The Mousekeeters are finally coming home for a grand reunion to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the show’s debut episode and the 90th birthday of Mickey Mouse himself. Featuring cast from all seven seasons of the Mickey Mouse Club, #MMC30 is organized and produced by alumni Dale Godboldo, who is behind the Always In The Club Foundation, and Chasen Hampton in support of Give Kids The World Village, and onePULSE Foundation. Hosted by Joey Fatone, the event is happening on May 18-19 at Walt Disney World® Resort in Orlando, FL.
I recently had the pleasure of sitting down for a series of interviews with some of the Mousekeeters who are going to be part of the event. Jason Carson, who most people would know as Blain Carson back in the day, became a regular cast member in Seasons 4 and 5. After his stint with the Mickey Mouse Club, he then went on to have a successful music career—as lead singer for the country music band Shiloh and as one-half of the duo, The Carsons, as well as producer and songwriter for numerous hits like Rain.
Tell us the story of how you became a MMC member.
I was always involved in the performing arts and entertainment from a young age. Like most of my fellow Mouseketeers, it just came to me one day through the grapevine, just being in that crowd, that there was a cattle call—an open audition for some kids in my age to audition for some Disney thing. And just on a whim, I convinced my parents to take me over there. I was handed some sides to read from, played some music to kind of freestyle dance to. And then they said, “Hey, be prepared to sing something.” So I had my cassette tape and I was ready to sing a few lines and that was all just video recorded. And then they said,
“Thanks, we’ll call you back.”
So they called me back and a few weeks later, I did it again. And then a few weeks later, I found myself in southern California for a final screening where I met the choreographer and the director and a lot of the folks there in the production of the show. The final selection was made and I was just blessed to spend two seasons as a Mouseketeer in Seasons 4 and 5. It was a wonderful experience. I mean, most people just get to know a junior high and high school experience—your typical experience. But this reunion for me, in many ways, is much more of a high school reunion than my actual high school reunion was. I’m sure a lot of my Mouseketeer friends feel the same way.
What was one of the most important lessons that you got from that experience that helped you get to where you are today?
I learned several things. I think the first lesson that I learned is that excellence really does matter, regardless of your background. Again, there was just so many different kids that came in and were a part of this cast from different parts of the country, and there was always, from the very beginning, a push for excellence right off the bat. We had the opportunity to push each other to be better and a lot of healthy competition to just to improve in the areas where we can improve and always offered a handout to those that needed some help improving in areas.
Probably the second lesson that I learned was teamwork and how to work together to make something greater than the sum of all the parts. We were all a big deal back in our hometowns, and then we came together, learned how to mesh together as a group, and become something even greater together. So that was probably the takeaway that I got from the whole experience—just how to work in a team environment, how to come together and bring my strengths to the table and just use it to create something magical.
Do you have a favorite recollection, memory or experience that you had during your tenure as a Mickey Mouse Club member?
There’s so many. I would say the first one that comes to mind is going to be one of the stage managers—I will not mention their names because I don’t want them to get in trouble even after all these years—would help us sneak out into the park backstage when we weren’t supposed to do that. And we’d go, we’d sneak out onto the rides, and we’d go ride the Old Star Tours ride and they seat us right up to the front. I mean, it’s not like we were crazy-serious or anything, but just the thrill of getting away with something when we’re supposed to be maybe doing our homework in the backlog, you know?
Tell us what you’re doing as an entrepreneur or business person today.
Well, I live what many people would consider a pretty laid back, normal, American life. I’ve stayed in the entertainment industry for many years. For most of these years, I lived in Nashville, TV. I’ve been spending the last decade-plus just living in that scene—working in the musician, songwriting, music production, record-making world. I’ve spent many a night sleeping on the road, on the tour bus, or as a headliner and also just as a supporting cast in various capacities.
I am a songwriter and I’ve enjoyed some cuts from some folks that have done nominally well or fairly well with my material, and I have had, in recent years, the opportunity to step more into a mentor role, which I think is the most satisfying of any of the things that I’ve done here.
