TAMPA, Fla. – If your child likes to rock out, chances are you know “Mr. Tommy”.
Tommy Girvin and his signature top hat have been entertaining children in the Tampa Bay area for more than 14 years.
“‘Mr. Tommy’ events got really big, to the tune of hundreds and sometimes thousands of kids and their families,” Girvin said. “You’re talking to a very lucky guy, I’ve always been able to do what I want for a job- music!”
His music career includes 30 years of playing next to his good friend and rock legend, Eddie Money.
“Being “Mr. Tommy” and playing for Eddie Money is not too different. I mean really and truly, pretty much the same thing,” Girvin laughed.
But he said, “Mr. Tommy” started to take on a life of his own. Girvin was playing five events a weekend sometimes and taking a music bus to area schools Monday through Friday.
“It was getting hard to handle,” he explained. “It was getting stressful I’m not afraid to say.”
He started wondering if it was time to hang up his top hat. “Then the perfect storm happened. Here came COVID. I mean, boom!” he recalled.
The pandemic shut down all “Mr. Tommy” events, but Girvin didn’t panic. He immediately enrolled in truck driving school.
“When I was a kid, I always wanted to be a truck driver. As a teenager, I was always fascinated with them. And to this day, I dig them. I think they are cool and do good things for the world,” Girvin said.
He travels the highways of America for weeks at a time with his banjo never far from his side.
“It’s so the same as what I’ve done my whole life, but so different. I’ve seen every city in this country, but I have forgotten how beautiful of a place we live in,” he said.
As he drives along, he reflects on his decision with no regrets. “I most definitely made the right decision. I’m not missing “Mr. Tommy”, but I am missing all my friends that come to the shows.”
But Girvin is not comfortable with the title of rock star so many of them would probably place on him.
“I would rather think they’d look at ‘Mr. Tommy’ as an example of how to be a good person, and how to be thoughtful and how to use your imagination!”
With “Mr. Tommy” in his rearview mirror, for now, Tommy Girvin has a few parting words for his adoring, and adorable, fans.
“I love you all very, very much,” he said. “Please be kind to everybody. But I bet you I’ll get to see you again at a show coming up.”
“Mr. Tommy’s” music is still available on i-tunes. He also kept his YouTube page up if you want to check out some of his videos.