Advice on playing for a living?

Problems, how to get them, favorite songs to play, groupies, funky bar owners, etc. NO names of clubs, please.

Postby nizer » Sat May 27, 2006 4:02 pm

watertore wrote:It all has to do with following your heart. You will have to do this, and it will take on a journey that is out of your control.


Wise words Walter. Living a creative life in the material world is a difficult proposition. Then again, what isn't?

LoriLu, I've never played music for a living. When I was in art school three decades ago I was making art and playing music. One of my teachers told me I would have to choose one if I wanted to make a living. It turned out to be art. I became a commercial artist and designer and have made a pretty good living at it. But it's strictly business - I do what people want and they pay me. I am an art whore. I love it though and consider myself lucky. I will never retire because it still gives me a thrill to make neat stuff.

But I've also played music continuously. Since I never depended on it to pay my rent, I've always played whatever I wanted - sometimes in bands, sometimes by myself. I have made money at times, other times my bar tab exceeded my pay (too many "friends"). I've been through all kinds of phases - blues, folk, country, originals. Campfires, parties, bars, family functions and many hours alone in my room. So this remains how I feed my soul and placate my demons.

From what I've seen, an artist is a personality type, not a career choice. Most of them could just as easily be painting, writing, playing music, making movies, whatever. More often than not it's circumstances that determines which one is dominant. And more often than not these creative types are exploited by business types who see the value and can sell it but need to keep the creators down to maximize their margins. And due to the nature of these creative types, who do what they do out of passion, this is often not difficult.

I don't have any advice on this for you LL, just some personal observations. Despite all of my early, youthful bravado and ambition, like Walter says, I'm not sure I really had any choice in any of this. Hard to tell from here. But when I see the boredom and ennui of so many people around me I thank God for the gifts I have been blessed with. And besides, being creative in any field means you get to meet very cool and fun people. Like everyone here on BRB. 8)
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Postby mickeypainless » Sat May 27, 2006 8:37 pm

>>>One thing I don't want to ever do is ruin the passion I have for music by turning it into a job.

That IS a down side sometimes LL! I love horses but making a living with em has quelled my passion for em! I rarely ride for fun any more. They are tools to me now and ina way, that sucks!
Don't know nuttin bout the music biz but I do know about bein self employed and bein chief cook and bottle washer can wear ya out!
Good luck to ya in which ever direction ya wander!
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Postby bluesrules » Sat May 27, 2006 11:16 pm

One thing I don't want to ever do is ruin the passion I have for music by turning it into a job. I just don't know...


Lorilu,

It can become like a job sometimes but the happiest people that I've known through life are the ones that make a living doing what they love to do. Whether that be as an artist, business person or whatever. I think they all hit times during their careers where it feels like a job, something they don't want to do, but they get over that in time. Everybody is suseptable(sp?) to burnout.

I've been fortunate enough to have a day gig (that I dislike) that allowed me to raise a wonderfull family but still stay fairly active in the local music scene and I have the respect of my musical peers. I consider myself a lucky man even though given my druthers I would have done nothing but play music.

just my .000002
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Postby lorilu » Sun May 28, 2006 7:16 am

It's so funny. I read these posts and I go , yeah, he's right, then yeah, HE's right. It's great to hear the different viewpoints and I guess I will have to wait and see what comes out of all of this. I just would really like to devote a lot more time to the music and I am probably going to find a way to do it. What evolves from that will be seen.

Wishing you
the vision to see
what you truly need...

the courage to seek
what your heart desires...

the strength to endure
til all your dreams come true.

"A dream is in the mind of the believer, and in the hands of the doer.
You are not given a dream without being given the power to make it come true."

Yeah, and I get to meet all you cool people and I will probably some day meet a lot of you in person. I feel it.
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Postby gcd revue » Wed May 31, 2006 7:11 am

Nizer hit the nail on the head: "So this remains how I feed my soul and placate my demons." I've used almost the same words myself. I tried making music for a living...it stopped with me not playing at all for several years. Now, it's strictly a self-supporting hobby. You can have most of the aforementioned bad experiences with a "straight" job, too...but will you have the same satisfaction? I happen to enjoy my day job, as well. I get to play with airplanes (I work for Lancair/Columbia as an avionics tech.) and play a couple gigs a month with a local band, and occasionally put together a solo or duo project for a change. Grady was dead right about the blues societies, though...they'll bleed you dry if you let them. Particularly in a smaller town. They take the attitude that, "If it's local, it CAN'T be any good." Whether you do this as a hobby or for a living, it pays to be able to say, "NO!" If you find it too difficult to be a hardass, then find a friend who doesn't mind being your "s**t screen." Make SURE it's someone you can trust, though.

I haven't spent much time on this forum lately, partly due to a busy schedule, and partly due to a lousy internet connection (I live out in the boonies, and like it that way...but there's no broadband out here). But I've read enough of the posts to remember why I keep coming back. Y'all rock!

Semper Fi,
J.D.
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Postby gcd revue » Wed May 31, 2006 7:14 am

Postscript: An advance happy birthday, Grady...I'm only a couple weeks behind ya! (My 39th is on the 24th of June)

J.D.
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Postby thebluescaster » Tue Jun 20, 2006 3:06 pm

I think everyone here has pretty much covered it.


In general, if you want to make music for a living, then figure out the business end of things, and don't give away the store, or otherwise act unprofessionally.

If you want to pursue your muse, then get someone to pay your rent, or get a day job and gig as a hobby that pays for the cost of equipment.
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Postby boogiechillun85 » Wed Jun 21, 2006 2:01 am

Lol.. my personal gripe about blues societies:
I saw Honeyboy Edwards for the first time about two years ago. The guy is amazing, okay? I think he deserves and commands respect. But all the local idiots from the Bucks County Blues Society showed up with their t-shirts and their little backpacks and their really expensive italian loafers.. Honeyboy finishes his set and about four of them started doing the thing from Wayne's World.. you know? "we're not worthy.. we're not worthy!"
Disgusting.
I haven't gigged for any of them.. but I was told by a guy with a blues society shirt on that "you're supposed to play a guitar, not hit it."
So kiss my ass, blues societies of the USA.
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Postby oleman » Tue Jun 27, 2006 4:48 am

I tried to make a living as a musician but the R&R lifestyle kicked my butt, but good. And like Nizer I'm an art whore making and selling things but the desire to perform still has a solid grip on my psyche. So I try to balance my time so I can play out as much as possible. Being as how I don't need music for an income, I play for free a lot; oldfolks homes, schools, civic events, friends parties, etc. I just hope I can carry the message of the Blues to people that might not be exposed to it otherwise.
That being said, I truly enjoy our house band gig that pays quite well.
My hat is certainly off to people like Walter and Grady that managed to pull it off and still keep their soul.
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Postby lorilu » Mon Jul 03, 2006 3:15 pm

What kind of art do you do, Oleman?
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Postby allanlummox » Mon Jul 03, 2006 3:19 pm

Hey Lu - good to see you.
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Postby ricochet » Mon Jul 03, 2006 3:35 pm

Yeah, GREAT to see you!
:D
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Postby warren » Mon Jul 03, 2006 5:18 pm

hi lorilu :D
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Postby lorilu » Mon Jul 03, 2006 6:16 pm

Thanks. Very nice to see you guys too. That Ricochet is a very persuasive guy tempting me with all that I am missing on this side of town.
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Postby ricochet » Mon Jul 03, 2006 6:45 pm

Can't say I don't try! :D
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