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Bandmates Consistently Older (or Younger) Than You?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by jaywa, Jul 18, 2012.

  1. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    My pattern the last few years has been to have one "main" cover band (in the "variety" cover band vein) that comprises 70-80% of my gigs in any given year, but then also pick up a variety of sub jobs and/or one-off "pickup" gigs that usually don't pay as much as my main band but help fill in the gaps on my calendar.

    In looking back I realize that almost without exception, the bands I wind up playing with have at least half the membership older than me (I'm 46). The last time I was the "old man" in a band was 8 or 9 years ago (a one-off sub gig with three guys aged 18-22).

    Both of my last two "main" bands (including my current one), were "bi-generational" bands where some members were old enough to be other members' fathers (and in one case, an actual father/son pairing). But on all the other fill-in jobs (no matter what the band), I'm without exception the youngest guy in the group.

    In one respect I kind of consider it a badge of honor to regularly be invited to play with older, more experienced musicians but OTOH, I sometimes wonder if there's something about my look, persona and/or playing style that's making me a "no-go" with younger cats. (See below, I don't think I look THAT old for 46.) I kind of figured as I got older, almost by default I'd be playing with a greater number of younger bandmates but that isn't how it's worked out and in fact, the opposite has been true. The BL of my current main band is 31 and the drummer in that band is 24... and the WL at my church is 27 or 28 I think. Other than those guys, everyone I work with regularly is older than me.

    Anyway, wondering if anyone else has noticed a similar pattern in their gigging, past or present.

    Attached Files:

  2. Dantreige


    Oct 22, 2009
    I'm the youngest in my current band and I am the only grandpa. My drummer is older then me by a few years has a son the same age as my granddaughter. :shrug:

    Life choices I guess.

    I was asked to join a my nephew's band a couple years back. (I declined.) He is in his early twenties and is making a good name for himself localy as a good blues guitar player/singer.

    I guess I have always been the youngest in most of the bands I have played in. I think that has more to do with my goals the the maturity of the people I wanted to play with.

    I would not ever rule out playing with younger people. It just has not worked out that way for me. There are plenty of younger groups (and players) doing what I would consider interesting if I ever wanted to change my situation.

    Attitude over age, IMHO. I think it's a crapshoot on how it works out.
  3. LOL I'm 20 and I have NEVER been in a band with people my age. all members have ranged from from 3-5 years older than me to retired. I think it all has to do with the mentality. In my situations with the much older people it's just a matter of not having time/not wanting to be serious. I personally think that people my age just don't take anything seriously/ don't play well lol. When it comes down to it, your friends are old! lol
  4. Runnerman

    Runnerman Registered Bass Player Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 14, 2011
    Sales Development Manager NN Inc. - Polymet, USA manufacturer of fret wire
    Current band is a cover/original band and ages as follows...

    Bass(me) 51
    Drums 60
    Lead guitar/vox 42
    Rhythm guitar 28

    So I'm in the middle to high end. Our originals span the spectrum in style from 60's to 90"s....even within a song. We do have the advantage that one or the other of us has pretty much played everything at one time or another. The rhythm guitarist is a little glassy eyed at times and has definitely had to work the hardest to keep up.

    I do see the same thing out gigging. Age doesn't seem to matter as much when music/art is the bond.
  5. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    This has been covered in multiple other threads on TB but I have found there can really be a lot of value in situations like this. As long as the goals and a baseline level of maturity are shared, "bi-generational" bands can work out well. The old guys mentor the youngsters and the young ones give the old jaded farts a kick in the azz every now and then.

    You also have the marketing bonus of potentially drawing from a lot bigger demographic then if everyone in the band is 22-24 or they're all empty-nesters in their mid-50s or whatever.
  6. craig.p


    Sep 28, 2008
    New Hampshire
    Every band I've been in recently has been younger than me, first because I hate my generation's music, and prefer stuff from no earlier than, say, 1990, more or less. So that's what I chase after. Second, I've found the vast majority of players my age have become complacent, while I've always been a highly driven perfectionist. (Not trying to brag, or claim one way's better than the other -- believe me, it can be like hauling around a fifty pound curse, depending on who you're working with.) Yeah, those types don't mix at all. But it's tough to get hired into a younger band (for obvious reasons), and even once hauled on board, it's tough to stay both on board and sane (for not-so-obvious reasons that go way beyond the scope of this thread, but mostly related to not wanting to be part of an outfit that I sense not only is racing toward the same cliffs I went over way back in the mid 1970s, but also refuses to be educated or even shown the warning signs, because after all, what could an old fart know).
  7. KenHR


    Jul 28, 2010
    Waterford, NY
    I'm 36, and the folks I've been playing with in the past few bands over the past few years have, by and large, been in their 60s.

    Currently, the cover band I'm in has three members in retirement. Our singer is a plucky gal of 25, so I'm not the youngest this time out.

    I also jam with a band that does bluesy originals; those guys are in their late 50s to mid-60s.

    It's weird. I feel like I'm in some weird liminal space around here when it comes to age. Everyone who is "serious" (in the sense that they work at music and get gigs, not just play in the basement or attic and go on about "real music" while passing the bowl or whatever) around here is either much younger than I am (and I'm too old or out of touch with their tastes to play with them) or much older (I can get classic rock gigs...woo).

