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Reaching the end of the line?


BlueStrat

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So, about a year ago, I was approached about putting my old band back together with a few new faces. So I did, and it's been a fun project, although not without trials (which most of us have so I won't go into the boring details).

 

The problem is, I'm 55+ now, and the realization hit me that my heart just isn't in playing in bands anymore. I've tried to deny it, but it's true. Every time someone cancels a rehearsal, I'm secretly glad. Every time I have a gig coming up, on some level I wish I didn't. It's an incredible amount of work for not much return, because I have to unload my trailer, load the PA and all my gear, then unload it and set it up, do the gig, and reverse the process. Which would all be well and good if I were really enjoying myself, but I'm not. The band helps me set up and tear down, but I have to deal with it all at home. And then there's the booking, which I hate, the endless calls and chasing people down and mailing promo and so on.

 

The other band I play with is no better, even though it's less work. The best time I have is doing my solo gig, where I'm having more success booking, for better pay, better hours, and more gigs. I play what I want when I want if I want the way I want.

 

Anyone else ever reach the point where you think "I am so done with this part of my life"? Because I am, and I never thought I ever would in a million years.

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I went after it hard in my 20s: dropped out of college, hit the road with a band, and did it full time. Knowing that rock and roll is a young man's game, and the odds of ANYBODY 'making it'---regardless of talent level, quality of the band and hard work---are very, very slim, I told myself I'd do it until I was 25 and then pursue something else in life. I wasn't sure what, but I think in the back of my mind I always thought something else in the field of music beside trying to be a member-of-a-rock-band-with-a-record-deal would fall into my lap.

 

Nothing really fell into my lap and I ended up pursuing it until I was about 32 around about 1993. When I dropped out at that point I dropped out completely. Didn't even pick up a keyboard or guitar for 3 years. I didn't miss it all during that time. I had burned myself out; the music scene had changed dramatically; I didn't feel like I fit in anywhere in the scene and didn't care to. I was done with it. For the time being, anyway.

 

After about 3 years, I started to get the itch to play and perform again and there was starting to be a good market for bands doing "classic rock". Doing it part time outside of other career aspirations became a fun and welcome diversion and addition to my life.

 

Music is something you gotta love to do well. And that means (for me anyway) doing it on my own terms. You may just need a break from the scene to step back and get some perspective on where music is going to best fit in with the rest of your life.

 

NOTHING is worth doing in life if it isn't enjoyable. Life is just too damned short. And music needs to top the list of enjoyable pursuits. It's why I started playing music and it's how I intend to finish playing music.

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I'm in a slightly different boat (I'm only 38), but music was my entire life from the age of 13 to 24. It's all I thought about and all I did. In 94-96 I was playing in a reasonably popular original/cover band in North Jersey - nothing crazy, but had some minor label interest. Then in '96, I got married and the idea of dragging all my crap into NYC where I'd undoubtedly get a ticket for double parking as I unloaded, dealing with the traffic, etc. all for a 45 minute showcase just stopped appealing to me.

 

I quit the band and put my guitar down for the better part of 10 years (I'd break out the acoustic, but that was it). Back in 2005-2006 I really started getting the itch to play again, but we lived in Colorado at the time and the scene there was.... wait, there was no scene. In fact, I may have seen 2 local concerts in the 5 years I was there.

 

Anyway, when we moved down to Louisiana 2 years ago, I immediately got to work on finding people to play with. It was the best decision I ever made and I couldn't be happier right now. But realistically, I don't know how long this will last. I have goals for the next two years that I think are realistically attainable. After that, who knows...

 

But I can tell you this, right now, I look forward to going to rehearsal and gigs. I can't wait till this Saturday for our next gig. The day that's not the case, I think I'll be hanging it up...

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Pat, I feel like you do at times. Mostly when the band is real busy. I find I have more fun when we don't play as often. Friday night gigs are really hard on me since I get up at 4:00 A.M. for my regular job and don't get to sleep until nearly 4:00 A.M. the next morning.

 

When it becomes a chore it is time to move on I think, keep the fun gig and let the rest go.

 

Max

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Pat is sounds like you need a dedicated band trailer ,, and stop trying to take a work trailer and force it into double duty,, or you could just do your solo gig and call it good. When it stops being fun its time to stop doing it. It may be that you performed on such a high level in your past that you will never be happy with the deal you have going now,,, and cant really afford to pay the price to go back at it at the level you used to.