Being in Nashville for almost 20 years now, you learn quite a bit. You learn how to get some things done and there’s always a fresh crop of musicians and aspiring songwriters and record producers and performers that kind of need to know the ropes and to know how to get things done in this town. And it’s been a blessing to me to mentor these. They show up and I would say that I would like to continue to do that going forward. It’s a lot of fun.
Today, something that’s so critical to business success is the creation of content, having something shareable and worthwhile to share with the world so that you can engage with people. I look at the Mickey Mouse Club as an original content-creation source, the original brand ambassadors and influencers. Can you share your thoughts on that?
I think, as young adults, we were thrust into a position and onto a platform. We dreamed about, quote unquote, being famous, right? Everyone, every child dreams about that, but you don’t really get a sense of what it is and the responsibility that it is and the effect that you have on so many people until you find yourself already in that position. I look back on that experience and think of all the things that had I known I would do this or that or the other thing… But, all in all, the experience was so amazing, and I learned so much that I have brought forward and applied— that I still apply—every day. As I’m mentoring young musicians, I still draw upon the things that I learned as a Mouseketeer that I still impart today, which I think is probably the most satisfying, fulfilling thing that I do. Again, I found myself as a young adult put on a platform and I know that there’s going to be another generation, to be able to positively empower and influence the next generation of young adults that will step onto a platform and have a voice.
What would you say to an aspiring entrepreneur to become successful in today’s age of tech and media? Please share tips.
That’s a great question. You know, probably consistency would be the one takeaway there was. The one thing that we had to learn how to do, for sure, was to be consistently there, consistently working hard, consistently improving, and always putting ourselves out there, whether it be on the stage or backstage with rehearsing and learning our parts, or being in front of the camera and giving it our all. So, yeah, I would say consistency would be the number one attribute that an entrepreneurial individual would need. Probably more than any of the others. There’s a lot of important things, but consistency would be my choice. I think, above all, consistency—keep going, keep putting it out there.
Why is it important for you to participate in the MMC reunion event? Why would someone want to attend as a guest?
Well, I think, for me, the most exciting moment is going to be when I’m in a room with all of the other Mouseketeers together after so many years. There’s a few of the mouseketeers that live here in the Nashville area, so I have the opportunity to see those folks on a somewhat regular basis. I run into them all the time at the airport or even just out in the town. But to have everybody in the same room together is going to be a really cool feeling. I’ve looked forward to just catching up with everyone and hugging everyone and finding out what they’ve been up to and their story.
There’s a lot to be said about social media and being able to keep track of people’s lives online. I don’t want to diminish that, but there’s nothing that can replace being in the same room with everybody, being in their presence and just having that energy and feeling that magic in the air that will certainly be there. I look forward to that most probably more than anything else.
But why everyone else should come? I think just to participate in that magic I was speaking about. I mean, the fans throughout the years have had the ability to follow us online and keep track of their favorite Mouseketeers and what everybody’s up to and that’s been a great thing about social media. It wasn’t around back in the day when we were doing this, when we were making this show. But it’s here now and it’s been a blessing, I’m sure. But to be in the same room with us and to be able to see us in person—people that they’ve followed for so many years and watched for so many years and wanted to be engaged with—this is the ultimate, to engage with your favorite Mouseketeer in this reunion. So if that’s something that excites you as a fan of the show, don’t miss it. This is your opportunity.
Outside the world of Disney and the MMC, who is the one person you’d like to meet someday? You never know who might be seeing this!
You know, I’m going to think of about 10 people after this interview, I’m sure. But I would say, probably somebody who is just dripping with talent in my particular interest and musical styles. Somebody that you just absolutely can’t get enough of as a talent would be Harry Connick Jr. I think the man is absolutely brilliant as a musician and as a performer. I’ve had the opportunity to see him perform live a couple of times. That would be really cool. That’d be super cool.