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Feel like I might be getting too old for "this"

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by invader3k, May 10, 2015.

  1. By this, I mean playing in small bars for small crowds from 9:30 PM - 1:30 AM.

    I'm 35 now. I have a job, family, etc. Also involved in local city government, my church, etc. I'm busy.

    I still love playing in our band. I like the two other guys (we're a power trio, as I've posted about before). We are good...we aren't great. We never will be great. We aren't going to be the band getting called for local festivals or bigger venues. I've accepted that. In the past six months or so, I have de-prioritized the band somewhat in my life. I don't actively try to get gigs anymore. What I mean by that, is that I do follow up with our regular spots, but I will no longer do the "chase down a bar manager and beg for a gig" schtick. I also don't really play up the social media stuff and in general, I am not making the band as huge a part of my life as it used to be.

    We have played out only three times so far this year, which is down a bit from what we were doing in previous years. Frankly, I'm fine with this, and the two other guys seem to be fine with it, too. They also have busy jobs, family lives, etc.

    What I have noticed, personally, is that the past two or three gigs have been a real grind for me. I don't know if it's my age, or what. I work out regularly, eat a pretty healthy diet, am not overweight (OK, I could lose maybe five pounds...who couldn't?). Still, by the end of the night, my back feels like it was beaten with a 2x4, and I'm completely exhausted (noticeably so to other people). I dread setup and tear down. I also know and fully acknowledge that my playing isn't where I want it to be by the end of the night, though no one else says anything about that. I have 2-3 drinks over the course of the evening, so it's not like I'm getting wasted or it's affecting my playing. It's just that I'm worn out!

    My wife and I have a three year old...he doesn't stay in bed just because daddy is tired. I probably got four and a half hours sleep last night, after getting home around 2:30 AM from last night's gig.

    Last night's show went perfectly fine...small rural bar with a small crowd. People danced here and there, but overall it just wasn't a big night at this place, and there wasn't much energy. Lots of polite applause after most songs, but that's about it. Bar owners want us back once again, and we got paid, as usual.

    I'm just starting to wonder if it's time to say, "I'm not going to do these late night gigs anymore." Of course, for a band like us, that would mean we will play out very little, if at all. Thoughts?
  2. Goatrope

    Goatrope Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2011
    Sarasota Florida
    I took a break when raising the kids. I didn't gig for over a decade. I changed jobs and relocated so totally was out of the network. But I kept up on my playing and gear.

    When I came back, I was making good money, kids were doing well, but it still took more than a year to make connections and get back out there in a new town.

    Absolutely no regrets here. Worked for me. I'm 54 now, in two bands, plus get sub gigs. Im happy with the "weekend warrior" status.

    Maybe you'll find a workable solution too.

    Good luck!
    Runnerman, Jack MN, mikeyjm2 and 8 others like this.
  3. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    I stopped playing bass in bands when my career took off and I no longer had time or energy. I retired in 2009 and am quite busy now with multiple projects. I don't do bar gigs though. There are other outlets. We do concerts, fairs, private affairs. No one band kept me as busy as I wanted to be but together I'm working nearly every weekend. I'm usually home by midnight even on our later gigs. I like it fine.

    Edit - I should mention that when I first came back to it I invested in two 4x10 Ampeg cabs and an SVT amp, and a powered speaker for my stage vocal monitor. That lasted about two years when I decided my back, knees, ankles weren't happy toting that stuff around. I got a GenzBenz Shuttle 6.0-12T combo (recently added a second STL-12) ... this rig weighs 1/8 of the Ampeg. Not the same tone, of course, but it does just fine, and so does my decrepit body!
    Last edited: May 11, 2015
  4. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    35 is still a spring chicken in my book - but I know what you mean. I started playing "later" in life (compared to many/most?), having focused on the "tech" side of music for many years. Slowly moved to stage-side and due to the gigs/economy/time/expense/kids/career, etc. seldom provide or work SR any more. I made the decision 30+ yrs ago while working SR (for many national acts and watching highly paid clueless studio engineers show how NOT to run live sound) that skill had little to do with success in that area.

