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Serious Musicians?

Discussion in 'Ask Mike Watt [Archived]' started by William Benton, Sep 24, 2002.

  1. Hi Ya Watt!
    Well this isn't specifically a basser question, nor is their an easy answer, but...
    I can't find musicians that are serious. Every band I end up in ends up VERY part-time...with obstacles ranging form college, to girlfriends, to musicians being in several other bands!
    I played bass for many years, until about 6 years ago, when I started playing guitar in a band. I fell in love with it, and I feel it's what I was meant to play now. But, when I played bass...people (potential band members) would tell me my style was too "funky", "jazzy", or "fuggin' weird". So, I got discouraged.
    I would also get hassled to use a pick. Go figure.
    So, with my weird and twisted reasoning...I devoted more time to the guitar. And now I get some of the same accusations on it!
    Anyways, I have been in Louisville for five years...had some close calls as far as good opportunities, but...people always bail.
    Maybe I should move? Maybe I should buy a drum machine and go solo? Ha!
    How's things in Pedro? Any bands need a six-stringer by chance? Haha!
    Take care of yourself, good man. And thanks for changing my life, and my point-of-view on music so many years ago. You did the damage that altered my vision forever when I look at my instrument. You got me in a car to leave a small town in Oklahoma to find happiness in music. I have done a lot, and I shall do a lot more.
    Anyways, thanks again, kind sir. Come back to the 'Ville as soon as ya' can.

    Your friend,

    William Benton
  2. watt

    watt the man in the van w/a bass in his hand Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2001
    san pedro, california

    my first bit of advice: don't give up on the bass! don't let other's negative vibrations veer from your course. keep trying 'til you find those that resonate w/your reasoning. this is a tough thing but well worth it. louisville has a music scene, I know several cats from there so please, don't give up hope. someone once said, "wherever you go, there you are." the grass will always seem greener yonder so make sure things are very dried up before you give up hope and move on. there's lots of cats playing in so cal here but it's still hard to find the right folks - just is. one reason is cuz we're individuals and that makes things intense, especially will you hold your ground. hardly anything happens overnight and you gotta work at it. these people who have problems w/your playing - well, maybe they're not the right cats you should be playing w/and you can't let that frustrate you into giving up on getting a band going that you can dig. keep trying, that's my advice. who knows though, maybe a different town is what you need. that's a hard call to make and only you really do that. my advice though is to not be rash. make sure you've played out all your options where you're at. I hope some of this helps.

    hey, the drum machine idea isn't bad especially if you're thinking of recording songs. that's a good way to solicit folks who might be into what your doing.

    on bass, watt

  3. Watt...
    Many thanks for the kind and encouraging words.
    I have a lot to think about, so...who knows how I'll turn out...or where?
    Visit Louisville again soon. We miss ya'!

    Much respect,

    William Benton
  4. watt

    watt the man in the van w/a bass in his hand Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2001
    san pedro, california

    no prob. it's tough to find folks who share your passion but that's just the way the world is. keep your eyes, ears and mind open. sometimes gigs are great places to meet potentials cuz you might already share something, being at the same gig. be up front right away though w/what you expect so you don't get your time wasted.

    my next tour starts march, 2003 and I'll try to play your town, it's a great pad to play.

    on bass, watt

  5. BlindSide


    Oct 11, 2002
    Wausau, WI
    I just thought I’d add to Mike’s assessment.

    I’ve played in bands for over 25 years. I’m 41 and until last year I thought I’d never find that one perfect group. I never gave up; I just took advantage of what the world offered me at the moment. Even at its best, there was at least one guy who made a band a less than ideal experience.

    Last year I joined up with the greatest group of guys I could have ever found. It took me 25 years, AND I don't live in a very large metropolitan area either (even when I lived in St.Louis they were hard to find...so a different location may not do anything for you).

    The guys I play with now are great people, great musicians and we have great chemistry on and off the stage. In over a year, not once have we had a single disagreement about anything (well, maybe who the best looking woman was at the gig…but I digress).

    Bottom line, as Mike said…DO NOT give up!!! There are a lot of musicians with similar philosophies out there. Patience is a virtue…and that could not be truer concerning music in general and finding the “right” musicians particularly. If you play for the right reasons, eventually it’ll work out.
  6. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY

    Guitar players are a dime a dozen. Stick with bass. Make sure you are well rounded and can do a bit of all styles. Be open minded. Do a bunch of different kinds of situations until you find the ideal one. Don't paint yourself into a corner with just one project. Be outgoing. It will come together

  7. watt

    watt the man in the van w/a bass in his hand Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2001
    san pedro, california

    this is great advice except for one point:

