Can a responsible, married adult play in an orignal band?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Devils Advocate, Dec 23, 2013.

  1. Of course they can, so please read carfully as I'd like to kick around some specifics. I feel like I'm stuck in a conundrum, and need to hear the experience of others.

    I love playing original music, had a few good runs with bands that did some exciting things, and still have the desire to earn my keep as a musician, play great shows, and play original music.

    Over the past 5 or 6 years however I've started a pattern that I've been repeating, and feel I'm about to do it again. I get involved with something that seems happening, put a year or more of hard work and sacrifice into it, then the band starts asking for more than I can responsibly contribute, and I'm left with the option of either doing what the band wants, or letting them find someone who can and will. After I worked my ass off to help bring them to the point they're at. That usually means tours where we'll be lucky to cover expenses, me taking off unreasonable amounts of time from my dayjob, or them wanting me to contribute money that I'll probably never get back. My dayjob is really flexible, but I have bills that need to be paid.

    So many details I'd like to add, but I'm trying to keep this short. Here's the bottom line:

    I have an opportunity to play in a start up group with some guys who are just a small step below the big leagues. They've all toured in different bands supporting major acts, and have done well for themselves. The music is top notch, and all the pieces are pretty much in place, but it's going to take a pretty big investment (time and possibly money) to get it off the ground. If it were my music, I'd have no problem giving it everything I've got, as at least there's a chance (albiet slim) that the investment might one day pay off. Even if not, when it's my music I feel differently about it. As "just a band member" however, I know where my investment can land me. A year of recording, giving up lots of days (and pay) at my other job, rehearsals, and then eventually, "Guys, we've got a tour coming up. We'll just about break even, but it will push us to the next level, and the gigs will be awesome...".

    Then what?

    They're not looking for a hired gun, by the way.

    Been working on my own project but that has it's own list of difficulties. Mostly dealing with flaky musicians. I also enjoy being a sideman as opposed to leader....

    So what to do? I'd like to play with these guys, but don't want to repeat my past. Are there any kinds of contracts or agreements that can be drawn up that would seem reasonable and people would be willing to sign? I'll make an investment if we're all in on the copyrights and publishing whether we wrote the songs or not?

    Is it possible to do this, when one has other responsibilities? Or am I at the point where I have to just accept that either I'm hired to play, or it ain't happening? Great gigs like that are few and far between, and they don't usually materialize unless you're out there in the game (as I'd like to be with this band). Playing music is all I've ever wanted to do with my life. And only thing I really feel I do excellently.

    Apologies for the rambling, hope I get some responses as I'd really like to dive a little deeper into this and hopefully unearth some answers. Feeling frustrated and fearful of moving forward.
  2. blakelock


    Dec 16, 2009
    it seems like the difficulty come in when it's tour time. your life doesn't allow it...and that's ok. can you envision a successful outcome that doesn't involve long/cheap touring? what does that look like? describe that scenario to the new band and see if it's what they're looking for as well.

    good luck. when you find the answer..let me know :D
  3. Seems to me like you just can't make that next step. As Blakelock said, nothing wrong with that.

    I'm in a similar situation. 3/4 of my band is married, families, jobs, living lives.. we get together to jam/practice/whatever once a week and we gig about once a month and we're fine with that.

    we've had show offers from Florida to Ontario, as far west as Chicago and Alberta. We can't swing them obviously and that's mostly fine with us.
  4. sleeplessknight

    sleeplessknight Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2002
    You have to identify what's important to your life - being 110% there every waking second for your family and/or day gig, or having the freedom/flexibility to take risks/investment in outside projects such as music. Right now, it seems your priorities are more family/dayjob-oriented. That's admirable, but that basically means you're useless to a touring outfit. If, after some serious thought, you can let the family/dayjob thing slip a little bit (perhaps accepting that you really don't need to be there for every little burp, murmur, or poopie the little one emits, or negotiating with your boss for some extended unpaid leave after a period of doing some extra saving/selling to boost your bank budget to get you through the lean-times of touring) I think you'll find yourself in a better position to be able to make those tours.

    Apropos to this thread: Find Your Passion, Then Do It On Nights and Weekends The Rest Of Your Life
  5. I have no kids. My wife is awesome as far as supporting whatever I want to do. I wouldn't have married her if not.

    If I come off as sounding confused here, it's only because I am :) . I think the issue comes down to fear on my part, and fear I have yet to conquer or at least not let pave my future.

