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Should I continue or should I quit?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Steve S, Oct 20, 2004.

  1. Steve S

    Steve S

    Jul 26, 2000
    This is a long one so I hope you have patience with me...

    I began to play bass in the 60's, never had a lesson, just got involved in bands and learned the songs by listening to them over and over. I never improved my playing but played in several bands because it wasn't hard figuring out the songs. I eventually played guitar for a group while attending college. After college, I began to work full time, had two children and watched them grow up. Although I jammed with friends, I had essentially stopped gigging. In 1999, after my oldest graduated from high school, my wife suggested that I take lessons because I never felt comfortable telling people that I played bass because I didn't think I was very good. After five lessons, everything came to me very clearly. Practicing scales and other stuff taught me so much that I became very excited about playing again. I answered all sorts of ads and auditioned for several groups....all of them wanted me so I could pick and choose. I went out and bought all sorts of gear to make up for the 20 years of lost time...Aguilar, Ashdown, Fender, Kinal, Lull, Avatar, Ampeg...I had lots of money to spend because I had been working for so long and my kids were almost out of the house.

    Well.....I found out that I don't like hanging out in niteclubs anymore. I used to do that during my younger years but because I had been raising kids for two decades, had stopped going out. I also started getting up earlier and earlier from the years of having to go to work in the mornings. I still wake up at 5:00 on Saturdays and Sundays no matter how much I try to sleep in.

    Everybody who gets old realizes that there are many many opportunities that came across their lives that were wasted because they'll never come back around again. Beautiful women, great jobs, etc.....and that's where I am right now and writing to you guys to ask for guidance.

    I am feeling disgusted with myself for wasting so much time. I wish I had been smart enough to figure out that I needed to take lessons earlier in my life. I was too insecure to admit that I needed help....or too stupid to realize it....

    I'm playing with a couple of guys who are good musicians and we've worked very hard putting songs together...many of our material is original and sounds very much like jazz. That's how much I've improved...to be able to play jazz and original music. I can figure out songs instantly on the radio because of the work I've put into practicing the bass. I can play with anyone even if I don't know the material because of my ear and my training. However, all this makes me feel angry with myself because I don't feel like playing out very much anymore. I enjoy going to bed early, even on Fridays because I like waking up early, having a cup of coffee and watching the news. I'm struggling with what to do because the band members want to eventually play in clubs. I tried out with several other bands hoping to find one that doesn't want to play out very much but they don't seem to be around....everybody wants to play out.

    What I like about playing in a band is to work on the songs....the beginning, the middle and the end. Harmonies, stops and starts...all that stuff. Jamming doesn't give me this.

    I called the band and told them that I can't practice this weekend because I need to really decide on what to do. Some days I get so pissed off with myself that I start thinking of really weird things such as....breaking all of my gear in a fit of rage. I currently have an Eden WT 550 amp, Bergantino HT and EX 112 speakers, an Avatar CB 112 speaker, Kinal MK 21 bass and a Fender American Deluxe Jazz. I used to have a MIA Fender RI Precision which was beautiful and the best sounding bass that I've ever owned. I got rid of it because while I wanted one when I was younger, never bought a Fender because I didn't think that I was good enough to play one. Buying one when I was 52 years old just made me feel worse.

    It takes a long time and hard work to get a band to play very very well and to get a good reputation. I don't know if I have that time...how many bands are out there with 60 year old rockers? As we age, our bodies cannot take the stress of living as well as when we're younger. Playing until 1:00 am., loading up, traveling home at 3:00 in the morning...that stuff used to be fun years ago.

    My quandry is that while I don't like playing out, enjoy listening to the recordings of our gigs. I like them so much that I listen to them over and over. I only remember the good parts of the gig and not the other things that it involves like loading up, traveling, setting up, breaking down and going home.

    Will I reget it if I quit?
  2. I think you will, Steve.

    Your story is similar to mine, although I don't have any kids.

