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Moving to a new town (Austin) and need to advertise myself as a bassist for hire...

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by Ballin'bass, Apr 13, 2015.

  1. Ballin'bass


    Jun 16, 2014
    Madison, WI
    I'm taking a big step and leaving my home town with very little planned as far as what I'll be doing musically when I get to Austin TX. I have a totally professional set of basses and gear, ready to tour, ready to record, ready for whatever. I only know a hand full of folks in Austin as of yet. So my question is this...

    For those of you with experience (and preferably success), what have you found to be the best ways, or mediums, to try to advertise your bass skills in a new town? I'd be looking for anything from studio work to joining bands (if I like the sound) to being hired on for tours... honestly ready to do whatever it takes to make a niche for myself as a local bassist. I want to be as musically active as possible.

    I can write/compose/arrange on a pretty high level and I've been a self-study musician for over 11 years, so I have chops and I'm also very versatile. Anything from funk to rock to metal to prog, blues, soul, hip hop, jazzy stuff (but not up to hard jazz yet) etc.

    Just have no idea how to approach the game as a stranger in a new town.

    Any advice from veterans or really anybody is much appreciated! :help: Thanks!
  2. First off good luck and great choice for one of the best cities to live in.

    Tough to make a living in town, too many bands that will play for free.

    Not sure how best to break in these days but when I got to town it was all about making connections. Working in a music store was our in for me and housemate who is a drummer. We took any call at any time and played tons of gigs sometimes for little or less $.
    Ballin'bass likes this.
  3. corinpills


    Nov 19, 2000
    Boston, MA
    Fantastic town, there is music everywhere. Now, getting paid for it is a whole other thing.
    pjbassist likes this.
  4. markjazzbassist

    markjazzbassist Supporting Member

    Apr 19, 2005
    Cleveland, OH
    good luck man, austin has a ton of bars and they all have crappy blues bands playing the same stuff over and over and over... not sure if they get paid, learn to work a tip jar and crowd. live music capital of the world is a total lie, new orleans kills austin with probably double the venues, not sure how austin is still called that, there's that main drag and that's about it. but i digress, sorry that's a personal pet peeve of mine.

    best recommendation is always hit the town frequently and try and sit in and network and meet people to play with. start out craigslist bands and meet some people and go from there. give yourself 2 years or so to get from nothing to hopefully gigging frequently, it ain't gonna happen over night. you could advertise yourself on craigslist, but personally i think those people are cheesy and i have never seen them on real gigs, i think other musicians don't take them seriously either, i just respond to band needs ads, don't put up my own. but that's just me IMHO.

    also get a day gig man, something easy to pay the bills or get you close, starbucks or something, you can always cut back on that and gig more, but it's not like being free form 8a-5p is gonna get you gigs, might as well have some scratch so you can eat.

    friend of mine lived there for 9 years and said he was busiest and best paid when playing in a couple wedding bands. he said the music scene downtown was mostly just stevie ray rip offs.
    Ballin'bass likes this.
  5. Ballin'bass


    Jun 16, 2014
    Madison, WI
    Thanks, this is helpful advice.

    I don't plan to create my own ads as I agree with you that it seems silly and desperate. I also totally know how weddings are where the money is.

    I must say it is depressing how limited you say the genres out there are. I'm definitely not going for blues or classic rock, although it's well within my ability. I just hate being bored like that.

    I do definitely want to check out nola sometime soon.
  6. markjazzbassist

    markjazzbassist Supporting Member

    Apr 19, 2005
    Cleveland, OH
    there is other stuff there man but like anything, people want texas blues. it's tourists man, and it's a guitar players town. just like in nola everyone wants new orleans music and brass bands. my buddy's wedding band did a bunch of funk and dance tunes because that's what people want to do at weddings. he said he did so much blues and stuff for regular gigs that he just stopped all together because he was sick of it. he's a drummer btw.

    i mean you can do whatever music you want, don't let me stop you, i'm just saying paying gig availability is "most likely" blues rock type stuff. i heard a great soul band from there once at house of blues in cleveland, so there is other stuff, but it ain't super common is all i'm saying.

    i mean in new orleans you can do minimalist electronic, just good luck trying to get a gig, catch my drift? you gotta go with the flow so to speak, unless you have a "name" or a following, of which as a new guy you won't (heck as a sideman you might never have).
    Ballin'bass likes this.
  7. AaronVonRock


    Feb 22, 2013
    I'm going to completely disagree with the notion that Austin is simply a town with a bunch of crappy blues bands playing the same thing over and over just for tourists. Same thing could be said about New Orleans and bands playing When The Saints Go Marching In for all the tourists on Bourbon Street. Yes, that element exists but there is so much more going on if you look for it.

    Austin has a great music scene with literally every genre represented. When I was there last summer, I walked past countless venues with bands playing metal, punk, industrial, rock, jazz, and yes country, americana. and blues. I only went into a few clubs because the average cover was around $10-$15 and that got kind of expensive when bar hopping. There is a massive underground music scene in Austin. I'd recommend going to bars and clubs that have bands playing whatever music you're interested in. That part should be easy. The rest is just networking and meeting people. Easy for some, difficult for others.

    Non-music related, Austin has become quite expensive over the past 10-15 years. My friends there bitched about that quite a bit. Many of my married friends with kids have moved outside of town. All my single friends still lived in the city.
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2015
    Ballin'bass and markjazzbassist like this.
  8. Ballin'bass


    Jun 16, 2014
    Madison, WI
    Well, I hear it's comparable to Madison in cost of living.
  9. its a new millennium.
    First thing you need is a website and/or YouTube channel.
    Personal networking is important, and have business cards with your contact info and links to your site.

    Craigslist may seem cheesy, but a good, well written (as in no ego, but fully explaining your talents) ad might get you some gigs or at least contacts.
    And a link in it to your site.

    Make it easy for people to hear you, and that's the Internet. We all shop that way, and you want people shopping for a bassist. Give them instant gratification.
    Ballin'bass likes this.
  10. Alba McBass

    Alba McBass

    Jan 5, 2015
    Try getting yourself booked into Threadgills ( the original one on the north end of town ). Great diner/music venue........................... hey,.........Janis played it !!
  11. iammr2


    Jun 10, 2002
    You'd better have a smokin' set of chops. There's a bass player under every streetlight and bridge in Austin.
    Ballin'bass likes this.
  12. Ballin'bass


    Jun 16, 2014
    Madison, WI
    Well I think I got what it takes. ;)

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