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Playing with experienced players ...

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by RustyAxe, Nov 26, 2010.

  1. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    Reading through countless threads here makes me think of my own situation. I've been playing since 1968 or so. Yeah, I'm old. But I'm not complaining, not a bit. See, I get to play with other old guys, with 30, 40, even 50 years of experience. We can put a band together in two weeks time (and that's just to work out arrangements). There's no "waiting for my <guitarist, drummer, keyboardist, vocalist, whatever> to straighten out". If we play and someone doesn't "get it" from the start, they're history. No second gigs, no tactful suggestions on how to improve. Just a simple, "you're not going to work out" and the boot. Sure, we run into the occasional sub who makes us roll our eyes and shuffle our feet, but the pain is temporary, and they don't get another call.

    Anyone else in this enviable position?

    I should add that I've been asked to play in bands where one or more members wasn't up to snuff. There again, I don't wait around hoping for the best, I cut and run. Life's too short for crappy music, and the older one gets, the shorter it gets!
  2. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    I see it two ways... those who are experienced and know it and can be flexible to adapt to other "experienced players". And then there are those who are experienced, set in their ways not flexible to others and impossible to please or work with.
  3. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    I get what you're meanin', but in my dealings with truly seasoned musicians (ie, have played with many people, in many styles, at man venues, etc) that ego thing seems to have been tamed long ago. If not, then they are in the category of those that I'll not wait for to straighten out ... ;)

    Really, I find that the most seasoned players are usually the most humble, self-effacing, and team-oriented band members. They "get it".
  4. plangentmusic

    plangentmusic Banned

    Jun 30, 2010
    The older one gets, the more discriminating they get, and the less opportunities they have.

    But yeah, there are young guys who are great and old guys who just want to hear to the way they know it. The most fun is when you mix the both. It's like a ball team with vets and rookies. They each add something to the total picture and each can learn form the other.
  5. TBrett


    Nov 3, 2007
    Toronto, Canada
    This is true for seasoned pros in any industry, IME. There comes a point in life when you don't have to prove yourself anymore because you have arrived. And yes, you definitely get spoiled in terms of colleagues after a certain level of experience.

    The only thing I'd add is to remember to share your knowledge and experience with those up-and-comers who display the required talent and attitude. This is how the next generation learns. I started in showbiz at age 12 and I will always remain deeply grateful to the seasoned pros I worked with over the years who took the time to give me pointers. It was invaluable, and it only increased my reverence for them as artists and human beings. You never forget your mentors - or the lessons they taught!
  6. Johnny Crab

    Johnny Crab ACME,QSC,Fame/Hondo/Greco/HELIX user & BOSE Abuser Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2004
    South Texas

    THOSE are the ones it is a pleasure and a privilege to work with. Being in such a setting also allows you to play songs on the spot(i.e. callouts) should 2 or more members recall part of them. REALLY keeps you on your toes and keeps things FUN.
  7. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008
    For most of us that have been gigging over the past 40 plus years is a double edged sword.

    We can't live in the past or play by rules that are out dated. However, there are some things that don't change. A guy can either play and adapt to different styles and work with all types of people or he can't.

    Just because we have been playing for 40 years doesn't mean we are great. I know guys I played with in High School 40 years ago that are still gigging.They sucked in High School and they still suck.
  8. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Yep ... I started playing in 1968 as well ... I can pretty much play anything I am asked to. I can pick up songs very quickly, and I get to play with musicians who know have mastered their instrument and I don't mess around with those who haven't.

