Is there yet bass life left at 58?

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by Baruch1994, Jun 4, 2019.

  1. Baruch1994

    Baruch1994 Guest

    May 13, 2019

    I found this website last month and my only intention was to satisfy my nostalgic past when I was a 20-something bass player and rockstar wanna be. I was trying to find an elusive 5-string USA Steinberger that I sold in 2002 while playing alto sax in a Christian reggae band while attending music theory graduate school in San Diego. Except for a fill-in pro bass gig in a blues band in 1998 and an ill-fated gig with a young coed in 2000 I hadn't played bass again until this past April. I had one rehearsal on a Taylor GS Mini bass directed by a guy who turned out to be a major bassist and teacher in the greater Portland Oregon area. I didn't know who he was until after my one and only jazz combo rehearsal. He was critical of my technique and my bass but he was apparently pleased with my playing and said I wasn't far from gigging. He even offered to let me use his Tobias-made 5 string. But as I have done all my life (reason I'm on disability which paid for my music education and all the groups I have performed in over the years) I blew up at him for no reason and quit the community college scene. My body and mind seemed to be deteriorating and I was resigned never to play any music again. My only activity was a day treatment program for mentally disabled veterans at the Portland VA. I was going to quit that too and run but I destroyed my finances and all my relationships because of my gambling and escapist behavior. Like my bass idol Roger Waters sang in his megasuccessful Wall album of '79, "I have a strong urge to fly-but I got nowhere to fly to." I've been running since I was a kid, and now I am 58, alone, but at least I have a private room and bathroom in a low-cost retirement home. I have medical care and income and a car that runs. I'm sober 25 years and away from gambling 149 days (if you can call my ridiculous 40 year addiction to slots, scratch tickets and betting on dogs gambling) and still in the VA treatment program. The main reason is that I have a good (according to most sources) high tenor voice and can get around a 12-string (inspired by Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here and long ago jams with Deadheads). The VA hired a music therapist (my original music major in 1999) and was encouraged to help her. So here I am.

    Around the time I found talkbass I visited the blues guitarist with whom I played over 20 years ago. He is still playing at the same club where I met him at a open mic in 1998. I met his current bassist and told him about my desire to find a steinberger-type bass with the graphite neck and fast fingerboard. I was a noodler back in the day, not the greatest pocket player. This guy talked about Modulus that he owns which had the graphite neck. I started my search anew and ended up buying a prototype (Graphite Guitar Systems) 5-string built in 1990 by Jerry Dorsch, the cofounder of Modulus. Another curiosity is that Jerry lived only 100 miles from me in Washington. I visited him on Memorial Day. Talk about flashback! He lived in the middle of the woods just south of the Chehalis Tribe Reservation which featured one of the many casinos I gambled at. That's how I knew where he lived. After his many animals greeted me a small older man peered out of his old wooden house. Jerry brought me into his cabin where he still builds guitars and graphite necks. There was a picture of Jerry Garcia and Phil Lesh on his wall. Turns out Jerry got his start making guitars for the Dead in California! I was late-bloomer Deadhead back in the day. I learned how to play guitar by a pro guitarist who led a Dead-type band in Boston. We jammed in a wood cabin in the woods not unlike where Jerry Dorsch lives. After I told Jerry about my desire to replace my old steinberger he became distraught. Steinberger stole Jerry's ideas! Jerry sued Mr. Steinberger successfully but he didn't get any money. Jerry left Mr. Gould and Modulus and just went his own way. I guess I did that too. I have a bit of talent but I have always been difficult to get along with, sober or not. Because of the connections I made in music school which were made possible because of that blues bass gig so long ago (the guitarist had a groupie with him during our gig who turned out to be a music therapist-the VA paid for me to be a MT but I ended up getting a composition degree majoring in voice), I have had a highly-paid government subsidy since 1999. I have done a lot of music, been hospitalized many times, survived cancer, and gambled. But almost no bass playing.

