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sventvkg

What Do Musicians do When they Get Older?

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All of us know some all in musicians who went at it but never had the success they had hoped for. Somewhere around the late 50's to about 60 is where I have seen musicians who had previously toured and gigged a lot, start losing opportunities and begin to have less gigs available to them. Most of them have also never saved, had no retirement, etc. In fact the only ones that I know who are doing well either had some success when they were younger and invested but i'm not talking about them. In the group I'm referring to, the only older musicians that I know that have a pot to piss in really have wives that had careers that allowed them to have a pension, insurance, buy and pay off a house etc.

 

This topic is very timely here as there have been various references here to it in other threads so I thought I would start one. I'm interested in a discussion of ideas for musicians that come to this point, as to where they go from there? I mean what the hell do these guys do? Start businesses, reinvent themselves? Gig part time and move to mexico where it's cheap? I'm sure we all have stories of people we know and our own ideas.

 

I will say that the really talented and skilled guys I know that are around that age started to lose gigs and since they were always full time, they didn't really have other careers and when things dried up for these guys they basically stopped working. Their wives either still worked or if they were single..well there were a couple sad cases where guys i know had to move in with kids, friends or relatives. This is some scary shit!!! So what do ya do if you hit that point? My sense is that we should all try to plan for that by saving, living lean, no debt. Thats really all I have. What do you say?

 

 

Eidt: Let me add that I read an interview with Francis Ford Coppolla where he said his wine business totally finances his artistic work. He is doing everything independently these days so the wine business takes care of funding it, not studios. he goes on to say that maybe in the future artists will have to have some other form of income to subsidize their art, and now the last 40 years or so in Music and 100 or so in Film were an anomaly. Before that artists didn't make much money and had to do other things to support their art. He thinks we are going back to that and smart artists will do what he has done. I think he's on to something.

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Fortunately for me, my wife has a great job with healthcare, vision and dental benefits, and while we still have to pay for it, it isn't much compared to what it would be without it. She's always made good money and has been very gracious and supportive about me following the dream. I the past 6 or 7 years I gave up trying to make any kind of go a it, but I'm the guy you're talking about- forced to do what I know, which is construction, a career I kept because of the flexibility it allowed me to come and go and set my own hours. Today, no one wants to hire a soon-to-be 56 year old guy who dropped out of college to go all in with music. Especially not in this down economy. Retraining? Sure, but again, even had I started a program at age 50, the chances of getting a job would have been small, and getting smaller.

 

There are still solo gigs here and there, but as I get older, more and more younger guys are coming into their late 30s and early 40s and taking those gigs. I've had to work harder learning new material, not necessarily current, but fresh. I work on my playing a lot, as age tends to make the muscles not work as well and technique starts to slide rapidly if you don't stay on top of it. I've seen quite a few guys my age and older just disappear from playing because they reached a certain point and quit working a t, and found out they couldn't keep up or that no one wanted to book them anymore. My former duo partner is like that-62 years old, and figures that since he teaches guitar to beginners, that's all the practice he needs, and then complains that he can't get a gig. I told him he needed to work harder than ever if he wanted to be marketable. He just says "well, shit, between that and teaching, that's all I'd be doing!" Yes, it is. It sucks to get old, but whe th body starts to go, you have to work harder to make it do what you want it to.

 

I will probably never be able to retire, because I don't have any retirement. I'm not counting on Social Security, and really, if the government was smart, they'd raise the retirement age to at least 70 anyway. (that's a whole 'nother argument I only bring up as an aside) but as my dad used to say, "if you think the government will take care of you, look what they did for the Indian!" We could argue for months about how thins should be, but I'm more interested i taking them as they are. And the reality is, I'll have to keep cutting up pieces of wood and nailing them together until I drop, and hopefully I'll have gigs until that happens, too. In the meantime, I want to devote what time I have left to helping other young folks with anything I'm able to, run around the country on my motorcycle, hopefully see Ireland some day, and after that I can call it a pretty good life.

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I'm 55 years old and play four gigs per week. I also do weddings and corporate gigs.

 

I don't play songs for the young. I play tunes that older people enjoy. They have the money and they like what I do.

