Air Force Band - Bass Opening

Discussion in 'Wanted: Bass Players' started by airmanjerm, Aug 10, 2010.

  1. airmanjerm


    Aug 3, 2010
    Hello Bass Players:

    The US Air Force Band of the Golden West has a vacancy for a Bass Guitar/Double Bass player. This organization is located at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, CA, just east of the San Francisco Bay Area, and also near Napa Valley and Sacramento.

    Applicants should be well-rounded performers, capable of performing styles including classical, rock, and jazz. You must also be able to read music, including lead sheets/changes and traditional written notation.

    To apply, send a resume and a CD containing sample recordings of your playing to:

    USAF Band of the Golden West
    ATTN: SSgt Jeremy Martin, Auditions Coordinator
    551 Waldron Street
    Travis AFB CA 94535

    It's highly recommended to include a variety of styles (including some doubls bass music) on the submitted recording. Materials should be received by September 24, 2010. Those selected as semifinalists for the audition will be notified and the audition will be held at Travis Air Force Base on October 18, 2010. More information about audition requirements may be found here:

    If selected for the position, you will work with a recruiter to attend Air Force Basic Training, an 8-week (not 6) period of indoctrination into the Air Force. Minimum enlistment is four years - at the end of those four years, you will have the opportunity to re-enlist.

    After basic training you'll come directly to Travis AF Base - no tech school or other training to complete. You'll be able to pick whatever gear you'd like to use, and it will be provided for you.

    RUMOR CONTROL: As a member of the Air Force Bands, you are a musician filling a position in an Air Force Band. You come to work, play your axe, go on occasional tours in our 5-state area (Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, and Nevada), and enjoy playing bass for a living. It is not a "special duty assignment" that you'll only get to do for a while - it's your actual job. You can't and won't be pulled out of the band to guard planes in Iraq or have to learn some other military job. You are, however, a member of the US Air Force, and although that carries the responsibilities of being in the military, you also receive the associated benefits such as *free* healthcare, the G.I. Bill, and (if you make it your career) a retirement plan.

    There is a possibility of being deployed overseas, but you would be deployed alongside other musicians to function as a musical group (most likely a rock band). During deployment you will perform for other troops -nothing else (not guarding planes, etc.). Those who have depoyed like this (such as Pacman here on report that it is one of the most rewarding experiences of their career. Length of these deployments is typically two months or less.

    For more information, contact SSgt Jeremy Martin by email at You may also find the answers to some of your questions on the Air Force Bands website at:

  2. natbers78

    natbers78 Supporting Member

    Jun 3, 2006
    Toledo, OH
    This is way better than my ghetto job post!! Outstanding work Sergeant!!!HAHAHAHAHA!!!
  3. What this ad doesn't tell you is that the US military actively practices age discrimination for these non-combat positions. There's no good reason that they do not accept anyone over the age of 33, but nonetheless, that's the way it is. Not even for the reserves, for chrissakes.

    I feel that older musicians who would like to enlist and serve their country as a musician should be able to. I'd jump on the chance to get into the Air Force reserve bands.

    It'd be great if someone 33 or younger here on Talkbass goes for this and gets it. Not to rain on that parade at all. I'm just saying that the military needs to open up enlistment for non-combat positions to all ages.
  4. KillerQuebec

    KillerQuebec Guest

    Jun 27, 2010
    If you really believe you are going to be playing bass in wine country and not an Air Traffic Controller or mechanic on some post in Afganistan, I have a bridge I want you to look at.
  5. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    Jul 29, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    I know nothing about USAF music practices, and I trust TBer Pacman 100% - he's an honorable man. If he says everything posted by the OP is true, I'd take it to the bank without question.

    That said, 30-odd years ago, a good friend was recruited into the Navy via the school of music, where he played/rehearsed 8+ hours a day - and loved every minute.

    According my friend, it was common practice for SOM to over-recruit and cull mercilessly after a year or two. I don't know the details, but was told that he was cut from the music program and had to serve the rest of his four-year term in the military in a non-music job.