    At one time I pretty much gave up on playing for a few years because I used to compare myself with Stanley Clarke - how dumb is that? :rollno:

    Now, I just play for myself. I don't have any strict practice schedule; I play when I want, and I compare myself to no one. You play half as good as me? Fine. You're 10 times better than me? That's OK too, and we can have a few beers together. No jealousy here. :)

    My whole point is, don't beat yourself up so much.

    You want to make music so badly, but life is getting in the way - for now.

    My advice would be to look for guys that just want to jam/play on a regular basis, and see where it goes from there. It may take some time, but...


    I like what you said about the women and other opportunities that knock at our doors only once - ain't that the truth?

    You and I have a lot in common. ;)

    Mike ;)

    P.S. I'll be 48 in a couple of months.
  3. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Learning is a series of spurts and plateaus - both physically and mentally. You've just hit one of those plateaus. Try to realize that it is normal. Find something to kick you in the ass. Lessons might help. I have a number os students that are adults - 50+. Find different venues - playing music is not always about the club scene. Get your kids lessons and play with them, I have a lot of students that just play in Church. The possibilities are only limited by our own self determined limitations. Give youself some time, look for something to kick start the learning process all over again

  4. bigbeefdog

    bigbeefdog Who let the dogs in?

    Jul 7, 2003
    Mandeville, LA
    Well.... yeah, probably. Once it's in your blood, you'll miss it.

    My crew and I are not quite where you are, but we're close. We're all 40-something, all with wives and kids of various ages (mine are elementary-school age), and I know what you mean about the late-night hauling. It's also pretty darn difficult to switch to a "night-owl" schedule on the weekends to gig, then switch back to a "get to the office by 7 am" schedule for the weekdays.

    Because of this, we've come to the conclusion that we don't enjoy niteclub gigs, and have sworn them off. There's not much to be made from them anyway, and the drummer usually drinks the little bit of money that was in the job in the first place... :smug:

    What we DO do is birthday parties (fairly often), weekend festivals, benefits (on occasion; did one last month), and (down here in south Louisiana) Mardi Gras parades. In addition to not having to deal with the "late night" misery, we also find that the gigs we do take are for all ages (so the kids can come), and we have the good fortune that there usually seems to be no shortage of able-bodied nephews/cousins/friends who are willing to grab a hand truck and help with the gear.

    Depending on your location, you might be able to find places to play out that are more suited to you than niteclubs....
  5. Mike Money

    Mike Money Banned

    Mar 18, 2003
    Bakersfield California
    Avatar Speakers Endorsing Hooligan
    Dude.... go rock.
  6. Hollow Man

    Hollow Man Supporting Member

    Apr 28, 2003
    Springfield, VA
    Don't put down that bass!

    Quitting isn't going to make you regret not learning more at a younger age any less. You've got the bass-playin' bug, and the only thing you'll get by quitting altogether is additional regret for giving up something you love just because you haven't put as much time into it as you wish you had. If you don't want to play nightclubs, don't. If you don't want to stay out late, don't. That shouldn't keep you from writing with friends as a creative outlet. You'll either find a place to play that fits your schedule and lifestyle, or you won't, and you keep writing and playing anyway.
  7. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    Dude keep plugging away! You'll regret it if you quit. I'm only 45 but I stopped playing cold turkey when I was 25 and delved fulltime into sports, more specifically tournament level softball, for 10 years! when I quit sports I got the bug to start playing my bass and eventually got back to gigging. Sure, I hate the late nights, smoky bars/dives and the loading/unloading of very heavy PA gear but I keep on doing it. My only dilema is finding good competent well rounded musicians and that stresses me out but I keep plugging away. In fact, I'm quitting my current band in January. I'm gonna keep on playing though. Keep at it dude. It's in your blood. It's what you do!
  8. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    Like a home studio. That was my main musical outlet for a number of years. About to be again too, I think. I just told my jazz band that 1 gig a month's all I feel like doing. No smoky bars, ever again. I'll still rehearse with the band, since the sub (former full timer) can't do that very often. I intend to book the gigs I want to play myself. Decide what you really want, and make it happen.
  9. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    I also think that you would come to regret it afterwards. Maybe not right away, but shortly after you stop you'd feel the itch again, to want to start playing with others and whatnot. Having played for the amount of time you have, you've to be a bassist of some considerable caliber, and have a good share of memories tied along with it all (some you've shown), and I think that perhaps if you quit, the memories would make it worse, making you want to pick it up again....

