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I gave up all my gigs.

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by Uncletoad, Oct 4, 2010.

  1. Uncletoad


    May 6, 2003
    Columbus Ohio
    Proprietor Fifth Avenue Fret Shop. Technical Editor Bass Gear Magazine
    For the first time in more than 20 years I've got no gigs on the books. The gig I've been doing most regularly recently went through some changes that left me unhappy. In addition I got to the point where it became clear to me I was short changing my family on time, especially Vincent who is now old enough to miss me when I'm gone and have an opinion about it.

    Moreover I think I needed to clear my schedule and open myself for other things as they present themselves. Part of that is wanting to learn 50 tunes cold that I can sing and play well at the same time on the DB. I've never had the time to really nail that down.

    In addition other versions of me playing and songwriting on guitar and piano have been dormant for years and I'm feeling like maybe it's time to brew that up again.

    It's a big pause and regroup in hopes that I can find something energizing. I picked the worst economic times to do such a thing and our income is taking a big hit. In then end I'm hoping that the leap of faith will pay off. Actually I'm sure it will, the cost of those gigs is well worth being home with the family.

    It's liberating and frightening at the same time. Mostly it's nice to have some time off and be able to sleep properly. All day at work, all night at the gig and then back up at 7am with the boy wears a guy out.

  2. John Wentzien

    John Wentzien

    Jun 25, 2007
    Elberta, AL
    Artist:TC Electronic RH450 bass system (original test-pilot)
    Best of luck with it...I've run the same thing around in my head , every day for the last 35 years!
  3. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    It sounds to me like you've made the right move Phil.

    You've obviously been somewhat disgruntled with your musical situations recently and your boy is at the age where he'll really imprint if you're around enough.

    I did a similar thing when my kids were little. I was working so much in the movie biz that Maiken was raising them by herself, so I quit. We took a huge hit income-wise but I think it was worth it in terms of connection with my boys.

    If things get desperate, don't forget I'll give you $500.00 for that old guitar of yours! ;)
  4. i wish my dad had...

    *provided one of these gigs isn't TB ;)
  5. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    No doubt that you've done the right thing for the right reasons, Phil. I did something similar a few years ago, for slightly different reasons, but when you hear that voice inside your head say "you can't move forward until you step aside", you have to do it. Was just talking about this with my favorite drummer, who is doing the same thing.

    I think it's inevitable that we don't all end up in this situation every 10 years or so. Your choices are deny yourself and your family and just keep plowing through to make your bandmates and bar patrons happy or take care of the person and the artist and assume that good things result...which they will. I'm sure of it.
  6. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    I like it. I wanna do that too.

    There's a guy in Honolulu, Bruce Hamada, that plays DB and sings. He's great.
  7. synaesthesia


    Apr 13, 2004
    In the same boat. I've stopped gigging but have all my stuff and haven't sold anything, I am instead acquiring some new things - picked up a rack EQ I have been looking for. Mainly on account of my boy. Music is a commercial hobby but with the death of my pianist last year, I gave up gigging and it seemed a right time to call it a day.

    My boy is young and I'll gig again one day, but at this time Cat's in the cradle is not how I want his life to shape up. I've done what I needed to do musically, put it out there, did big gigs, festivals, been on the radio, been on the charts, produced, been on TV, ran my own trio,... even played disco and country.....

    I got married late and had a kid late, so I 've managed to do all I wanted to do musically and i could easily gig twice or three ties a week, I was doing that until my son was born.

    I haven't stopped building musical gear though and testing gear. My boy's a natural lefty too, so one day he'll pick up my axes...for now I am planning to build him a lefty tele style electric mandolin so he and I can muck about with it.

    For me this is not the first time I gave up. When I started Postgrad studies many years ago, I sold off literally all my gear - everything. After a year, I had 2 basses and a strat... eventually I managed to track some of the stuff I sold and bought some of it back. After 4 years, I had a commercial studio - and the kit in it - vintage drums, modern drums, rack gear, midi gear... the whole shebang.

