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The Bell curb of being in a band

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by powmetalbassist, Mar 1, 2013.

  1. powmetalbassist

    powmetalbassist Supporting Member


    So found this on metalsucks.net. Usually a pretty light hearted site with serious info on metal bands.

    Read through this baby, I half laughed and half cried. Being 30.9 years old I'm well past my prime and soon to enter the realm of seriously declining enjoyment (according to the article) Then I started thinking about my music experiences over the year, also how I viewed older metal guys (I suppose this could apply to most 'youth' based music). When I was young I saw them as just old guys who were past their prime and struggling to reconnect to their faded youth. Now I look at me at almost 31 and ask myself....am I now the guy I used to loathe?

    Anyway just some food for thought, and some funny comparisons, remarks, etc. The comments below the article are pretty good too.
  2. mikew31

    mikew31 Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2008
    Superior, WI
    I'm having a hard time getting past bell "curb". I'm guessing that was an auto-type mistake:)

    The article is pretty funny. It seems particularly true for metal. It's sad to see old guys with receding hairlines and expanding waistlines wielding low slung guitars and wide stances banging their heads.
  3. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Interesting article. I know some of those guys. And, yes, I just hang my head when their name comes up. But I'll tell you what the saddest tale of all is. That's the guy who tries to serve two masters. If you plug it out and make it in music for a while, great. If you go the family route, great. But what is ridiculous is the guys who get married, have kids, have a normal job, but STILL drive everyone crazy trying to MAKE IT in MUSIC at THIRTY SOMETHING YEARS OLD. Man, I just want to shake them until their heads pop off. I get calls every week or so asking why I don't take "one more shot" at the music business. I get pretty irritated with them. "Maybe because I have an amazing wife and two beautiful girls at home I want to hang out with in stead of a bunch of overgrown four-year-olds in a van". They have a couple of beautiful kids growing up at home, and all they want to do is put rag on their heads and "rawk out" every single chance they get. Stupid. You CAN have both. But you CAN'T have both ALL THE TIME. I'm a family guy. And I still play music....... locally, for bare minimum a couple hundred bucks, and when it fits into the rest of my life.

    Interesting article and topic.
  4. DanGouge


    May 25, 2000
    I think some genres are much more age-sensitive. This is obviously written with a humorous tone, but so long as there are middle aged guys playing baseball or hockey in leagues on the weekends I don't think musicianship is any sillier for someone out of their 20s.
  5. Ha ha.

    Before you know it, you'll be joining the Country Bassists Club.

    I'll hold a number for you. Blink your eyes and you'll be 40. Trust me.

    Good article, though. Thanks.
  6. socialleper

    socialleper Bringer of doom and top shelf beer Supporting Member

    May 31, 2009
    Canyon Country, CA
    The word you want here is curve, as in the famous book The Bell Curve by Richard J. Herrnstein.
    There is some truth the the article in that the music industry is very age-prejudiced. From the musicians standpoint, if you haven't been able to get your musical learning in by your early 20's, its going to be very hard for you. Music takes a lot of time, which seems to be in shorter supply as you get older. If you are a "new" act trying to get going when you are in your 30's, 40's, or older, it almost seems like a novelty.
    But I would say that their are certain genres that are outside the mainstream that have room for older performers. Something like metal, jazz, or swing doesn't follow trends, so the pop culture obsession with age and momentary relevance don't apply as much.
  7. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    So you think that a 35+ year old could "break in" to the metal scene if he hasn't had any success up until that point? Interesting. Still holding out hope, are we?
  8. hernameisrio


    Sep 27, 2011
    Berkeley, CA
    There's a middle ground to be had. I love how the article assumes that ANY job is instantly crappy or unappealing to a "band guy." Also, it depends where you live and who you hang out with. I just got my Apple certifications; I could make a financial killing if I play my cards right, with plenty of time left over to do music. Definitely not a lame desk job. Some of my friends are "settling down" a bit in their late 20s and 30s... but in NYC, it is by no means the most typical lifestyle choice.

    Anyway, the article is satirical so this is probably irrelevant...um, right? :meh:
  9. St Drogo

    St Drogo

    Oct 9, 2009
    So apart from the obvious music industry and agebased taget audiences thing; is this a selffulfilling prophecy? I mean, the younger musicians become overall, the more the music hey put out will click with their peers. This goes especially for vocalists. How can you sing with conviction and sincerity about stuff that you haven't lived? Like becoming a father? Losing a child? Fear of getting older? Regret about your path in life? But also finding true love and making it work for decades? Stuff that, I would argue, might click with a more mature audience perhaps, but is very relevant and 'real'. Perhaps moreso.