    Some of the details I left out of my OP. I once gave up my own original band (that was going incredibly well) to give my all to someone who was doing some real cool stuff. I gave 110% to this guy, and after a few years 'he' got picked up with an offer nobody could possibly refuse. I was thrown by the wayside. Did everything I could to pick myself up and move forward, but reality was I went from pretty much being at the top of my game - to having nothing more than a crap cover band. In the matter of just a few hours. It was unexpected. I was completely blindsided.

    Like a jilted lover who no longer trusts anyone, I'm now stuck. I get some great things happening, and then I start not trusting the people I'm with. I don't want to invest past a certain point unless I have some guarantees. If even just a guarantee that I'll reap some of the rewards if and when they come. I feel like, "Why should I invest in YOUR dream?, or your music?" Either pay me, or find someone else. And that unfortunately winds up leaking out in my attitude, whether I want it to or not.

    Not even sure this is making any sense... but I'm at a point where I have to get to the bottom of it. So I'm airing my dirty laundry here in hopes of having an "ah ha" moment or 2.

    Thanks for the input.

    Will look into the "Find your passion" thread now.
  6. OP: For get about it - find some people who just want to jam for fun in the garage and call it good.
  7. tycobb73


    Jul 23, 2006
    Grand Rapids MI
    The band's goals should have been stated up front to make sure everyone is on the same page
  8. bkbirge


    Jun 25, 2000
    Houston, TX
    Endorsing Artist: Steak n Shake
    You say they don't want a hired gun but that's pretty much what your setup to be, minus the steady pay of course. Sounds like a no win situation, regardless of your marital/job status.
  9. How old is the OP? This might make a bit of difference.

    Having a supportive SO is important and all that, but how long will this last if the OP keeps finding, and then losing these questionable *opportunities*? Not questioning his abilities/talent/judgement, but when does the quest for, for lack of a better term, rockstar status get crowded out for a more stable, family-oriented lifestyle?

    If the money thing is the underlying question, OP might be better off being the hired gun, and find that elusive original group that will pay him to show up AND give him input on the music.

    Or, as Joe suggested above, find some cool cats who play for the enjoyment of it and settle.

    Let us know how you work it. Best of luck!
  10. hsech

    hsech I'm not old, I'm just seasoned. Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 27, 2012
    Central Iowa
    My situation is somewhat different. I retired from a major chemical company then did personal engineering consulting work for another ten years. During those ten years I always worked away from home anywhere from Aruba to Venezuela. I never got to take my family. It wasn't fun. Made good money, but was away from home none the less. Touring is like that in some respects. You can keep in touch via phone, but it's not the same. It's a personal decision you have to make with your loved ones. They should be considered in any decision. If you are working full time, how about your job? Can you take off long enough to tour?
  11. NWB


    Apr 30, 2008
    Kirkland, WA
    This is really how I would view the situation.

    I would find it difficult to pour my talents, time, and money into someone else's vision. There would have to be some significant and tangible rewards to do that.
  12. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    You want to play in a group that's talented, but you're worried about getting left behind again.

    That's always going to be a risk. But let's say you play for a year or two with this new group before parting ways. What are the odds that over that period you'll record songs, play gigs, and create memories that you can be proud of?

    That's the pay-off: being alive in your moment, and creating something beautiful with your talent. Those odds improve when you play with as many talented musicians as you can. If, OTOH, you're looking at original music primarily as an investment, then you're investing in the wrong activity.

    That songwriter who "jilted" you for the "offer that nobody could possibly refuse"? He's gone. Move on. If it helps, understand that it's unlikely that he's rolling in mountains of cash.
  13. Zoa


    Dec 28, 2009
    Reading this on my phone in a van with 7 people in it. OP, I got your back.

    Honestly, I think you should work on finding an originals act with local/regional, not national aspirations. There are plenty of very talented people with your same limitations, try and find some of them.
  14. 10cc


    Oct 28, 2013
    You got to think about the what if.
  15. Runnerman

    Runnerman Registered Bass Player Supporting Member

    Mar 14, 2011
    And a dose of reality too....

    Most originals bands collapse into nothingness in 3-5 years for various reasons that could be listed ad-infinitum. Even the ones that tour. Consider any originals band a temporary situation. Embrace what you have when you have it and enjoy the heck out of it. And be prepared to move on when the time comes.

