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Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by lowphatbass, Aug 28, 2005.

  1. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass ****

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    I, like alot of you, live in an area where the music scene is pretty flat and music in general is underappreciated. The gigs that were paying $50-$100 dollars 15 years ago are still paying about the same and this isn't a hotspot for bands trying to "make it" if you know what I mean.
    At one time I depended on playing music as my primary income but have been working a "real job" for some time now. As got older life got more "complex", a wife and a house note...you get the picture. The expectations of "real live" catch-up to you after a while.
    My marriage is non functional and circling the drain(for alot of reasons, but it's not primary to the content of this post)and lately I have been gigging alot more, and realizing what I have always known deep down:
    I have been considering relocating to different areas where the music scene is more "happening". I love where I live, but I don't love what I am doing, if that makes any sense.

    I would like to hear from my friends out there. Has anybody chased their dream? What were your experiences, good or bad. Any honest thoughts would be much appreciated. Anonomity(sp?) sometimes allow for a great amount of honesty, for any of you who may know me please keep in mind that the content of this post are extremely personal.
  2. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    What have you got to lose, dude? And what have you got to gain? Decide accordingly.
  3. D.A.R.K.

    D.A.R.K. Supporting Member

    Aug 20, 2003
    i decided that music was what i wanted to do at age 12, and never looked back. i'm 35, and as far as money goes, i have none. never have. but i am happy with my decision...i really had no choice, it is all i know for sure.
    i may never have money, or own a home, but that is all nothing compared to keeping my promise to myself, and being an artist.
    i have my self respect. what i do have comes from respect and love for others-and my hard work, which gets me up every day. i feel for those who don't know what they want, that must be torture. there are those who can't even try to realize their dreams, whose lives are compromised. you are lucky.
    go for it.
  4. pointbass

    pointbass Jersey to Georgia Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2004
    Acworth, GA
    Endorsing Artist: FBB Bass Works

    As you already know, even the best of full-time music situations can be pretty insecure. As a really active full-time bassist in the NYC/Philly corridor, I hung in there as long as I possibly could, but eventually had to get a regular day gig twelve years ago. Like you said, house, wife, kids ... costs don't ever go down.

    While I first deeply regretted it and felt like a complete failure, I've come to realize that it's nice to have a couple of dollars in my pocket and not always be broke. I was also very lucky to get into a great "hired-gun" cycle where I can pick and choose my gigs.

    The full-time scene hasn't gotten any better in the greater NYC area over the past 20 years ..... just look at some of Joe Nerve's posts and you'll see what I mean. Today, I'm making the same bread I was 20 years ago, sometimes less :scowl:

    I wish you the best of luck and hope you can find what you're looking for. I have complete respect for anyone who can make a fulltime living playing the bass .... despite all I said above, I still wish I could go back to full-time status ...
  5. Tsal


    Jan 28, 2000
    Finland, EU
    Dunno. If it seems like your life is going nowhere, perhaps it is a time for a change.

    I don't think you should ask what do you win if you move, but if you have anything to win if you stay.
  6. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    Your profile shows good gear and an upright bass. If you have even basic sight reading skills...you should be able to work anywhere and feed yourself.

    orlando has a ton of work thanks to disney and the cruise ships....branson...vegas....austin....
  7. Fulltime musician is tough to make a go of for very long. If you want to do it, do it, and don't worry about tomorrow. Chances are, you'll be pretty happy for a few years at least, then you can worry about the downside at some future point if it all becomes too much of a drag.

    I don't know that any area of the country is any better. It's all pretty dry. Appreciation for arts is at a low, and individuality is not encouraged. The easiest way to make money as a professional musician is to put your own personality, style, and creative contribution on the shelf and join a tribute act.

    You have to do a lot of music-related things to make a living as a musician, not just play gigs. You have to do a lot of scrambling, and lining up situations for yourself. Mostly, you'll be making money off amateur musicians. It's like being a poker shark. You agree to {transcribe a song, give a lesson, do a setup, play a fill-in gig, record a track,...} for musicians at a lower level than yourself.

    Then again, maybe you'll find a bunch of great musicians, write songs that set the world on fire, and get legions of rabid fans that want to see you play them over and over. It's happened before. think about how to really make it happen for yourself, and be honest with everything you do. Always ask if it's really good enough.
  8. I don't see kids mentioned in your post, so that makes choices much broader. I never thought I was going to be anything more than a weekend musician, so I am satisfied with the music I play and have a "real job" to support the family. Finding a musician friendly environment can be somewhat difficult. I live in a small town (1500 people) about halfway between Denver and Salt Lake City. A few years ago a fellow moved here and opened a guitar store. He picks up drum and guitar gigs, he sells in the shop and on the internet, produces small shows and operates a recording studio. In a very quiet manner, he has created a vibrant music scene in a very out of the way location. His efforts have not only enhanced the community culturally and economically, but provide full time employment for a sales clerk, an amp tech and a teacher in his shop. I guess what I am saying is that to "some extent" you can create your own scene. I realize that his employees were living in town and gigging sporadically while working "real jobs" before he came. In fact I thought about working for him, but couldn't afford the pay cut. The internet sales play a big part in his financial success, but that money is flowing from Tokyo, NYC and Paris to a little farming community 300 miles from nowhere.

    Having said that, I think that resort areas provide the greatest number of opportunities for music jobs. Bikertrash mentioned several like Branson, MO; Las Vegas; Orlando; etc. I think the NYC area is a killer of aspirations. I have spoken to several world class jazz musicians who have trouble feeding themselves in NYC. The place that has amazed me for many years is Austin. About the only thing I can stand that comes from Texas is the music. I think it is outstanding and it is centered in Austin. A couple weekends ago I saw Marcia Ball and her bass player, Don Bennett has been with her for over 20 years. Now that is job security! If music were my only concern I would be looking very seriously at moving to Austin.

    Good luck with the marriage problems. I went through 4 before I found my current wife and all of the separations were extremely painful. I think both my wife and I have finally figured out how to make a relationship work, but the prior experiences were excruciating. I feel for you.
  9. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Terrific Twister

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    If you decide to come up to the Seattle area to make a go at it, please let me know. I can help show you around.

  10. willgroove2


    Aug 16, 2003
    chicago IL
    Endorsing Artist;Essential sound products,Dunlop, Ergo Instruments
    One of the things i always ask people when they say "im thinking about moving to......" is;have you done everything you can do where your at now?because being full time music is a challenge ANYWERE you are,and if you don't have making money making music skill's it won't be any easier in L.A, NYC, CHICAGO.i do the tour thing and record quite a bit also but i also have a well worn tux in my closet.i know guy's who haven't played with anybody famous and never leave town(im in chicago)who make more money than guy's who do major tours because they have the skill's to work all the time in many different settings.the idea of getting away from where your at and just doing what you want may be tempting but what im saying is make sure you have done as much as you could do where your at before you make that move,peace and good luck.
  11. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.