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  • So whos jaded?

    Anyone left here whos optimistic for success? Not just a good cover band gig, and maybe not sold out arenas... but something in between? Overseas touring, semi large label support etc? Im young, [22]... im not dumb, or a pure idealist... but I try to be optimistic. I know there are alot of older guys here, who have been worked pretty hard by the biz... but whos got some tips on morale and positivity?

  • #2
    All the stuff you have listed is nice, but none of it really guarantees success...at least from the point of being able to do music fulltime and live comfortably.

    If you stick to what makes money and leave the ego stokes behind, your chances for being successful are very good.
    Music Business Radio - Send us your demo! blog.musicbusinessradio.com

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    • #3
      I think everyone who straps on a guitar and plays out still has it somewhere in the back of their minds that it could happen, regardless of how long they've been at it. But I'd have to count myself in as being "jaded". Perhaps grown up and more realistic would be a better term, though. After 34 years of doing this, I have learned some things, in no particular order:

      1) If you're getting really, really good on your instrument to impress other people, don't bother. No matter how good you get, the only people who are going to really give a rip are other guitar players, and they'll likely resent you for it.

      2) Music may be art, but as soon as you hire yourself out for money, it becomes a business. Many a young musician has struggled needlessly and eventually thrown in the towel because they onlyy know the art of it and try in vain to apply principles of art to the business of it. If you're going to enter the business, learn the business.

      3) Just because you have a vision for your music does not mean you can't do other things to help yourself along. You may be totally into original music that sounds like a cross between Puddle of Mudd and Rage Against the Machine, but it wouldn't kill you to learn 4 hours worth of covers or be in a couple of bands to increase your gig opportunities and your knowledge of music. You can make a couple of hundred bucks a night or more doing weddings, conventions, etc, which will go a long way toward financing your vision. Or you could say "screw that!" and work two low-paying jobs, insuring that you have no time to devote to your vision, or get sucked into a higher-paying job with high expectations and low flexibility. And one day you wake up and discover that you're 37 years old or so, and no farther along than you were when you were 20, except now no one wants to hear your songs.

      4) If I had a dime for every time I was approached by a "record company exec" or an "A&R guy" I could probably replace the siding on my house. Most of them and I mean MOST OF THEM, are more full of **************** that a nest full of young owls. They like to act like a big shot in front of impressionable musicians to stroke their own egos, and to have everyone fawn all over them. But the reality is that a good many of them are contract talent scouts who work for a commission and who may bring 20 bands in for interviews and not get one of them past the first meeting. Or they're just lying sacks of sauce. Now when I hear that, I ask them 1) who they've signed, 2) what company thery represent, and 3) who I may contact along with a phone number to verify their story. If they don't give it to me straight, and hee haw around, I get away from them as fast as I can.

      5) Just because you get signed doesn't mean you're going to go anywhere. I signed with a relatively new company back in the 80s who paid for a record album, as well as for the logo painted on our band truck, and got us a video,etc etc. Of course, being young and dumb and hot to get a record deal, I didn't notice in the small print (and wouldn't have thought to ask anyway) that there was no distribution. Zip. Nada. We had to sell vinyl albums offstage and pay EVERY DIME back to the company until they were paid back, and all without a marketing plan. You wanna know what their idea was? They wanted to sell the records via TV commercials and skip the retailers. Oh great, I can hear the public now- "Oh, look, honey, a record
      not sold in stores from some band no one has ever heard of-get out the checkbook while I write down the toll-free number!" Needless to say, the record company folded within the following year.

      6) Just because you have a hit record doesn't mean you're going to get rich. Just watch the "where are they now" or "one hit wonders" shows on the music channels to see what I mean.

      7) Just because your friends and family think that your songs are really really really good doesn't mean they in fact are.

      8) Bands who make it and stay on top for awhile all have that "something extra" that is an undefinable quality. Once you meet some of these people and (by some incredible stroke of fortune) get to play with them, you will see that while maybe what they do on record sounds easy enough to duplicate, it's the live show that is what makes them what they are.