 

I will do it for as long as I can.

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Fortunately for me, my wife has a great job with healthcare, vision and dental benefits, and while we still have to pay for it, it isn't much compared to what it would be without it. She's always made good money and has been very gracious and supportive about me following the dream.

 

This is the exact situation I'm in too.

 

I had been playing in bands since I was 18. The last band...I was playing in a cover band (in Chicago) that worked about 170-180 days out of the year. And, while the gig was professional, work was steady and the income good, after 2 years of that, it turned into one long tour without a break. Every single weekend taken up, no time for friends/hobbies and, barely any time for my marriage. Add to that, very little time for original projects etc. Combine all of that, with 19 years of playing in numerous bands, years of paying dues, and it's like being stuck in the minor leagues.

 

So, after much trepidation, I gave notice, relocated closer to family, bought a house and started school full-time. I've never looked back since. On the one hand, sure, I miss playing music, but what I really miss the most is the creative outlet; writing songs, recording etc. Playing music just to make a living isn't worth the sacrifice to me anymore. I'm 37 now, and even though I could've probably played for another 10-12 years, I didn't want to end up in the broke/no-longer-viable group of unemployed musicians. I know guys like that too. Most are extremely bitter and have nothing but contempt written all over their face. No thanks.

 

In hindsight, I feel very fortunate to have even had the chance and the support from my family to pursue music like I did. Even though I never "made it", I still feel fortunate to have made a living at music in any capacity.

 

And sventvkg...

 

+1 what you said about Copolla subsidizing his art. Most musicians would benefit greatly in getting a business degree of some sort.

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What do you call a musician with no girlfriend?

 

Homeless....

 

 

Seriously, I know far too many players way more talented than I who are middle aged and broke, no prospects, no nothing.

 

I stayed in school, got a career in electronics/engineering that goes quite well with my playing, and I've had the same level of (non) success playing area bars and clubs as others I know who quit school to pursue their "dream".

 

I'm sure in the next ten years or so I'll be playing the "old man" bars not the clubs with 20 something year old girls bopping around......

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So far old musicians lose viability, lose gigs, most get bitter and end up broke and barely surviving. This has been my experience as well. Really Really makes you think, doesn't it? Anyone successfully transition to something else?

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I almost got caught up in the "dream" - joining or forming a band with a stacked line-up, that plays a wide variety of hits from past and present, note for note, and causes the bar patrons to mistake the band for the actual jukebox. Getting management, and playing 2 or 3 gigs a week for thousands of dollars each, so no one has to "work for a living."

 

I listen to my more experienced counterparts, and I'm going for the full benefits and eventual retirement. I'm only 28; they've been through it all and have much wisdom to pass down.

 

I've heard a lot of people preach the whole "Forget what you're doing 10-20 years down the line, man, it's all about what's in here *pounds heart*," but it seems you at least need to plan for the future.

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Sadly I know too many in this situation. And it isn't just musicians...road managers, soundguys, lighting guys...there comes a time when they know they are not gonna make another round trip. Some are lucky enough to pick up some studio work here, but most are working clerical temp jobs, temp warehouse, etc. The saddest part is when these guys sell off gear they have owned for decades...and some of it has not held it's valuse, and some has definitely gone 'vintage'. The money is not enough, though; you can see the sadness in their eyes when you ask what happened to your such-and-such, and they say, I had to sell it off to pay for the dentist, doctor, rent, car insurance, etc.

 

In many ways, they lived the life I gave up on early in my musical career, when I found out that I was not cut out to be a sideman on the road...and I didn't think (correctly at that time) that I was strong enough to front my own band then. I see these guys with great roadwarrior tales, letting their Bluesbreakers go, selling off their mid sixties Strats, Teles...SGs...Twin Reverbs...and think to myself, dang...that was the tradeoff in life, look at that great gear they accumulated...but some of them won't even qualify for Social Security because they worked under the table for decades.

A few I know have managed to get union gigs in Vegas shows, a couple are 'fillers' in Branson. Having worked in and out of the biz for nearly forty years here in a number of different capacities, I think all told, I may have made the right decision back then. I don't play as much as I would like, but I get paid well when I do. I still get 'sideman' calls occassionally, but ususally I pass unless it is someone I really know and like playing with...a luxury my aforementioned peers don't have. Music is a cruel mistress...

