Dilemma about a top 40 gig
Alright, I apologize in advance as this could be long-winded. I know ultimately I'm the only one who can make the decision, just looking for some wisdom from fellow musicians and maybe a different perspective on things.
First, a bit about me:
36, divorced, no kids, ex-military. Now back in school learning electronics engineering (and doing great at it too). Always had a "nerd / rocker" duality, been playing music since the age of 12 but never in a working band until last year. Started playing bass with several projects locally since I moved to Montreal after I released from the army last year. Business is getting better: I get more and more paid gigs and have to turn down a few opportunities every now and then. I'm currently living on some money I saved, plus gig money and summer paid internships as an electronics tech. I'm definitely not rich, but I'm not starving either.
Recently, I landed a studio gig with a girl who's recording a demo. She recommended me to a guitar player she knows. He's got a full band ready: 3 vocalists, drums, guitar, and keys...only thing missing is a bass player. He apparently got contacts to get real lucrative gigs abroad, in places like Dubai and Hong Kong. So, the plan is to record a video demo to be sent over to his contacts, see what gigs we can land, pack up, fly there and play for 3 to 6 months. The bandleader told me that the pay for these gigs is typically 3k - 5K$ a month, with most expenses paid.
-This could be a fantastic experience;
-I haven't travelled in a while and could visit a part of the world I've never been to;
-I've always wondered if I could cut it as a pro - this could provide with some answers;
-Pay would be more than decent;
-At 36, not working full-time at a day job and no one to look after, this is probably my last chance to live the rock star dream for a couple months;
-Could potentially lead to other gigs, and perhaps an entire career of playing bass for a living;
-Cool stories to tell at parties;
-Might not have to shovel my car out of the snow and suffer through -30 celsius temperatures this year;
-"It's better to regret something you did than something you didn't do."
-The music we'd play is absolute sh!t: Rihanna, Maroon 5, David Guetta, etc. Total garbage. Very much the opposite of my cup of tea (I'm a rock/funk/jazz guy).
-There is no set timeline, i.e. the plan is to leave as soon as the band gets a gig, so I could end up having to quit school mid-semester and redo the same courses over when I come back. As far as school goes, I inevitably lose a year if I choose to do this.
-Living / eating in hotels is cool for 2 weeks, but gets old after a month (I know as I've done it before). 6 months could be somewhat dreadful.
-I've done a fantastic job as a tech during my internship last summer: the company I worked for already stated that they want me back next year and I could probably land a full-time gig there when I'm done with school. Going away will compromise my chances at landing that job (and honestly as far as day jobs go, this would be perfect for me).
-Before I even know if the band gets a gig, I most likely have to acquire gear that I otherwise wouldn't consider buying (namely, a good-sounding bass synth, if there is such a thing).
What do you guys think? Any words of wisdom? Does this sound too good to be true? Is it odd that this opportunity falls into my lap when I'm barely starting to establish my reputation locally? What do you think of the whole "Playing music you hate for big bucks abroad versus playing music you like for a lot less locally (and staying in school)" dilemma ? Am I a fool if I turn this down?
Any input welcome...
Someone has to play that crap. At least you'll play it GOOD.
I can hardly imagine an easier decision, based only on the information you gave us.
Stay in school, get the job, build a life.
It does sound too good to be true, and where will you be 5 years from now? At least your education will still be there. Big plans often fall apart.
Well, if this helps your decision any, I'm 42, married, and have two kids. And, guess what. I'm in school for electronics.
I say go for the gig. If you are single and 36 I think you are correct. This may be your last shot. I didn't have kids until I was 40 and I am in school now. So you have more time to take up those things. But sitting in a rocking chair 40 years from now, what will you be wondering about? You guessed it. "What would have happened if I had taken that gig back in 2013?"
I'll tell you that if I was in your shoes, I would take the gig...assuming that it really does turn out to be "all that" (a BIG assumption in the music business). But then again, I have far more interest in music - even mediocre music - than I do in electronics. The gig could easily lead to even bigger - and better - future opportunities. And because I LOVE to travel, especially internationally. And I'm usually up for an adventure! :cool:
See what I mean?
I will say this: The way you come out on this decision should tell you virtually everything you need to know about how much you really want to be a musician. :eyebrow:
I've visited Montréal numerous times, and have always enjoyed the city very much (at least during spring, summer & fall). I've even toyed with the idea of relocating there.