      9) Get a backup plan. I can't tell you how many musicians (myself included) who, when younger, had everone in the world telling them how wonderful they were and how anyone with a set of ears could tell they were going to be big stars, just stay with it, bla bla bla. That's fine; they aren't the ones sleeping in the car or eating cans of tuna fish. Get a degree in something or at least a trade school for a couple of years. You'd be surprised at how many guys get disillusioned at 30 or so, meet a beautiful woman (who 9 times out of 10 wants her man home helping raise kids) get married, and now want to settle down but realize they can't earn more than 10 bucks an hour working at Guitar Center or hanging drywall, and have no insurance, no retirement...It happens WAY more than you think, though most young players driven by success never want to entertain the possibility that they may not make it.

      10) Even if you do everything right-good songs, charismatic stage persona, a good following, etc etc-there's still no guarantee you'll make it. It still comes down to being in the right place at the right time, meeting the right guy who works for the right company who can get your stuff to the right other guy....it's an entirely subjective process, and only takes one rejection in the link to get plopped unceremoniously back to square one. It's something like winning the lottery- you can prepare and increase your odds by buying a thousand tickets, but chance still plays the winning hand in the deal.

      Sorry this is so long, but I just get tired of seeing so many defeated musicians give up because they had no idea what they were getting themselves into or setting themselves up for. There is a huge area between just getting started and being a superstar that one can live in quite comfortably, and play a hell of a lot of music as well, if one keeps their expectations in the realm of reality. As the old cliche says, "Hey, it's s journey, not a destination".

      Enjoy the ride while it lasts.

      (edited for typos, of which there were many)
      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

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      • #4
        I think the REAL question is:

        What do you define as "success"?
        Live Fast.....
        Die Young.....
        Leave a Good Looking Corpse....

        Comment


        • #5
          Another idea (but 1st, a big hand for Bluestrat's MANY excellent suggestions!) is, at the risk of using what is becoming an enormously over-used catch-phrase, to not be afraid to "think outside the box"...

          Case in point: For years I hustled after bar-gigs, just like everyone else, with only average results...never made all that much $$ and had to put up with a lot of BS in the process. Why? Because everyone else was hustling for the same gigs, so bar-owner's sole criterion was who'll work cheapest while making them the most dinero. Simple economics, really.

          This went on for years, until one day I was approached about performing at a local restaurant. As my band had just broken up (again), I thought, "Hmmmm...a solo gig...Why not?"...At the end of that evening, the owner handed over $75 ($25 more than I'd asked for!) and asked me if I was available again in 3 weeks, his next opening. Naturally, I said, "Sure!"...after counting my tip-jar money, I figured out that I'd made considerably more in 2 hours than I'd made playing a two-nighter/5-hour-per-night bar gig a few weekends before!

          The following Monday I was burning up the phone lines, calling every restaurant I could think of! Then, I started thinking of where else I might play solo for $$$, which led to nursing/retirement homes, hospitals, schools, etc.

          Now, my "day jobs" finance my solo/occassional trio gigs, at restaurants, coffeehouses & festivals, which in turn allows me to sell my CDs and cassettes, bumper stickers and other swag.

          So, my point is to never be afraid of trying something other than the way everyone else does things!
          God(s) bless the rest of the world(s), too

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Adan_V
            I think the REAL question is:

            What do you define as "success"?
            My definition of "success" is in my initial post. Classical rockstar success.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by joestanman
              My definition of "success" is in my initial post. Classical rockstar success.


              Okay, but some musicians would define success differently.

              Take me for example. The only thing I really want is to have my band well established in our city and to tour all of the world continents.

              I play music that never comes on the radio (Metal). but I dont care about gaining "rockstar status". I just want to play for the people who come to my shows, not matter how big or small. And I just want to see the world.
              Live Fast.....
              Die Young.....
              Leave a Good Looking Corpse....

              Comment


              • #8
                Blue, I loved your post. Very insightful and way too accurate.

                I notice that Adan V stated the one thing I tell any band that I work with. Define "Success" before you ever start. Adan's got the right idea by what he terms as success. If he just wants to play for his local community and eventually would like to play all over the world as a future idea, then that would be a success to him, but not necessarily to you. My personal idea of success is being able to make enough money to pay my house payment and the bills and that's it. I don't have to be rich, in money, because I am rich in music.

