to go along with the peaks of success along the way.
Today, I find life wonderful. My wife Natalie and I have returned to our hometown, Coraopolis, Pennsylvania, and made it our home. Our collective 5 children are healthy, dynamic and amazing. In 2012 I became a Realty. And being a Realtor just fits me. I enjoy Real Estate as much I enjoyed guitars.
I’m still fascinated by people. Caring deeply about the human condition we all share and trying to be helpful to others. Friends and strangers alike.
What else has been going on lately?
From October 2016 to January of 2020, I was a radio talk show host. The show was THE ERIC MCKENNA RADIO PROGRAM which aired weekly on WBVP 99.3. The program was a real estate talk show with a variety show bent. We completed over 190 weekly shows and I loved every minute of it. Engaging and learning about people and listening to their stories was fascinating. And I remain a good study of people. And of course, that music soundtrack is still very present in my head. Every single day.
March of 2019 saw the launching of THE ERIC MCKENNA PROJECT.
EMP is a full production Video and Audio podcast. A Talk Show.
EMP guests are personally invited to sit down with me in the Boogie Street Studio to have a conversation. These conversations are long-form, relaxed, unvarnished and real. No agendas. These are conversations to learn about each other, to share great ideas and stories and above all to have fun.
The Project is not a commercial endeavor. There are no sponsors. No advertisements. And we do not film infomercials for anyone.
EMP is a personal project that has no hard format or rules. The Project has evolved over time and I anticipate that evolution to continue. Within The Project I currently host a series of shows including our ‘UFO Shows’ and our ‘4 Friends’ series.
Discussions are guest driven. Our guests are encouraged to take the show in the direction they want, in a free flowing exchange of opinions, ideas and of course, stories.
The audio podcast version of The Project is available for download or stream on iTunes, Google, Spotify and many other podcasting platforms. The full video version of EMP are released and discussed on Facebook, YouTube and of course here at EricMcKennaProject.com.
EMP is truly doing a full-production video web series, in every sense of the word. The Boogie Street Studio serves not only as our show’s video backdrop and the home of EMP but the Studio is a nod to the history of Boogie Street Guitars, with decor and accouterments which create a cool and relaxing vibe for our guests.
And it’s where the magic happens.
PRESS INQUIRIES regarding EMP, please call 412-613-4466