A question for retired (from playing in bands) bass players

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by stratovani, Feb 12, 2018.

  1. At what point (if any) did you call it quits and became a bedroom player once again? I've been with my present band for almost seven years now. I had a birthday last week and I'm now 64. I enjoy playing with the guys in the band, but the load-in and load-out is getting tiring. Playing in small bars in the Worcester area a couple of times a month is getting old as well, and to be frank so is the music we play (Tom Petty tribute). I'm not really seeing much of a future for us beyond playing the same old small bar circuit. The band itself consists of older guys, ranging from 52 to 64. I keep telling myself that I'll quit when my body tells me it's time to quit, and I'm beginning to hear the whispers. Right now I'm thinking of playing out the rest of the year and telling our bandleader sometime in early October that it's time for me to move on and to begin auditioning for a new bass player. I think I'm done with playing in bands, all I'll probably do is occasionally play in local open mics and blues jams. My hands are starting to hurt, I've lost a lot of flexibility, and I don't have much strength as well.

    Anyone have any advice or experiences they'd like to share?
  2. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    How about going light-weight amp/cab/bass and using a stool on stage? TE elf and a 2x8 should do it.

    I take some naproxen for joint pain.

    Check with you doc to figure out what's best for you.

    Also, pick up some new, comfortable shoes and add inserts.

    Some weight lifting may also help.
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2018
  3. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    I'll be 70 in July. For me there's no point in playing if you're not going to play out. Class D amps and neo cabs take the pain out of load in/out. It's especially nice when someone else owns the PA. I still own the PA in one of my bands, but all hands load it in and no one leaves until it's all back in my car. Performing is where it's at, and I hope my last gig is the day before I die.
  4. IamGroot


    Jan 18, 2018
    I hope i get a gig after i die and it's air conditioned.

    I have just started playing again after a decade laying out. No pain or load out issues but i am serious cranky about pro behavior. I have become the curious people that amused me decades ago. I hope i remember to wear shoes unlike .....
  5. IamGroot


    Jan 18, 2018
    I have subbed/guested/jammed several times since getting back. People ask for phone and if i want to play with them, but i am done with the bar circuit unless its somebody really good or with potential. Havent broken back into the restaurant or occasional recording yet. Looked into pro hip hop band. Liked the music but i dont think i had the image. Ps, i did several hip hop recordings around 2000 and heads used to swivel when they saw who was playing.
    the harp unstrung likes this.
  6. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru..........

    Apr 11, 2006
    Out there!
    Come on, man. You sound like a guy who's at least 65 or something. :D
  7. Would you still need me, would you still feed me...
    I can't contribute an experience, however I think it's worth saying that the Tom Petty nostalgia in the air can give you a couple more years of a fruitful music career. In my opinion though, I love watching the talented older crowd play and usually they've got some great stories. So I'll say keep at it forever.
  8. IamGroot


    Jan 18, 2018
    Most of my great stories would not be allowed on TB.
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  9. That sounds like the main issue to me. Talk to a doctor, make sure it is just normal getting older and not a symptom of something that needs treatment.

    It doesn't sound like you are doing it for the money so, In my opinion, once you stop having fun, it is time to move on.
    By 'move on', I don't mean stop playing out. Perhaps you just need to change bands? If you are burned out on Tom Petty, perhaps there is another genre of music you would enjoy more.

    You can always get smaller, lighter gear or if they are paying gigs, work out something for a roadie to be part of the crew.

    Like most things, the less you do it, the harder it becomes to do when you want to. If you stop playing out, you may lose the desire to play as much at home. That will contribute to the weakening and loss of flexibility.
  10. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    I'm just shy of 64 myself, and can relate. I've been VERY active for the past eight years and it's getting a little old. Band for eight years, main gig, about 50 dates a year. Trio for the last two years, 20 gigs a year. Two duos, maybe a dozen gigs/year. Ben a few other projects over that period that didn't pan out for various reasons.