    Come on let's face it, if you really thought the bands you have left had serious potential, you would have stayed. I mean, correct me if I'm wrong but, in your mind you probably were looking for a way out anyways. For this new band, why not give it a shot? See if all this talent really can come together and move forward the way you think it can.
  16. DagoMaino


    Feb 1, 2013
    That's a tough one... Finding people that are worth the investment is pretty rare, finding music that is worth the investment is pretty rare, having music that could be considered an investment (ie. investments have a return) is pretty rare... when the magical chemistry is there you don't want to miss it, but when you've had it and lost it you know that it is RARE!

    Being responsible to someone else is a game changer! Most touring is really about the enjoyment and you very likely end up paying handsomely for the enjoyment. Pay is probably barely considerable, cost IS considerable and not being able to work or keep a job that is providing is a huge factor, let alone be able to pay your bills from the road.

    Musicians attach purpose to touring because of the expressive outlet but if you compare the non musical it looks like this: Guy likes the beach so he leaves his wife and job to go to the beach for a few weeks, the beach has alcohol and women and low accountability, leaves his wife to pay the bills while he's gone, comes back broke and with no job... Guy justifies it by saying that he works out and is hoping to be discovered as a male model while casually strolling some random beach (maybe one weekend he is strutting Venice Beach but not every show of the tour is on Sunset) so it's really an "investment" in his dream... Guy looks like an unrealistic, self-centered douche and relationship is not likely to hold up for long...

    Being realistic is really your responsibility. When your single, Why not... but when you actually have someone that you made a bigger commitment to then the equation changes... It's great if you your spouse is supportive but supportive has limitations and shouldn't be taken advantage of... just so you can go to the beach

    That's my thoughts...
  17. 10cc


    Oct 28, 2013
    Runnerman is on to something. It's probably just one of the same reasons why your still in the game.
  18. You stated it: this is your vision. I suggest you go for it, and take a look at those rumblings in your head about how this is going to turn out the same way it did before. Maybe it will, and, then again, maybe it will be different. Maybe you can call it the biggest and best last try to get to the next level. At least you can be satisfied that you gave it your best. And, it does not even have to be the last try.

    I have to say that I have to constantly examine my limiting thought patterns as to why I cannot do something in the musical realm and get past that. Yes, it is possible to make a living from music. Maybe not just from playing, but, in truth, most musicians have multiple streams of income that can include a non-music day job. You already have that flexible day job, and it does sound like you would lose income, but not lose the job, even if you toured. Seems like this is a group of musicians you want to play music with, and, I can appreciate how difficult in can be to find the right mix. Go for it!
  19. Thanks for all the responses. You guys were more supportive than I expected. Was anticipating a lot of "grow up"s. A lot of what was said made sense. This post resonates most. It's what my gut tells me, but my brain keeps interfering....

    All my other opportunities came about by me being out there, and in the game. Not worrying, but just enjoying what I was doing. I'm currently playing only tribute stuff, and a couple of gigs for hire. Hardly in the game, at least as I used to be. And fwiw, I am an older guy, much older than most who would even be considering this stuff but I honestly don't look (or act) my age, and perform often with guys and gals almost half my age with nobody batting an eye.

    As for the guy who jilted me, he is rolling in mountains of cash. You'd agree if I told the gig he landed, but for lots of reasons I won't do that. I really need to get it behind me though, it's been years... just taking whatever it's taking to heal for reasons unknown.

    I agree that runnerman was on the money too.

    Gonna do my best to just get out there again for the rewards of what I'm doing, and not the carrot at the end of the stick which is in fact 99.9% of the time, just a carrot at the end of the stick.

    PS on all of this, but no regrets as it got me to start ironing some of this stuff out - I got the impression it was an almost sealed deal, but got an email early this evening saying they have a handful of guys interested and I'm going to have to go through the audition process. We'll see what happens. I'm cool whether I get it or not, and I really don't sweat auditions. Playing the bass is one of the few things in this world I don't sweat :) . Thanks again guys.
  20. andrew


    May 20, 2000
    Vancouver BC/Pacific Northwest
    Endorsing Artist: Aguilar Amplification, Spector, Regenerate Guitar Works, Tech 21 NYC
    Why not just have a simple contract drawn up that says the band members split everything equally and then go about putting a band together with people willing to agree to the terms of the contract? Explain why you have it to them.

    And then get that band together and then tap the former guy you played with who now has a mountain of money for some favours like studio hook ups, contacts, etc.? He couldn't say no to that offer that landed him in a pile of money, nothing saying now he can't use some of it to help a guy that helped him get there.