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Anyone else ever reach the point where you think "I am so done with this part of my life"? Because I am, and I never thought I ever would in a million years.

 

 

"Anyone else ever reach the point..."

 

About 20 years ago. Whenever I play with a band now it is easy. Grab my rig and a mike and show up. Wing it. Based on memory or a good ear.

 

20 years ago, after playing 5-6 nights a week from the ages of 16 to 30, extensive touring, hard lifestyle, etc., I finally packed it in. And that opened up many new avenues for me to pursue. And I have consistently for 20 years now. Smiling the whole time. I wouldn't trade my performing days for anything, but I wouldn't join up full time again to save my soul.

 

Close one door and open the next. Have fun.

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I can totally understand .. From my experience limited though it is I can see being burnt out... I am only back into this for the laast three years and it appears I missed the best years for playing in bands and have come in at the penultimate low of the live music scene for the last fifty years..

 

JUST MY LUCK.

 

But its all I have right now and i am inflicted with the fire at the pointless age of 51 lol.. Cant help it .. I LOVE TO PLAY and dont mind the mind nimbing work involved..

 

it is reallly hard to get any decent gigs though and playing in front of decent crowds is dicey around here.. or even crowds that give a {censored}..

 

I DONT CARE. well I do but I'm going to keep l;ugging away for now..

 

But i can understand your position completely. you came up in arguably the best time for live music in the last fity years andnow have to decide whether it is worth it to continue given the nadir we are experiencing now..

 

If the fire just isnt there maybe take a break at first and see how content you are for how long. You are a good player and i bet after a time you will want to play in a band again but maybe on your own terms which will limit it.

 

Right now its a blessing and a curse to have my level of interest but so it goes.

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He's back.....

 

Anyway, for real Pat.

 

I agree with Wades here. I know you're a pro, and you treat every performance with the respect that a pro would. That means you bring the full sound system with subs, backups for everything, etc. etc.

 

In a lot of those situations, two good 15's on sticks using the stage volume to help reinforce might be "good enough" to entertain the crowd and keep the bar owner happy, though not up to your pro standards.

 

It may come to a point where the first step of this decision might be just to (I can't think of a better word choice), lower the standards that you have set for yourself by trying to maintain everything on a pro level. Get it back to the point where the setup and load out is manageable, so that the "fun" part is what you remember most about the night.

 

YMMV

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He's back.....


Anyway, for real Pat.


I agree with Wades here. I know you're a pro, and you treat every performance with the respect that a pro would. That means you bring the full sound system with subs, backups for everything, etc. etc.


In a lot of those situations, two good 15's on sticks using the stage volume to help reinforce might be "good enough" to entertain the crowd and keep the bar owner happy, though not up to your pro standards.


It may come to a point where the first step of this decision might be just to (I can't think of a better word choice), lower the standards that you have set for yourself by trying to maintain everything on a pro level. Get it back to the point where the setup and load out is manageable, so that the "fun" part is what you remember most about the night.


YMMV

 

 

I would not even call it lowering your standards ,, more of just going with a cut down rig to keep things simple. Lots of good bands do it and pull it off all the time. the bigger is better mentality may be more for the musicans ego than the crowd in a smaller venue.

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Yep, I have been there for a couple of years now. I still love playing out, but I hate the process. I know this isn't popular around here, but I would pass up all of my pay to show up 1/2 hour before the show, and leave 5 minutes after. Provide a quality PA and lights, a couple of free drinks and I would be happy.

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I was done with certain musical situations about 8 years ago.

I decided I would play what I want to play, and who I would play with, and not fool with sketchy people or sketchy talent.

I was a sucker for "doing favors" for people (i.e. babysitting grown men), but these people killed my love for music, and I swore I was never going back to that...I would rather sit at the house, or play solo jobs.

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Surely you can find somebody to set up and tear down your gear for what you get paid...

 

 

I don't want it to be my gear. I am responsible to troubleshoot/repair all glitches, hisses, pops, batteries, moniter mixes etc. Lights have an issue=myproblem. I want show with my guitar in one hand, amp in the other, and ask where to plug in. Something not quite right? I am going to hang out with my wife. Yell when you are ready for me. I just want to play. A decent PA and lights is 300-500 a night with an operator, pretty much what we get paid.