    Increasingly I find myself saying, before a gig, "I really don't feel it tonight". Something will have go before next year. Not sure which project I'll drop tho.
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  11. RoadRanger

    RoadRanger Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2004
    NE CT
    Hey, I play up in Wormtown all the time, hook a bro up if you quit ;) . I'm a youngster at 62 LOL.

    There are bands that don't play out - one of mine plays out a couple times a year for a pig roast or whatever and we bring in a couple new songs a month to keep it interesting, rehearsing on a weekend night (often around my gigs). We have something like 80 songs now :wideyed:. You should be able to find (or create) a similar situation :) . Oh, and I should mention that only a couple of us drink at all and not at rehearsals - nuttin' else either ;) .
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2018
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  12. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Inactive

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    I always feel like you feel when I'm bored with a band. Nothing like an interesting project to make all the aches and pains go away.
    Giffro, DirtDog, Stumbo and 9 others like this.
  13. ptg


    Mar 16, 2008
    I retired from playing out after the last band I was in (wonderful people, great all original music) folded. They have since reunited for one last gasp but I told them I don't have it in me.

    I can't give advice as each person has their own set of circumstances but I understand how you feel. Rehearsing and loading in and out to play to a few people in a small bar gets old for a lot of us at some point.

    One thing I did do is pick up the sax. I suck but I do enjoy playing a lead instrument for a change. So if you still love music but not the stress of a band situation, maybe try the challenge of a new instrument.

    The good thing is that whatever you decide it's the right decision!
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  14. My financial burden doesn't allow me much choice but to work long hours. My gigging has been on hold for quite some time now, but if the right one comes along on a Saturday night (my night off) I'm game. I still play at home every chance I get as well as check in here for any news and to say "Hi". Hi.
    Stumbo, JRA and two fingers like this.
  15. mikewalker

    mikewalker Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2017
    Canada, Eh!
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  16. Wesley R

    Wesley R Gold Supporting Member

    I guess I retired from being in a band when I met my first wife. It is my intent to get back in a band and onstage sometime soonish-kinda-sorta. Wife #2 loves me playing and would listen to for hours, and paid for some of my gear.
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  17. Biggbass


    Dec 14, 2011
    Planet Earth
    When the gear becomes too much of a physical challenge to move I'll throw in the towel and retire to the studio. I love to record and the creative process that becomes new music. But for now I still get a charge out of playing gigs and cranking up the amps.
    Stumbo likes this.
  18. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    I haven't gigged regularly since I was 45. Prior to that I regularly worked in multiple bands and ensembles for about 20 years playing a wide range of music including symphonic, jazz, and commercial styles. I had reached a plateau were I wasn't growing any more and my love of music was waning. I was becoming increasingly intolerant of the BS and wasted time that typically occurs when working with musicians. I probably would have lasted a few more years, but many of the really talented players I enjoyed working with moved away, so the quality level took a big hit. Ultimately I wasn't having fun so I moved on. I do still have gear and try to regularly spend time practicing the instrument and maintaining a bit of my theoretical knowledge. I could easily gig, but I doubt I ever will.

    If you still enjoy playing, look into modern light weight gear and get a good setup that doesn't tax your hands too much. It would probably be helpful to pursue a new musical challenge or direction that you find more interesting. If your burned out, take a break and see if the passion returns. Do what gives you the most joy.
    Rimshot, jamro217 and Stumbo like this.
  19. Element Zero

    Element Zero Supporting Member

    Dec 14, 2016
    This thread is incredibly sad. I couldn’t imagine at least playing with others. Forget gigging. I don’t even play at gigs like gigs. I play like we’re all just friends playing music that we all enjoy. @stratovani I sincerely hope you find that fire again.
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  20. SactoBass

    SactoBass A retired civil engineer who likes all-tube amps!

    Jul 8, 2009
    Lake Havasu City, AZ
    Motrin! :thumbsup:
    stratovani, JRA and Stumbo like this.

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