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unam45

Is there a point to being in a band anymore?

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Posted (edited)

I've been playing with the same band for about 3 years now as the drummer, it's been fun but it feels so pointless sometimes. I like to think we're at least half decent, we play our own original stuff and try to make it was original as possible, taking influences from a whole slew of different acts, and possessing a fair level of skill.tweakbox appvalley https://vlc.onl/
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Thing is, it seems impossible to get anyone to care about it or anything. Even other musicians don't care. We got invited by a band (friend of ours) to play in New York with another act from our area, which we watched (among 5 other people) and they didn't even have the courtesy to stay after their set. They drove 5 hours to get to the show. This has happened so many times. It seems there's just no respect in the scene or in playing music anymore. No one cares, sure you can play for yourself but sharing is part of the fun.

Of course I love playing, and I am not in it for fame or money or anything. I just wish I had something keeping me going.

Edited by unam45

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Being a musicians is a tuff gig.

If you love playing, just keep doing it.

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

if people don't seem to care what you are doing , try something a little different. The world is full of imataters dare to be original

Success may be just around the corner

Edited by gardo

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its very hard to get some attention and its a lot of work which is not related in playing your own music

you need to do "advertising" and promoting, keep your social media status up to date, post videos from your last rehearsal session, pictures from your last gig, haveing a youtube channel helps etc...

even if its just for your friends and not for "making it" to some extend it has to be done. you don't need to have professional work  phone cam vids and pictures are ok, it just have to be done you need to show the outside world that you are doing something and that you are moving, to keep anyone interested

it gets even harder when you are done this for a couple of years and all your friends, family and co workers have been to one or more of your gigs, its hard to motivate to come again.

the same is it for other bands not listening to your set, they are busy too, remove their gear etc what ever, if they do not know you, or you have not made curious about you before the day of the gig, they may listen for the first few chords and if you do not blow them away (most of us will not in the first few second), they move on and go.

they might been already to a lot of gigs and seen a lot of bands starting out and you just one of them. its not about you and that they do not respect you, but you need to make them interested first and not them need to stay and listen..

 

and now for the bad news, if you don't have someone doing this stuff for you or you can pay some one for it, you and your bandmates have to do it all yourself and  consumes much more time and energy than just showing up for rehearsal once or twice a week and for the gig

 

i know what i'm talking about, cause we are very bad at it, being in his forties, having kids, having a fulltime job etc. don't leave much time, time which needs to be well spent, and there is so much want to do band wise (writing, recording gigging, maybe "touring" etc) but in the end i'm happy if we have once in a week a rehearsal and everybody shows up on time and we have some fun jamming, and all the other stuff just gets not done :(

 

 

 

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Being in a band is becoming like being an opera singer in the 70's. There were lots of people that loved it, but it was niche and confined to older people. 

I get joy from jamming with like minded people and I avoid gigging now. The last thing I want is to bust my ass for people that don't appreciate it. 

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In reference to the other band, you should stop trying to impress other musicians with your skills.  That goes for members in your own band.  I realize you may need to feel motivated to play your best but all you're doing is burdening  your own lack of enthusiasm on others.  Adult musicians aren't there to make you feel good. If you want a pat on the back get that from your parents wife or friends outside the band. 

This is not to say as you don't care about the other players in the band or receive care from them.  Just grow up and realize the people you work with are just co workers doing their jobs. Its fine to shoot the breeze and have a good time when life is good.  The thing that destroys most bands are musicians so self centered, they think the world revolves around them.  They force the rest of the players to spend excessive amounts of time being their keeper or shrink, or mentor or any other roles besides what they should be, a fellow musician.   

You'll find most professional bands aren't about having fun.  If you want to have fun, quit the band and spend your time in the audience instead of on stage. 

Being in a band is about running a small business and carrying your share of the work load.  Once you grow up and get past being a child and having everyone reinforce your ego telling you how great you are, you discover the job of a performing musicians isn't any different then any other job.  Its up to you in what you make of it.  I still remember when I was a kid and the worm turned for me and I realized performing wasn't what I expected.  I saw ahead of me a lonely existence playing one dump after another and the main job was to make the audience forget about their problems for one night while they visited a fantasy world filled with music. 

I suppose the one thing that drives the nail in is the end of the night.  It doesn't matter how many people clapped or enjoyed your playing, or got up and danced.  When it came to packing up, there wasn't a single one of them going to help you pack your gear up.  You become cynical and begin to question why you're even playing in  a band and contemplate quitting or checking to see if its any better in another band. 

