How Trading His Toyota Corolla for a Ferrari Boosted This Rock Violinist’s Career


Roddy Chong, a public speaker and rock violinist, on his 2006 Ferrari F430, as told to A.J. Baime.

When I first moved to Los Angeles from where I come from, Chicago, the big buzz television show was “Entourage.” A main character was Ari Gold, the Hollywood agent played by Jeremy Piven, and he has a Ferrari F430 Spider in the show. There’s a smaller character named Nick Rubinstein, and he also has a F430 Spider.

At the time, I was driving a Toyota Corolla and I was frugal to a fault. I thought, as a musician, I was always going to be poor. I toured with Shania Twain and Celine Dion, playing my violin, and years ago I joined a rock band called the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. I am still in that group. At one point, my accountant said to me, “You know, Roddy, it’s OK for you to stop being so frugal.”

Strangely, I started to notice that there were things about “Entourage” that began to overlap in my real life. One time, I was speaking at a dinner and I sat next to a guy who played one of the titans of Hollywood in the show. Another time, I was backstage at a Bruce Springsteen concert and Jeremy Piven was there. I could not see Jeremy Piven, the actor. I saw Ari Gold, the Hollywood agent. Meanwhile, the Ferrari F430 symbolized for me the Los Angeles performing-arts business, which I was now becoming a part of, not just with music, but acting classes and auditions.

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