    At 50+ I'm still doing "bar/club gigs (albeit the "A" circuit) and festivals, etc. but most have 40+miles drives.. one way!
    I knew that going into this band, so it's not a surprise and we "work" every weekend - except one per month because lead singer has to work.
    I still love the playing.. the double headers are great.. the wed-sat runs are REAL WORK!
    When I get to 2am Sun on one of those (after almost 14 hrs of playing in 4 days) I'm READY to go home and sleep - after my 1+ hr drive home!

    Maybe I should be asking if I'm getting too old for this??
  5. tycobb73


    Jul 23, 2006
    Grand Rapids MI
    It's all about priorities. What are yours? I got back into playing when my wife was pregnant with our first child. Joined a band when he was a year old. I made it a point that I would gig regularly and I would not miss my son's life. When he came in at 7 in the morning and said it was time to get up, I got up. It was hard but I did it. I often took a nap in the afternoon when his attention wasn't so focused on me. Or I didn't sleep at all.

    Hobbies come and go. No big deal. If you don't want it bad enough there is nothing wrong with that.
    RJHall likes this.
  6. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    Yep, there sometimes comes a time where you just have to reprioritize, especially if what you're doing isn't getting you jazzed. Frankly, playing music is sometimes just not worth the hassle. So as long as you don't miss the money in those circumstances, it's always better to just walk away with the understanding that nothing is stopping you from coming back if the bug to play is still there.
  7. I'm 62 and this is my first weekend off since mid Feb. Next weekend off then back in the pressure cooker till mid July. My gig rig is an SVT Classic and an 8 10 and we don't have roadies. Now.....Get off my lawn.:eyebrow:
  8. Maybe you just need a change in what you're doing.

    Have you ever considered something like a wedding or corporate type band. You likely wouldn't be working as late, probably better money, better venues, (maybe) better musicians. Any theater gigs in your area? How about a change in genre? What about a tribute band?

    Maybe you need to refocus what you're doing in your current band. Would your guitarist be willing to switch out a few songs (if you play guitar)? Maybe put some energy into singing more (or better :)). Any songs you could add some keys? Fretless? Do you run the sound or lights, would you like to learn? Maybe put together a set of just British invasion stuff or Motown or surfing stuff.

    Then again, taking some time off may be just what you need.

    Good luck!
    Imaginary Pony and KickingBass like this.
  9. theduke1

    theduke1 Supporting Member

    Dec 22, 2010
    Manitowoc WI
    I'll be 63 in July and get worn out by the end of a late night as well as do my two bandmates. We play mostly afternoon / early evening gigs. But when the 9/1- 10/2 gigs pop up it is a tiresome Sunday that is for sure and all our kids are adults so I feel for you. Play when you can practice every day and it will all work out.
    good luck
  10. crucislancer

    crucislancer Supporting Member

    Dec 25, 2009
    Coeur d'Alene, ID
    I would be wiped out after a gig that long, too.

    It might very well be time for you to say that you are done with the late night gigs. As a parent, I understand the difficulties juggling all the priorities and then have the energy to play a gig, and I've had some really long days because of it. One thought is to share the gig with another band, and have that band close. You guys do 9pm-11pm, the other band 1130pm-venue closing. The up side is that you can be in bed before midnight (depending on distance from the venue) but the downside is that you have to share the pay with the other band, and find another band in the first place that is going to compliment your band.

    If that doesn't work out, perhaps a break is in order, at least until your son is older. Not a complete break from music, but just some time away from it to reassess your priorities. It's very tough to find a balance with so much on your plate, eventually you are going to have to push some of it off to make more room for the other things, and even with all of that you have to remember your health.
  11. Joedog


    Jan 28, 2010
    Pensacola FL
    Well, I made it to about 55. Our last week was three shows, 10-2. I know a couple of guys my age or so still cranking away. There is no "right age" to retire. everyone's situations (both band and otherwise) are different. My details are probably irrelevant. If you aren't enjoying it, that is probably a sign. I doubt I'll ever do more than an occasional fill-in, but who knows what the future holds?
    s0c9 and theduke1 like this.
  12. Gosh, I was barely starting on my band odessey at your age. Am 59 now and just joined a second band. You may be in a place in life to take a break from gigging, but "too old" probably isn't the term for where you're at in life.
  13. DinoRock


    Mar 26, 2015
    New York State
    When I was roughly your age and my son roughly your son's age, I took stock of my life and was pro-active in assessing my priorities. I adjusted my activities (work, play, hobbies, etc) accordingly. While hindsight is 20/20, I would advise you make the best decisions you can with the knowledge you have. Ask yourself: when I am 50, will I regret having made whatever decision? That's the same advise I give my kids, as well as my undergraduate and graduate students.

