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Bad Reason to Join a Band?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by JoZac21, Aug 17, 2012.

  1. JoZac21


    Nov 30, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    A preemptive Thank You and Nod to anyone who reads this long, inane, rant:

    I have been playing music for 20 years now. I have, in my life time, been in at least 17 bands. I studied at a prestigious music school for three years...

    If I am being completely honest, I know I am a damned good musician. I know I can hold my own playing with well established professional musicians... I have... (this is not meant to sound like bragging, and I hope it doesn't, but I know this is the case).

    Despite everything I mentioned above, I have really gotten nowhere as far as being "successful" goes. I have never been in a band that has a following of people that doesn't consist almost entirely of friends of the band. I have never gone on tour - not even a one gig out-of-town thing. I have spent much more money on equipment, lessons, etc. than I have ever made as a musician.

    So here's the deal:

    I am currently playing in a band in which I really like the music... only it's not going anywhere, and I doubt it ever will. The band has existed in some incarnation or another for over ten years (I've only been a member for a year) - and we still play to about a dozen people per gig on average. My last band used to play to about 100, but I like this band better...

    Yesterday I found an ad on Craigslist for a band looking for a bass player... and they seem to really have their act together - they've already toured, done interviews, opened for/played with some established acts, etc.

    The thing is, while I do like the music, and I think they're really talented... it's not the kind of music I would normally play, let alone listen to. It is far from bad... but I've always been attracted to "innovative" and "inventive" music... this band, while quite good, are far from breaking any molds...

    I must admit, I am mostly attracted to this band because I think they can gain popularity and I want to play for more than a dozen people at a time... two of which are my parents...

    Am I "selling-out"? Is it okay if I don't care if I am?

    Again, the music really isn't bad... it's just not something I would normally want to do... but if I'm playing to a large crowd, I don't think I'd mind...

    Any thoughts would be appreciated...

    TL;DR - I'm thinking of joining a band that plays music I wouldn't normally want to play, but they look like they may become successful, and my sell-out-self likes that possibility. Is that bad?
  2. NOT


    Jul 15, 2011
    Wanting to breakout to a much larger audience is only natural. But if you do not enjoy the music you might be playing, why bother? I wouldn't call it selling out. But it sounds like a bad move.
  3. I guess this is what you would call "profession". If you want to become a professional musician, there are worse ways to get into that, than a already known band playing music you can link to.

    I turned one of my passions into my daily job (drawing) and most of the time I am really happy with that! There are a lot of compromises, setbacks and jobs that may not meet my wishful thinking. But I try not to forget what most people have to do to make a living!

    Don´t forget, it could be just the start!
  4. JoZac21


    Nov 30, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    I don't think I won't enjoy playing the music... a) I'm always having a great time when I'm playing my bass, b) again, it's really not "bad" music in the slightest...

    My current way of thinking is, I'll give this a go... if I wind up really not liking it, I'll quit... but I'm sick and tired of playing primarily to an audience consisting of my cats...

    I don't know... I'm torn here... I just want to play gigs... gigs to lots of people... I want to make a name for myself...

    P.S. - I have no intentions of quitting my other band... the one that I really do actively love the music of.. so that's a good thing...
  5. JoZac21


    Nov 30, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    Thanks for the response. This is basically my train of thought...
  6. dbd1963


    May 18, 2010
    Northern Virginia
    I don't see a downside to playing with the successful band if that is something that you'd like to do. I say, let yourself have that experience. If you don't, you'll always look back with regret. And as you say, if you don't like it, you can quit.
  7. EskimoBassist


    Nov 2, 2007
    Leeds, UK
    Maybe this has been your problem all along, you've being playing genres of music that themselves are not massively popular or are so niche that it is hard to gain popularity or recognition.

    I think you should just give this band a shot, it might give you a whole new perspective on the music and besides considering your musicianship I'm sure you can turn your bass parts into something gratifying to play.

    At the very least you get to travel, can't be all bad.
  8. If you you like the music even a little bit DO IT. If it will get YOU playing bass in front of more people this could turn into something that's exactly what you want. By stepping up to the the next level you'll probably find more people to start better bands with or get offered even better opportunities.
  9. JoZac21


    Nov 30, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY

    Okay... so I keep listening to the songs the band has online, and I came to an embarrassing conclusion...