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...I was a sucker for "doing favors" for people (i.e. babysitting grown men), but these people killed my love for music, and I swore I was never going back to that...I would rather sit at the house, or play solo jobs.

:thu:+1000

 

THIS!

 

I can't do the babysit thing anymore! SO glad my current project is at least of a (semi-) professional mindset!

 

jamieb

+++++

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I'm not burnt out yet. (but I am 36) this is the best band (and longest running) I have been in. Right now there are things in my life that are kind of crazy and this is a great release! I look forward to almost every gig we do. I like hanging with these guys. I do hate the set up & tear down though. I am sure as I grow older it will creep up on me but right now we play 2-3X per month. Hell, we turn down work. I feel we could gig almost every weekend with no problem, but then Burn out will be a real problem. Maybe not for me but the others.

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OP, I know what you mean, but I'm feeling it in a contrary way. It's the solo gigs I can't stand. Playing by myself for 10 years has caught up with me so much so that I can't take anymore solo gigs at all. I'm not a big cover guy, and doing covers solo is particularly grating. Perhaps I'm just not good enough to play on my own and feel like I have an appropriate depth of sound.

 

It's more work, less pay, and more hassle to play with a band, but to me, it is much more gratifying in the end.

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I'm in a slightly different boat (I'm only 38), but music was my entire life from the age of 13 to 24. It's all I thought about and all I did. In 94-96 I was playing in a reasonably popular original/cover band in North Jersey - nothing crazy, but had some minor label interest. Then in '96, I got married and the idea of dragging all my crap into NYC where I'd undoubtedly get a ticket for double parking as I unloaded, dealing with the traffic, etc. all for a 45 minute showcase just stopped appealing to me.


I quit the band and put my guitar down for the better part of 10 years (I'd break out the acoustic, but that was it). Back in 2005-2006 I really started getting the itch to play again, but we lived in Colorado at the time and the scene there was.... wait, there was no scene. In fact, I may have seen 2 local concerts in the 5 years I was there.


Anyway, when we moved down to Louisiana 2 years ago, I immediately got to work on finding people to play with. It was the best decision I ever made and I couldn't be happier right now. But realistically, I don't know how long this will last. I have goals for the next two years that I think are realistically attainable. After that, who knows...


But I can tell you this, right now, I look forward to going to rehearsal and gigs. I can't wait till this Saturday for our next gig. The day that's not the case, I think I'll be hanging it up...

 

 

^^^ This ^^^ pretty much describes my situation. I played 4-6 nights a week in a successful Top 40 / Party / Cover act back in the early 80's while I was going to school. After school I did another 7 years of constant weekend work - during which time I got a real job, got married and started a family. I didn't gig at all for almost 10 years ... and figured I was done with it.

 

7 Years ago - my old college guitar player game me a ring and said "Hey ... I got this new thing going ... ya interested?" I've been back at it ever since. This time far more selective about what I play, who I play with and how much I play. These days I'd say that when I'm headed for a rehearsal or a gig - 90% of the time there's nothing I'd rather be doing.

 

I certainly don't need the money that my playing brings me. I'm there because I enjoy the music and the people I play with. I'll have no problem walking away from it when it quits being enjoyable.

 

The only advice I would give Pat (or anybody else) is - figure out what makes you happy - and then go with that.

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Anyone else ever reach the point where you think "I am so done with this part of my life"? Because I am, and I never thought I ever would in a million years.

 

 

You never know- maybe acknowledging that you aren't into it anymore will free up your creative side for something else. And/or maybe taking a break will be good and you'll find yourself getting back into music in a different capacity.

 

I've never said "I'm done", but then I'm just 33. What has happened is that I've had times where somewhat burnt out and had to take breaks and change directions.

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I don't want it to be my gear. I am responsible to troubleshoot/repair all glitches, hisses, pops, batteries, moniter mixes etc. Lights have an issue=myproblem. I want show with my guitar in one hand, amp in the other, and ask where to plug in. Something not quite right? I am going to hang out with my wife. Yell when you are ready for me. I just want to play. A decent PA and lights is 300-500 a night with an operator, pretty much what we get paid.

 

I hear you right there.

 

I've got another speakon cable to futz with, had a 58 go out on me a couple of gigs ago, have had to replace a speaker stand, 2 mic stands, several mic cables, had nuts and lockwashers get loose on the power amp and need replacing, a 1/14" jack short out on a main.