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Well isn't this a depressing little thread. Just to play devil's advocate, the guys who are making a strong living in the music biz aren't in here discussing matters with the amateurs. They're too busy making a living. But I wouldn't encourage any young person to go into the music business unless they knew exactly what they wanted and it was a realistic goal, like learning how to design and fix electronics or teach music. Personally, I'm glad as hell that I went the college route because I'm set. I'm not rich, I'm very middle class, but I'm financially secure. I think it's a lot more fun to do music when you don't HAVE to do it. But that's me.

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Yea i'm interested in people we may know and maybe people those people may know. As a professional, one of the few on these forums who makes all my money via music, I have lots of stories of successful musicians who are able to survive when they get older but I must admit, I have more stories of the ones that didn't. And those are the really sad ones. I remember in my mid 20's when it hit me..I'm NOT going to end up old, broke, bitter, playing in a corner of some dive bar with no other options. At that point, that's future I was seeing with all the stubborn older pro's who didn't know when to give up and start doing other things in their 40's...Scared the fucking shit out of me to the point of paralysis for a good 5 years in my late 20's-mid 30's. I didn't have faith in the future and I tried to do other things.. Silicon Valley job in the late 90's, back to school, etc..Finally realized I could have success and it's been great since then but..It's NEVER too far from the back of my mind what CAN happen and I will tell you this. If things don't work out the way I hope in the next 10 years, i'm going to have to cut out for something more secure as well. I'm not much into the American Way of Life..Being house poor, debt, car payments, etc ..Working to live..I'll probably take back off to other places in the world, play my guitar in cantina's, hike, fish, travel explore, and just vagabond around..I don't see myself working some job unless it's production work within music..It just feels like I would be working to have a home, waiting around to die..I can't see that happening for me. ...What's the point? Get a job doing something you don't give a shit about, so you can pay your bills, eat, keep a roof over your head and gas money, so you can go to work to make money to, have a house, car, food etc...just a big circle jerk of ignorance if you ask me...I would rather be hiking Machu Picchu or playing some cafe in Buenos Aires, Copenhagen, or spending a couple months Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, etc...It's all doable..Anyway, i'm going WAY WAY off here but you get my point. The way I see it is if I should fail at music, then I'm going to end up hating having to do anything else anyway so i'm fucked!...Failure is NOT an option for me. It's all about #WINNING I guess :))))

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Yea i'm interested in people we may know and maybe people those people may know. As a professional, one of the few on these forums who makes all my money via music, I have lots of stories of successful musicians who are able to survive when they get older but I must admit, I have more stories of the ones that didn't. And those are the really sad ones. I remember in my mid 20's when it hit me..I'm NOT going to end up old, broke, bitter, playing in a corner of some dive bar with no other options. At that point, that's future I was seeing with all the stubborn older pro's who didn't know when to give up and start doing other things in their 40's...Scared the fucking shit out of me to the point of paralysis for a good 5 years in my late 20's-mid 30's. I didn't have faith in the future and I tried to do other things.. Silicon Valley job in the late 90's, back to school, etc..Finally realized I could have success and it's been great since then but..It's NEVER too far from the back of my mind what CAN happen and I will tell you this. If things don't work out the way I hope in the next 10 years, i'm going to have to cut out for something more secure as well. I'm not much into the American Way of Life..Being house poor, debt, car payments, etc ..Working to live..I'll probably take back off to other places in the world, play my guitar in cantina's, hike, fish, travel explore, and just vagabond around..I don't see myself working some job unless it's production work within music..It just feels like I would be working to have a home, waiting around to die..I can't see that happening for me. ...What's the point? Get a job doing something you don't give a shit about, so you can pay your bills, eat, keep a roof over your head and gas money, so you can go to work to make money to, have a house, car, food etc...just a big circle jerk of ignorance if you ask me...I would rather be hiking Machu Picchu or playing some cafe in Buenos Aires, Copenhagen, or spending a couple months Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, etc...It's all doable..Anyway, i'm going WAY WAY off here but you get my point. The way I see it is if I should fail at music, then I'm going to end up hating having to do anything else anyway so i'm fucked!...Failure is NOT an option for me. It's all about #WINNING I guess
:)
)))