    Screw it... I really like this band. They're rocking as hell. After years and years of playing "experimental" music, and coming from a jazz background, I think I'm having a hard time admitting to the fact that I like, and want to play in, a band that is pretty straight forward "melodic-metal"... some good ol' hard rock... the kind of band you associate with X-Games and NHL highlight reels...

    I think I may just be trying to keep up an appearance that stems from my snobby jazz days...

    I like this music. I don't care what people think. I no longer am going to listen to the elitist voice in my head telling me "yeah, you like it... but it's not complex and weird enough". Screw that voice...

    So the topic of this thread, I suppose, changes a bit...

    What the hell is wrong with me that I think that I need to constantly play music that "challenges listeners", thus making me question my wanting to join a simple, hard rocking band that I like? Is this not the attitude that has kept me playing to so few people for so long? :bag:
  10. JoZac21


    Nov 30, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    As of yet, the band I am currently in has its act together better than any band I've been in as of yet... we have t-shirts, a good website, we advertise well and have a web presence, we always have a merch table at our shows... it just seems that very few people actually like our blend of New-Wave/No-Wave... with the exception, really, of those of us in the band...

    That makes it a hard situation to fix...
  11. Do you have time for both bands? Playing with Band B might bring more popularity to Band A.
  12. I find it hard to believe a "pro" bass player can't bring in more than his gear expenses in 20 years. Trade amps often?

    Playing to an appreciative crowd counts as enjoyment to me. Go hard until it gets boring. When it gets boring and you stay on for the money, then you're a sellout.
  13. Alrod


    Apr 7, 2012
    It sounds like over the years you have not been open to other styles of music. This has obviously held you back. I have played with some pretty amazing musicians over the years. Ones that could easily have gone pro. They had the looks, the moves, the tone, and the chops. Their main hangup? too narrow minded. I think playing for this band will broaden your horizons, and accomplish what you have been wanting to do for 20 years; play in front of larger crowds.
  14. Jazz school learning has both prepared you for this moment and kept you from its discovery. That's a hell of an apprenticeship, now go hard!
  15. ChrisB2

    ChrisB2 Bass... in your fass

    Feb 27, 2008
    TalkBass > Off Topic
  16. woodsideh


    Feb 19, 2009
    Charlotte, NC
    I was in a similar situation. I have been playing music a long time as well. I was in a blues band that was very good and is probably my favorite genre. The crowds were always small which got depressing to me. I got a call to play with a budding new country artist. After a long talk with my wife I took the job. I will have to tell you that with the exception of a few major artists I didn't know anything about the music. I studied and practiced constantly. Since last fall we have opened for several major artists, headlined festivals and played to packed clubs. Now I am loving it. Don't stress about it. When you go on stage and see a huge crowd you will realize that music is all about entertaining.
  17. Yup, the age old dilemma: do you want to be an "artist" or an "entertainer?"
  18. JoZac21


    Nov 30, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    Being recently unemployed, and biding my time while training for a new job (I'm taking classes to become an EMT), I have more than ample time... and yeah, that could work.

    I never used the word "pro", I don't think (correct me if I'm wrong)... I also said that "I have spent much more money on equipment, lessons, etc." than I have made as a musician. That's a bit different than just equipment... although it doesn't help that I play a Sadowsky...

    I agree with your second paragraph entirely, though...

    Strangely, I am easily the most eclectic person I know when it comes to listening to music. Yes, I was trained in jazz... but I like Korn and Dubstep... I like Lady Gaga... I like The Incredible String Band and The Shaggs... I like Cecil Taylor... I like mush more music that I've heard than I dislike - by far... again, I think it's appearance... I am extremely open minded when it comes to listening to music, but yeah, I need to extend that to my playing... at least in this case I think.

    I agree, though ... this may be exactly what I need...
  19. Bisounourse


    Jun 21, 2012
    Gent, Belgium
    That sounds actually quite interesting... Any link to the website of your band? (I found the band Cosmolingo in your profile, but the Youtube clips I could see of a livegig in NY doesn't really sound like No Wave/New Wave to me...)
  20. JoZac21


    Nov 30, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    Agreed. Thanks for the input!

    Yup. Very yup.

    ^to the two comments above:

    I agree... I don't mind being an entertainer. I'll be happy playing my bass either way. Is it not the point of playing music to have others enjoy it? That's what I want right now... it isn't about the money... all I want is to get on a stage and see people enjoying the music I am playing... (money would be nice though... as a car fan, it would be nice to be able to buy a Jaguar XJL Supersport with money from playing music ;) )

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