                One thing that I also suggest to bands that I work with, second to defining "success" for themselves is to plan it out and be realistic of those plans. I knew a drummer for a band a couple years ago that told me one day that their band was going to be the next P.O.D. and that they would be big within the next year. That was two years ago and they are still in their own studio, trying to cut their own CD. What happened there? They didn't plan things out before they made their comment on becoming successful. The second problem was, they weren't working at it. The drummer came to me one day and I asked him, before he even said anything to me, "What did you do last night to make it?" He replied, "Nothing." To me, that explains why he's still not anywhere two years later.

                One thing that BlueStrat hit on, but didn't nail down is sacrifice. The part about 30 years old, getting married and all that is very accurate, but to be able to truly make it, you are going to have to sacrifice something, somewhere along the way. What that sacrifice is going to be, I don't know as it is different for each person. Could it be a decent job with a promising future? It could be a relationship that you truly want to be in (spending time with your girlfriend). Whenever the time comes, you will have to view the decision and see which weighs more in your life, this thing, or your music.

                Whichever it is, I wish you the best of luck.
                www.fogministries.com

                They're all colors in a crayon box. - TAS

                There's nothing sadder than a non-conformist conforming to the standards of non-conformity. - Switch

                The journey of 1,000 miles begins with one step. -Confusious
                The trip of 1,000 miles begins with one misstep. -Me

                Comment


                • #9
                  Well written Blue. Soundz like you have been in this game for a while. But newbies to the business/game remember something else Blue wrote:

                  "Enjoy the ride while it lasts"

                  Despite all the crap you may experience along the way of whatever you consider success you should be having a blast on the climb up.

                  Also there are many people who do consider them successfull musicians, if they can do it so can you.
                  www.joybasu.com

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    read up on Aleister Crowley and his thoughts on soul power...you don't have to become a disciple of his, but from Jimmy Page to the Beatles to Ozzy, they understood the transcedant qualities of our souls and how music can be a very powerful form of magic...and they understood a great deal about the life of Aleister Crowley.

                    good luck!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Once again blue strat leaves me with very little to add. Excellent advice.

                      And I agree -- enjoy the ride while it lasts, but realize that you've got a snowball's chance in hell of it lasting for any great length of time. I may not be a rock star now, but I got to do some great stuff while I was pursuing it, and met some really cool people.

                      I can't remember who said it, but when it comes to chasing a dream it's better to regret what you did than what you didn't.
                      Homebrew CD reviews at LoveLaborMusic.com
                      My musical adventures
                      The Drum Programming tutorial
                      Stuff for sale/trade

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                      • #12
                        yes, I too enjoyed Bluestrats sensible advice...that's why I came from left field on the Crowley thing.

                        It doesnt have to be a study of his life, just the idea of how music is the last vestige of old magic left to us from the time before time (the Sumerians).

                        It helps to have a frontman with an old soul and a young spirit and the awareness that a band is a symbol for something beyond the music. Something tangible an audience can hold onto and never let go from memory, even if its just a memory of a show (or a timeless album cover).

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Taurus
                          yes, I too enjoyed Bluestrats sensible advice...that's why I came from left field on the Crowley thing.

                          It doesnt have to be a study of his life, just the idea of how music is the last vestige of old magic left to us from the time before time (the Sumerians).

                          It helps to have a frontman with an old soul and a young spirit and the awareness that a band is a symbol for something beyond the music. Something tangible an audience can hold onto and never let go from memory, even if its just a memory of a show (or a timeless album cover).


                          Interesting....don't know much about Crowley, but as a practicing Boshedai, I am aware of the Magickal (as opposed to "magical") aspects of music...

                          Can you suggest any books/websites?

                          Tyhanks!
                          God(s) bless the rest of the world(s), too

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Well, since you ask...I should prolly contribute with a little more clarity.