 

Well... if you get a job doing something you like, you don't have those problems. You also don't have to worry about "failing" at music, because you can't fail... you just continue to make music. I think that one of the most important things you can do is life is to find something that you enjoy doing and do that as your job. I think a lot of people don't accomplish that. I feel really lucky to have a career that I enjoy. Life is too short to do something 8 hours a day that you hate, I agree with you, and yes, a whole lot of people out there do it. They probably feel like they don't have a choice.

 

Lots of musicians say that there IS nothing else that they could do that they'd possibly like. I think without exception that they're wrong. They just haven't discovered the other things the world has to offer that they could do, or they've closed their minds off to the possibility. This sets them up for failure and problems with self worth when they inevitably don't make it, and can kill their love of music. Seen it happen to a whole lot of people. It happened to me.

 

Like I said, tons of people hate their jobs. I went through 5 careers before I found something I really enjoyed doing. I think some people go through life and they don't find something and that's just the way it is. Or they find something but it doesn't pay or doesn't work out for them. Writing is another example. Painting, any kind of art, same deal. It is a travesty to think that you can only be ONE THING. If you tie your sense of self worth to music, you're fucked. We all want that one thing that makes us special. It's a sham... we're already special. We're already one of a kind.

 

When I was in high school in the early 80's no one ever talked to me about career choices. All they wanted to know was if I was going to go to college or not. Now we hit them as early as 12 and we talk about different careers and what's out there, and we keep talking to them, and we still end up with seniors who have no clue or concept what they want to do. But a strange thing is starting to happen... kids are starting to pay more and more attention now. Probably because they have a parent who got canned or they know some other adult who lost their job.

 

The fact is that making a living via original music is almost impossible now and it's just going to get harder and harder. It's hard enough finding ANY job. Making a living as any kind of musician is going to get harder. And just because people want to do it ever so badly doesn't mean that it's going to happen. This is the cold hard reality of the situation.

 

You shouldn't sell yourself short. There are probably a million things that you could be good at AND still do music. You have options.

 

Sorry - you didn't ask for a lecture. It's just that I used to feel the exact same way and when I didn't make it in music it crushed me and it took me several years to learn to love music again.

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I think If I fail to make sustainable money in songwriting and production, I'll either open a cafe/bistro that features killer singer songwriter's and environment and the best home made food, or i'm going to finally put out my World's Greatest Chocolate Ice Cream!

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I think If I fail to make sustainable money in songwriting and production, I'll either open a cafe/bistro that features killer singer songwriter's and environment and the best home made food, or i'm going to finally put out my World's Greatest Chocolate Ice Cream!

 

You know, I've thought about that too- opening a venue for singer/songwriter/ roots /americana groups. Even if by 'opening' it, it means convincing someone else to use their place and I'd just help book it and promote the crap out of it.

 

What got me thinking about it again is these guys:

 

www.coatesmusic.net

 

Here's their CL ad:

 

We are a folk/rock band from the Seattle/Tacoma area and we are eventually coming to Spokane and Coeur D'Alene on tour. What are the best venues to play around here that feature local, original music? We like to stick to bars and clubs but wouldn't be opposed to a coffee shop if nothing else came up. We are looking for a spot that there might be a little bit of a built-in crowd although we're not hoping for miracles. You can listen at coatesmusic.net THANK YOU!
:)

 

It's sad that they got not one response that I'm aware of and I can't think of a sinlge venue around here that would be worth their while. I think they're quite good.

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Might be worth a shot, but the hospitality industry can be just as cut-throat. Just like there's the "rock star" dream in music there's the "I'll be Emeril" and just like there's the "I'll go for being a regional act" there's the "I'll just open a little place" --it's tough tough tough.

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Might be worth a shot, but the hospitality industry can be just as cut-throat. Just like there's the "rock star" dream in music there's the "I'll be Emeril" and just like there's the "I'll go for being a regional act" there's the "I'll just open a little place" --it's tough tough tough.