    Closed it when I moved countries about 10 years ago. I miss the studio rat thing more than I miss gigging to be honest.
  8. You're a better man than I....sometimes I'd like to give up some gigs...be nice to have time to, say, mow the lawn now that spring is here :D

    However, I do enjoy the diversity...here's an example of some of my weekends over the last few months...

    Thurs. Bluegrass gig
    Fri. Funk rock with my own band
    Sat arvo. Folk gig
    Sat night. Pop function band
    Sunday arvo. Celtic rock (fill-in)
    Monday night. Big band (fill-in)

    And I also have a full-time job and panel-op for the local radio station. Time on my hands? I don't think so...:help:
  9. relacey


    Sep 18, 2004
    I did a similar thing 20+ years ago except with a corporate gig and 3 kids, but I've never regretted it. Took a big pay cut and went back to graduate school. All 3 turned out to be amazing people, my marriage is solid, and life is great. I could have made many more $$$ on the old path, but as the saying goes "nobody ever died wishing they'd spent more time at work." I have a friend who is doing the same thing as you. You're in good company.

    Congratulations, and I'll give you $550 for that old guitar and I don't even know what we are talking about but I know Jake knows his stuff.
  10. A Wise Drummer (unbelievable, but true) once said, "No one has ever said I just spent too much time with my kids."
  11. I've been fortunate enough to gig regularly and still have time for family. We spent many Sundays at the zoo, the mall, hiking, camping, etal. I also play alot of festivals in the summer, and include my family in lots of those. It is possible to be a good father and grandfather and still enjoy playing music. Hope you're able to find that happy balance between your family and your music. (I've been married for 39 years and my wife is still supportive of my musical ventures.)
  12. I'm all for changing things up now and then to keep you present in your life and help you avoid getting in a rut musically. Sounds like you needed to clean the slate. I've gone through similar phases. I was living quite well in New Orleans being an in-demand bassist that knew the New Orleans book inside and out, but I was getting burnt out, and I wasn't enjoying myself. I noticed that the musicians around me were coasting and it looked sad to me. I gracefully bowed out of all of them (I got a Miller Beer commercial that helped pay the bills for awhile) and took a break and concentrated on techniques to play the bass as a solo instrument and spending more time listening to records. That time ended up being invaluable to helping me develop my own voice on the bass. I recently posted a rant about a particularly soul crushing gig. Sometimes, we just gotta make a change. It can only do you a load of good (toad of good?) to learn 50 tunes and sing them with the bass. Time with the boy is invaluable. You may have noticed lately that he's not gonna be that little kid for too long and these are the days we'll remember the most. I would suggest that, even though you are committed to pushing yourself alone, you consider some other musical input from the outside. A new bass teacher, piano lessons, or musical connection. Maybe throw yourself into a casual session once a week of a new or less familiar music…jazz, bluegrass, singer-songwriter circle, etc? Great time for a classical teacher to bust your bow chops. Practice alone without feedback can be a recipe for madness. Best of luck in all endeavors.
  13. Uncletoad


    May 6, 2003
    Columbus Ohio
    Proprietor Fifth Avenue Fret Shop. Technical Editor Bass Gear Magazine
    Yea Jason I dig that. I'm not completely in the weeds, I've got one project that is rehearsed and playing on occasion that I haven't bailed from. It's just not booked at the moment. Two women singers and an acoustic guitar/double bass quartet doing unamplified dinner stuff. I'm sure it will poke it's head up from time to time. And my piano playing brother never really leaves me alone completely. We have a long standing duo that gets dull so we bag it, then get some gigs and do it again, then start to feel stale so we bag it again...It's a brother thing.

    That's really where the singing thing fits in. There is a market for a singing DB player that can either carry or assist on a gig.

    I just started lessons with an orchestral teacher that has completely disassembled my bow stroke. I need some time to burn that in more better.

    More than that I really want to move into other things as well...open up into something new to me....whatever that is.