    "good" guitarists are not a dime a dozen. now don't let me get started w/what "good" is... remember, we need these other cats playing other instruments - we look good making them look good.

    just kidding, rob - I know what you mean and I agree that maybe william should think hard about sticking w/the bass. it's an issue of the heart though and only he can decide for himself.

    on bass, watt

  8. yes, i totally understand the sentiments towards the bass (especially here!), and i share them as well.
    when i played bass exclusively, i just had a lot of bad luck finding cooperative guitar players. i grew weary of the usual macho-rock power chord distortion drowning me out all of the time, and most folks like that tend to not be interested in an audible bassist anyhow...
    i joined a band and began playing guitar 5 or so years ago, and i feel very comfortable there. if anything, i think i am the guitarist i was always wanting to find "ethically". my hands are very long and thin, so i feel pretty at home on the 6 string in that respect as well.
    i still play bass, and in a few bands i alternated between the two (the ideal situation for me, i think).
    so now, it is just my original obstacle...finding dependable and devout companions to connect with musically/artistically. i am only 25, and i am nowhere near giving up, as it has become apparent that music is the only thing i can do worth a ****! it is certainly all i am interested in doing.

    pointless stuff below....

    my favorite releases of this year so far! woo hoo!

    Elvis Costello- "When I Was Cruel"
    The Black Heart Procession- "Amore Del Tropico"
    Sonic Youth- "Murray Street"
    The Nels Cline Singers- "Instrumentals"
    Tom Waits- "Blood Money"
    J Mascis and the Fog- "Free So Free"
    The Flaming Lips- "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots"
    Jon Spencer Blues Explosion- "Plastic Fang"
    Red Hot Chili Peppers- "By The Way"
    Wilco- "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot"
    The Breeders- "Title TK"
    Bellini- "Snowing Sun"
  9. watt

    watt the man in the van w/a bass in his hand Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2001
    san pedro, california

    I would suggest you learning from your bass experience when dealing w/the cat you end up playing bass along side your guitar. all those negative things you had to face as a bassist, you can mercifuly spare the bassist in your next collaboration from a similar fate. this would be a fine gift in my opinion.

    maybe all guitarists should spend some time on bass to gain an appreciation from that perspective and bring a little sensitivity to dealing w/the "broom weilder."

    on bass, watt

  10. cowpunkr

    cowpunkr Guest

    Mar 21, 2002
    Hey, William
    My name is Jeramaya and I just wanted you to know that I've gone through the same stuff as a bass player. I mostly haven't been able to find musicians that are on the same level(creatively, personally, and technically) here in Madison, WI. Everyone here either wants to do some lame nu-metal mersh-O crap or recycled blues/folk/hippie garbage.

    Whenever I get together with people, they say my style is "funky, jazzy, weird, good but not what they want, blah, blah...". I've looked and looked for years for people to play with. Finally, I found two guys who I got along with and, though they played really heavy, aggressive music, I decided to throw both juevos forth and jump in. Well, the guitarist's favorite band was AC/DC and he basically wanted me to play with a pick and only the five lowest notes. Very frustrating. I would just yell back at him and prove him wrong. I have also met a guitar player who is awesome(personally and musically) and the problem we've had is finding a drummer(no luck).

    One thing you have to keep in mind is that sometimes when people ask/tell you to change a bass or guitar part they are actually correct as far as what would flow better. You have to learn when to stick up for your parts and when to back off for the song.

    The other thing is that you have to perservere. I didn't think I'd meet a guitar player who meshed with my crazy bass styles but I did. So now my thinking is "will we ever find a drummer who fits?". Just keep up at it, and if you love it enough it will provide you with many positives and negatives. It will keep you lively--on your toes.

    Also, while I was looking for people to play with, I borrowed a drum machine from that AC/DC guitar player mentioned earlier, and started to make a "solo" album to play around, with the point being that I would play "live" to sort of shop for musicians. It's a great idea and that way people will already know what you can do as opposed to being ignorant and saying "oh, well, I thought you'd be more like so and so".

    Have fun and take care, Jeramaya
  11. watt

    watt the man in the van w/a bass in his hand Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2001
    san pedro, california

    you make some good points and have some great suggestions. sometimes, you have to be a deckhand and help folks w/their "vision" so someday you'll find the arts to inspire people to help you w/yours when the opportunity comes around. in the meantime, the "solo project" recording thing sounds like a happening idea. it'll give you some outlet so you won't be a total servant when you play the bass. life is about taking turns at playing different roles for different situations. you can't learn everything being the boss and you can't realize your own personal "vision" if you're always taking orders. it's good to rotate the roles. that's why I chose to help perry farrell and j mascis w/their music. it helped me when it came time to inspire my guys and get them to do their best for my music.

    on bass, watt


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