Individual artistic identity vs. getting real work.
Hi JMJ, I've got a question I've been mulling over the past few months and thought I'd posit it here in hopes of gathering some insight.
At your level, you probably don't struggle with this kind of thing, but an issue is starting to come up for me that is clouding my career path. I make weird music, delving into microtonal ambient stuff, mixed with industrial-ish, prog-ish metal stuff. It's pretty experimental, and certainly will never light up the pop charts. I have heretofore released all my stuff under my own name, but increasingly I'm getting calls as a session and touring bass player for much more traditional styles, like blues, funk, jazz, etc. On a pickup gig the leader told me that after he booked me (based on another leader's recommendation), he went to my website and listened to my music, and then started to get worried. The gig went fine, but that comment made me wonder: am I losing work because of my music?
I'm considering creating a band name under which to release my music, and renaming all my previous work to reflect that, in hopes that it will create a bit of a divide between my artistic work and my bassist-for-hire role. I'm concerned, though, that this could create even more confusion, especially in terms of how to contact me, what my role is, and how to disseminate information about two somewhat distinct identities.
I know you're largely known as a bassist for hire, but I know you've also done some creative work. Was this ever an issue for you, and how did you choose to resolve it? Any thoughts that you could share may be helpful. Thanks!