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Getting Older and transitioning out of a bar band...

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by troy mcclure, Apr 2, 2013.

  1. I will be turning 50 in Nov... I am no dinosaur but want to have a 5 year plan to get out of the bar band scene.

    I am not a pro and do not make my living from music but it is about a 1.4 of my income and I would miss it (although I wouldn't be buying as much new gear or have the extra gigging incurred expenses).

    1) What are my options for making some money and still playing on a fairly regular basis.

    2) What do I need to do to better position myself for a different type of gig.

    Any thoughts on what some of you do or have done would be appreciated.
  2. 1) find a steady gig. Church, local musical theater, originals band...

    2) know how to read.
  3. wear an english hat, smoke a pipe, grow a goatie and learn some jazz
  4. elgecko


    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
  5. Lucky for me I learned to read at school. I get a lot more jazz gigs than pub rock gigs these days. The pay is better and so are the hours.
  6. Ukiah Bass

    Ukiah Bass Supporting Member

    May 10, 2006
    yeah, jazz is the way. Instrumental music, played in the background at wineries, restaurants, receptions and the like. You become the aural wallpaper. Hours are good, people are nice, venues nicer, and sometimes you even get paid more than the bar scene. However, if you've been used to playing 1-4-5 blues based music, get ready to do your homework because you'll need to apply more theory and skills for the jazz route. In the end, it's been more fulfilling for me.....
  7. madurolover


    May 21, 2011
    Tampa Fl
    I play with a band of 50 year olds, gig once a month
  8. 20db pad

    20db pad

    Feb 11, 2003
    I been everywhere, man...
    None. At all.
    I'd look into getting into a wedding band or an outfit that plays corporate gigs. They usually need a more mature, reliable, and versatile player. These jobs don't grow on trees, but networking, persistence, and patience can land you a gig like this.
  9. There's this 60 year old guy down the mall playing piano accordion, he does OK and his hours are fully flexible.

  10. I'm a 50 something bar band bass player. A few months back I was offered a gig at a local bar hosting an open mic jam night every Thursday. This has turned out to be quite fun and slightly more lucrative then playing in a band. I have partnered with a quality drummer to form a back line that supports everyone from punk, metal, pop, funk, originals to country. In many cases I am learning the songs on the spot. Also other bass players can sit in which gives me plenty of bar socializing time. Just an idea for you ....open mics work well with house bands too.
  11. Calebmundy


    Apr 5, 2007
    Troy, I would definitely encourage you to check out the musical theater thing. I used to sub sometimes at the Cocoa Village Playhouse in Cocoa FL. Not sure what the pay is these days, as it's been several years, but the theaters in Nashville usually come up with a couple of hundred dollars for a weekend of shows, and they usually run 3-4 weeks, and then do another show a few weeks later, so it's not as bad as months of the same thing. Very high level players and talent on stage, and a wide variety of music. My Uncle just wrapped up "Jesus Christ, Superstar" there last weekend.

    It can be a hard gig to work your way into, but even if you aren't already a great reader, you could probably make a plan to work into that scene within 5 years. Regional theater's often don't require you to double on upright either, since they don't usually have quite so many good players to pull from. I've played a few dozen shows, and only a couple on upright. I know there are a few theaters in the Orlando area as well.
  12. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Host open mics.
    Host karaoke.
    Run sound.
    Big church gig.
  13. I can read, could always improve my jazz skills, I already host 2 weekly open jams also.

    I could easily transition into a band that is less busy, but I would still be in smokey bars. I am looking to lug less gear (read downsize the pa and lights) and play lower volume gigs.
  14. Bar business in NZ is trucking along fine with no smoking indoors.
  15. elgecko


    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
    Theater gigs sound right up your alley. Packing up and loading out consists of putting your bass/cable away and walking out. You leave your amp there for the duration of the show. It's a bunch of gigs crammed into a short period of time and best of all, you'll be finishing up while the bar bands are starting their first set.
  16. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008
  17. tbirdsp


    Sep 18, 2012
    Omaha, NE
    Wow - they still smoke in bars in Florida?

    I just got back into playing (last year at age 49) after almost 20 years off. One big reason I quit was the f---ing smoke. So nice now.

    Uncle died years ago of lung cancer in his late 40's, grandfather wasted away from emphysema, younger brother died last year from lung cancer at 47. All heavy smokers.
  18. Flyingfrets


    Dec 25, 2011
    Thought I'd retired from music altogether back in 2007 when my last band packed it in after 8 years.

    Was content enough just working my day job when I was offered the bass player spot in a Beatles tribute band in 2011. Extremely busy between April/May thru mid-September. "Off season" leaves me plenty of free time and the income is about 50% of my day job (gigs are planned with something approaching military precision). Extremely professional operation...

    At 52, I'm not looking to get out, but nothing lasts forever. Just enjoying it while I can.
  19. Blue, I played 20 gigs in March plus my day job which is a wed - sun. Stage time is fine, it is the set up time and tear down time. My drives are all within 45 mins and most 30 mins so no complaint there. April will be 14 gigs. The sleep schedule is probably what screws me up the most.
    I played for all my hs theatre shows so I could get my reading skills back up. That is a good idea.
  20. Vakmere


    Sep 6, 2007
    Simple, find local talent, use your resorses and contacts, manage or book them them, make 15%. Do this with 3 bands, you'll be ok.

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