Harmony Central Forums
Announcement
Collapse
No announcement yet.

If you could quit your day job and play full time, would you?

Collapse



X
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • If you could quit your day job and play full time, would you?

    Playing live for a living used to be my dream, but these days I'm not so sure. I'm in this cover band that plays between 20-40 gigs a year and the thought of doing nothing else isn't that appealing to me anymore. And I'm not just talking about hauling equipment around or hours on end of driving between venues. As I have gotten older (I'll be 45 in two weeks) I've come to realise that a gig every third weekend or so is pretty perfect. Ten years ago I was in another band that gigged 80-100 times a year and I was fine with it. In fact, I was more than fine, I loved it! But now I have a day job I'm happy with and a band with a much less intense touring schedule and it suits me just fine. How about you guys, still dream of being a full time musician?

    Dont believe in anything, that way everything is possible.

  • #2

    I'm where you are. A couple/few gigs a month. I'm in 3 projects. One plays 3-5 gigs a month. The other has been around for 25 years and we do maybe 6 shows a year. The other one is a start up Pink Floyd tribute and is still in the rehearsal stages, but that will only be a couple times a year band as well. I have no desire to play for a living, and even if I did, around here, it'd be very difficult. My standard of living would take a huge nose dive even if I could get 6 gigs a week.

    My Live Gear: Roland FA-08, Hammond SK1-73, Nord Lead A1
    My Bands: http://www.bksband.com
    www.echoesrocks.com

    Comment


    • stratotastic
      stratotastic commented
      Editing a comment

      The idea of it sounds fun, but...

      dan88z wrote:

      My standard of living would take a huge nose dive even if I could get 6 gigs a week.


      :smiley-eatdrink004:

      Hell, if I could get 10 gigs a week, my standard of living would probably take a nose dive - LOL.


  • #3

    I don't know if I dream about being a full time musician, but I do dream about quitting my day job and having tons of free time to play music.  I don't necessarily want to hang out in bars playing covers every night, but there are other avenues to play... especially if money and (lack of) time were not a factor.

    http://www.reverbnation.com/thedubiouscapture

    Comment


    • #4

      If the assumption is that income levels and income security would be equivalent, then yeah.

       

      However, those assumptions would be incorrect.

      Comment


      • Potts
        Potts commented
        Editing a comment

        The past three years I've averaged about 160 a year doing solo and a handful of band gigs. The first two years were great and I loved it. This year is dragging and I'm finishing up a grueling summer schedule. Singing everything, hauling stuff and playing is OK but the solo thing can get old because there's nobody to hang with.

        I have no issues with the money but at 45 I feel like it's a young person's game. It's putting me through college though and my wife is good with it so I can't complain. Four months ago I simply put an X through tonight on my calender for no reason. It's date night with the wife- we're going to see about 5 bands!


      • WynnD
        WynnD commented
        Editing a comment

        Opus Antics wrote:

        If the assumption is that income levels and income security would be equivalent, then yeah.

         

        However, those assumptions would be incorrect.


        There is no income security ever.

    • #5
      My work schedule is 4 days on, 3 days off. So it gives me the time hi play in a band or do sound. It's kind of a nice compromise.
      PA Unity15's over LS800p's. YX15's, YX12's IPR power, RM32AI

      LightsMartin Minimac Profiles, Chauvet Intimidator Spot Duos, Blizzard 3NX, Fab5, Hotbox

      Comment


      • sweatpat
        sweatpat commented
        Editing a comment
        If I could continue to support my family at the same level I would in a heartbeat. As it is now I have Summers off from teaching so I can go all in on music in the Summer while still getting paid my salary, it's a pretty nice set up.

      • Yer Blues
        Yer Blues commented
        Editing a comment

        StratGuy22 wrote:
        My work schedule is 4 days on, 3 days off. So it gives me the time hi play in a band or do sound. It's kind of a nice compromise.

        That's kind of how my job is... so I can't really complain.  I'm pretty happy with my current situation.