That's the time you need to question the real reason you play music.  Superficial reasons drop away as you question what is this thing we call music.  In the end you need to find a solid reason for continuing or you may as well be doing something that at least earns you allot of cash to lay back on.  I been there too. I took music and electronics in school and made electronics my paying profession.  You want to talk about extremes, Playing out nights or weekends then going to work with geeks and facing business owners every day is probably the biggest letdown you can face. 

All the typical reasons kids begin to play music fail because of their shallowness as well.  If you play to impress the family, there is a point where you should realize they will support anything you do so long as its what you want to do.  The music itself has practically nothing to do with that.  Many players do it to attract girl friends.  That's the biggest fail of all. As soon as you get that girl friend or wife, they do a 180 on you. They may be open minded but they don't want their man strutting on stage attracting other women so they work their head games trying to make you quit.  If you have kids then its even worse because you have to bring home the bacon and the pay for most musicians is crap. I know musicians who played because it gave them access to drugs and booze.  My life is littered with the graves of musicians I've known.  Very few from my HS days made it and the few who did were either lucky or smarter then the rest and quit that lifestyle. 

Even fewer were the ones who actually became famous. Its amazing how its usually the players you think have the least likely chance of succeeding actually do. I guess I either had a compassionate heart or I was able to predict that could happen when I was really young because I mentored and remained friends with many others blew off as being lame musicians. Its a good feeling when a world class performer tells you,  you were are great inspiration to them being a success in the business. 

As far as my music goes I've never felt like I needed to abandon it once I found a good reason for playing.  Mentoring others took the leading role in who I am working with others.  The foundation for that is a matter of posterity and passing down what I've been and done to friends and family.  I have several artists in the family who will be receiving nice inheritances some day.  Not just gear but all the music I've written and recorded would be quite pointless if it was only made for playing out in front of people who could quite honestly care less. It even makes less sense if you aren't earning money for all the hard work involved.  Creating something you can leave behind for others is a pretty decent reason of creating some quality work and its one of the more bullet proof foundation for creating music there is.  Famous musicians do this for their fans all the time, but you have to question who those songs famous songs were written for. Girlfriends? Kids?, God?   Or just a paycheck and heard by people who could care less.

 

 

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I've been in 17 bands. I finally gave up. I may do the duet thing or even solo, but the band thing is just too much work for too little reward. It hasn't always been that way, but then, we haven't always had all the other electronic distractions. This is why the Circus is not what it used to be, and neither is live music. 

Someone once said that there was a time where all you had to do was throw a "live music" sign up and people flocked to your place. Those days are long gone with the exception of places that are known for booking really good bands that are paid way too little for the work they put into it.

It just seems to be the way it is.

 

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, Grant Harding said:

Being in a band is becoming like being an opera singer in the 70's. There were lots of people that loved it, but it was niche and confined to older people. 

I get joy from jamming with like minded people and I avoid gigging now. The last thing I want is to bust my ass for people that don't appreciate it. 

That sums it up more succinctly than I did. Thanks.

BTW, since I stopped gigging, the back problems went away. :)

Edited by Easy Listener
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Posted (edited)
27 minutes ago, WRGKMC said:

...

 

You really nailed it for me. One day I realized that, as a second job, I could make more money delivering pizzas than being in a band. And since I wasn't in it for the money, and the crowds are not that appreciative, it was time to move on. 

It's kinda interesting that this point was really driven home for me just last weekend. Some friends and I went to a Bardstown bar to have a meal and in the bar were about 12 people and a solo guitar player. And half the people were his wife and a few friends and thier wives. Sure he was good, as are a few hundred thousand other human beings in my country. So what? 

And what did it pay for the amount of work he put into it?

What caused me to quit was that the only reason I ever did it was because it was an enjoyable activity, but the "fun moments" were so rare as to be almost non-existent. One day I realized that, even though intellectually I didn't believe it, something inside me still yearned for being the "rock star everyone is cheering". But not only is that never gonna happen, but even for those rare individuals for which it DOES happen, it gets old. 

I like playing in my church. That's good enough. I have plenty of other hobbies.

And to be frank, I wouldn't wish it on anyone as a career, with the exception of session musicians. Then it can be a rewarding job, though I don't know how much it pays these days compared to the old days of the Wrecking crew and the musicians in the Frank Sinatra, Doris Day, et al instrumental work. Or even the guys on Herb Alpert's stuff.

