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Stigmatized for where you live

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Comrade Momenta, Apr 6, 2014.

  1. Comrade Momenta

    Comrade Momenta

    Oct 5, 2013
    I am a Hispanic bassist who lives in a very poor city in New Jersey. I've recently left my cover band and have been looking for something new. Lately though, I feel that I have been stigmatized due to where I live.

    I don't think it has much to do with me being Hispanic. When I send out replies to ads I send a video of me playing some songs with my face clearly visible so they know my ethnicity. We'll end up talking trying to set up a day to jam and everything and what ends up happening though is that once they find out where I live I never hear from them again.

    My city is known for its drug problem (heroin being the big one here) and I believe that the reputation gets attached to me because of it. I've considered just saying I live a few towns over because I'm convinced that if we actually got to meet and jam, they would overlook where I live. So what do you think I should do? Have you guys ever been in a similar situation?

    TL;DR I live in bad neighborhood people think I'm a drug dealing bassist because of it.
  2. Winfred


    Oct 21, 2011
    I'm not sure that's what people are thinking about you (drug dealer), but I'm not denying it either. I simply don't know.

    What's more likely is the usual set of problems that occur when trying to join a band: Lots of musicians are flaky, unreliable, irresponsible, immature, etc etc.

    You should ask people why things didn't work out.

    Just my 2 cents. Just trying to help. :)
  3. Bunk McNulty

    Bunk McNulty It is not easy to do simple things correctly. Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2012
    Northampton, MA
  4. exactly....and then add that it's problems are not his,and that he is a serious guy they should consider....
  5. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    People's initial judgments are hard to change, even when those judgments are founded on irrelevant or incorrect information.

    So, a +1 to dealing w/ negative stereotypes about where you live. But the most effective way to directly defuse those negative stereotypes is to frame your potential bandmates' judgments about your own character by talking about your playing and role as a bandmate in positive terms that don't jibe w/ any addict stereotypes (you value "creating a deep and reliable groove," "you have your own dependable transportation," your rig is "well cared for pro-gear," you're looking for a "stable/steady gigging band," etc—alter terms as necessary to fit your personal circumstances). These descriptors offer an initial frame for them to associate with your character, ideally *before* your home address becomes part of the conversation.

    Also, I'd make an effort to keep the neighborhood from coming up early on, at least until after you've scored an audition.
  6. Ukiah Bass

    Ukiah Bass

    May 10, 2006
    You can't control the way other people think. For example, if I'm looking for some musical talent, I care about what the candidates can DO, not how they look or where they live. If you're getting these unsolicited reactions (rejections) due to where you live, it shows the prejudice those musicians already have inside. Consider yourself lucky to discover that before investing a lot of time in their gig. Your place of residence (or, dare I say it, your race), might cause some delay in finding a new gig. That's a crappy situation, it's totally unfair, but you can't control it. So aside from moving, I believe you'll have to acknowledge the unfairness of the situation and try to be patient as you weed through your candidates. Eventually you will find the right match.
  7. well not necessarily prejudice.... there are areas in every city that would cause others who live in that city to roll their eyes and mutter."here we go"..... a lot of these areas have earned the rep....getting past that is the goal of the op,tho' and while it could very well be prejudice on the part of the band,i agree it is better to conduct oneself in a business-like manner until it can be determined for certain....
  8. repoman


    Aug 11, 2011
    Kinderhook NY
  9. Hmm. Where you live may have something to do with it - so you might as well try saying you live a few towns over and see if it helps. Update later and let us know what happens and, good luck and best wishes.
  10. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    I'd do it like this. Assuming you're not a member of a dangerous gang, your day job is not selling drugs and you can guarantee that it's not very likely that someone comes to one of the gigs to shoot you on stage, i think it's okay to hide where you live to get to jam with a band - and get a foot in the door. It's not okay to lie about that and you should come clean with that issue during the first meeting, though.
  11. JimmyThunder

    JimmyThunder Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2008
    New Hampshire
    I support this

    or maybe taking it head on with "I live in (town) but am trying to get the heck outta there"