    Everyone is different. For me, I put my participation in my son's life first and let everything else fall from there. I gave up a lot. Not a single regret. My now-27 yr old son is a nationally touring entertainer. He lives in a different state. His life is not perfect. No one's is. He works hard, has a good life and is living his dream. We talk every day and are very close and involved in each others lives.

    We have recorded 3 CDs in the past couple of years. We've been asked to open at a number of major events (declined as neither of us see that as our realistic future and to do those shows right requires weeks of dedicated preparation). While no one is perfect and no one makes every decision properly, I believe I made informed choices along the way and can't think of any that I would change given what I knew at the time.
    Last edited: May 10, 2015
    Mark_70, mikeyjm2 and theduke1 like this.
  14. FangusKlot

    FangusKlot Banned

    Apr 8, 2015
    Quit your church, get a lighter bass, and hire a roadie to haul your gear. Boom.
  15. delta7fred


    Jul 3, 2007
    OP, I know exactly what you mean. At your age I was struggling to find time to raise a family, work, play in a band, sleep, take extra qualifications for work, oh and talk to my wife occasionally. I didn't give up playing mainly because the band was doing really well and we were earning very good money (which couldn't have come at a better time with having 3 young children).

    Fast forward 30 years and I am a retired widower and playing is far more leisurely now. I have time to work on new material instead of winging it as I used to. We rehearse during the day because non of us work full time. Gigs are still tiring, I got in at 3:30 this morning, but at least I can get up when I am ready.

    As has already been stated every case is different and if you feel that your time would be better spent elsewhere then that is a perfectly valid reason to hang up your bass.
  16. I'm a little older than the OP with many of the same dilemmas, and I agree that gigging (even rehearsing) can be pretty darn tiring. Interested to know how others handle it.

    Still, I'd quit my day job in a heartbeat if I was good enough to go professional.
  17. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg , Conquest Sound
    I took 15 years off from gigs when my son was younger and did studio work. I got back into gigging around 13 years ago. I joined an original blues band and toured for a while. I have done music for several television shows, movies and many tv and radio commercials. I have also been involved in several shows to raise money for various charities. I now play in two bands and still do a lot of studio work.
    Last edited: May 10, 2015
  18. Ewo

    Ewo a/k/a Steve Cooper Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2008
    Huntington WV
    My .02:

    The question to ask yourself is whether you'd miss playing, if you hung it up entirely.

    My backstory:

    Weekend warrior for decades, bar gigs then transition to corporate and weddings. Good money and steady work; helped me make the mortgage. Burned out from a combination of fatigue, boredom, and overload (full time time day job, weekend gigging, and doing grad school part-time), and quit in the middle 90s; I was mid 40s, chronologically. Finished the doctorate and relocated to start over as an assistant prof at a university early in the 00s. Thought I was done with playing bass until my SO casually asked one day, "Don't you miss it?"

    Well, yeah. I did, although I didn't realize it until she asked.

    Now I'm pushing 65, playing four or five bar gigs a month with occasional subs or specials. And I'm really digging being out there again.

    A sub-10 pound bass and a lightweight rig do help with the schlep, true 'dat.
  19. obimark


    Sep 1, 2011
    I almost at the same point- at 45 I have been thinking of hanging it up for awhile. Not in love with gig-volume and wearing ear plugs all night.
    Not in love with an audience that seems in-different to the songs we play.
  20. azwhofan

    azwhofan Supporting Member

    Oct 17, 2007
    You're kid(s) are your first priority. You only get one chance to raise them. If you feel you need to step down or out of the scene for a while to take care of them, by all means do so and don't look back.

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