One real downside is that for me to really enjoy music it needs to be special. That is, the lyrics, the arrangement and the musicianship. And most of the pop music from my day hand little of any of those things, though it was there on occasion. It's amazing how little talent/skill was necessary to be a hit in the 50's and 60's. But there were some magic moments at the Troubadour. 

Edited by Easy Listener

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I think there are a lot of things nowadays that make it hard for original rock bands to attract crowds, including:

1) rock music isn't really that popular anymore.

2) most people don't like listening to songs they don't know.

3) rock bands are loud and live bands don't have volume knobs.

4) the older you get, the less people want to go out at night.

The good news is that it's easier than ever to record and release original material.

 

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Saw the title of your post Unam, so I came in here. (I'm usually in the political forum.)

I'm trying to get a new band going in New York, and I'm nearly 36. I've been playing in various bands here for 12 years, and one common experience is playing to a near-empty room. There are so many venues that the people who go see shows are all spread out. You've gotta develop a small fan base, and it usually begins with either having lots of friends who will come or by being friends with a band that already draws a crowd. Once you show a venue that you can bring a crowd, they might have you in mind for a slot on a bigger bill, and then you can develop a relationship with the venue.

The most "successful" band I was in had connections to other bands at first, and we had a few groups of friends to invite out. It helped that the drummer had been in a really big band in Montreal years before too. We then developed a relationship with Pianos (lower east side) and various Brooklyn spot. Then we got some write-ups and got some big bills--though not many record sales. (Few people buy recordings anymore.) Nevertheless, we would still sometimes play to empty venues, just a few people in the crowd. Other bands on bills rarely stick around for full bills. Gotta get their stuff back to their rehearsal spaces yeknow.

That "successful" band of mine ended in 2014 when we were a duo and finally got an offer for a record deal; it was a small no-name company, and my partner didn't think we'd get anywhere with it. It hurt me, but a certain Grammy-winning audio engineer assured me that there isn't money to be made in this business anymore. Spotify and a saturated market have kinda killed rock music aside from a tiny tiny lucky few--who could still end up with very little after their one hit....

This week in Brooklyn, I saw a packed crowd in a venue with a bill headlined by a band we once played with to a relatively small crowd. Even though they had played a tiny show with us, this time, you could barely find room to stand. Why was it so packed this week? The venue was a cafe that was closing, so tons of strangers who knew the place for its coffee came out because it was a special event; all the bands on the bill had friends or former employees of the cafe. Once again, having personal, non-music relationships with people can be key to introducing your music to new listeners. And even still, in New York rock music, you're likely to only find such packed crowds at special events.*

So why am I trying to start a new band at this point?? Why is it worth it?? I am not at all aiming for a profession with it. Instead, I just want to play because it's what I always wanted to do. I want to make recordings even if no one listens. I want to have rehearsals rather than sit on my arse. I want to develop some relationships, even if it takes lots of trial and error. And I've got friends with bands; I want to get on their bills. Playing in a band will be a cost, not a profit, but it's something I'll pay for in the same way people pay for other hobbies.

 

*Halloween! If you want to play to a big crowd at a non-arena venue, get a cover band going. They sell big in October. Perhaps the biggest crowd I ever played to (without it being an opening set for a nationally known band) was Halloween. Weezer and Fleetwood Mac cover bands.

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i play in a band because its fun, and fun comes first. if the fun stops and it becomes only work or pain than its time to start thinking about it and talking with your bandmates
we were there a couple of times, and came back, our productivity became less and less, instead playing more gigs we have only time for less etc but the most important thing is we are having fun.

one other advice, book your gigs on weekdays and not on weekends.

yes it is less stress with a 9to5 job if you can gear moving on the weekend and not just after work and after a great show sleepong long etc.

but almost all people have plans for the weekend even months before, the older they get the more booked out are their weekends. but on weekdays most people have nothing better todo, so they say why not, lets see my friends gig and have a nice after office beer etc.

if its not a special event with a guaranteed crowd which comes anyhow for the event and not for you, you should avoid weekends and holiday season, plan weekdays with your original band and more people will show up

friends and family have booked weekends too, this this applies to them aswell, no matter how close they are :)

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I still have music joy, but it's usually recording and messing around with different sounds with my guitars and the Kemper.

In the early 80's I was the "young gun" lead player in a funk/reggae band in the West Indies. We were like heroes. I can't imagine any current context for me that would compare. 

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Definitely no crisis for me. I've played solo and duo many times. It used to be a blast, but now you're mostly stuck in a corner like a fleshy mp3 player. Plus I've got a decent day job and I can't handle being told what to do by an event planner or bar manager. 😄

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