 

 

yes, it is tough. It always sounds easier than it is. Still, I see a growth and resurgence in Americana/folk music around here, with alot of guys like me doing it solo, and the gal I just started playing with doing it with a band, but few places to play it. One venue she booked us into requested that we learn some covers- not real popular ones, and we're free to put our own spin on them, but they're just afraid to froll the dice on an all original Americana act. This entire area is either classic rock cover bands all playing the same basic set lists ( actually, two types- 60s-70s dinosaur rock and 80s-90s and newer) or blues bands that really play blues-based rock or a mix of blues and classic rock. That's about it. I think there could be a good niche audience for good neo-folk Americana music. If I could get 150 people a weekend to come out, it would be a great thing.

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I'm 55 years old and play four gigs per week. I also do weddings and corporate gigs.


I don't play songs for the young. I play tunes that older people enjoy. They have the money and they like what I do.


I will do it for as long as I can.

 

Nice.

 

That is what I would consider a very successful career.

 

I'm curious though.. I'd love to know this. Why don't all the other musicians on the forum have the same schedule and success as this person? I'm just curious.

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Nice.


That is what I would consider a very successful career.


I'm curious though.. I'd love to know this. Why don't all the other musicians on the forum have the same schedule and success as this person? I'm just curious.

 

 

Location

style of music

desire

Venue availability

number of bands/performers vs number of venues

 

I play 4-12 nights a month. I play with 3 bands and do a solo. Every band is different, and so is the solo gig.

 

Maybe if you actually played any gigs you'd know this.

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60 next still gigging semi pro, I`ll finish when I die, financially probably got enough to get me through providing I don`t live too far past 100, then I`ll have to rely on the kids for handouts, just hope my care home has a studio

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You know, I've thought about that too- opening a venue for singer/songwriter/ roots /americana groups. Even if by 'opening' it, it means convincing someone else to use their place and I'd just help book it and promote the crap out of it.


What got me thinking about it again is these guys:


www.coatesmusic.net


Here's their CL ad:




It's sad that they got not one response that I'm aware of and I can't think of a sinlge venue around here that would be worth their while. I think they're quite good.

 

Yea man. There are a bunch of places like that across the country and I've played quite a few:) Hey my cousin does this kind of thing in CA and gets some pretty major artists. I think he hosts it a place that isn't his but it's his show. Check this out: http://www.talesfromthetavern.com/home.html

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I play 4-12 nights a month

 

That's VERY good! In urban there are no shows for us. At all. No such thing as a gig. No amateur space at all.

 

I personally feel that's doing very good.

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Nice.


That is what I would consider a very successful career.


I'm curious though.. I'd love to know this. Why don't all the other musicians on the forum have the same schedule and success as this person? I'm just curious.

 

I HATED Being a cover musician. I felt FALSE because I consider myself an artist, not an imitator. I used to try to rationalize it by saying, "well at least i'm making a living" but I would cry alone in my truck on the way home from gigs..More times than I care to admit. Eventually i ended up canning the band thing, went solo and played ONLY stuff I liked and just started doing 50% of my own stuff..Worked as much or more than ever, made a livng played all the states, Islands, Europe, etc..Now mind you, I played FULL time 4-6 gigs a week for 20 years..Not bragging, but I did and had to do it to survive...I don't make a big thing about it because it's never what I wanted to do and the time I spent doing that although it built my chops, helped my performance and taught me what a good song was, ended making me resent it. It was time wasted that I could have been pursuing some success with my own music. Now i'm doing that and I've never been happier. I haven't played a gig since September but I do plan on getting out there again a few times a month solo for $$..Some cover/original mixed stuff...I'm also pursuing shows around the Nashville area that are original based both solo and band..Again, everyone's goals are different. I never found it hard to gig as much as I wanted to but it made me more miserable as the years went on until I finally couldn't take it anymore.

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That's VERY good! In urban there are no shows for us. At all. No such thing as a gig. No amateur space at all.


I personally feel that's doing very good.