                            for joestanman, our 22 year-old friend...I don't mean to sound presumptious but I can't help but wonder what YOu think success is in the business...and I can't help but figure you may fall into the current MTV trap:

                            being cute (not necessarily great looking, but that Sum 41, Good Charlotte, Blink-182 image over music stuff)
                            singing like Chino (of the Deftones, he's good, all the others trying to be him suck).
                            appealing exclusively to the pre-pubescent - high school age range.

                            MTV are sycophants...once a great band with the force of their will bust through the current blandness of what's popular in rock today, MTV will come crawling behind, sneak up on it, then claim it for themselves as they sift along with the movement.

                            be it Alchemy, Thelemy, Gnosticism, Christianity, Buddism, Wicca, Freemasonry, Shamanism, ROCK n' ROLL, each of these philosophies (if you will) honor the power of the self with an emphasis on an awareness on our spirits interaction with the world. Find what works for you, but BE YOU!!! Don't be like the Chino wanna-be's, to be consistent with one example.

                            that being said (and forgive me if that's a little lucid), some suggestions:

                            Goethe's Faust (an amazing fable on humanities 'deal with the devil')

                            Do a google search on Crowley, starting lurking around. Once, to prove his power to skeptical friends, he pointed to a man across the street who had a peculiar walk. He went across the street behind the man and started mimicking the man's walk and mannerisms. Crowley then tripped himself up and fell to the ground and the man, who was walking ahead of Crowley unaware of the mimicking, tripped by himself and fell to the ground as well.

                            Crowley is no saint in my eyes however...He was married numerous times with each wife either killing themselves or having a nervous breakdown. His death was something of a mystery and rather gruesome (if you're interested, check it out).

                            Rennaissance Tarot: that's the title. the author's name excapes me. Not for the purpose of doing the cards but for reading up on the characters of the numbers. A fool's journey through transformation, purification, ascending conciousness, soul travel, yadda, yadda, blah, bhal. :P

                            and, Im not trying to convert anyone here and Im not affiliated with the band or even that big of a fan, but The Smashing Pumpkins last album Machina: the Machines of God, was essentially a complex fable that largely drew a flat response from most die-hard Pumpkin fans. Truth is, its an over the top portrayal of the band as cosmic preachers and after my curiosity was peaked by the wonderful art work of that album, I visisted the symbols forum on the official web-site and was astonished to see experimental telepathic threads...

                            which leads me to this book:

                            Upton Sinclair - Mental Radio. scientific study of the potential of our brain/mind. Fascinating read.

                            the tradition of the original symbols search that started on that Pumpkins forum is carried on in this web-site:

                            http://zwanonline.ipbhost.com/index.php?showforum=17

                            its not the resourse it once was, but many interesting topics remain. Rumor has it Sony was observing the original Puumpkins site and deemed the telepathic experiments and other ventures was getting a little too organized and they pulled the plug on the site...one never knows but I wouldn't be surprised if true.

                            and last but not least, from PBS: Frontline: the merchants of cool.

                            http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/cool/

                            detailed report on how the powers that be do what they do in regards to music marketing.

                            and read Bluestrats reply again.

                            mix it all up, shake and bake, cook it your own way. right on man, rock on!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              what? this is getting pretty de-railed from my original intent. I kinda figured it would though. If you want to re define success for yourself thats fine. There may be some correlation between what I see as success, and what might be on "MTV" or whatever, but thats not my fault. Im not blindly thinking rockstar dreams are going to come true. As much as you may want to think thats what im driving at, im not.

                              1) I have a back up plan. [A public relations degree from a big 12 school]

                              2) I have NO desire to be in a bar band.

                              3) I have NO desire to be in a cover band, wedding band, jazz quartet etc...

                              I dont fault anyone for wanting success in another capacity. If you are happy with a different definition of musical happiness, then im thrilled for you! Lots of people get off on playing guitar at little jazz clubs one night a month, and thats cool as hell. However...

                              My definition for myself, of what I would consider a successful career is: Being able to tour the majority of the time, play for some good crowds and play overseas. Sure, thats what a lot of young musicians want... Nothing else to ME, will be what I consider "success". Pretty classic equation, so I was just wondering if there were any people in the same situation/frame of mind as me, and if they had any advice on staying optimistic and positive.

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