    My 18-year old suggestion to you would be to keep it up. There are plenty of older people playing, and by no means is 60 old either. If you have troubles moving gear, staying up late or any of that, then don't move the gear, and don't stay up. Get a hand to help you move your things, and get earlier gigs.

    Whatever your decision may be though, I wish you the best in luck with it.

  10. atldeadhead


    Jun 17, 2002
    Hi Steve,

    I've just started my family. Been married 3 years and just had a baby boy 6 months ago. That's him in my avatar. Ain't he cute? ;)

    Anyway, I use to be one of those guys who played all the gigs till the wee hours of the morning. I gave it all up to go back to school and finish my education. Along the way I met my wife. The past couple of years I've gotten back into playing and like you I was not to hot on the idea of the late nights in smokey bars. Not to fear. There are plenty of gigs available that don't require the late nights. I highly recommend checking out some of your local churches. A lot of them now have contemporary sounding praise bands with electric instruments. There are no late nights, no smokey bars and you get a true sense of satisfaction from using the spiritual gifts God has blesssed you with. I have really enjoyed myself.
  11. Stinsok

    Stinsok Supporting Member

    Dec 16, 2002
    Central Alabama
    Don't quit, you will regret it. You know how long it takes to get back going again.
  12. DanGouge


    May 25, 2000
    Keep at it.

    From a practical standpoint, you might want to look at some of the really compact light-weight amps out there. Euphonic Audio and Markbass among others build these. Alternatively, you can probably get your kids to do some of the lifting :D

    Also, as several have pointed out, there are quite a variety of gigs that don't require staying out till 1am.

    Remember, you enjoy the bass, the problem is the contexts in which you play currently.
  13. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    We really should meet. I've been studying with my current teacher for 7 YEARS (not 7 lessons) and there's a lot of stuff that I'm still not clear on. Like singing 4 part chords with 2 extensions with a moving bass note and in all inversions. And that's not even scrathing the surface. Not to harsh your mellow, but from reading this post I know more about what equipment you have than in what you're working on. Just as an aside, that's almost the exact opposite of what I know about Peter Washington from an article of about 10 times the length of your post in the October BASS PLAYER. He hardly talks about equipment and talks almost exclusively about what he's working on. Just a thought.
    So don't. There are plenty of places to play, for money and for community service, that are not nightclubs. If you guys are union, the MPTF (although it's not called that anymore?) is a way to play for community service and still get paid. read some of the print interviews with Ben Allison about how and why he (and others) went about founding the Jazz Composers Collective. They are back in the clubs now (specifically one month a year at the Jazz Standard) but on their terms. Open your own performance space. There ARE options.
    Are you still studying? That's one way to feel like you are still moving forward. Music is a deep, deep river. You never know ALL there is to know about music. If playing music is what you love, then it doesn't matter if you're on stage at Carnegie Hall or in the drummer's basement. AS LONG AS YOU GET TO PLAY. For a lot of folks music is more a social thing (you get to hang), a psychological thing (everybody loves me) ar a financial thing ( free money). So if they don't get to play in front of people or get to make money, they see no point in the endeavor. And given the reality of where one is, geographically, you may or may not have to put up with those attitudes. But, as I listed above, there are other options that will satisfy social, psychological and financial imperatives, as well as musical ones.

    You mean besides the Stones? ANY band made up of 20 year olds in the 60s is now made up of 60 year olds. You look at jazz groups or classical musicians - it ain't about age. It's about how much you enjoy playing.

