Need some opinions, please.

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Comakazi, Jun 18, 2001.

  1. Comakazi


    May 3, 2001
    Midwest US
    I just wanted to get some opinions on things if I may. I'm considering taking further steps to broaden my musical carreer. And I wanted to ask what you guys think. I'm looking to going to Jeff's Player's School but, you know, the thing is what steps would be good for me to take after that? I've been playing for about 12 years now, my ear is good but I lack in my theory, hence my thinking about going to Jeff's school. But what should I do after that? All the bands I've been in have fallen apart, and I'm really wanting to get out on my own. I would love to get session work, what do you think would be the best steps I could take?
    I guess the thing that really worries me is that there all the horror stories of how you can't make a living at music, etc...
    It seems like a daunting process and I wanted to get som other's opinions. Thanks.
  2. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    If you do go to Jeff Berlin's school, you may find the answer you seek about your future involvement in music right there, because you will immediately have many contacts in the industry.

    As for being in many bands that break up, don't let that discourage you. You may be in many more before you find one that clicks. Or you may decide to be an independent musician who goes from band to band and gig to gig as a "sideman."

    Session work can be tough to break in, but if you allow yourself the years to get experience and to make a name for yourself, knowing it will take a long time, then go for it.

    In Nashville, even fabulously talented and skilled players have a tough time breaking in the session scene, and often start out playing demos, not final sessions. Only the most well known, reliable, and established bassists make the "first call" list of session players.

    Others play demo sessions and try to get gigs playing for new, unknown acts or second and third tier bands, trying to establish their credentials, responsibility, make their name known, do temporary gigs or whatever they can get.

    One Nashville musician here I know told me that it is even hard to get a job teaching in music stores, because there are so many musicians here, only the BEST get those positions. He headed the music department in a big music store in another city, but can't get a place here! But he has somehow managed to get tours with some national acts, third tier...I'm not talking the TOP, TOP.

    There's kind of a standing "joke" in Nashville that every waiter, bartender, gas station attendant and grocery store stocker is a musician, song writer or singer. That is an exaggeration, but not a big exaggeration.

    Knowing these facts, though, should not deter you. Just accept the price you have to pay to live your dream and go for it without compromise. One thing you may decide is that it is easier to achieve your dream in a smaller market like Miami or Orlando instead of heading right for L.A. or New York City. Get your feet wet that way, then if you feel you can go to the next level, give it a try.

    Good luck. (Oh, I envy you for going to Jeff Berlin's school. If I win the Lotto, I plan to go, too, just for the thrill.)
  3. Comakazi


    May 3, 2001
    Midwest US
    Thanks JO,
    That's exactly the thing that makes me a bit aprehensive - that standing joke!
    But you know, when you feel SO strongly about it, it doesn't seem to matter. But seeing as I'm going to throw all the money and "security" out the window to do this it seems scary. But yet it's exciting, too. It's equal parts I guess. I just look forward to getting with other musicians and people that think similar...I just know I need to do it.
    In addition I have a daughter to think about, too. Man, that's been weighing heavy on me...I hope she will understand what I'm going to have to do when she gets older. Never mind her Mother!!
  4. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Coma - If you're footloose and free, and want to apply your ability to test the pro or pro-am waters, take a peek at some out-of-town papers or check out the " Bassist Wanted" ads at . Let's face it, bands usually don't break in the midwestern US. For example, a local band just split for Phoenix to test their fortune.

    Getting with some ambitious musicians is a good way to sort out what you really want to do and what you want to leave to others. Succeed or fail, you'll always know you went for the gold.

    I do some session work for ads, but only because I knew ad agency people and studio people. Session work, unless you're a name, doesn't pay squat, unless you can live on something like $250 a session.
  5. Comakazi


    May 3, 2001
    Midwest US
    Thanks for the input Rickbass. I agree with what you have said and that's the very reason I'm looking to break out. I'm very aware of the constraints the Midwest puts on you. I appreciate the link and I'm going to check some stuff out. We'll see what happens!
  6. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    ... to whomever ...

    One thing I like about being a part-timer is that I already can tell the sundry obnoxious club owner to go get his leg humped by a Doxie. Also, I've been in the same business for about 30 years, and it's starting to pay off. I can get really good equipment even if I have no gigs. (For those who don't know, I'm an incurable gear head.)

