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Too Old to Play // You kids get off my lawn.

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by EricssonB, Dec 12, 2017.

  1. EricssonB


    Apr 5, 2011
    CoSpgs, CO.
    Responded to a CL ad looking for a bassist. Post included style, vision, and a few other things including age range of band members, the last of which was a small red flag.

    So I replied. Texted back a forth a few times and just after asking my age I got the open-ended "I'll talk to the band" that forced the conversation to trail off. It's been over a week, no reply.

    Not a huge deal, but as any "failed job interview" you kinda start to think about why you didn't get the callback, whether or not you needed the gig. I have a stable job, a stable full of equipment and 15 -- no, wait, 17 -- years of playing and composing all sorts of tunes. Pfft. Apparently, 30 is too old for a troupe of early-to-mid-20s year olds. No big deal.

    "Y'all fiddna to be 30 before you know it -- 25 wasn't that long ago for me. You know what -- I don't need your stupid band. I'm not even offended; your loss. I have all the hallmarks features of reliability: a mortgage I can mostly afford in a good school zone, one of my two vehicles is payed-off and I have manageable credit card debt. You kids get off my lawn. My wife of almost 10 years and I generally like each other and aren't planning on getting divorced this week. Pfft. Get out of here with your dabbing and rock'n'roll and fidget spinners and legal recreational marihuana. Heck, I've never smoked because I spent my 20s in the military and now my job pays me too much to risk failing a drug test! Your hair is too long. I've had this bass longer than you've had your hipster facial hair. I only responded to your damned ad because I haven't played music with another human in like years because I'm a boring-af suburbanite who doesn't devote enough/any time to his hobbies because I'm taking the kid to gd taekwondo three nights a week or placating the family any other hour of the day -- you think I want to be there? Not even a little bit, but I signed up for a whole damned year so I may as well get my money's worth and my 11-yo kid is a lazy little punk who needs at least one bit of structure in his life outside of school and I'm completely envious of the time that I'm putting into his development while neglecting mine oh and then my wife wants the REST OF MY TIME BECAUSE SHE"S SUPER STRESSED OUT WITH HER JOB AND NEEDY AND ONLY SOMETIMES EMOTIONALLY SELF_SUFFICIENT I DON"T EVEN CARE ABOUT YOUR STUPID BAND ANYWAYS JUST TELL ME WHEN TO BRING MY BASS AND AMP PLZ I NEED THIS>"
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2017
  2. James Collins

    James Collins

    Mar 25, 2017
    Augusta, GA
    I think you may have a case for age discrimination. I think it is illegal to ask someone his age in an interview

    Tough break.
    EricssonB likes this.
  3. 3Liter


    Feb 26, 2015
    Deep breath, sir.

    Read some of the other threads here. Some bands are looking for musicians some are looking for "dream sharers" (or dillusions) some are looking for drinking buddies and whatnot. Maybe they thought you were not a fit for one of those things. Sounds like you're not anyhow. NBD.

    Some people have no idea what they want so they limit by age. That's cool. Maybe they want people with bug dreams and free schedules and developing skillz. All good.

    The only time age is a problem for me is when you don't know the music. So if you're 18 and into metal and punk and that's all you know...you're a bad fit for my blues band. Supposed I want to do EDM, 40 year old blooz guy won't fit.

    Now I played with a 48 year old guy (I'm 44) and one of the others had Metallica on as we were setting up. He asked if it was Pearl Jam. SMH. #facepalm. He was serious too.

    The guy that plays bass with me has 14 years on me and doesn't know the music but has a good ear and good attitude about it. He learns from me. Which is scary.
    EricssonB likes this.
  4. Wisebass


    Jan 12, 2017
    Lost in Space
    I am 50 years old!

    So what?

    I play with a guitarist and a drummer who have not half my age! They are good!!!

    End of rant! :laugh::laugh::laugh:

    May the bass be with you

  5. EricssonB


    Apr 5, 2011
    CoSpgs, CO.
    Yeah my takeaway was they're probably looking to build a band of homogeneity rather than breadth of experience. Whereas I consider myself to be musically adaptable and experienced, in their view it could be more important that we're not in the same stages of life thus theoretically incompatible. I think you're totally right that I probably don't check all their boxes, and I completely respect that.

    ...if I were so worried then I would form my own group.

    "Yeah but wouldn't your metalcore band have more creative potential if one of your members loves Dave Matthews?"

    Idk. If I had Tinder I'd set the age range to +10 and -5.
  6. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    I don't know what world YOU live in, but age discrimination is almost impossible to prove ... even at a corporate level. For a band? :D:D:D
  7. buldog5151bass

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

    Oct 22, 2003
    That's not employment, can't be discrimination. Also not enough of an age difference.

    Other than that...
  8. Bunk McNulty

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

    Dec 11, 2012
    Northampton, MA
    Hey, chill. There's always another opportunity.

    "If there's a secret to life that I've ever found, it's all about stayin' in the here and now."