    As you can see, I write a lot. I am alone, no family, no relationships except for my old AA sponsor who was a keyboardist back in the day, and now a government-appointed person to help me with my finances. She knows I'm a musician and wants me to perform for some of her disabled clients. That hasn't happened yet because she lives on the Oregon coast, 100 miles away from me. I'm doing that here in Portland in a very limited capacity. Today was another brick in my musical wall, but it almost didn't happen. I was scheduled to assist in a difficult room where non-Veteran addicts and disabled folks attend a music wellness class. The regular music therapist wasn't there and I almost left. The director of this mental health class program that I am attended was her replacement, and she needed help with the music for the wellness class. I worked on a few songs and performed them in the wellness class. The few who attended seemed pleased with my performance. As I left the class the staff were also complimenting me. As I left the hospital someone noticed my Taylor gig bag. We shot the breeze about guitars (not my main instrument) and for some reason I mentioned my Jerry bass (Dorsch not Garcia though there was a big connection!). He said he had been searching high and low for a bassist who could sing. I told him I was his man! I have also been searching for a gig after all these years. I'm being recruited by a professional karaoke singer with a violin who is trying to put a veterans band together. Apparently he was a bassist back in the day. But to sing lead and play bass at this stage of my life? That would be cool. I have a lot of physical pain and a poor history in bands. But as a store owner told me the other day, maybe I just need a break. I'm still singing in a community choir (not up to the pro level I have been associated with but I like it) and am checking out an old folks community band (clarinet). I told the 78 year old woman about my history and she cautiously invited me to Wednesday's rehearsal. This guitarist who I ran into today lives quite a distance from me but what the heck. I'm disabled and alone. I've traveled throughout the US and Europe for music, and a lot for gambling. I'm not from Oregon, but this is where I am today. As I sang in rehab in 2014, maybe I can checkout anytime I like, but I can never leave. Hotel Oregon!

    I have posted a lot here at talkbass and have received a lot of good feedback. Where the bass leads me at 58 Only Heaven Knows. But I am glad I found you all here, and my unusual bass.

    I'll keep you posted on my Bass life after all these years. Thanks for reading if anyone has had the patience for it.

    Take care
    Portland OR
    evilgus, Charlzm, DeanFoster and 28 others like this.
  2. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    Wow, what a story!

    The following is posted with all due respect and consideration. :thumbsup:

    IME, taming your demons needs to be your first priority. Bass, vocals, won't matter unless you calm down and be consistent in your behavior.

    IME, with a high tenor voice, you can join singing groups or do karaoke without putting pressure on yourself. See how it goes for awhile so you can still work on your behavior.

    Best regards,
    tlite, JRA and Goatrope like this.
  3. Baruch1994

    Baruch1994 Guest

    May 13, 2019
    Thank you for reading my book. I completely agree. I don’t have to do anything except work on my issues and try to get better. I have chosen life. I’ll leave it at that.

    Take care.
  4. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    Keep on keepin' on, bro!

    Thanks for sharing.
    staccatogrowl likes this.
  5. Goatrope


    Nov 18, 2011
    Sarasota Florida
    Like @Stumbo advised, tame those demons.

    You’ll read lots of stories here under “band management”, where things fall apart due to relationships more-so than abilities.

    The other option, if you’re unable to keep your social demons at bay, is to be up front about them. Let folks know you may freak out on them from time to time, but it’s just you being you. If they can stick with you, you can make something great out of your time together.

    Here’s to new beginnings! :thumbsup:

    Oh, I’m 58 too, and it’s a great age to be. :hyper:
  6. flojob

    flojob Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 15, 2011
    Something else that might be fulfilling is recording. These days it's relatively hassle free and cheap to do at home, and get to interact and share ideas without the same kind of interaction. Exciting times for you though! Potential is the friend of hope!
    staccatogrowl likes this.
  7. That's quite a story, as has been said, focus on the positive changes in your life first.

    Bass playing can always be part of your life, or music of any kind. But being involved in music usually involves other people, and other people can invite unnecessary drama into your life, which can make it easier to revert to your old demons as an escape.