    • #6

      Like Potts,  I'm doing solo gigs and a few trio things here and there. I'm averaging 10 to 15 dates a month, and loving it. Most of the gigs are 3 hours and are over by 10 PM. I make a bare minimum of 100 dollars plus tips plus a meal, and I've been just a few hundred dollars a month short of making what I do at my day job. I'm a finish carpenter by trade, and at just over 58 years old, my days in it are numbered.If I can get one more steady weeknight a month, I can just work the day gig part time. As it is, it's nice to have an extra 400 plus dollars a week to spend. Right now I'm remodeling a bathroom and looking at a sweet Korean Gretsch hollowbody with a Bigsby on it. My acoustic guitar is paying for all of it. 

       

      Back in the 80s, when i was on the road full time with a band, we made pretty good dough for the times- $400 to $500 a week each. But subtract agent's commission, union dues, union job tax, union trespassing fees, gas, band truck mantenance, gear mainitenence and replacement, gear payments, and so on, we were lucky to get away with $125 -200 a week each.  Today, I don't have to leave town, I bring a small PA (half the venues have their own) and I'm set up in ten minutes. I'm working toward going back full time.

       

      It may feel like work some nights, but if you have to have a job, it beats the hell out of any others I've had, especially when I'm driving home after a 3 hour gig thinking "counting tips, I just made 67 dollars an hour, more than I'd have made in 8 hours behind a nail gun and a saw!" 

      http://www.patcoast.com"The guy would be strumming along, singing the verse to “Margarittavile” and then he would hit his harmonizer pedal for the chorus. It went from sounding like a guy singing and playing guitar to sounding like the Stephen Hawkings trio."-Christhee68" the singer of my cover band used to find it funny to let out gaseous forms of vile hate and sadness that would make a plaster baby Jesus weep."- FitchFY

      Comment


      • guido61
        guido61 commented
        Editing a comment

        BlueStrat wrote:

         

         

        Back in the 80s, when i was on the road full time with a band, we made pretty good dough for the times- $400 to $500 a week each. But subtract agent's commission, union dues, union job tax, union trespassing fees, gas, band truck mantenance, gear mainitenence and replacement, gear payments, and so on, we were lucky to get away with $125 -200 a week each.


        Yeah, I was doing the same thing.  We took $200 a week each and the rest went to the expenses or in the kitty.   But $200 before taxes (no comment), and no rent or utility bills because we lived on the road wasn't too bad.   I remember taking my first "real" job in 1987---minimum wage and I was taking home about $130 a week.  And I had to pay rent on an apartment, etc.


    • #7

      After roughly 30 years in the IT industry, yes ... I'd certainly enjoy a life in which all I did was play music.  However, it's so far out of the question that it's in the same realm as dreaming about what to do with lottery winnings.  Sure it's fun to daydream about - but so unrealistic, that it could never be more than a daydream for me.

      I played "full time" during my college years (4-6 nights a week 45+ weeks a year) and paid a good chunk of my living expenses doing it.   However, that was a simpler time .... $350 a week seemed like a lot of money, my medical insurance came thru my parents' policy, my vehicle was uninsured, I had but one mouth to feed, etc, - and most importantly, I didn't have alot of other options.   That isn't the case today - I've got 4 mouths to feed, cloth and shelter, a fleet of vehicles to insure and maintain, and a "nut" much larger than 6 nights @ $150 a night could ever cover.  More importantly, my current day gig salary puts me in the 15% of wage earners - which is light years ahead of what I could expect to make as a musician - even if I were touring as a sideman with a national act.     

      I won't be quitting my day gig any time soon.  But, it is fun to daydream about those simpler times when I could afford to work a job where the benefit package was all the beer I could drink!  Especially after nights like last night!

      The SpaceNorman

      www.facebook.com/SuperstarsOfRock
      www.souldoutrocks.com

      Keyboards and Tone Generators: Yamaha CP300, Kronos 88, Roland AX Synth, Motif ES Rack
      Keyboard Rack: Samson SM10 Line Mixer, Motu MIDIExpressXT MIDI Interface, Shure PSM200 IEM system, M-Audio Wireless MIDI, Live Wires IEM ear buds, iPad wOnSong.
      Stage Amplification: Stereo via 2 Yamaha DSR112s

      Comment


      • BlueStrat
        BlueStrat commented
        Editing a comment

        $350 a week seemed like a lot of money,

         

        In 1977, it WAS a lot of money, in today's buying power. I remember gas being 65 cents a gallon, you could buy a pair of Levi 501s for under 8 dollars, my rent was 135 a month for a two bedroom house a block from the beach and across the alley from the local college. 350 dollars weekly back then was like making 1000 a week now. I could easily live on 4k a month, especially with my wife's income too. 


