Thinking about moving to the other side

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by LBS-bass, Jun 3, 2019.

  1. LBS-bass

    LBS-bass Guest

    Nov 22, 2017
    I started my career playing in cover bands in the late 70's, then moved to a new city where I got involved in a progressive rock band as their main lyricist, lead singer and vocal arranger. Life tossed a few things at me and I ended up in California where I worked for the state for a few years and retired early, so I opened my own business and, at the same time, started looking for ways to put my chops back together.

    That was a couple of years ago and, since then, I've played with an originals band that gigs about once or twice a month, usually with little pay, I've played with a blues guitarist who hired me for a handful of gigs for good money but needed to get back to a more lucrative situation because his blues gigs were harder and harder to come by, and I've played with a couple of other originals bands that bring me in now and then, but book infrequent shows. One of those side projects seems to have real legs, but the other has dried up due to a band member's illness.

    I work really hard in my first originals band; we often do a show that requires two sets, and we recently booked a show (or so I thought) that required three, so we've been working toward polishing up a third set of covers for this venue that we were to play in two weeks. Today I got word that this show is cancelled, and I started thinking about how much work I've been doing to play originals and covers with other players who are basically hobbyists for not much pay. It's way more time than I want to spend anymore. I've realized that I just want a reasonable set list, an opportunity to play it enough that I'm good with it, and some reasonable pay for my efforts.

    So, to that end, I've put some ads up looking for a slot in a working cover band. It goes full-circle, apparently. I'm back where I started.

    My ideal situation, I realize, is to phase out my petsitting work in favor of music. It's a dream, I know. But I also know that there are decent, working bands out there. What's been limiting me so far are the people I've been surrounding myself with.

    Time to make some different choices.
  2. Scottgun


    Jan 24, 2004
    South Carolina
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  3. LBS-bass

    LBS-bass Guest

    Nov 22, 2017
    Thank you! Yes, I've read that before, but I'll take another look. For me this is a swan song of sorts; I only have a few years to full retirement so I'm hoping I can make those years a bit more fun and accomplish something musical along the way. But if I'm able to play music well past retirement age, that's just bonus to my way of thinking.
    MattZilla likes this.
  4. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru..........

    Apr 11, 2006
    Out there!
    I can definitely relate, unfortunately.

    What happened to all the good people?
    bobyoung53 likes this.
  5. LBS-bass

    LBS-bass Guest

    Nov 22, 2017
    There are still good people, but they don't have time to play music anymore. If music was still paying well, there would be more around, I guess. I think they're all working in IT now.
  6. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru..........

    Apr 11, 2006
    Out there!

    Tidbit: I was at this show, both nights they performed there, April 14th and 15th! :hyper:
    Both, Phil and Bill Bruford on drums. :bassist:

    Back to your regularly scheduled program now...........
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2019
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  7. mrcbass


    Jan 14, 2016
    Sacramento, CA
    Sorry to hear your main gig is shriveling up. I don't have decades of experience, but I've found this market to be pretty tough to find good bands to work with. The originals thing is a pretty tough sell in this town. I spent nearly two years in an originals band - great music, great hang - but the BL couldn't get us on stage. As far as I can tell, it's a dead project (although the BL hasn't pronounced time of death yet).

    Best of luck!
  8. LBS-bass

    LBS-bass Guest

    Nov 22, 2017
    Yeah, I advertised here and also the Bay Area, where I might have better luck. Got one band interested enough to offer me an audition and chat my ear off for an hour last night, but they only work a few times a month. Still, it's paid work with a decent rate, and the BL and I had a good long chat and seem compatible. Another contacted me but I haven't heard back from them yet since I sent them my YouTube stuff, so they may or may not get back to me. Most of the stuff I have up on YouTube is original rock, which that band is not, so we'll see.

    So much of it, for me, comes down to how good the drummer is, and I stressed to the guy on the phone last night that I'm used to working with good ones. He says his drummer is good so I have fingers crossed. They gave me four songs to learn by Sunday, should not be hard.
    Bunk McNulty likes this.
  9. Bunk McNulty

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

    Dec 11, 2012
    Northampton, MA
    There are lots worse things than playing in a good cover band. I did my time in bands that did original material, a few of them were pretty damn good, but couldn't draw flies, because there was nobody who had any kind of head for business. How it goes with artists, no? I led my own band for a while, put out an EP, even got reviewed favorably by the local alternative rag, but I eventually put an end to it--I couldn't ask the guys to keep playing for five dollars in front of five people.

