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Another type of 55+ gig, not home but more active living country clubs


stevolives

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My bro in law used to do these in Florida but they were huge sprawling "active living" subdivisions. Activities darn near every hour. He used to really rake it in back when economy was humming. 07-08 New Years he got $3k as a solo.... Different type of place but man he used to kill it during 'the season.' All retirees from midwest. Lots of Michiganders... Ford and GM folk... Plays no instruments, just banging out the oldies to karaoke discs but boy can he sing/work the room.

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i do those places down here in SW Florida from Oct thru April for the snowbirds. these gated communities have up to 1200 homes in them. they have multiple halls that have events going on all week. i play between 120-150 of these gigs in a 6 month period. they pay real good and they are serious partiers. they have ohio parties, michigan parties, canadian parties, sock hops, country/western nights, disco nights, boat clubs, GE retirees, GM, Ford, Veterans, etc. theres always a reason to have a dance or party.

 

when they book me, they tell me what the party is going to be so i can prepare for it. they are currently calling for dates in 2014 so they can lock down the seasons activities ahead of time. i'm fully booked for 2012 and half booked for 2013. now they are calling for 2014, so i recently made a calendar for 2014.

 

and new years eve can still pay 3k for solo acts for 4 hours. i'm booked 3 years ahead for NYE.

 

i've been fulltime down here since 2001 and there still is enough business to keep me down here even in the off season during the hot summer months.

if it has slowed down any because of the economy, i havent noticed it. its the best move i've ever made to move from NE Ohio to Florida for my music carreer.

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i do those places down here in SW Florida from Oct thru April for the snowbirds. these gated communities have up to 1200 homes in them. they have multiple halls that have events going on all week. i play between 120-150 of these gigs in a 6 month period. they pay real good and they are serious partiers. they have ohio parties, michigan parties, canadian parties, sock hops, country/western nights, disco nights, boat clubs, GE retirees, GM, Ford, Veterans, etc. theres always a reason to have a dance or party.


when they book me, they tell me what the party is going to be so i can prepare for it. they are currently calling for dates in 2014 so they can lock down the seasons activities ahead of time. i'm fully booked for 2012 and half booked for 2013. now they are calling for 2014, so i recently made a calendar for 2014.


and new years eve can still pay 3k for solo acts for 4 hours. i'm booked 3 years ahead for NYE.


i've been fulltime down here since 2001 and there still is enough business to keep me down here even in the off season during the hot summer months.

if it has slowed down any because of the economy, i havent noticed it. its the best move i've ever made to move from NE Ohio to Florida for my music carreer.

 

 

Great, great playing and that tele is the bomb!

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thank you, i love to flaunt my metal flake guitars.

 

the 55+ venues are all over down here. i can count at least 50 of these communities in a 30 mile radius. i play most of them. they all have events going on. the season runs from november till mid april and everyday is a weekend for the people. they dont care if the party is on a tuesday, wednesday, sunday afternoon, or a friday, saturday. there are enough of these places to fill my calendar up to 2 years ahead. they pay good. the hours are easy. usually 7-10 pm. the people love to dance. its not the same boring music everynight.

 

i'd say the only thing is, you have to be prepared for all styles of requests. it would be hard to play this circuit with just 75-100 songs. they will ask for a wide variety of styles. once they know you can supply them with any theme of music, the skies the limit.

 

i definately dont want someone that is calling me for a job to say "we want to hire you, but we dont think your style will fit with our crowd. you dont play enough of this style or that".

 

as long as i know the theme for that dance, i come prepared for it, but also carry my other material "just in case"

 

someone sent a video medley of of me performing at their park for the thanksgiving and new years eve parties. its nothing special, but it must of been special to the person who took the video to send me a link of it so i can see it. be prepared, "old song content" in the video :)

 

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Leftyjay, you're very good, indeed! Watched some of your videos... you have a lot of equipment. Do you have a roady? How long to set up?

 

I always thought the more equipment you have, the bigger the price you can charge. It looks like it's worth more, haha.

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thanks again,

i actually have an elderly couple that is my 2 favorite groupies. they like to go to a lot of my gigs and help me with my gear when they can so they can see the show.

 

with all my gear, i can setup in less than 30 minutes by myself. tear down is about the same. when the 2 groupies help me, it saves me trips back and forth to the van. it saves me about 10 minutes. i can setup as they are bringing in the cases. most places i play have very roomy stages so i can spread my gear to look impressive.