    Youth seems to be the ideal in our society, and this can be a toxic idea.

    (of course, what do I know. I'm still burdened with the curse of youth and general suppleness :D)
  10. socialleper

    socialleper Bringer of doom and top shelf beer Supporting Member

    May 31, 2009
    Canyon Country, CA
    Hope? No. "Making it" doesn't mean anything anyway. The only people that "make it" are bubble gum flavors of the week that will be forgotten or relegated to shows about one-hit-wonders from decade-X. If you play anything that isn't the proscribed pop of the moment, you will never "make it." If you play jazz, there is no "it" to make. The same goes for nearly any kind of music with any kind of true emotional content. I've been an enthusiastic fan of violently loud music for 20 years, and not one of the hundreds of bands I've seen, heard, or played with ever thought for a moment that there was any kind of reward for their efforts other than making the music they love.
    For me, the "it" I make is music. I like to play, I hope others like to hear me play, and there seems to be a tiny cluster of people that do. That's good enough for me. Being a disposable cog in the machine of our economy doesn't seem to get my blood pumping. Being a forgettable suburban zombie that is a bank and taxi for my kids doesn't either. I'm middle aged, not dead.
  11. St Drogo

    St Drogo

    Oct 9, 2009
    Here, here.
  12. socialleper

    socialleper Bringer of doom and top shelf beer Supporting Member

    May 31, 2009
    Canyon Country, CA
    Nice fuzz in your clip. What are you using there?
  13. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    I'm a stone's throw from fifty, rocking hard, and having the time of my life. Anyone who thinks I'm ridiculous can come tell me to my face.
  14. sleeplessknight

    sleeplessknight Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2002
    Bill Withers, among others, didn't even get STARTED until his mid 30s. I'm not going to worry about that whole 'age' thing until I'm drinking my meals through a straw :)
  15. powmetalbassist

    powmetalbassist Supporting Member

    Interesting Argument, but can anybody name 5 acts who made it (meaning they were signed and touring nationally / continentally on the labels dime) after they were thirty in the last 15 years (thats 1998 for you folks at home)

    Anyway its all in good fun. Enjoy doing it, but don't get too serious about it. I have friends in their late 20's still trying to make it and be the rockstar working p/t jobs, barely paying the bills, drinking and whoring like they are still 19. I was never really that guy, but I had fun in my 20's and plan on having a more laid back kind of fun (doing music) in my 30's, while making some decent money (at a real career) after school is finished (yeah I was one of the early 20's guys who was too cool for school) learned my lesson once the economy went to ****.
  16. Unrepresented

    Unrepresented Something Borderline Offensive

    Jul 1, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    There are still record labels signing people? That's soooooo 1998.
    I think the main issue the article was trying to make wasn't that playing in a band over the age of 23 was somehow a personal flaw, but rather that having the same underdeveloped personality and social functions that you have at 16 is going to be a liability at 30+.

    Definitely agree with DanGouge in that music as a recreation for people over 23 is in no way a shameful thing, as a primary social and economic tool it's value can decrease with age.
  17. JakeF


    Apr 3, 2012
    +1 on the label thing.

    If you are over 30, in a band that DOESN'T GIG (currently 33 and moving to Vox, no gigs in this one yet), then yeah. Otherwise you can just invite people out to be entertained (unless you suck) and people will respect you.

    Of course some genres are more age sensitive. (metal vs jazz)
  18. I give you the Neville Brothers.....
  19. socialleper

    socialleper Bringer of doom and top shelf beer Supporting Member

    May 31, 2009
    Canyon Country, CA
    Actually I believe the bell curve for average age of a metal act has shifted to the older side. There are a lot of very respected bands that are in their 30s and 40s still banging out some heavy stuff. The hair/glam days of young dudes in their 20s is kind of over.
    The most age sensitive genres are by far pop and top 40. Once you have traction you can get a long career, but trying to start a career as a pop singer @ 30 is nearly impossible. The age of the back up band doesn't really matter, because lets face it, no one in the pop world actually cares about people that play instruments anyway.
  20. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008
    I'm 60, no family, however I do have a 9-5 career.

    I'm in a very busy working blues/ rick cover band. I'm out doing 4 hour bar gigs every weekend and more.

    Having the same fun as I did when I was 18.

    Blue View attachment 321716

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