Milestones: Walking the Plank

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by Chris Fitzgerald, Feb 18, 2002.

  1. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    On Saturday, Feb 9th, I played my last gig with the society band I've been playing Plank in for the past 10 years. For a while there the income from that band was a major source of rent money for me and mine, but in the past few years I've been getting more and more jazz/original music work, and the band started to become icing rather than cake. Over the past 2 years, I've played at least 100 DB gigs in addition to stuff with the band, and I finally decided that for the sake of my musical sanity, it was time to move on. Last night, I hung both my fretted and fretless Slabs on the wall of my home office, where I am in the process of creating a WALL OF DUES which will include items relating to stuff I had to do to survive but am now finished with (I also just paid off both of my student loans this past month, and the final statements of both are gonna get framed and go up on that very same wall). I'm tempted to frame my tux as well, but that might be premature.....

    Man, this feels great! I always knew this day would come, but I didn't dare dwell on it until it was possible. Anyway, I have ordered a Ken Smith 6 string Plank to use for doubling in my original group (and for any really high paying Slab gigs that may occasionally come my way), and am looking forward to that, but it's gonna be almost ALL DB from here on out, and I can safely say (I hope!) that I have played the ELECTRIC SLIDE for the last time. And that's cool.

    Anybody else have any stories to share about when/how/why you were able to WALK THE PLANK at some point in your career and really focus on DB thereafter? If it felt as good to you as this feels to me, I just know you'll wanna share. How about it, folks?
  2. I have a number of electric-basses which I haven't played for nearly a year. I take them out of their cases once in a while to tune them and check the batteries (where they have them). I play my double-bass exclusively - I have a second double-bass on order. It's addictive...

    - Wil
  3. Congratulations, Chris. I don't gig nearly as much as you do, but I have a similar story.

    I was in a society band, and a really bad one at that. Subsequently, we worked a lot. Boogie-Oogie-Oogie, Titanic, the whole shot. For me, it was purely a financial prospect.

    I finally couldn't take it any longer, and I played my last gig with them last July 28, and it was like a burden had been lifted. Since then, I've played only upright gigs with combos and some classical ensembles here in SE Wisconsin. Luckily, my day gig has been going well, so the loss of income didn't make a huge impact.

    I did, however, drag out my electric bass and rig for the first time since last July for a gig the other night. No twang of nostalgia there.

    One side effect has been a severe case of G.A.S. My crappy Englehardt is just not making it. If I had been smart, I would have saved the money from the wedding band to buy a nice bass and Contra, but my wife insisted it go for food and clothing.
  4. Food? Clothing? Man, chicks can be so selfish.
  5. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    Congrats, Chris!

    When I got married I gave up playing eighty functions a year with a tuxedo band. (Some would call that "walking the plank" in several different senses of the words.) I pre-date the Dreaded Electric Slide, but I still wince when "Carribean Queen" comes on the radio.

    I used to play pop-functions, singer-songwriter gigs, bluegrass, orchestras and chamber-music. That was all by choice and it was fun. I used to feel that I wouldn't be satisfied just playing one or two things -- even "my own." But, for the past nine years, I've focused my musical activity on writing and playing jazz -- my first love for nearly thirty years.

    Responding to your point, Chris, I can't honestly say that I've improved as a player or writer. Perhaps the "progress" is that the direction I want to move forward in has become clearer all the time.

    Keep on searching . . .
  6. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    How about selling your rig and using the bread to get some new gear? The Smith is coming out of my pocket, but whatever new "doubling amp" (Euphonics Audio?? Bergantino??) I end up getting will be at least partially funded by my selling THE FRIDGE (my plank rig).

    If it's a nostalgia thing, I understand...I kept my crappy Fernandes 4-string as a wall ornament because I knew that the sentimental value would be worth more than the paltry sum I could have gotten for it.


    I think you're right about the last part. The progress IS probably the ability to focus on what you want to do. I often think that being able to "weed out" stuff like this is one of the great perks of growing older. That, and the no-zit thing, which is also nice. The no-hair thing I could do without, but hell, ya can't have everything.
  7. I had an analagous experience 45 years ago, not with an instrument, but with a band, when I quit a dixieland band that had taken me to Carnegie Hall and a tour of Europe. The leader (stop me if you've heard this one) was a superb businessman without a shred of musical ability. I had spent 2 years at it, taking maximum doses of Jackie McLean and Horace Silver as an antidote. The worst situation is to be overseas, living together, with no way to get home except with the band. What a relief. When I got back to Rhode Island, a hip vibist took me under wing and gave me fabulous opportunities to work. That's how I came to play with Dave McKenna (as if he needed a bassist), who, when he was home, would come over to sit in with Sonny.

  8. I'm still agonizing over whether or not I should sell my vintage 1966 Fender bass (see thread)

    I just saw a custom-color '66 Jazz bass like mine go for about $4300 over on e-bay.

    I am going to sell my GK RB800 head and Hartke 4x10 and put it toward a Contra, and keep my Hartke 2x10 as an extension for whatever electric gigs pop up.