I'm very curious about how strong the music scene there really is...but I'm not sure quite what to ask about it. Thoughts? :hmm:
If you will not enjoy the music, it won't be worth it.. but I will say, how many opportunities will arise that involve touring for a decent amount of money? One can always pursue an education or career at any point in their life, because it is their own act of manifesting that which allows it. An internationally touring band is not accessible to most.
If you don't like what you're doing, you are a sellout and will be unhappy. If you like what you are doing, there is no shame in making a living off of it. These, to me, are the only things to consider in any mean of living aside from basic morality (theft, murder, etc.)
In a lot of ways, my summer was near perfect: I worked at a day job I thoroughly enjoyed, geeking out from 8 to 4 and getting lots of praise from my supervisor and co-geeks, and still gigged almost every week with my 2 bands.
On the flipside, my adventurous side doesn't want to miss out (and would feel somewhat guilty to take a pass while a lot of guys out there would consider selling their mothers for a gig like this)...but my realistic side knows that playing mediocre music several nights a week could very well end up feeling like just another job that I could learn to dislike - with the added side effect of delaying my graduation/compromising my chances at the perfect day gig. Seriously, I'm beyond torn!
You're considering the gig and the touring, because you think you owe it to yourself. But I'm not sensing any real passion for it. I am sensing a real fondness for your current situation... :eyebrow:
I say go for it, if you want to really pursue a career as a bassist. The other things you are doing are fairly common, and will be available if this gig doesn't pan out.
For the record, I know its easy to dismiss the pop music you'll be playing. Mainly because the studio recordings don't have the vibe you connect with. But I've toured with some of those bands, and have watched them turn the pop songs into an awesome live rock band situation. Which I think you guys can do the same, and make it a real unique good gig. Rather than sounding like a karaoke band. That's my 2 cents. I gave up my office job when I was 34 with 2 kids and a wife. My band has since sold multi-platinum in a few countries. So it's possible. And I'm grateful everyday.
Be wary of these promises of gigs and travel and money. What if they don't pay you, the gigs end up being complete ****, and you have zero chemistry over the long run with your bandmates?
This is the music business so I take everything with a grain of salt
Speaking for myself, for a gig of that length I'd have to like the material somewhat at least. I did a similar gig which only lasted a week, and couldn't wait for it to be over. It was fun for a day or two and then I checked out. Never again.
As another 42 year old married guy with kids I would say go for it. You're single, no kids, no career commitment. Ten years from now you'll regret it if you don't at least try it. Worse case scenario is that you hate it, you quit, go back home and finish school anyway.
Don't not go because the music is too "pop" for your liking. Whatever you have to play, play it well and enjoy.
I think you shouldn't take the gig. Like MysticMichael says, your posts come across as if you feel you are almost obliged to do this. Just cos opportunity comes a knocking, does not mean you have to answer. And sometimes, it comes knocking again. You will be no LESS a musician if you do not take this gig. But do prepare for the big "what if" which inevitably follows.
On a side note, until recently I always played (classic) rock, blues(rock) and rockabilly. I told myself this is where my heart lies and it was my "true" musical calling. Back in May I quit my blues band after a dispute with the drummer and I joined a pop cover band. The repertoire is WIDE and I have to really put in serious effort to learn some of the songs they throw my way.
I have to add a second side note: I am an absolute Rihanna fan. I love her voice, love her music, love her songs. And I realized that I always liked pop music a lot more than I cared (and dared) to admit. So my view of things is colored by that aspect of my self :)
Do the electronics thing. In this day and age, getting a job is becoming harder every day. And I don't care what everyone else says: the crisis is not over, this is just the eye of the storm and the worst is yet to come.
So much personal feel in this thread. I'd go for the gig, no second thoughts.
Record the demo, see what happens next. Odds are the demo will be unpaid. If the gig eventuates there's no guarantee it'll be offered to you first anyway.
I'm in Hong Kong. The music scene here is pretty minimal, the corporate/ events Mudic scene is ok, can be well paid but it can't be described as booming. The availability of cheap skilled musicians from the philipines also needs to be considered as it keeps prices lower. Only today i heard someone coming back from Dubai because the place "has gone tits up"
Unless you have a very solid, reliable job offer see out your education IMHO
Let me give you some perspective on the music being s**t...
I love the Beatles, but after playing nothing but Beatles' tunes for the past 3 years, right now, I'd be inclined to lump their material in with everything else I consider s**t. In reality, it's not, but I'm so sick to my soul of playing it, I can't stand to hear it anymore either.
Personally, I think your decision should be based on the potential long term gains of taking the gig or pursuing your education. Only you can decide which is right for you.
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