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Crossroads(What should i do?)

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Trent-35, Apr 5, 2001.

  1. Hi everyone. I have a choice to make, and thought i'd get some imput from some of you wise(aged?) scribes. Ok here it is. I got an offer to play fulltime with a band that does clubs/casinos, and i've got 2 good friends in that band. People i've worked with before. Now, the upsides to this gig would be the friends, and the fact that i'd be playing music. The downsides are i hate casino's, clubs aren't my favorite places in the world either, this band plays 90% rock and even dance music, basically the play alot of stuff i dont like, this band is good, but is probably not going to get any bigger than it is now, and i've done the club/casino thing for years before, just be background music on alot of the gigs(musical death gigs), not bad, but not great pay, not really a musical advancement.
    My current situation is i have a one day a week gig that i love, get to play the music i love, get to play for a sober and enthusiastic crowd that truly loves and accepts what i do, i'm a "star" there.
    The drawbacks of my current situation are the owners of the show are great people, but are disorganized as the day is long, it's just one day a week so i have to work a day job that i don't hate, it's a hard gig to the point that we play 35 different songs everyweek, alot of them come back around in a few months, but the show is completly different every week. I find that both a real pain in the butt, and a really cool challenge, makes me practice during the week, cuz i wouldnt otherwise. but that i certainly don't love either. I do get a fair amount of spin off work off my one day gig, both other gigs and studio work, but still need to work a regular job.
    I guess the real is do i want to keep working a day job to keep doing a partime gig i love and find fulfilling, or do i want to play an unfullfilling gig with friends fulltime? Does any gig beat working a day job?
  2. DaveB


    Mar 29, 2000
    Toronto Ontario
    For what it's worth..... I love playing live but there are some gigs and some music that are the musical version of working on a General Motors assembly line. If you've decided that music is going to be your primary source of income then you'll either have to "make it" ( at a zillion to one odds) or be prepared to play stuff you hate because it's a paying gig.

    On the other hand if you can play music you love to play WITH REGULARITY (whether once a week is regular enough for you well..only you know that) and have a day gig that is ok then you have the best of both worlds. Life is compromise.

    As an aside, I have the best of both worlds. I gig with MY music 4 to 6 times a month and have a day job that supports my lifestyle. I know quite a few "professional musicians" who mix studio work, four nights a week of live gigs and teach. Without exception those guys have relatively low income with lifestyles to match. Hey , if they're happy that's cool but personally I like the best of both worlds.
  3. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    It sounds like you are at a crossroads I encountered.

    In younger days, I toured quite a bit, with a couple of 2nd/3rd bill bands. The money was very good, but it became very unsatisfying after a while. There was little sense of security. I was always looking over my shoulder at other bassists, the partying was incessant and took its toll, and when we would get off the road, all I really had was my gear, a car, and an apartment.

    After a while, I was grateful, in retrospect, the last band broke up and got off the road. I started on the club circuit which paid less, but was more stable and enabled me to accumulate some things, like a home, bank/investments, and RELATIONSHIPS instead of one-night stands.

    So, maybe you're familiar with Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs? If not, the bottom levels of the hierarchy are physiological and safety needs, (food, health, roof over your head, the basics). Towards the top levels are esteem/self-esteem and self-actualization. I bring this up because I went through the levels and it sounds like you are ascending them, too, Trent.

    Regardless of whether you play with the casino band or not, your real friends will still be your friends. But for your own well-being, not financial, but in terms of something much more valuable, peace of mind, I'd lean toward the day job with the high satisfaction gig. If you decide you've made a mistake, I think you can hook up more gigs easier than you can a job where you have time invested.
  4. I can only tell you that I am in the same situation and am happy almost everyday that when I do play it is with players that I enjoy at places that I enjoy and music that I enjoy and my day job is OK. I am constantly working to find/cultivate playing situations. At this point for me to quit my day job and to go back to playing for a living is a daydream.
  5. good fella

    good fella

    Apr 3, 2001
    I say you forget your friends! Play what you want, not what your friends want. They'll probably make you play crap music and you won't be recognized, just like the dude in Van Halen. oh well, that's just what i think. heck, if they're really REALLY good friends, do them a favor.
  6. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    It's not a bad lifestyle for a jazzer... in Louisville, anyway. I teach music at a couple of Universities, have regular private students, and play 3-4 nights a week of music I like with good players who I also like as people. I've had to play in a society/wedding band for the past 8 years, but my last gig with them is in May, and after that I only do jazz gigs (90% are jazz gigs these days already). The money's not great, but it's not terrible either...and if you stick in one place for a while, you can build your reputation and afford to be more choosy about which gigs to take as the years go by. I can't think of much I'd rather be doing, especially after May...

    Trent - just ask yourself what FEELS right, and that's your answer. There are obviously advantages to both sides.
  7. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    follow yer heart
  8. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    ...and don't sell your soul to the Devil! ;)
  9. DaveB


    Mar 29, 2000
    Toronto Ontario
    Chris - my comment in no way was intended to be a criticism. There are lots of guys who make a good financial living from music. But, in my experience, for every one who is satisfied with his financial situation there there are ten who are not. I'm not equating happiness with money but, in the end - like it or not, income to some degree defines lifestyle. I would rather be a $50,000 a year full time musician/teacher than a $50,000 full time cab driver. But I would also rather be a $10,000 a year part time musician playing what I want with a good $75,000 day job. But that's me.
  10. See, that's just it. My girlfriend said i just don't understand why you'd want to go on the road playing music you don't like in places you don't like. The problem is i don't like my day job. Don't exactly hate it, but it's just kinda there. So, is it worth it having a job that's just kinda there to be able to play a highly fulfilling gig once a week? Of course she said get a day job you like, but that's alot easier said than done. My heart does tell me to keep the high satisfaction gig that would mean working a regular job too, but the fact that my day job is no great shakes makes me think i'd be just as well off playing music, even music i don't like. fulltime. Trent
  11. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    No harm intended, none taken. The flip side of your scenario, however, is that when your "day gig" is music related, you get to spend a lot of time on your day gig with your head still in the game, and also with an instrument in your hands....IMO, over time, this can make you a better musician than working an unrelated day job. But if you don't like to teach, or if the money situation inherent in this lifestyle is unworkable, you're probably better off with a good paying day gig.

    It's all a personal choice, of course...
  12. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    This is giving me a headache.
  13. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Take an aspirin.
  14. RyldCorborel

    RyldCorborel Guest

    Mar 12, 2001
    They can find another bassist. I'm going to jump on the bandwagon here, play what you want to play, not what others play. Well, yeah.. that's about it all...

  15. DaveB


    Mar 29, 2000
    Toronto Ontario
    Chris - your point is well taken. I guess the only exception I would make to that is the day job as a salesman in a music store. That would be a fate worse than death.

    Trent - If you hate your day job then that's a majoer consideration. Bt you have to look at the future. If your day job has zero upward mobility then it's like the cab drivers job.I'd be on the road in a minute.

    Munji - Sorry for the headache giving dissertation.

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