Tietz spent youth on rock ’n’ roll stage

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Many Diamond Bar High School teachers come to teaching from different careers and backgrounds. However, few have traveled the world, let alone in a rock band.

Before and even during his time at DBHS, French teacher Tony Tietz was rocking out with the band Skypark, performing around the world, from Europe to Hong Kong.

During the rock group’s 10 years together, they remained popular enough to travel the world. Signed to Word, a gospel label in Nashville, Skypark sold 35,000 copies of its 1988 debut album, “Am I Pretty.” The band then recorded two more albums, “Over Blue City’ in 2000 and “NoAmbition” in 2006.

“I think originally, we were like, we assumed we were going to be on [LA radio station] KROQ,” Tietz said. “And because a lot of our friends, you know, ended up kind of being famous. And so we were like, obviously, that’s going to be us. And obviously, that didn’t happen.”

Tietz recounts his most memorable moment with the band during the annual Flevo  Festival in Holland. Over the course of three shows in three days, the band became a smash hit with the audience, to the point that the band had to be taken off stage. 

“The first one, it was about 8,500 people there, which was like one of our biggest audiences. But, it was like we were far away from the crowd [because of] security. And it just didn’t feel intimate,” Tietz said. “The second night with a room of about 800ish people, and the people were starting to really get into it. And they told us we needed to stop because the time was up. And when we didn’t security came out. And then the crowd just started going crazy.”

On the third day of the festival, in a tent of a 1000 people where the capacity was only 600, Skypark performed. 

“The whole crowd was throbbing, pulsating with the music, unlike anywhere we’d ever been before,” Tietz said. “And the lady was trying to introduce the next band, but she couldn’t, because these people were screaming… they had to usher us away, because nobody else could play if we were even in sight.”

The band originally started after the 1994 Northridge earthquake. Tietz, who attended college at the time, was displaced and consequently attended Cal State Fullerton, which was accepting earthquake victims at the time. However, because CSUF had no available dorm rooms, Tietz resided at Hope International University, where he met the other band members.

Three weeks later, Tietz, adopting the stage name Tony Deerfield, joined Skypark as their bassist, though he had never played the instrument in his life. Skypark’s first gig was as the opening act at an event at Hope. After the performance, the lead singer brought up the idea of saving the money, about creating band merchandise, touring the country and going full time after graduation.

“I didn’t believe anything he said. But I did get my $25 to the dream. And then everything [he] said came true,” Teitz said. 

After their performance in the Netherlands, the lead singer went solo. While the band never broke up, they officially stopped performing in 2006.

“Once I started teaching, I realized that a lot of my people skills, like conflict resolution, they work when you’re in a van with four guys, for three months on end,” Tietz said. “So, it helped me as a father too, like conflict resolution and humor and entertainment, knowing the ebbs and flows of a set is similar to how you would plan a lesson, or like a 55 minute classroom.”

Tietz hopes to get together once more with his bandmates and record another song or album. 

“It’s not a story of regrets, you know, because I don’t have any regrets. It was a great time,” Tietz said.