    It seems to me that you really want this situation to be black and white. It's just not. Will you regret it if you quit playing? How can I know? All I can tell you is that you seem to regret just about every other decision you've made concerning music heretofore. Maybe you need to work on getting some balance in your life right now before worrying about what you might feel like in a year.
  14. Steve,

    You probably get the idea that we all think you shouldn't give up! Even if you had been able to go on world tour and had never taken a break from playing the bass, you'd probably be looking at the same issues now, and trying to figure out how to best express your musical/artistic interests. If you just want to be able to have an outlet to play then the suggestions of giving /taking lessons, jamming, doing your own recording/songwriting are definitely outlets to pursue. If however your like me and really want to perform, then you may be able to find some others that are willing to take advantage of the opportunities that are out there. Some have already been mentioned (ie- parties, weddings, church etc.) and my choice was to become part of a band that plays at festivals (Mayfest, Octoberfest, State fair,) and to do benefit work where proceeds go to Habitat for Humanity, Humane Society, etc. and which opened doors for us to play for city Arts type programs which are popular here in the DFW metroplex area (Texas) where cities are really pushing evening arts performances in the parks and town squares. There are more places then this but you get the idea! I found a niche playing for groups and organizations that needed help or had limited budgets, but could provide a venue and an appreciative audience. Real life money making gigs have come from these shows... but that wasn't the reason for doing them. We found we could play in family friendly places and were appreciated for what we did. Everyone benefited.
  15. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Not all gigs are late nights in smoky bars, just hook up with people who are doing something different.
  16. I think you should stick with it, but if you decide not too, do not break your equipment. Call me. :D

    Seriously though, I think there has been some good advice here. There are definately other outlets. The church thing is a good idea if that sort of thing is your cup of tea. My dad has done nothing his whole life but play guitar and sing here locally in Memphis (with short stints in other places). He now makes most of his money playing all hours of the day and night at the casinos in Robinsonville, MS (just south of here). However, he is also a minister of music at his church. He directs the praise and worship team. They have a rocking band, and they cut loose even in church (its a non-denominational church).

    Keep playing, but just be picky about where and when you play gigs. Good luck.
  17. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    Don't quit, you'll just kick yourself again later.

    All music isn't just nightclub gigs. Consider writing and recording. Consider fairs and festivals. Perhaps a wedding or private event band. Lots of options.
  18. Steve S

    Steve S

    Jul 26, 2000
    I really appreciate everyone's comments regarding my plight. I guess I never thought about other musicians being out there who are also not into gigging in clubs because all of the ones that I'm around want to play in them. Several people also suggested that I take lessons because I've reached a plateau as a player. Bad_Habit_Bassist commented on the memories that I must have....hot outdoor gigs, large gyms with horrible accoustics, smoky bars...funny how as time goes by, those memories get better. I started in my first band when I was 16 playing a used Sylvertone bass and a Supro amp. I'm now 55 years old and my kids are older than when I started. The suggestion that I look for people with the same goals that I have with music is something that I will do.

    Thanks again!
  19. metron

    metron Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2003
    I bet you will regret it if you quit. Hey dont feel bad. Im only 26 and I dont feel like going out anymore. :rolleyes: In fact part of the reason I stopped playing with my last band was that we were playing out a lot (a lot to me - 2 times a week) and I didnt feel like getting that into it. I will NEVER quit playing bass though. Playing bass is a part of who I am and I suspect the same goes for you. You dont want to give up a part of who you are. Oh BTW nice gear! Please dont break it! :D :bassist:
  20. Ive been in a similliar situation where i wanted to quit. I was only 22, and already buried in drug addiction, cocaine was my poison. I did it everyday , as many times as possible. I got to the point where i hated bass and music all together, i hated everthing. I tried to kill myself numerous times, i still have scars on my wrists and im missing a finger on my right hand, ring finger. I threw my bass outof my window one day , and left it there for a year. One day my addiction had become unbearable, and i picked up the bass one day , hoping for release, the next day i destroyed all my coke and fought addiction by myself. I its been 5 years since then, and i like to say that bass helped me heal myself, and music in general, youd be suprised what Marvin Gaye's "Whats Going On" album can do to help fight an addiction! But although our problems were different, removing music is never the ansewer, music will help you find a solution to your problem, trust me, cause all you really need is love right- a wife, kids, add music to that list, and there you go .