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Retiring from the USAF Band

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by Blake Bass, Nov 28, 2006.


  1. Blake Bass

    Blake Bass Supporting Member

    Jan 10, 2006
    Montgomery, Texas
    After 21 years of playing bass in the USAF Band, I decided to put in my retirement papers today. I got an offer to play with a local (Washington, DC) wedding band so I think I'm going to hang up the uniform and do that for a while. I will also be teaching private bass lessons in Maryland.

    If any fellow TBer's are considering a military music career, I highly encourage it. Especially if you can get into a DC band. I'll miss it tremendously but it's time to step down and let someone else have a shot at it. Beside 21 years in the military is enough.

    Blake
     
  2. MAJOR METAL

    MAJOR METAL The Beagle Father Supporting Member

    I saw one of the Air Force bands at the Military Schools band association Festival in VA one year , What are some of the bands names ?
     
  3. Blake Bass

    Blake Bass Supporting Member

    Jan 10, 2006
    Montgomery, Texas
    In VA you may have seen one of the bands from Langley, AFB or a band from Bolling, AFB, DC. I'm not sure what groups Langley has. In DC we have The Airmen of Note-jazz, Concert Band-classical, USAF Strings, Ceremonial Brass, Silver Wings-country (my group), Max Impact-rock, and the Singing Sergeants-choir. check out www.usafband.com
     
  4. MAJOR METAL

    MAJOR METAL The Beagle Father Supporting Member

    Airmen of note maybe ?
     
  5. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    So Blake, when does the announcement for your job come up? :D Congrats, man. You're not playing with the same band Vince Anderson is in, are you?
     
  6. Commreman

    Commreman Faith, Family, Fitness, and Frets Supporting Member

    Feb 12, 2005
    New Jersey
    I just saw the air force academy band on Thanksgiving eve at Carnegie Hall in NYC. They were absolutely astounding! I don't know if you were the bassist there, but he was a doubler - upright and electric, and very proficient at both!
     
  7. Congrats! I played many, many weekend gigs with a number of the guys from the band at Scott Air Force Base who freelanced outside of their AF duties when I lived in St. Louis.... all GREAT players and great guys and gals.

    I assume with 21 years in you will get a nice pension and some sort of healthcare coverage. That's a dream situation, and will make your freelancing very doable, even in these tough times for live music.

    Enjoy!!!
     
  8. Blake Bass

    Blake Bass Supporting Member

    Jan 10, 2006
    Montgomery, Texas
    Thanks everyone for your encouragement and support.

    I will get a monthly pension that'll just cover my motgage. That'll help things out a bit.

    I'm not sure when the retirement announcement will be posted and I'm not sure if the USAF Band plans to replace my position. They may combine two groups and use the people that they already have.

    I'm not playing with Vince Anderson in Sound Connection..I will be playing with a group called Invitation ..they have a killer drummer named Ronnie Shaw who is also retired from the USAF Band. I can't wait to get started.
     
  9. jive1

    jive1 Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Alexandria,VA
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    Cool. Now, you'll have more time to hang out at the shop. ;)
     
  10. lump

    lump

    Jan 17, 2000
    St. Neots, UK
    Congrats, and thank you for your service! :cool:
     
  11. srxplayer

    srxplayer

    May 19, 2004
    Highland, CA
    Congrats and thanks for serving for so long. Good luck in your new band.
     
  12. Joe Gress

    Joe Gress

    Dec 22, 2005
    Pueblo, CO
    One question about the USAF band, what do I need to do to get in? I have been thinking of joining the airforce after highschool, and I was thinking it would be very cool to be in one of the many airforce bands. All you guys that have been playing, could you direct me to some information?
     
  13. jive1

    jive1 Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Alexandria,VA
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    Pac and Blake would know better than I, but the guys around here tell me that you should apply directly to a specific band, not a recruiter.
     
  14. Blake Bass

    Blake Bass Supporting Member

    Jan 10, 2006
    Montgomery, Texas
    You should definitely contact the nearest USAF Band and talk directly with them about an audition. Most recruiters don't know much about the band career field.

    On another note, make sure you have your reading chops up to speed and that you are well versed in all styles. Latin, jazz, rock, country etc. You should also have knowledge of jazz standards and be able to create bass lines and solos from chord changes.

    I do plan on hanging out at Jive Sound more often!! You have a great store .. I'll see you soon.
     
  15. wdinc01

    wdinc01

    Nov 19, 2005
    Jacksonville, FL
    I've considered joining a military band (probably the Navy's, because my father's in it). Do you get the same benefits as anyone else in the military?

    Well, anyway, good luck with your retirement. Hopefully you'll find something to do with your days.
     
  16. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Yes, and in some cases more benefits. Think accelerated rank (more money).
     
  17. Joe Gress

    Joe Gress

    Dec 22, 2005
    Pueblo, CO
    Well, starting out at E-6 is one of the good benefits involved.
    Another question, did any of you guys join the regular service before you joined the band?
     
  18. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification

    MOST people don't start out at E6! (I started, in the Army, as an E3 and quickly moved to E4)

    I was in the Army before the Air Force, but I was in the band system there, too.
     
  19. Blake Bass

    Blake Bass Supporting Member

    Jan 10, 2006
    Montgomery, Texas
    The only bands that start at E-6 are the Washington DC bands and the Air Force and Naval Academy bands. I'm not sure about the band at West Point.

    I was in two regional bands (San Antonio, TX and Anchorage, Alaska) before I got the DC gig. But I did get promoted to E-6 immediately. Promotions can be pretty slow..I'm retiring at E-7
     
  20. MAJOR METAL

    MAJOR METAL The Beagle Father Supporting Member

    Blake did you ever study at the armed forces school of music in Norfolk VA ?
     

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