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Is being a working musican a fulfilling life ?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by MAJOR METAL, Jul 26, 2007.


    MAJOR METAL The Beagle Father Supporting Member

    Is being a working musican a fulfilling life ?
  2. ldiezman


    Jul 11, 2001

    I get paid to play bass for a living.. its awesome :).
  3. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    So far, so good.
  4. peaveyuser

    peaveyuser Banned

    Oct 18, 2006
    I'd be happy playing anyways, pay is a bonus.
    Getting the crowd pumped, excited or jammin to your music must be a great feeling.
    You working musicians have an awesome career.
  5. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    I was happy when it was good. At the end, I was fed up with musician drama and addictions. I like having a career elsewhere and playing bass for myself these days. I don't think I could go back to the life.
  6. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Yes, with the caveat that I like having the teaching gig, which allows me to take only those gigs which have potential to be fun. Now, instead of playing 200 nights a year with about half of them being crappy "only for the $$$" gigs and another 25 or so being kind of iffy, I work 90-100 nights a year on my own terms and with good players who are also good people. On THOSE terms, it's very fulfilling. :)
  7. lefty007


    Jan 19, 2004
    Miami, FL
    As long as you make enough money and you are in a healthy situation. . .

    In my experience, most well-paying gigs always come with a trade-off, like lots of traveling, playing bad music, or dealing with egomaniac artists, etc.. Most satisfaying gigs (musically) don't pay much.

    In the end, I would say that for the "majority" of musicians, nowadays, no, it is not fullfilling to be a working musician. It is virtually impossible to make a decent living playing local gigs, and even if you did, you suffer from being in a bar enviroment for so many years (late nights, smoke, booze) and you lose your hearing and develop tinnitus, and have no social life because you are always playing. Or if you happen to land a gig touring with a good artist or band, the traveling alone will wear you down in no time. And bands don't tour indefinitely, they take breaks, so it is never a steady income.

    And in the long term, again, unless you hit it really big and find a healthy situation, who wants to be playing 5 gigs a week when you have a family, or when you start getting older. Retirement account, anybody?

    Another perspective is that sometimes, to make ends meet and play as many gigs as you can, you are almost forced to take many gigs that simply "suck," be it the location, the repertoire, the band, the pay, etc. so you develop this awful relationship with music and your instrument, that you "have" to play to make money. Nothing worse than hitting the stage and the last thing you want to do is play. . .

    Sorry for the negative. . . I could not live without music, but I would not want to depend on it 100% to pay rent and feed my family.
  8. Ed Goode

    Ed Goode Jersey to Georgia Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2004
    Acworth, GA
    Endorsing Artist: FBB Bass Works
    Yes and No ;) .... and I pretty much agree with lefty007 ^^^

    I was a full time musician for many years, and for the majority of the time it was very good. But back in the late '60's through the mid '80's the music industry was much different than it is today. A working stiff, playing at clubs, doing weddings, a little recording, some travel etc could easily afford to feed a family and pay the bills. But as the industry matured and became much more commercial (think MTV, music video's, the beginnings of the internet etc), it became increasingly harder to make it a full-time gig. The arrival of DJ's and programmed/sampled music made it all that much harder.

    I finally got a full-time, non-music job when I ran into some severe medical issues in my family and the resulting financial hassles that go with that kind of stuff. While I hated "giving up" I also realized that my family was waaayyyy more important than the music itself. The eventual feeling of financial stability greatly outweighed the loss of my "full-time" status.

    Now, I gig a lot and enjoy it a lot more than I ever did, simply because the financial pressures are off my mind. If a booked date cancels, it doesn't mean I can't pay my electric bill.

    I really respect the guys who can make it their full-time job in todays world. If I could be assured that the money was secure, I'd go back to it in a heartbeat .... :cool:
  9. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    Me too... the mid 90s seemed to dry most avenues up that I was chasing.

    But in rethinking it... since no career is guarantee, if I was assured secure and stable cash flow, I would consider music as a career again.

    If I was a young man (and in shape) I'd be giving the .mil bands a look again. For that matter, maybe I'll give my Atlantic City Union Musician buddy a ring this weekend ;)
  10. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Let's see.....

    I get paid quite a bit to run a band, have insurance, own my house, drive nice cars, and get time to spend with my family.

    Pretty satisfying, I'd say.
  11. Ed Goode

    Ed Goode Jersey to Georgia Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2004
    Acworth, GA
    Endorsing Artist: FBB Bass Works

    You do have one of the best music gigs, ever ..... :cool:
  12. Ed Goode

    Ed Goode Jersey to Georgia Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2004
    Acworth, GA
    Endorsing Artist: FBB Bass Works
    BTW, Jon, I've always been curious, if you don't mind the question ..... :)

    Did you join the service to specifically pursue your music career, or did you join as a "normal" enlistment and the music thing just happened to fall in line for you?
  13. +1 Nothing more I could really add to that statement. I've got the best of both worlds right now, and I'm much happier for it. I never wanted it to feel like "work", but unfortunately it did.
  14. ElMon

    ElMon Supporting Member

    May 30, 2004
    Oklahoma City, OK
    I'd say that your gig would be the best of both worlds. Not that I have to tell you! :)
  15. I enjoyed all the years I played full time, but the night after night after night (usually 300+ nights a year through the late 70's and early 80's) started to take the joy out of it for me. Of course, very few of us even have the opportunity to play that much anymore, so most 'full timers' now are like part timers back in the day, maybe playing 100 nights a year. That's a tough life... no benefits, etc.

    I have never been so full of joy about music and performing as today. I do about 50-75 nights a year now, and it's just fun as heck every time I hit the stage. The freelance part makes it fun also... no personalities to deal with or drama... just show up, play, and go!
  16. markjazzbassist

    markjazzbassist Supporting Member

    Apr 19, 2005
    Cleveland, OH
    i don't dive a mercedes benz but i get by. that's about the only gripe i have. other than that i love playing and enjoy the road and getting to know other musicians.
  17. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification

    Both times (Army and Air Force), I had a guaranteed gig playing music before I joined. Actually, I knew exactly where my first assignment would be both times. So not only did I have a band job in writing, I actually had the exact band on my contract, too.

    And yes, it *is* the best gig, ever. I've had to pay for it at times, but it's been one hell of a great gig.
  18. soong


    May 10, 2007
    So i've been told while pursuing a career either as a session musician or tutor, etc is fulfilling, it doesn't provide in terms of money and isnt a steady income..im seriously considering a career in music...

    Any advice? i plan to take a 3 year bachelor of music next year (if my audition is all well and good)
  19. Monkey

    Monkey Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Ohio, USA
    I did a few stretches as a full-time musician in the late 80's and mid-90's, and it wasn't nearly as fulfilling as I had imagined it would be. It definitely became like work after a while, and I hated the fact that I sometimes dreaded taking the stage. Playing bass had always been one of my biggest sources of joy, but doing it to pay the bills wore on me.

    A lot of the venues dried up, and it became even harder to make it as a musician. I am much happier now having a full-time job which pays the bills (as well as good equipment!) and playing music I like on the side. I'm very glad I gave it a shot and found that I could do it, though.....
  20. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    I'm not a full time musician, but i'll express some of the sentiment i've heard from guys that are. "Things ain't what they useda be." sums it up pretty much dead on. Less work, more guys that want it.

    On the Military thing-i've considered that numerous times, but the military part of it scares the tar out of me.

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