    • #8
      I would. I got a taste a few years back when I toured, but kept the day job. (hint - I used vacation time to tour). However the music biz is MUCH different and even more unreliable.
      Did I say that out loud ?!?

      Comment


      • #9
        I've never had a real full time day job so to speak, but made my full time income playing music for over 20 years. As bad as it ever was it was still better than anything else I could think of at the time.

        It's been almost 4 years since I played full time for a living and at this point I miss the $$. So now in addition to all the things we are doing with original work, we are putting together a corporate, private high end event entertainment business, getting situated to gig locally with a band and solo, plus some out of town stuff. Gotta get back to making some cash in the only vocation I've ever really had but still build up something for the future.

        Comment


        • #10

          Definitely, it is my greatest desire to become full time professional musician, earning a living by touring, selling cds&merchandise, giving lessons etc. But the best part will be playing my own music to the crowd and see their jaws dropping!

          Comment


          • Piano Whore
            Piano Whore commented
            Editing a comment

            Most of my adult life I have supported myself with music. Although I also do whatever daytime work I can find (for a vocationally-challenged person with a hearing disability) the gigs come first. Not saying that that has always worked out so great, or that anybody here in their right mind would trade places with me, either.  

            I do any kind of gig that requires keys, with the exception (so far) of church work. The sweetest deal, for me, is doing early "dinner" music solo and then later going to play with a band (preferably a house band to minimize transit time and setup/teardown). The solo scene comes and goes, but seems to coming back and is keeping me busier week by week. Last week I did 3 (well-paid) solo and 2 band gigs, for 21 hours total time invested (including commute/et-up). I'm also putting together a duo with a very good local female vocalist.

            In answer to the OP's question, yes I would- because I just DID. But #1, I didn't quit a "career" and #2, there were other factors at play (being able to care during the day for an elderly parent, amongst others).


        • #11

          Playing covers full time isn't for me. If I would find myself in a situation where it was maybe 50% of my monthly income, I'd sure go for it. A friend of mine is a session bass player with 10-20 bands and makes his living this way. He was actually filling in for our original bassplayer in my cover band this past Saturday since the regular guy was on vacation. But he isn't just doing cover gigs. He's also in bands playing original music, has his own record label, plays for well-known artists (well-known here in Sweden that is), does solo gigs where he sings and plays acoustic guitar and does studio work every now and then. That kind of versatility I think I could live with. 

          Dont believe in anything, that way everything is possible.

          Comment


          • Kramerguy
            Kramerguy commented
            Editing a comment

            I actually have the best job I've ever had, and due to a recent and very generous raise, I make more money than I've ever made.. Like Jeff, I work for a smaller company.  My company has very much of a family feel and positive beat to it, and I wear many hats and have a wonderful office and get to browse HC forums while working, which is a nice added bonus

             

            All that being said...  I absolutely HATE Pennsylvania.. our current governor is corrupt as it gets, and is quickly selling off the state to corporations, jacking taxes through the ceiling, and cutting all public funding like schools, welfare, you name it.  Fracking companies are raping the state faster and more destructive than any other state in the USA, and the people are getting screwed.  The school districts are forced to collect per-capita taxes, on top of dramitically increased local (city) taxes, which are now higher than my state taxes.  I'm being taxed to death by local and state entities.. it's almost equal to my total federal taxes.. 

             

            So I'm looking at the possibility of moving- It's killing me because I really don't want to leave my job.  Career-wise, after busting my ass for 25 years in the workforce, I'm finally in a happy and financially stable place.

            So I'm stuck in decision mode.  It isn't just the governor, but the entire state senate creating these insane tax laws and corporate welfare that he's signing, changing governors won't change the laws.

            So if I could make what I made today, with financial security?  Sure, I'd do it (and move to CA lol), but as several have pointed out- that's the pipe-dream.. can't and won't happen.  So I would say nope.. I wouldn't do it.  Plus, I'd prefer to be a session / studio musician vs. touring.. I like being the talent behind the scenes.