    I'm not saying he didn't deserve it, or that the military was wrong. What I am saying is that, if I were young enough to entertain such a career choice, I'd want to know exactly what would happen if my musicianship or behavior were deemed unsatisfactory before the end of my four-term term.
  6. KillerQuebec

    KillerQuebec Guest

    Jun 27, 2010
    I have nothing against the military. I just think full disclosure is a wonderful thing. Just understand, there is a better than 50% chance you will see some crap duty sooner or later. Having said that, I would highly recommend the Air Force over the other branches only because the trigger pullers get very very big guns (nukes to bombers to jets) and the non trigger pullers are not in so much jeopardy as the other branches.

    I also know some guys who pulled the greatest duty stations anyone could ever ask for like Hawaii, London, and other cool places. Also know people who manned radar stations in god forsaken places.

    Before anyone joins any branch of the service, they should really research what happens to bodies when an IED hits them, and go visit a VA hospital before they sign on the dotted line. Just so you know what the future may hold for you.

    Remember, "No one can beat the U S Air Force!"

    If anyone goes, post some pictures.
  7. MegaSwing

    MegaSwing Your Obedient Bassist® Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 26, 2002
    Baltimore, MD USA
    Having known a number of military musicians, some of whom stayed in long enough to retire, it is my understanding that as a military musician, you are not given any task to do that could compromise your hands. So even though you may have additional administrative and/or maintenance duties that are not strictly musical, they are invariably physically low-impact jobs.

    The downside of the gig is that it is highly political and you have to be a pretty straight arrow and unfailingly reliable to please everyone you need to please, as it is by nature a high-profile very image-conscious gig. Lots of senior officers to please. In addition to which, you REALLY have to be an ace player. If you become a disciplinary problem, the military owns you, so only a real idiot would step out of line that way.

    The upsides are enormous: health care, retirement, nearly unlimited high-end equipment, and always surrounded by first-rate players wherever, whatever you play.

    There are worse ways to make a living, for sure.
  8. DirtPoorRobins


    Apr 18, 2005
    Hi guys, I don't mean to discredit what KillerQuebec said by any means, but I probably will anyways. There is a 0% chance that you will ever get any kind of "other duty" if you are enlisted as a musician. If you are interested in the band career field you should only talk to people who are in the Air Force band, any other military band, or branch of the Air Force would not know what goes on in our career field. The Air Force band is totally different than any other Air Force job, I wont bore you with the details unless you want to know, but the main one is, you sign up to be a musician, you are going to stay a musician.
    It's too specialized to move someone out of it into a non-specialized position. That would be like asking someone who speaks 10 languages to hold a rifle and guard a sack of potatoes, no they probably want that person translating because its a specialized craft they paid good money to train that person to do. Just ask questions to the right people and you'll get the real answer. Nobody in the band has any motivation to lie or trick you into joining, they wont get a bonus, employee of the month, or even a pat on the back, so there's no reason for them to "trick" you.
  9. KillerQuebec

    KillerQuebec Guest

    Jun 27, 2010
    DPR, I would agree that things have probably changed a great deal in the thirty years since I became eligible for service. And you are probably correct.

    But I do hear a lot of horror stories about guys signing up for one thing and ending up doing something else not to their liking. And then they dishonorably discharge you because you have a personality disorder because you were lied to about what your duty was going to be. but i digress.

    Just realize, it's big time buyer beware and nothing is actually in writing that can help you if someone decides they don't want you in the band anymore. No looking on CL for another gig.

    That's all I'm saying.

    Personally, if I had it to do all over again, I would go AF ROTC and have a guaranteed gig at an officers rate right out of college or grad school. No one takes anyone under thirty seriously anyway. Might as well get some leadership skills under your belt, get paid for it, and maybe even see the world and not have to kill everyone you see.
  10. DirtPoorRobins


    Apr 18, 2005
    Killer Quebec, I will say that in any other career field in the Air Force it does happen that they will put you in a job you didn't want. As for the officer thing, the same applies for the enlisted band, it is a guaranteed job and I've never heard of anyone ever being made to cross train. You have a signed, sealed, and delivered band job. Like I said, it's VERY different from the rest of the Air Force, trust me numerous "normals" in the AF don't happen in our career field, including tech school, deployments over 2 months, and we don't move around as much either. We have a guy in our band who spent all of his 20 years here at the same place.
  11. natbers78

    natbers78 Supporting Member

    Jun 3, 2006
    Toledo, OH
    WOW. The amount of misinformation in this thread is dizzying. Here's the deal...I am currently a bass player in the USAF band. I have been in for 8+ years. I'm not going to sit here and explain what the job is REALLY like to people who clearly don't know the facts but seem to have all the answers. So, if there's anybody who's reading this thread and wants to know about the job, both good and bad, PM me and I'll give you low down. I'm not a recruiter, I'm just trying to let other qualified bass players know about a possible job opportunity.
  12. airmanjerm


    Aug 3, 2010
    Wow guys. OK I'd love to ignore some of the total misinformation on here, but since it's my job to advertise this position, I guess I have to clear up all of the mess that's been posted so far.