    Now I've got a cover band run by a woman who is a tireless promoter. We work a lot, get paid better than our peers (a delicate situation), and greatly enjoy each others' company. And it's not like there aren't challenges! I've really had to up my game over the last four years. We started out covering Bad Company; now we cover Steely Dan.

    So, you know, have no fear. Clearly, you've been around and you've got the chops. Somebody will pick you up soon enough. Hang in there!
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  10. FritzM

    FritzM Supporting Member

    Jun 21, 2001
    Madison, MS
    I think many bassists are drawn to Jazz because it is a way of being original (improvisation) and being able to work. This is just my thought on the matter. Luckily, my day gig is music, so take it for what it is worth. When I was younger, I played in many cover bands to make a living. But in the end, I was not happy or true to myself. Funny thing is, I really love improvisation, but I don't listen to Jazz much anymore.
    To be a musical whore or not? I have wrestled with this my whole life. Now, I choose not. But, we are all different, thank God.
    Just hang in there and keep trying. Every day is truly different!
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2019
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  11. thewildest


    May 25, 2011
    Florida, USA
    The fame vs glory paradox.
    Do covers and be sustainable.
    Do originals and be eternal.
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  12. Tony In Philly

    Tony In Philly Supporting Member

    Oct 25, 2007
    Filthydelphia, USA

    An interesting read, especially now that I have retired from IT and am going full throttle into gigging and teaching. It would be nice if he used the shift key every once in a while though! :D
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  13. Bunk McNulty

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

    Dec 11, 2012
    Northampton, MA
    LOL! I've always known what kind of girl I am. To me, money is validation: Am I any good at what I do? Not for me to say, but I do get paid to do it.
  14. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    1. My goal is playing good gigs with good musicians, playing good music. I don't care who wrote the songs.
    2. Unless you are the primary songwriter, you are playing someone else's music - original or cover.
  15. LBS-bass

    LBS-bass Guest

    Nov 22, 2017
    Just wanted to mention that I do still intend to remain involved with at least one of the originals projects I'm currently doing. I feel like I have room in my life for both right now, and if I'm lucky I can stay fairly busy. The originals project that I believe may have legs is collaborating to write another album of music so there's some creative outlet there for me, which is nice. This bunch actually does have half a clue how the music business works, they're really good players, and they've been around the block a lot more more than I have, so I'm cautiously hopeful that they'll be able to get something done.

    I have the audition for the other band tomorrow, so we'll see what they think, and what I think of them. So far no more good hits from my ad, but there are always a ton of bassists advertising around here, so not too surprising.
  16. LBS-bass

    LBS-bass Guest

    Nov 22, 2017
    One of my favorites from that record. Takes me way back.
    Jeff Scott likes this.
  17. IamGroot

    IamGroot Inactive

    Jan 18, 2018
    Make an effort to hang with pros instead of amateurs and your calendar will get busy.
  18. FritzM

    FritzM Supporting Member

    Jun 21, 2001
    Madison, MS
    Well idk, in Jazz for example, your solo IS original to the composition. That is why people shed on soloing all the time. i think my original point was, that is why many bassists are drawn to Jazz.

    On the other hand, one of the best drummers I have ever played with, would be content to play "Proud Mary' every night for the rest of his life. But he is not a composer. In my opinion, it is ok for us to have different views.
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  19. LBS-bass

    LBS-bass Guest

    Nov 22, 2017
    This is always the goal. Since I just started playing out again a couple of years ago, and I have no track record as a player here, I've had to keep moving forward in order to network with various players. The first band I joined had four players; two of us are people with flexible work hours who have played many pro-level shows and made our livings in music in the past. Both he and I take on other band commitments. The other two have serious day jobs and that limits what they can do. That band has gone about as far as it can go with its limitations, but I've met a lot of other players in this town as a result.

    My newer originals band is comprised of some serious professionals who have toured in the past with bands whose names I know you would recognize. Our singer has been building a following over the past decade in the Bay Area with her cover band and is now stepping out on her own with her first album. We're writing the second album with her now. I believe this band has a ton of potential, everyone in that band puts music first and works their work commitments, if they have them, around music.

    But all of this still leaves me without a gig on most weekends, so it seems like moving toward a working band to fill in the cracks and alleviate some financial pressure will be worth it. Everyone I work with in music knows that I always throw multiple projects onto my plate because I understand that few of them will stick with me over the long term. That's been true so far.
  20. So is your audition with the four songs today? Please let us know how it goes. I'm interested.
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