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If you tried to 'make it' and failed, are you sorry?

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by lfmn16, Oct 25, 2012.

  1. lfmn16


    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    Just an informal poll to see who wishes they had never tried to 'make it' in music. There are a lot of people on TB who discourage others from trying to 'make it' in the music business. I think they are wrong, but I thought it would be interesting to see how many people who did try to 'make it' are sorry they tried. Define 'make it' however you want, but I'm 54 and when I tried to make it, that meant putting out a record, touring, and never having to work a regular job again.

    Here is who I would like to hear from:

    1. Players who actually tried to 'make it' at some point in your career
    2. It has been at least 10 years since you've given up the dream, otherwise you may still be smarting from not making it.

    If you are sorry, please tell us why. If you are glad you tried, tell us that too!

    Me first - I'm glad I tried, even though I failed, because I have memories I wouldn't trade for a million dollars. In the 70's it was sex, drugs and rock n roll all in great quantities. Also, I never have to wonder if I would have made it if I tried.
    Crazy_Jake and .BumeStik. like this.
  2. two fingers

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

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    You summed it up for me at the end of your post. I don't want to be sitting in a rocking chair when I'm 80 wondering what if. I'm glad I put myself out there. And for me it all worked out. Playing music brought about some of the best days of my life. And I met my wife (and mother of my two amazing children) at one of my shows. (She wanted nothing to do with me as first BECAUSE I was a musician. It took a LOT of work to win her over.) I wouldn't trade either my experiences or the end result of my music career for anything.
    Torrente Cro, wintremute and zontar like this.
  3. MatticusMania

    MatticusMania LANA! HE REMEMBERS ME!

    Sep 10, 2008
    Pomona, SoCal
    Im 28, and I'd say I gave up on the idea of "making it" about 7 years or so ago. In my sense, "making it" was defined pretty much the same as the OP, the desire to be able to support myself solely on the income of an original band.
    No, Im not sorrry I tried at all. I gave up young realizing that I didnt have what it takes to bring a band to that point. I havent stopped playing music at all, not even original music at an unpaid/hobby level. Im starting to rethink that, however, as Id like to start getting some return for my time and effort.
  4. rtav

    rtav Millionaire Stuntman, Half-Jackalope

    Dec 12, 2008
    Chicago, IL
    Wow... good topic.

    "Making it" to me is simply signing a record deal and getting to a recording out with my name on it. Since I was 9 or 10, I've wanted to do music, but (as it usually goes), and after trying for about 16 years, it just didn't work out (came close more than once!)

    I sold off my PA gear at one point, all but one of my basses and a practice amp and went in another direction, but music kept pulling at me. I'd do so studio/demo work from time to time, but didn't get back at it until after I divorced in 2007. I decided that among my other choices at being happier, I should get back into music, find a band and try again.

    So I spent a few months getting my chops back and started looking for a band, and I've been in the same band ever since.

    "Making it" (as I define it above) is still the number one item on my bucket list, and I admit that sometimes I'm jealous when I hear of someone else's good fortune (for instance, a former guitarist was in a band on Arista for a few years and I would bother him all the time with questions about what it was like, etc.) I have hope, but it's personally difficult for me to NOT have made it by now.
  5. Did the touring, recording, and "made it" opening up for some big name bands. I'm glad I did it, and have some great memories. At 54 would I try it? That's a hard one, as it was hard work, but super fun at the same time. Remember one thing, if it's a band thing, you rely totally on everybody in the band keeping it together. I decided I couldn't let other people have that much control on my life. I've never quit playing, but as a side job it's easy and fun. Good luck if you decide to try it.
    Johnny Crab likes this.
  6. msaone


    May 13, 2012
    You haven't lived until you've failed. I tried music (recently came back to it), started my own business, and tried real estate all with varying results.

    I wouldn't change a thing. We learn from failure. It's great!
    .BumeStik. likes this.
  7. pacojas

    pacojas "FYYA BUN"

    Oct 11, 2009
    i never made the Big Time, but i fed my family for several years playing shows/gigs! it was the early 80's when it began. reggae was catching fire and i jumped from rock & punk into roots. we got popular immediately and drove/flew state to state for years, playing 3-4 shows a week. sometimes two shows in two different cities in the same day!

    i recently began gigging again with no huge expectations, as par. :)
  8. lfmn16


    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    I think you are missing the point of my post. I already tried when I was younger. I have no desire to try again. :D I'm just seeing if other people that tried regret it.
  9. Flyingfrets


    Dec 25, 2011
    Never made headlines or magazine covers, nor have I ever headlined an arena, but slagged away with several small-time original bands that were semi-successful...at least at the regional level.