    Okay, here's the deal: if you're interested in a killer gig playing bass, this is for you. If you want to play in some places you'll probably never get to otherwise, this is for you.

    If you're a conspiracy theorist who thinks that the Air Force Bands are really a front for some secretive mission to train undercover terrorist killers, then this is not the gig for you. Do you think we send bass players (or anybody else) to do that kind of work? We recruit CLARINET players...and they stay until RETIREMENT. Believe me, there's no Extra-Special Top-Secret Security Clearance because you know the secret Glenn Miller changes...

    OK so I'll try to throw a few real responses out here:


    Man, I wish you could join. I will correct you to a point that the age limit is not 33, it's 35. I guess you can call it age discrimination if you want, but unfortunately in this case we have to comply with Air Force regulations. They give us tons of leeway in so many areas, but this is one we can't fight. You have to be in by age 35 so that if you choose to make it a career and retire eventually, you'll be able to hit the 20-year minimum retirement mark by age 55, which is the mandatory retirement age. We could argue about that (and I'd probably agree with you for some of it I'm sure), but unfortunately it's just not something we can change.


    Thanks for the attention, and I completely understand asking what's gonna be expected. You know, my best music composition teacher ever was a guy named Robert Jager. He joined (well, got drafted into) the Navy in the Vietnam era and chose "Navy Trumpet Player" as his gig because at the time he was a music major at the University of Michigan. When he got to the School of Music in Norfolk, they didn't need any more trumpet players so they opened him up to cross-train, and during the process of choosing another career field his composition "Third Suite for Band" won the Ostwald Composition Contest (the highest honor for Band music Compositions). So, he cross trained and became an INSTRUCTOR at the School of Music.

    That's a fun success story, but a bit of luck too, I'm sure. But I will point out the obvious that first, we're not the Navy, and also it's 2010 not 1980. We don't just overly recruit musicians like your average recruiter. We have ONE position, and we're going to hire exactly ONE guy to fill it. If we have 80 guys apply, we'll find the best ONE of them. We won't hire nine guys for one spot and just "hope" one of them works out. We'll take ONE DUDE (or GAL) and make sure they get through basic training successfully.

    To answer your question though about what happens if you end up sucking at the gig: you'll be given all the chances in the world to succeed. I've seen (only a few times) a member just not perform well (usually because they get complacent once they win a real gig), and they are informed that they must begin private lessons with someone of their choice. And guess what...the Air Force pays for the lessons: it's considered part of your "training." If, at the end of lessons you still just suck it up, you'll finish your enlistment in the Band but not be allowed to re-enlist in the Band career field. Now, if you WANT to re-enlist in some other job and cross train, that's all up to you. But most of these people just get out.

    Killer Quebec:

    I appreciate your attention to the thread, and I know you're trying to help people out. I also appreciate that you have nothing against the military. But here's the deal: the things you are writing are just not accurate. I can 100% understand that you've known people to join the military and not end up doing what they joined for. I've known those guys too. But, I can tell you this: they weren't AIR FORCE Bandsmen, and by that I mean the U.S. Air Force. Not the Army, not the Navy, and not the Marine Corps. I mean the U.S. Air Force.

    I have a friend (actually, former student from when I taught high school). He was pretty hard core and loved the Marine Corps concept of really hard core toughness. He also loved music, and wanted to join a Marine Corps band. So, he joined the Marine Corps band in Cherry Point, North Carolina. Know what he was doing in 2004? He put his drums down and carried a weapon into Iraq.

    I'm being completely honest about that. But what you have to realize is that that is the Marine Corps and we are the AIR FORCE. We're not the same service as the Marine Corps, or the Army, or the Navy. We have totally different ...well, everything. We don't dissolve our bands and go carry weapons in war time. We go out into the public and just continue to do our jobs in order to garner support for our fellow troops who ARE in harm's way. That's what makes our career field a section of Air Force Public Affairs, and helping get support for my fellow troops is one of the reasons I enjoy my job.