    I've been trying to find people closer to my age and tastes for years now, but it's been difficult. I don't know what it is about my generation; I keep running into slacker-types who have no interest in working at their craft. They seriously seem to think that jamming in the basement once a week, not working on getting cues right etc. is enough and the something will happen that way. Now I'm long past thinking I'm going to be a rock star, but I'd be embarrassed to take the stage with most of the folks I've met who are in my age bracket.

    That said, I have made contact with one guy via CL who seems well-adjusted and who makes music I really dig. Going to get together for the first time next week and see if we can write together....this will be a recording project that maybe will turn into a band down the road. I really hope we hit it off musically and personality-wise.
  8. bluewine

    bluewine Inactive

    Sep 4, 2008
    I'm 59, at my age you might as well take it as a given your more than likely always going to be the older or oldest Guy in a band.

    My BL, lead vox and guitar is 29. I keep or limit my contribution to bass and backing box.

    I don't volunteer any of the things I've learned over the past 45 years.

    Being older, the pic shows that I can actually take a short nap while I'm playing.

    View attachment 278838
  9. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    Ken -

    That's really interesting you say that. In my market as well, it seems like there's a definite "dead zone" of musicians in that age range from about 32 to 40. There aren't a lot of people that age that I see out gigging regularly and the ones who are gigging, frankly, are pretty marginal players for the most part. I work with a pretty broad range of local musicians among my various projects and of all those people there are only a couple who aren't either under 30 or over about 48.

    Some of it may be inherent to your generation (in fact, my 52-year old drummer friend and I have had several discussions on that very topic), but I suspect a lot more of it has to do with life stage. You're in the age range when a lot of people really start getting busy with family commitments, the career climbers are putting in crazy hours/travel on their day jobs, working on their houses... all of which can get in the way of developing one's musical craft and starting/joining/functioning in a regularly gigging band.
  10. BassGen


    Mar 15, 2011
    Ontario, Canada
    I'm 47 and I think I'm the young man in the group. The singer and drummer are both 50, the rhythm guitar is 49 and I don't actually know for certain how old our lead guitarist is but she is close friends with the singer for many, many years so should be close to the same age.
  11. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    The one place where the age demographics in my market get turned completely on their head is in churches. The P&W bands in a lot of our area churches are pretty much dominated by players in their early 30s to mid 40s and again I think life stage is a huge part of that. Church gigs are "family friendly", they require only one night a week (if even) for rehearsal, there's no travel, the material is usually familiar and pretty easy (not a lot of woodshedding) and frankly, the performance bar isn't set very high in a lot of cases. All of which make a volunteer P&W band a great outlet for people who want to play but aren't necessarily in a position to commit to the "serious band" thing.
  12. KenHR


    Jul 28, 2010
    Waterford, NY
    Good point about extra-musical commitments and such. I still think if someone really wants to do something, they'll make the time, though. I was travelling a lot for the job a couple of years ago, and brought a Backpacker and portable recorder (later the iPhone) to get ideas down while in hotels or between meetings. Passion knows no barrier. :)

    I do think the rampant slacker-ism of the '90s has something to do with it, much as I'm ashamed to admit it. A lot of folks my age (and with my musical bent) grew up listening to Pavement or Sebadoh and the like. The not-give-a-$#!+ attitude was part and parcel of that music. One guy I met thru CL a few months ago even gave me some high-minded (read: stoned) speech about how it's not possible to be passionate or honest with music on a stage, so why try, etc. And when I told him about my musical work ethic, he responded with: "dude, if you're expecting me to put in that much work, you'll be sorely disappointed." I should have left right then, ten minutes after arriving at his place. What a waste of three hours. And this guy is pretty typical around here (not to mention he wasn't some undergrad kid, he was six years my senior).

    Who knows, though, maybe things will get better in a few years. For now I do have a well-paying classic rock gig...I just wish there was more of an opportunity to play and write music reflective of my generation (though looking back...damn were we a nihilistic bunch, by and large...some of us have grown out of it, at least).
  13. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    Exactly. You've got the right perspective so hang in there. You're ahead of others your age because you're at least out there playing and honing your craft even if the material really isn't your thing. Who knows, in a few years maybe some of those folks your age will be in a position to do a more serious band thing and things could come together for you pretty fast then. And you'll be prepared with your chops up.

    A classic case in point is the lead guitarist in my current band. He's pretty close to 60 and has been playing since he was a teenager and did the traveling band thing quite a bit in his early years... but there was a pretty long stretch while he was raising his family that he didn't play out much at all except an occasional fill-in gig or at church. But now he's free of all that and he's all-in to music again with our "bi-generational" covers/originals band that plays almost every weekend and is making good money. He's just as enthuastic and committed to the band as our BL (who's half his age), and I think a lot of it has to do with how much he missed it during those years he sat out to do right by his family.
  14. BigRedX


    May 1, 2006
    Until I hit my mid 30s I'd always been in bands with people who were about the same age as me (give or take a couple of years). However at that point I found most people my age were spending more time being in families or had failed to move on in the same musical direction as me.

    Since then the majority of my band mates have been younger than me. I'm now in my 50s and with no responsibilities to anyone other than myself. I'm self employed and in the lucky position where I only need to work a few hours each day in order to pay the bills and have enough disposable income to keep myself entertained. The musicians I find myself with the most in common are all in their 20s, eager to play at put their energy into the music.

    I've done more gigs in the last two years with my latest originals band Dick Venom & The Terrortones then I have in the previous 25. We're gigging on average at least once a week and getting paid for it. The last time I had this much fun, I was in my 20s...

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