 

And this is just in the last year and a half.

 

It would be nice if I could just show up, plug up and play like the other guys. But I'm good with it, AS LONG AS the other guys do their part and don't make my life miserable with the sound.

 

Running sound from the stage requires consistency and volume control from the players, because I can't ride faders to fix the mix after the fact; I can only prevent clipping and feedback once we've started, and make basic corrections to the mix which are more often than not based on instinct and checking the VU meters.

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So, about a year ago, I was approached about putting my old band back together with a few new faces. So I did, and it's been a fun project, although not without trials (which most of us have so I won't go into the boring details).


The problem is, I'm 55+ now, and the realization hit me that my heart just isn't in playing in bands anymore. I've tried to deny it, but it's true. Every time someone cancels a rehearsal, I'm secretly glad. Every time I have a gig coming up, on some level I wish I didn't. It's an incredible amount of work for not much return, because I have to unload my trailer, load the PA and all my gear, then unload it and set it up, do the gig, and reverse the process. Which would all be well and good if I were really enjoying myself, but I'm not. The band helps me set up and tear down, but I have to deal with it all at home. And then there's the booking, which I hate, the endless calls and chasing people down and mailing promo and so on.


The other band I play with is no better, even though it's less work. The best time I have is doing my solo gig, where I'm having more success booking, for better pay, better hours, and more gigs. I play what I want when I want if I want the way I want.


Anyone else ever reach the point where you think "I am so done with this part of my life"? Because I am, and I never thought I ever would in a million years.

 

 

 

Absolutely!!! And about 35 years before you did to boot. I'm 29 now, and the same thing happened to me somewhere in my really early 20's...the reasons were a little different for me though.

 

First and foremost, one of the main reasons was that unlike 99.99 percent of all musicians I just really don't enjoy playing live...never have and probably never will. Even when I was a teenager, playing my high school talent shows, with everybody going nuts after a solo, you think I'd be the happiest guy on the planet, but it really didn't make me feel one way or the other.

 

The main thing too was that unfortunately I had pretty much nothing but insanely negative experiences with all things musical. Really the only good times I had was back in high school playing Metallica, Tool, RATM, Deftones, etc, covers in my basesment or a members garage with guys I'd grown up with. Even then though there was all kinds of bull{censored} drama that went with it that I cou8ldn't stand.

 

And I guess that brings me to my final reason...for some reason literally every single muso I ever met was someone I had no interest in being involved with for any reason at all. I found that the "personalities" of all the musos I met (I won't go into all the specifics cuz I don't want to type a novel but lets just say passive aggressiveness, backstabbing, flakiness, and the complete inabilityy to be honest or "straight up" about semingly ANYTHING, to say nothing of the flat out DELUSION that was present in most cases) in addition to the fact that I don't think I ever met even one muso that was truly on the same page as I was musically, completely killed any interest in dealing with the whole band thing. THAT, combined with what a joke the live music scene was at that time here in central and NW CT just absolutely killed it for me. Loading up all my gear, setting it up in some dive bar to play for a few drunks who are annoyed that there is live music or some lame-assed house party, making peanuts, tearing it all down, then bringing it all back home just completely killed the whole thing for me.

 

Also, for whatever reason, I was always driven to write and record and compose. I always got much more joy out of that than performing...for me, I get more joy out of the feeling of accomplishemnt of writing and recording somtehing or nailing a piece than most musos get out of playing live. I'm much more happier using the gear in my sig to play write and record at home than I ever was in any kind of band setting, and while I guess it's prudent to "never say never", I really don't see that changing.

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I'm pretty much with BS on this one.

 

I'm 57, been gigging since I was 18, most of it as a part-time weekend warrior thing.

 

I work in a number of bands doing a number of styles, but my favorite is when I do a solo act. Then I'm only responsible for myself...I don't have to worry if the drummer will show up on time, or the bass player's rig doesn't work, will the other bandmembers be dressed appropriately for the occasion, etc.

 

The second best gig for me nowadays is as the hired gun guitarist, since then I don't have to worry about any of that stuff, just let the leader take care of it.

 

I am really getting tired of, as Cooter said, babysitting grown men. I'd think that by this point in my life, I should just be able to tell the other musicians the date and time of the gig and not have to worry about any of the peripheral stuff. Unfortunately, if I don't worry about it, it doesn't happen.

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