    I don't care how many people in whatever service you have known in the past, claim to have known, or whatever, you have NEVER known an Air Force Bandsman to have joined an Air Force Band and been forced into another military job. If you claim that, then you probably just don't understand the facts or the situation. We don't do that in our career field. I've known a few people who came into the Air Force as a bandsman and later decided they wanted to do something else...but that was completely their decision and in each of those cases we really hated to see them leave our unit.

    Just because you mentioned it, here's a video of our rock band (WHICH WE NEED A BASS PLAYER FOR) performing at a pretty big deal gig in Sonoma, CA. (That is, Wine Country). It's maybe not anyone's favorite gig of their career, but it's an annual gig that draws all the famous and rich folks in the Napa/Sonoma area:

    These are all fun gigs, and fun ones to do. You know what we're doing for the next three weeks? Our concert band is going on an 8-day tour of places in San Diego and back up the coast, and then we're spending 4 days recording a CD. It's a lot of work, but I make a pretty decent living (not to mention the BENEFITS) doing it. And guess what...I'm not having to teach anymore, or play club gigs on the weekend to pay my electric bill! :bassist:

    So anyways, there's a few responses, and I know it's long post. I appreciate those of you just trying to look out for others, but let's be sure that people who are looking for a job have the best, most ACCURATE information. I don't mean to sound like a jerk or anything in any of my comments, but like NatBers said (a friend and fellow USAF Airman), it's really pointless to have to explain stuff to people who clearly don't know the facts but seem to have all the answers.
  13. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    Jul 29, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    Thanks for your response. I have no reason to doubt anything you've said, and I'm very glad to hear that what the USN did in the 80's isn't indicative of contemporary USAF practices.

    BTW, FWIW, my little brother retired from the USAF a few years ago. :D
  14. If I was 30 years younger I'd jump all over this. I can't say what is or isn't about the job, but I've had the pleasure of hearing the US Air Force Band of the West many, many times at the Albuquerque International Balloon fiesta where I'm a public address announcer for the past 21 years. The band is an incredible group of professional musicians who do an outstanding show in all genres of music. This could be the gig of a lifetime for someone!
    blkpwdr likes this.
  15. MegaSwing

    MegaSwing Your Obedient Bassist® Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 26, 2002
    Baltimore, MD USA
  16. southernrocker

    southernrocker Banned

    Apr 4, 2009
    If I was just now joining I would be all over this. I don't think they'll let me give up ATC and pick up a bass, though!

    I love the Air Force and am extremely proud to be in it. If you qualify, don't let this oppurtunity pass you by!
  17. southernrocker

    southernrocker Banned

    Apr 4, 2009
    I was able to see the AF rock band out of Wright-Patterson before I left for BMT. They were incredible, and like you said, they had the "gig of a lifetime".
  18. bassWR


    Nov 21, 2009
    Warner Robins GA
    OK...qualifier. I've never been in the military but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.
    Having said that, I have lived in an Air Force town all of my life (Warner Robins GA) and known many of the musician members of the Band of the Air Force Reserve. The guys here are career musicians and several have retired here.
    Were I not 51 and assuming I had the chops (no laughing from you local guys) I'd jump on this.
    Here are some observations from a bystander who has watched this band for years.

    1. These guys get better with time. Iron sharpens iron.

    2. They bless our community by helping with band clinics at the local schools, enhancing the local church music programs and by just being good citizens.

    3. We love their local concerts.

    4. Benefits, Benefits, Benefits! :hyper:

    5. Steady paycheck as long as you do your part. How many players get to say that?

    6. Patriotism! Nothing wrong with that.

    7. Great Gear! Go for the Roscoe basses and Berg. Cabs....Just sayin. :D

    In WR we respect and appreciate our Air Force guys and gals to the fullest and I'll bet other AF communities are the same.
    So good luck & God Bless.
  19. natbers78

    natbers78 Supporting Member

    Jun 3, 2006
    Toledo, OH
    HA!! No doubt about those Bergs!! I had the USAF buy me a couple of HT322's and they are killin'!
  20. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    You have no idea what you're talking about.

    Everything the OP said is money in the bank. Any questions? Ask me - I'll be more than happy to answer them.