    Also I have a good day job so I can afford good equipment.
  9. I have been playing for 32 years. I have plenty of touring experience and have done music for a couple of television shows but I am actually having a hard time finding quality musicians to play with. Even those who claim to have been playing for a long time are usually pretty bad. I haven't done a gig in 4 1/2 years. I recently joined a friend's band on stage for a few songs and had fun. They are one of the better bands in my area but have had some internal drama so it's not something I want to do on a regular basis. I've been focusing on recording. Maybe it's me. Maybe the perfect situation doesn't exist. All I know is the older I get, the less interested I am in gigging in clubs. Once you have toured, it's hard to do anything else because you feel like you are going backwards.
  10. thumpbass1


    Jul 4, 2004
    I'm 54 and still gig, and the musicians I work with in general range in age from their early 30's on up to folks around my age bracket and even older. Most people I work with are veteran and very capable players with professional attitudes. However I also know highly talented musicians of a mature age that still have juvenile, bad attitudes, and other constant issues that have gotten them leaving a lot of torched bridges behind in their lives to where nobody who knows them wants to work with them, and when they do find new people to to work with the inevitable train wreck usually follows. It's not just a youth thing, as often a true jerk, fixed in their ways by the time they hit their young adulthood, is still a jerk at age 50, or 60, and the rest of their lives. Of course some may actually repent of their ways so to speak somewhere along the line, but that's another story.

    As for me I'm too old and tired to put up with drama and poor attitudes when I can possibly avoid it. Yes I can still tolerate short term issues, and bad gigs can still pop up like a rainy day, but doing it long term, ain't gonna happen no more. I went through that crap in my youth like most of us have as musicians, but there comes a point in life where one does start to use discretion when it comes to those opportunities that arise, and that includes choosing which musicians one wishes to work with on a long term basis.
  11. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    Right. But you aren't waiting around hoping for them to improve, are ya? :D My original point of the thread was that with so much experience they either can play or they can't; can get along with other people or they can't; have their personal lives under control or they don't ... and there's no reason to stick it out hoping something's gonna change. It's liberating.
  12. John Wentzien

    John Wentzien

    Jun 25, 2007
    Elberta, AL
    Artist:TC Electronic RH450 bass system (original test-pilot)
  13. jive1

    jive1 Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    I'm with you there. One of ironies in life was working with older musicians with a history of failed relationships, burnt bridges with bands, inability to hold down a job, a reluctance toward sobriety, and avoiding responsibility and accountability at every turn that called me a kid when I was almost 40.

    I've been playing Blues since a young age, so I was always around older musicians. Some were great, and a joy to work with. I learned alot from those guys. But, it also during this time I learned that age does not equal maturity.
  14. thudfromafar

    thudfromafar Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 2007
    rock on my old brothas!
  15. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    Off to do a country dance gig tonight with a bunch of those old guys I was talkin' about ... :bassist: ... rockabillly, old rock and roll, classic country, and whatever we cook up tonight. 200 in the audience usually, everybody on their feet and dancing.
  16. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    When I first started playing out, I was the kid playing with all the older guys. Come to think of it , most of my present band is still older than me, but I think I fit the description of "experianced".
  17. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    I am, yet I keep getting sucked in for reasons unkown, and I'm not sure if I'd call in an "enviable" position. I agree with you, and actually decided just last night that I need to start learning to walk away a lot faster than I currently do. I agree with what was said regarding limiting our amount of opportunities by doing that, but in truth I've been limiting my opportunities by being supportive to a lot of musicians who simply don't have the same work ethic or experience that I do. I can't do it anymore because it makes me miserable. I have to start practicing the art of tactfully walking away. Get my first shot at it after a gig I have this friday. Can't post anymore about this without making it an epic rant. Last night was not a happy night for Joe Nerve. Live and learn. Happy to still be doing both.
  18. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    :D I know ... and I still get sucked in too. But it only takes one rehearsal or gig to know when to bail. One of my friends called me a "bass whore". I corrected him. I'm not a whore, I'm a slut. Whores do it for the money. I do it cuz I love it ... :bassist:
  19. kcole4001


    Oct 7, 2009
    Nova Scotia
    I live in a smaller town, so everyone knows everyone else, how well they can play, and how difficult they are to work with (or not), and any other idiosyncracies they have.
    For the most part, we've been playing for a similar amount of time.

    Still, occasionally some certain people get a thought stuck in their head of how awesome it would be to put a totally mismatched and together. It never lasts long, but they still try every few years.
  20. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008
    For what it's worth, pros are pros regardless of age it's more of a whats relevant experience thing.

    Ever notice that most of the stars like Paul McCartney and others all play with very young bands.

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