             


        • #12
          God I would really miss making money with my music! I was so burnt out after 20 years of doing it that I couldn't imagine ever missing it. To tell you the truth I still do not miss playing the covers but I don't hate it anymore because I Haven't done it full-time in four years. But I do miss the money Lord do I miss that!

          However, I always said that if I were going to go back to it and do it I would approach it like a business and do it right. So, im going to spend the next six months to year building the ultimate corporate high-end private event entertainment business that's gonna be a complete show with the ability to plug and play different musicians into the slots effortlessly Depending on budget and the configuration needed for the event. The entire show is gonna be run via Abeltons Live and a laptop with tracks playing via stems as needed. Indalton will also when the light show the video as well as change programs and patches on vocal effects processors. It probably sounds more complicated than it actually will be.

          Once we're up and running the entire show is together, the kinks worked out, we will replicate the bands and put them on different crew ships, Events etc. Replacing ourselves with other musicians. Ultimately the goal will be to have numerous bands all running at the same time running the same show In a bunch of different geographical locations. Will also add DJs karaoke, Live band karaoke and other entertainment as time goes on And plan to offer full event videography and photography services.

          May as well build a business along with the other original endeavors. Again the great thing about the band system is that it's going to be plug-and-play in that you could have a bunch of different members of each instrument and as long as they know the show you can plug a different one and it won't really matter. Good for the crew ships because those contracts are typically six months at a time and it's hard to get musicians who want to go out to sea for six months. I solve that problem because I'll be up to get my musicians one or two month contracts and just plug another musician into their slot no problem without any disturbance to the band or the show. And will be up to do from solo all the way up to however many pieces the budget can Provide for.

          Screw the bars. I've always said they are a means to an end

          Comment


          • guido61
            guido61 commented
            Editing a comment

            Sventvkg--I'm really interested in following your progress on this, so I hope you keep us all informed on how it goes.

            I'm curious---what's your templete for replicating the band?   I know some operations that work in this fashion--but usually they are the high-concept acts.   (The Spazmatics comes to mind.) Are you planning on having several bands all working under the same name and building a brand?   Or different bands with different names all doing the same act?    If so, I presume you've seen other operations work in this latter fashion?  (I haven't, but certainly would not be surprised if they do.)

            Without a high-concept, I'd wonder how well it works since so many bands doing those circuits already are virtual clones of each other.    But I guess if you've got the booking connections and the agents trust your ability to deliver a quality product.   Or you're able to handle all the booking yourself.

            Good luck with that.   Were I younger and/or more committed to needing to make my money in the music business, I'd probably be looking to do the exact same thing.   As it is, it's certainly occurred to me that it would be great to have another "JumpStart" to send out to gigs on dates that we're already booked.   But I don't know that I want to work that hard to push it all to that level.   Not this year, anyway.   Hard enough keeping one band going!


        • #13

          bierball wrote:

          Playing live for a living used to be my dream, but these days I'm not so sure. I'm in this cover band that plays between 20-40 gigs a year and the thought of doing nothing else isn't that appealing to me anymore. And I'm not just talking about hauling equipment around or hours on end of driving between venues. As I have gotten older (I'll be 45 in two weeks) I've come to realise that a gig every third weekend or so is pretty perfect. Ten years ago I was in another band that gigged 80-100 times a year and I was fine with it. In fact, I was more than fine, I loved it! But now I have a day job I'm happy with and a band with a much less intense touring schedule and it suits me just fine. How about you guys, still dream of being a full time musician?


          80-100 gigs/year IS basically weekend warrior stuff. I would gig full time if it included the same benefits and pay as my FT job and weekend gigs put together, as well as the long-term security. Otherwise, I would need a fairly healthy $$$ persuation to do so.

          tlbonehead@yahoo.com
          www.myspace.com/tbone_tommy
          -For Sale:
          -set of GFS Dream 90s- gold and black pearl- $40 shipped in the cont. US
          -(2) Celestion G12M-70 16 ohm guitar speakers in good condition $40 ea. + shipping.
          - Vox VT15 Valvetronix very clean - $85 + shipping
          - Hughes Kettner Edition Tube 20 (the early Voxy sounding one) Sounds & looks good. $250 + shipping. SOLD
          - Crate Palomino V8 - 10" Celestion - Very clean - on Ebay (sold)

          Comment













          Working...
          X