How do I get to The Next Level???

Discussion in 'Ask Mike Watt [Archived]' started by RockBoxBass, Jun 28, 2005.

  1. RockBoxBass

    RockBoxBass Supporting Member

    Hey Mike!

    I need some advice. I'm a Pro player that has been playing for 20 years. I'm in my mid 30's. Ive had original projects and cover projects. I have 1500+ shows under my belt. My work ethic is impeccable. I can play many styles with authenticity. I am very passionate about my playing. I feel like I need to make the move to the next level and can do so.
    I'd like to make myself available to major labels looking for a experianced player. How do I do it? Whats the best way to get these gigs?
  2. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    Is "The Next Level" availablity to major labels? Or are you talking about your skills as a bassist?
  3. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Don't know what Mr. Watt would have to say about it, but for all I've seen, it's all about knowing people. Let's face it...when we need a musician, we all look for someone we know first. I got a gig with my current regular band through knowing someone who knew someone. Chances are you probably did, too. Same with musicians on major labels. Very few hold open auditions. And the ones that do almost always end up picking someone they know or someone recommended by someone they know. That's why schmoozing is important.

    Besides, I know from first-hand experience that acts on major labels often pay worse than you can make in clubs and conventions. I once did a 3 week tour with a country chick on a major label. She didn't have any hits, but she was doing high profile opening act gigs in arenas. I got the princely sum of $125 a night with no hotel rooms. We lived on the bus. A buddy of mine did a gig with a country singer who had 3 hits off his first album, and he did considerably better...he got $150 a night and quit when the guy refused to give him a $25 a night raise. Another guy I know was out on the road with a huge huge country singer chick. I won't tell you who she is but she's married to Tim McGraw. He did the best out of all of us...$400 a night.

    So don't let this major label thing eat away at's not all it's cracked up to be.
  4. yomchi247


    Sep 6, 2004
    $400/night is good play for like an hour and a half.

    If you average 5 shows a week that's more than $100,000/year
  5. BigMikeW

    BigMikeW Banned

    May 25, 2005
    Nashville, TN.
    Banned by TB Administration for refusal to account for funds

    JIMMY M is pretty dead-on believe it or not. Sorry to say it but that is reality.

    Yomchi - Try more like 3 - 4 nights a week for about 5 - 6 months. That is not even $42k a year.

    Now if you jumped off that tour and quickly got on another one for the same length of time you could make about $85k. Still not great money to be out on the road for a year. Then you have to take some time off so that money has to last.

    Then throw in a smae per diem and you'll be going out of pocket for food and other things. I know guitar techs making ore than some working/hired musicians.

    It isn't as high paying and glamorous as you'd think.

    I know guys in the MidWest that do cover gigs that pay them $400 per night (after tips) and they are always in town or close to it. Corporate gigs make even more.
  6. I always said that if I could make money playing music, I would. But I know how hard a slog it is for the working musician. And yes, the club guys can make better money than the back-up band, for sure.

    So now that I don't play much, of course I'd like to play more, because I LOVE making music. But at least I can do it because I love it and not because I have to eat.

    As far as my skills, I think they suffer tremendously because I DON'T play regularly and for a bassist, there's no better training than working with people

    Solo artists are from a different planet. Hats off to those guys, too. And hats off to you guys who sleep on buses and eat peanutbutter and jelly sandwiches all in the name of "music".
  7. RockBoxBass

    RockBoxBass Supporting Member

    Well....the whole idea of a major label is so I would have the opportunity to smooze, and maybe get offered a fulltime gig with someone. So much of it is luck, and being at the right place at the right time. But, I'm fortunate that, at least I'm out there playing. I see about 200,000 faces a year, and sooner or later something will click. I have had lots of offers, but nothing on the level of what I would consider leaving the killer gig I have. I wish I coulda heard about the Metallica auditions. A $1,000,000 check woulda been nice!! man...I could get ALOT of gear! HA!
  8. Next level? You kill the end of level boss by jumping on its head three times.