 

get creative online. Build a name via Youtube and social networking which will take working it all day everyday for anything from months to a couple years. Start doing UStream live shows streamed live over the web. Just get creative and don't use the fact that you are in Urban as a crutch. CREAT a gig for yourself!

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That's VERY good! In urban there are no shows for us. At all. No such thing as a gig. No amateur space at all.


I personally feel that's doing very good.

 

Well, it's good for around here, but I have to hustle to make it happen. Like I said, play with 3-4 bands, do solo stuff, and try to work a day job that has fallen of a lot lately because of the economy. If I get offered a gig, I have to check with all my guys before I confirm it because they freelance too- you have to if you're going to play much. That's the new reality in music for a lot of us. A band whose members only plays their own gigs are lucky to be booked one or two weekends a month. You can get a lot of weeknight work doing solo gigs. If you play with more than one band, you have a better chance of being busy. In April May and June so far I have 10 weekends booked, a Sunday festival duo gig, and 7 weeknight dates.

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Nice.


That is what I would consider a very successful career.


I'm curious though.. I'd love to know this. Why don't all the other musicians on the forum have the same schedule and success as this person? I'm just curious.

 

Really?

 

OK... I see Sean already responded to this, and I'll read his after I type mine. To see how similar/different our answers are.

 

I want many, many things out of this big wonderful life. I have many, many goals. Some of my goals might be similar to other people, some might be seen as shallow, self-centered, or vain. It's OK because I don't give a rat's ass what other people think of my goals. And my goals are not other people's goals. Here's an ever so brief list:

 

• I want a steady stable job with benefits and retirements so that I never have to worry (much) about money. X

• I want to find a wonderful beautiful sweet woman who will love me even though I'm not perfect. X

• With that goes sex. X

• I want to end up in a job where I go to work each day looking forward to the day's challenges and I have fun AND I do something important for society. X

• I want to have a couple of great kids that I can kid around with, be there for, laugh at Bugs Bunny cartoons with, teach, and enjoy. X

• I want to go to football games, concerts, take vacations, have fun with my family and friends. X

• I want to live someplace where it doesn't snow, where the weather kicks ass, where I can go to a beach or pool any time I want. X

• I want to exercise and be able to run on any given day a 5k in less than 30 minutes (so I will live longer.) X

• I want to eat right but enjoy what I eat (so I will live longer.) X

• I want to write and release educational software. X

• I want to be able to afford, within reason, whatever music gear I feel I need to make music. X

• I want to record and release my own CD's and do whatever the hell I want on them with no one telling me what to do. X

• I want to develop a small but loyal following to my music and have at least 100 people (not counting relatives) who will care when I release new music. (no check)

• I want to write a book. (no check)

 

I hate doing this exercise because it sounds like bragging, but you have NO idea how hard I worked to get to this point in my life. I'm REALLY happy. As you can see, music is one little unchecked box on my list. Life should be about way more than just music. Doesn't mean music isn't important. It's all important. Anyway, if I were in a cover band, I would not consider myself successful because it doesn't meet my first and fourth bullet points. But for someone else, their bullet points are different, and performing in a cover band is exactly what they want to do. We're not put on this earth to judge other people's bullet lists. Each must make his own list and follow his own path.

 

This sort of also explains why I'm not killing myself to get those 100 fans. Hmm. If it were more important to me I guess I'd work harder at it. I might have to think about that.

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I HATED Being a cover musician. I felt FALSE because I consider myself an artist, not an imitator. I used to try to rationalize it by saying, "well at least i'm making a living" but I would cry alone in my truck on the way home from gigs..More times than I care to admit. Eventually i ended up canning the band thing, went solo and played ONLY stuff I liked and just started doing 50% of my own stuff..Worked as much or more than ever, made a livng played all the states, Islands, Europe, etc..Now mind you, I played FULL time 4-6 gigs a week for 20 years..Not bragging, but I did and had to do it to survive...I don't make a big thing about it because it's never what I wanted to do and the time I spent doing that although it built my chops, helped my performance and taught me what a good song was, ended making me resent it. It was time wasted that I could have been pursuing some success with my own music. Now i'm doing that and I've never been happier. I haven't played a gig since September but I do plan on getting out there again a few times a month solo for $$..Some cover/original mixed stuff...I'm also pursuing shows around the Nashville area that are original based both solo and band..Again, everyone's goals are different. I never found it hard to gig as much as I wanted to but it made me more miserable as the years went on until I finally couldn't take it anymore.