    Later in life, released 4 CDs over the span of 7 years with an original jazz/rock instrumental group which sold 7 - 10,000 copies each. Tanking by big label standards, but when you're doing the distribution yourself and have a relatively low overhead, it's not exactly chump-change either.

    Enabled me to be home & do the "Mr. Mom" thing with all 3 of my kids (an opportunity a lot of Dads don't get).

    When the band folded in late 2006, I figured I'd closed the guitar case for the final time...until I was asked if I'd be interested in playing bass in a Beatles tribute band in July of 2011, which pays an outstanding supplementary income to my day job with the government.

    Any regrets? Not one.

    40 years on, I'm still here to tell the tale, which, unfortunately, too many of my friends aren't. Raised my kids as a single parent. Happy with the fact that music is still a part of my life.

    I "made it" by any definition that matters to me.
  10. ma4rk


    Jun 28, 2012
    Sydney, Australia
    I used to regret taking things too seriously to try & 'make it'. To me it seems that a lot of bands/artists that get big didnt set out to do so - they just happened to be in the right place at the right time with the right people in the band.

    Now I just play in cover bands for a bit of extra cash & of course, fun. Am also very content sitting in my home studio recording stuff that I will probably never show anybody.

    I'm about to turn 32 - so if I happen stumble across the right type of people for an originals band, i'll give it a go but i won't be taking it as seriously as I did in my late teens/early 20's.

    To the OP: Sorry if this is not the type of response you wanted in this thread.
  11. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg Keyboards
    I have played in bands that have had some regional radio success, toured, opened for some major acts and headlined some large shows. I still play and will go out on tour whenever possible. The way I look at it is even though I might not have had the kind of commercial success that "major" artists have had, I have still done more than 99% of the people who ever pick up an instrument, met some great people (famous and non-famous) and had some amazing experiences. I don't regret any of it.
  12. The time to chase the dream is your youth. If you "make it," so much the better. If you don't, then cherish the memories, and, if you still enjoy playing, graduate to coverbandland.

    I regret chasing the dream for as long as I did, but not failing to "make it." I have gotten more R.O.I. on my investment of time talent and treasure in the last 3 years, playing covers, than I did in the previous 40 years of making music.

    ...and I've even gotten more 'tang, too. :bag:
    Gabbs likes this.
  13. mpdd

    mpdd neoconceptualist

    Mar 24, 2010
    i think you've made it when your friends and colleagues respect your work
  14. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    If you tried to 'make it' and failed, are you sorry?


    HELL NO!!
    zontar likes this.
  15. joebar


    Jan 10, 2010
    it is different for everyone.
    some people make it when they become a music teacher.
    some think they make it when they get a record deal
    others-when they no longer have a day job and can play music full time.
    for me-just improving as a musician in general is good enough for me at the age of 42.
  16. 254 stringer

    254 stringer

    Apr 15, 2010
    Waco Texas
    I'm sorry that I didn't try harder to make it. Now that I'm older with a wife and bills I see how free I was when I was fresh out of high school. But I got brainwashed with all the you need to go to college you need to do this you need to do that. I should have taken my bass and moved to a bigger city and gave it a shot all that other stuff could have waited a few years.
  17. zarah825


    Sep 21, 2012
    I think the key word here is "try"

    I mean I really wanted to make it for whatever reason I would feel much worse about myself down the road if I didn't bother at all
  18. Tried, failed, went broke, filed chapter 7, gave up and didn't play the bass again for about 10 years.

    I don't regret trying. Not at all.

    I learned some of the most important lessons of my life during that time. I had fun, I learned a lot about music, and I never have to wonder what would have happened if I tried.
  19. i put myself out there a few times.
    did everything i set out to do aside from making a living off of it. when i first started, touring (inter)nationally & making a boatload of money sounded nice, but the more experience i gained with what doing that entailed, the less alluring it was. i still love playing, writing & recording songs, jamming with friends, somehow even more without the pipe dream.
  20. This is a bit of a tangent, but when I graduated from college in 1976 I thought long about whether to pursue a career in music or business. The career I had in business is not unlike some of my friends who chose music, one of whom led a band that recorded three albums for a major label; but at the end of his long ride didn't really make a penny.

    Like my friends I worked diligently in my field and had success. My opportunity came in 2000 when I took over a company using 5.9 million dollars in borrowed money. I went from breaking a million dollars in net worth to being penniless when the company went under years later. It was a wild and stressful ride that probably took a few years off my life.

    My friends don't regret their choices and neither do I.