    Tom in Portland and EricssonB like this.
  9. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    I'm going to be 57 in February. The band I auditioned for last year at this time (my current band) is the best musical opportunity I've ever had in my life (I'm more than 25 yrs older than 2 of the members). And I've done some really fun and cool things before that. Throughout my travels I've auditioned for countless bands, and I can honestly say age has never been a problem. It COULD have been a problem, but this is the way I've handled it:
    • If a band specifically states and age range and I'm not in it, I won't bother. They want what they want and I'm not going to try and change their mind.
    • If they ask my age before we meet I tell them (and I've done this several times), "Sorry, but I won't tell you my age until we meet and I play, and then I'll be happy to." I've added something along the lines of fear not, it won't be uncomfortable or awkward. I'll admit that saying that was a little awkward once or twice, but it didn't stop them from meeting with me.
    • If I feel there really is an uncomfortable age difference (as in I'M uncomfortable), I won't accept the gig. That happened 2 times, with some pretty talented kids too. They were in their early twenties and didn't care that I in my late 40s or even 50s at the time - but I knew it was weird, and I declined. Well... one of those times I declined. The other we just kinda smiled and said, "We all know this ain't gonna work."
    I eat well, stay in good shape, do my best to stay young at heart - and I make sure I absolutely nail whatever material I'm auditioning with like nobody else will. Then once I get the gig I give it all I've got, and I never try to take over or act as if I know a lot better than them because of my age or experience. I think that keeps a lot of older guys out of some really happening gigs. Many older players I know get real set in their ways. People younger than me teach me tons, and once I get settled in they can gain a bit from what I have to offer.
    murphy, RoadRanger, Oddly and 11 others like this.
  10. Bunk McNulty

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

    Dec 11, 2012
    Northampton, MA
    Nailed it! I've been around a long time, and I'm always learning something new. I get away with a lot because I've still got most of my hair and it hasn't gone gray yet. And nobody knows how old I really am, and it's gonna stay that way. And a big up for the humility part. Easy for me, I was only a bandleader once and I sucked at it, and I know I sucked at it. :D
  11. EricssonB


    Apr 5, 2011
    CoSpgs, CO.
    Hehe. Maybe I should have more-blatantly labeled my not-actually-upset-about-the-situation-ness by throwing it into the humor sub. But I am reassured to having y'allz backing and there's nothing wrong with being passed over -- just happens sometimes when someone else is looking for players. You know how many callsback I didn't get when job hunting while getting out of the military? All but two, and the first one iced me after saying I'm a great candidate, then called me back a month later when their first-choice bailed. Pfft.

    I think my OP was meant to complain that people ignore potential simply because the cover of the book is the wrong design. Guess I'll keep my eye out for another project.
    Oddly likes this.
  12. turf3


    Sep 26, 2011
    Yet another reason I am glad I gave up on rock and roll years ago and play jazz, country, and bluegrass. In those genres no one cares about your age (except whatever they call pop music with hats these days, but that's not the kind of country music I play).
    ole Jason likes this.
  13. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    Joe Nerve got it exactly right, IMO. :thumbsup:

    it's part of the journey ..... but there are always some funny bits! :)

    thanks for sharing your pain. good luck! :thumbsup:
  14. QORC


    Aug 22, 2003
    Elberon, New Jersey
    in my CL ads, I've always asked those that might contact me several questions. One of which is this: Tell me what you are looking for in bass player in terms of style, look, age and any other factors.

    And I always say my age in the ads too. It tends to weed out those who are looking for younger bassists. I'd rather know up front
    murphy and EricssonB like this.
  15. whatizitman


    Sep 9, 2014
    I got rejected from even an audition once because I was married with a young kid. I think I was barely 30. Seriously. It was kind of a blow. But I was also quick to remind myself that the chance of that (or any) original band making it past a couple of local bar gigs was pretty low. Kudos to the BL I spoke to over the phone for having clear goals, I guess. Seemed silly, though. I shook it off pretty quick.

    EDIT: the OP's rant is so funny to me. But also kinda hits home. I am (now) financially stable, and have absolutely no thoughts that I will somehow make it big in the music industry. I just want to play and have fun, and not take it all so seriously. On TB that apparently puts me in the dadrock-undercutting-every-serious-band's-pay category.
    EricssonB likes this.
  16. Perrygoround


    Jun 27, 2016
    In my mind, mid twenty's and 30 is exactly the same age group.
    But I know the younger the people are, the more they think a few months difference in age is somehow relevant.
    When I read the title of the post I was thinking the OP was in his seventies or some like that.
    murphy and LiquidMidnight like this.
  17. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    I hate to say this, but I think what I'm gonna say is true :).

    If I listed my age in ads that I put up, I don't think I'd ever again get any kind of happening gig.

    If given a choice, on paper, I think most bands would go with someone younger because there are stereotypes that get connected with people over 40. And many of those stereotypes are often accurate. I also think it puts the message out there that age DOES matter, to me.
  18. LowNloud1

    LowNloud1 Commercial User

    Jun 11, 2012
    Wilmington NC
    I am a hobbyist making stone picks that I occasionally sell but mostly give away. They made me do this anyways.
    Maybe the young guys are looking for the same age so they can all hang out together beyond the music. Go to concerts together. Go to each other's house. They want a "family", a tribe. They don't want to hang with "dad". That's my explanation.
    murphy, MEKer, Phud and 1 other person like this.
  19. two fingers

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

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    This. At 46, I look like I'm in my late 20s .....unless you get close enough to see the grey that's starting to pop up under my chin. Most of the gigs I have gotten in the last decade probably would have been missed had the band known my age before they saw me, heard me play or heard me sing.
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2017
    murphy and Joe Nerve like this.
  20. pcake

    pcake Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2011
    Los Angeleez
    when i turned 40, i was playing with a few bands. i mentioned in rehearsal to one of the bands that it was my birthday, they asked how old, and when they discovered i was 40, they let me go because they said they felt clubs and audiences wanted someone younger, which didn't entirely make sense to me since the guys in the band didn't know i was near 40, so why would a club owner or someone in the audience know even if they did care?

    about six months later, they all but begged me to join them again, but i said no thanks. i was playing with 3 bands i enjoyed and not one member cared how old i was.

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