 

plus sometime thru the night, i do a little seminar demo of how i lay down a song in realtime to show the new venues how i get my backing tracks. when they leave that party, they know i'm making my own tracks and not buying them. this demo has impressed people into booking me for concerts and other specialty parties.

 

seems that if you have an impressive setup that is neat and tidy on stage, it does seem to help with the price. what also helps is when you tell people that music is all you do for a living. if they know you're doing it part time for some extra cash, they think you can give them a deal on the price because its not your main source of income.

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Jay, when you do the demo of how you sequence a song, how do you do that?

 

And as for actually sequencing a song, what equipment do you use? I have owned four keyboard arranger workstations for this, but have been looking into actually buying a sequencer or some such to lay down tracks.

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Jay, when you do the demo of how you sequence a song, how do you do that?


And as for actually sequencing a song, what equipment do you use? I have owned four keyboard arranger workstations for this, but have been looking into actually buying a sequencer or some such to lay down tracks.

 

 

i use an Ensoniq ASR-10 sampling workstation keyboard. its old (1995) but its the best/easiest sequencer that has ever been built. it has 8 tracks. i usually have drums on track one. bass track two, piano track 3, strings/organ/horns track four, any voice samples on track five, midi light sequencing on track seven, and harmonizer track eight.

 

when i demo a sequence, i usually lay down either a blues or a boogie beat of 12 or 16 bars and let it repeat. drums first, then lay down the bass, add some piano, then play along with it on guitar. this usually shows the crowd what i am actually doing when i tell them i make my own backing tracks.

 

the demo usually takes 2-3 minutes to perform and it definately helps the people understand what i am doing so they dont leave there thinking they saw a karaoke show. i make sure to give them a little history of how long i've been playing, how i got started as a solo, who inspired me, and how happy i am to be in florida performing for everybody.

 

i dont do this everynight. only the new venues get to see it. i usually put on an instrumental show sometime thru the night where i play some difficult instrumental tunes (usually 3-4 songs) thats when i do the sequence demo to show them how i arrange the songs. you have to pick a good time to do it so it doesn't interfere with the dancing. usually after the first break is the best time.

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seems that if you have an impressive setup that is neat and tidy on stage, it does seem to help with the price. what also helps is when you tell people that music is all you do for a living. if they know you're doing it part time for some extra cash, they think you can give them a deal on the price because its not your main source of income.

 

 

Yup, I learned this lesson at a private party I was playing when I mentioned to the guy where I worked for a day job. He seemed pretty disappointed, though he tried to hide it. Since then I've kept my mouth shut. I don't do music full time but no one needs to know that.

 

Watching your video made me want to invest some money in lights. Because I agree with what you just said - I think an impressive setup is helpful when asking for good money. Great demo video, by the way. I need to make me one of those.

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Yup' date=' I learned this lesson at a private party I was playing when I mentioned to the guy where I worked for a day job.QUOTE']

 

Have been through same deal. I auditioned to be keybord player in an Neil Diamond tribute band once and the bass player walked straight up to me and said DO YOU HAVE A DAY JOB? And I said why yes I do, let me tell you, he didn't try to hide it. He was disgusted and sighed or rolled his eyes or something and stormed off. To be frank, he was a real dickhead about it. Sadly, he passed away quite young. This fella was all full o hate....

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Have been through same deal. I auditioned to be keyboard player in an Neil Diamond tribute band once and the bass player walked straight up to me and said DO YOU HAVE A DAY JOB? And I said why yes I do, let me tell you, he didn't try to hide it. He was disgusted and sighed or rolled his eyes or something and stormed off. To be frank, he was a real dickhead about it. Sadly, he passed away quite young. This fella was all full o hate....

 

 

There are a LOT of bitter musicians. It's largely why one-man-bands exist!

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The Great Count Basie used to hire musicians on their attitude first and talent second. It's a good idea. Playing music is supposed to be fun -- that's why they call it playing music -- and when you hear the Basie Band you can hear the joy.

 

If I auditioned 2 players and one was better than the other but had a bad attitude, as long as the good attitude player could do the job, I'd pick the attitude. Life in a band shouldn't be stressful.

 

Insights and incites by Notes

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