    Keep things positive, with some purpose in every activity, and best of luck going forward!
    Stumbo, chea-pass and staccatogrowl like this.
  8. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Gold Supporting Member

    00 images2b3.png nailed it for you, OP. but to your credit: you already knew that! good luck! :thumbsup:
    staccatogrowl likes this.
  9. I'd suggest that you do everything possible to share your God given talents with the world.
    That world can be the infirmed, veterans, seniors whomever...They are out there just waiting for you to find them..
    Experience the magic when you see folks smiling & enjoying themselves, I guarantee you will feel better about yourself as well.. & keep coming back!
    PaulS, chea-pass and staccatogrowl like this.
  10. staccatogrowl

    staccatogrowl Savoring our spinning, shimmery aquasphere Supporting Member

    Jul 14, 2006
    Is there bass life yet at 58? Your opportunities and connections seem to say yes.

    You, like everyone, have experienced grace, tragedy, success, and failure, so continue to learn from all of it.

    Fall down? Get back up. And, keeping demons at bay may be easier with purpose.

    So, answer your own question. Is there bass life yet at 58? Yes, if you want there to be. No, if you don’t want it.

    “The difference between a dream and a goal is an action plan!”

    Best wishes in your choice.
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2019
    JC Nelson, mikewalker, Stumbo and 2 others like this.
  11. I am not going to address any of your issues. You know what they are and it seems you're trying to take care of them.

    The good news is that when you learn something as a youngster you NEVER forget. Coming back at 58 is no big deal when you've learned young. Playing music is something you can do until you die. One of the guys (trumpet) I played with years ago played actively until he was 92... and trumpet is a helluva lot more complicated and some would say more difficult physically than bass. Good luck.
    mikewalker and staccatogrowl like this.
  12. gregmon79

    gregmon79 Supporting Member

    Dec 20, 2012
    Chicago IL
    A lot of us here are hard to get along with and have addictions!! haha Well, I can speak for myself. Anyway, welcome to the community @Baruch1994 !! It's great to have you here and I' look forward to seeing more of your interesting posts. I know music, bass and jamming with others is therapeutic for me as well. If I don't get my medicine, I can feel it. It's something that's NEEDED for me in my life. Lately it's been tough. But I know a few guys and I know I'll jam again in the near future. But it's tough in between.
  13. TheReceder


    Jul 12, 2010
    Very simple reply. Welcome to TB, and from a fellow veteran and bass player, music can be therapy... but it can also lead to needing it. :)
  14. RichardW


    Feb 25, 2016
    near Philly
    As the old Latin saying goes: Dum spiro spero -- "While I breathe, I hope."

    You'll find plenty of folks on TB who: are struggling with/overcoming demons; return to the bass after many years away (or picking it up for the first time as an adult); are saved by music. You'll also find a lot of folks who are wishing you the best. Keep going, brother.
  15. Whippet


    Aug 30, 2014
    wow never knew about Steinberger guitars getting sued and losing.....
  16. dan1952


    Jun 27, 2012
    Anderson IN
    Welcome to talkbass, Baruch1994! Good luch keeping those demons at bay.
    staccatogrowl likes this.
  17. arbiterusa


    Sep 24, 2015
    "Jerry sued Mr. Steinberger successfully but he didn't get any money."

    That's not how it works, and it didn't happen.
  18. PJMustangFreak

    PJMustangFreak Commercial User

    Dec 12, 2017
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Endorsed by WristGrips
    THIS x100

    I'd kill to be a high tenor. I sound like Jim Morrison with strep throat.
    wildman2 and staccatogrowl like this.
  19. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    May 24, 2006
    Welcome to TalkBass.

    Glad you found us. You’re among friends here.
    Chrome Dome and staccatogrowl like this.
  20. Flatwound

    Flatwound Supporting Member

    Sep 9, 2000
    San Diego
    Age 58 is not a problem. I’m 61, and played in a gigging band for about 5 years in my 50’s. Still play in church every Sunday. Doug Pinnick is 68. Just recently saw a video from this year (2019), of The Who. Roger Daltrey is 75, and Pete Townsend is somewhere around there. I may again play in a gigging band.

    I wish you the best.