    I'm gonna retire in a few years, then I'm going to do music for money, but I'm not going to try for the money. My experience is that money comes when it's not a priority. Day jobs are a good thing.
  7. Comakazi


    May 3, 2001
    Midwest US
    Thanks for the advice guys. I hear you.
    Believe me, I am not so naive that I think that getting some education is going to open some magical doors of success. I'm wanting to continue schooling so that I can have more tools to work with. I would like to be able to have a chart set in front of me and be able to read and play it.
    And I don't know, maybe I need to get out there and have my ass kicked a bit! :)
    The selection of people to work with where I live is slim to say the least - day job or not, that's the facts. And I truly would like to give it a shot to see what I can do, I would rather have to scale back because it truly isn't working than wake up one day and wonder, what if?
    I do not have "rock-star" aspirations, necessarily, I just have playing aspirations. There's been a drive in me since I seriously started playing music to take it as far, and play as much as I can. And to this point I haven't been able to get much of that accomplished. It's been a string of bands that couldn't get, or keep it together, and feelings of frustration. Am I exclusive in these feelings? Certainly not. But I want to try to do something about it. Hell, maybe it's an excuse to get out of town...I don't know (how cliche' is that?).
    I just wanted to take some time to glean some collective wisdom from the people here at Talkbass who have seen and done more than me at this particular point in time.
    I do appreciate all the advice, though, truly.
  8. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    At the risk of sounding "boring"....

    don't forget to look into the service bands. they're not for everybody, but they are a full time playing gig that requires a higher level of musicianship. they come complete with variety (one of the things I like most about the gig) and you get paid / health benefits whether you're giging a lot that month or not!
  9. Gard

    Gard Commercial User

    Mar 31, 2000
    Greensboro, NC, USA
    General Manager, Roscoe Guitars

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! Don't come to Orlando, it's very bad here, lots of volcanos, earthquakes, I lost my amp to a tornado last week, very bad....(well, we do get tornados sometimes...heh)

    I can speak about the "scene" here in Orlando a bit, being a part (albeit a small part) of it. There aren't a lot of club gigs that pay well, there is a LOT of convention work that does, and then there's also the whole Dizknee thing if you like politics :rolleyes:.

    A few bands have managed to "break" here, Matchbox 20, 7 Mary 3 for example (hopefully, the next one will be: ), but most of the attention seems to be focused on the whole "boy-band" - Lou Perlman thing. He started the Backstreet Boys, N'Sync, and has a new one coming out soon called "Natural", which is basically the Backstreet Boys/N'Sync playing their own instruments (the guys were chosen for their appearance, then "assigned" instruments and are now learning them, a friend of mine is their tutor...oh well, at least one good musician is getting a gig out of it, kinda...sigh).

    It's a great place to live. There are ameneties in Orlando that don't exist in many other cities, for instance: Bass Central! ;) Jeff's Player's School is just 90 minutes away. The beaches are nice and not too far away. If you're a "space nut" like myself, KSC is less than an hour away (was just there this past weekend, again!). If you like theme parks, this is the theme park capital of the world. For ~9 months of the year, the weather is great (summer SUCKS though :p).

    There ARE gigs to be had, and many people to study with (Dave LaRue teaches at Bass Central when he's not on the road, for instance). You just have to slog a bit to get the gigs, but if you're a good player, you will find them eventually.

    Other cities that would be similar are Tampa (even closer to Jeff's school), Atlanta, New Orleans, Chicago, Seattle, San Diego, Houston, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Denver, or Washington DC. There's work almost everywhere, it's just a matter of deciding on the balance of work/living conditions/weather that is the right fit for you. Orlando isn't my FIRST choice, but it's a good balance for myself and my wife (family pressures apply strongly sometimes ;) ).

    If you're going to move somewhere, the best suggestion I can make is to make contacts BEFORE you move. Maybe a visit to the city, hang at some stores, hit some clubs, talk to the players and see how you think you'll fit in. If you want to check out Orlando, I'd be happy to help all I can, and I bet you can find someone from almost any other city here on TB that will say the same to you. I was lucky here, I already had a gig when I moved back (plus I knew the area/scene from having been here for 15 years before), it's a good idea to "pave the way" as much as possible, to ease your transition. Also, make sure to have some kind of "nest egg" to live on for a while, nothing worse than having to go slog through a 40 hr week at McDonald's then hit the clubs trying to find gigs afterwards.

    Oh, and Pacman's suggestion is good too, if you're not too young and can pass the entrance audition. I know I wish I'd had the foresight to do it when I was 18-19-20 :(. A lot of great experience can be had as a military bandsman, and steady pay for gigging is a beautiful thing!
  10. Comakazi


    May 3, 2001
    Midwest US
    Thanks Gard, I appreciate the offer - who knows I may take you up on it.
    I am working on making contacts in a few cities and I think it will all pan out. I am still amazed and grateful to all the helpful people I've found in my endeavors. Just when you lose faith in the inherent goodness of people they amaze the heck out of ya! The one thing I really like about Talkbass and musicians, is that for the most part they seem to be a close-knit group that is willing to lend advice and help. Which is very comforting because at times it can seem very solitary to work on this. People seem to not always support the idea of being a musician or artist as easily as other chosen professions. So to receive some support and positive feedback is nice.
    I am definitely going to carefully plan out a course of action, roll the dice and see how they land.
    Thanks again.