 

You HAVE to enjoy what you do or it's like a big thing is missing in your life, you know it? Your experience is I think the experience of a lot of people, but they do it in different ways. I mean, I tried to take the "safe" route with college and careers and all, but I'm going to tell you that I did not get my "dream" job until I was 40 years old. Everything else I did was putting in time until I could get to the job I have now. My current job did not exist when I was a senior in high school, and no one would have anticipated it.

 

I didn't go into audio recording or playing covers or teaching music for a similar reason as you - but not because I thought it was false, but because I really wasn't interested in doing it. I've given lessons before, but I didn't like it. I've sold instruments, didn't like it, done the DJ thing, didn't like it, played covers in a band, didn't like it, recorded other bands, didn't like it. Did live sound, didn't like it. If you don't like your job, it doesn't matter what it is, you shouldn't be doing it... unless there's a big payoff at the end, such as you getting a job you do like. Which is why original artists are willing to put up with all the shit they put up with, because the potential payoff at the end is being able to make a living doing what you love (original music.)

 

If you put a gun to my head and said "Suppose you could compose music and make the same money and have the same financial security, benefits, and retirement as your current job... what would you do?" That's really tough. Because what I do right now is really freaking cool. I'd probably keep the job I have now. Because songwriting to me is not all that fun... it's a painful process. I do it because I feel the need to do it. And right I now I get paid to play with Legos and build things. Well, not really... I design or implement educational software solutions for a large school district. So I get to write code, create scripts, create software, work with vendors like Apple and Google, design and roll out systems and projects and 70,000 students use them. I also help schools with puzzles - when they have a puzzle they can' solve, I solve it for them. Not really... they have issues with their servers and I do the troubleshooting. And I find what they did wrong and I fix it and suddenly 1,000 kids can now get their work done. It's like I'm 12 and I'm taking that tape recorder apart, seeing how it works, and putting it back together again. But getting paid and doing something important. I work with one of my best friends and we crack jokes all day long.

 

(OK, it ain't all rainbows and puppies. I sometimes have to deal with absolute morons who don't check to see if servers are turned on before they call. But live is imperfect.)

 

However, I fully understand that I don't have that drive that some other people have. Some people would much rather write music. And that's fine. Do I consider myself any less of a songwriter because I find it difficult and don't feel the drive that others do? Honestly no, because that would mean I was comparing myself to other songwriters, and I don't bother doing that. Am I less serious about music than others? Definitely. Do I wish I were more serious about it? No. Was I way more serious about it when I was 20? Oh God yes. Did my love of music fade as I got older? Definitely. Am I sad about this? For a while I was very sad about it, but then I realized that I was letting music define me... that's ALL I was to myself, and as my desire to play music faded, so did my opinion of myself. And I'm so much more than that. And I got wicked depressed and it wasn't until I realized what was happening that I was able to turn my life around and end up happier than I'd ever been.

 

I feel like I'm in therapy. Hello, my name is Richard, and I'm a reformed musician. There are a whole lot of men and women out there in their 40's and 50's who went through what I'm describing but never got over it. I could probably open a clinic and hire professionals to treat these people. Or write a thesis on it and get my Masters. Sorry. One of my tendencies is to start babbling and then everything I talk about is about me. I'm a bit of an ass like that and I apologize. I wish you all the luck in the world, Sean, but I'd also say that there's a big world out there and there are a million things you could find that you'd enjoy doing to keep the bills paid. It's like people who say "She's the only woman for me." Bullshit! That's romantic crap. There are plenty of fantastic wonderful women out there, and plenty of cool fun jobs. They take effort to find but they are worth it.

 

I had one more thing to add. During my depressing days when I was getting wicked down on myself for my fading love of music, I couldn't write shit. Once I decided I was being a dumbass and turned my life around, and started taking music way less seriously, three CD's popped out. Taking music too seriously actually hurt my love of music and ability to make music.

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