    Mostly I wanna spend more time at home not half asleep from gigging and working all the time.
  14. When I got back from Europe I started going to Irish sessions that started at midnight. I'd get home at 4am and my son would wake me up at 6:30...absolutely brutal.
  15. Uncletoad


    May 6, 2003
    Columbus Ohio
    Proprietor Fifth Avenue Fret Shop. Technical Editor Bass Gear Magazine
    Exactly. 9a-5p work, home for dinner from 5-9p put everyone to bed, run out to the gig till 2am, up at 7am the next day with mama and baby, rinse repeat...totally wearing my ass out.
  16. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    I was just looking at that recent pic of Vincent that you put up on FB last week. God, they grow up fast. I just picture him sitting in that little stroller down by Kahului harbor. When I see my own two daughters, pretty much transformed into "young ladies".... well, it gives me a new sense of how quickly time flies. They change a little every day.

    My dear departed friend, guitarist Phil Rivera, told me that he pretty much missed his daughter's entire childhood because he was out on the road all the time. He had about a month of life left at that point, terminal cancer. Not to be a buzz kill, but I'll never forget him with his eyes welling up, making me promise not to do the same with our kids. I'll always thank him for that moment.

    On a lighter note... do you actually have a wish list of 50 tunes? I'm curious to hear what they would be. So many great tunes.
  17. DavidE


    Feb 7, 2010
    Look at it this way Phil, you had a good run with the DCB. You've been blessed playing with musicians the caliber of Delyn, Rick and Pete (I don't know the drummer and the only time I've gotten out to see DCB in the last couple of years, Fletch's husband was filling in). My son is now a sophomore at OSU and I still won't take weeknight gigs except for rare instances due to the day job. I hope you find what you're looking for!

  18. abaguer


    Nov 27, 2001
    Milford, NJ
    There's a lot to be said for opening yourself up to other things. If the door is shut nothing new can walk in. I recently quit a Top 40 country band that was working steadily to be able to take more profitable/enjoyable gigs that were coming in not as regularly. I'm in similar situation where economy is not good, wife's been out of work for year and a half, and it's not a great time to be leaving something steady, but the money was just ok and it makes me make new connections. People still call me and I wouldn't be able to do their gigs if I didn't make any room. And the kicker is that it was a student of mine who suggested this to me. Another benefit of teaching. I think you definitely made the right decision especially where your family is concerned. It's hard to put a price on that time.
  19. Uncletoad


    May 6, 2003
    Columbus Ohio
    Proprietor Fifth Avenue Fret Shop. Technical Editor Bass Gear Magazine
    Well it's not done yet. The list is growing and 50 is the target. I believe that while the American Songbook is my preferred stuff the mix has to stretch all the way through the end of the 20th century. Baby boomers have the $$ now and they don't really know American Songbook stuff near as well as Beetles, Grateful Dead, Eagles etc. etc. So while the list has Pennies From Heaven and Everything I Have is Yours on it, it also has In My Life, and Jack Straw. Country tunes from the Possum, Walk through this world with me, The Door. Stevie Wonder stuff as well as How About You and I Thought About You and other Sinatra staples.

    I tend to pick stuff that's just outside of the typical stuff to keep it interesting and also stuff that is complimentary to my voice. I prefer ballads over uptempo stuff, especially trying to play DB with my singing. It's a lot harder to do good DB playing on the front side of time in standards and stay singing on the back side than it was to play and sing rock tunes on the Electric Bass.

    Whole nuther skill set.
  20. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    I think this gets at the reason we don't hear the singing double bassist so often -- it's butt-kicking hard to do well. When I do it -- and I'm woefully unpractised, so I don't do it in public often -- my bass lines have to be scaled down to minimal. Not such a bad thing, I guess... But I really admire that skill in a bass player -- MUCH more so than how clever their bass lines are.

    The cool thing about doing a lot of singing at home with little kids around is that they dig it, they join in, they correct you when you're wrong. They are more than just soaking it up -- a good thing in and of itself -- but they are really participating, way more than you might think. I remember working hard at trying to untie a singing/playing knot, same phrase over and over, same stumble over and over, when my son Dan came into the room -- 8 years old, maybe -- and sang it with me. Beautiful moment...

    You'll never in a million years regret this decision, Unc. Your heart's with it, it's done for love, you can't go wrong.
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