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Rob Ash

What does it mean to succeed?

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john    1,419
4 hours ago, MonoStone said:

 but looks like the replies to my challenge

 

Ah but they weren't replies to your challenge. As I mentioned several times, in different ways, I wasn't disagreeing with you... well, perhaps aspects of your conclusions I think are less set in stone or I would place a different emphasis upon. People have wide and varied ideas of success. You can make a living from music without huge commercial success, though yet again people have widely different ideas of what making a living entails in terms of level of income.

 

i do think most (not all) writers and performers want some fans, rather than none, more fans rather than less, even if that is simply to feel a connection or to feel their efforts are appreciated. Plenty still harbour the old dream that success will solve their money worries, but most know it is a near impossible dream. I am not advocating belief in that dream.

 

Success for some will be completing an album, others to finally play a gig, or playing a song. Financially there are many levels of goal between paying to play, breaking even, earning enough to suppliment your income, to earning enough to live off, to being a multimillionaire. I think we can all guess that last one is unlikely lol

 

Money aside, artists tend to want to find people who will like their tracks. Certainly given the choice between choosing an audience of people who will hate their music, versus an ambivalent audience, versus an audience who get and love their songs, I don't know of any who would actively seek out the first two by preference.

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Peggy    380
4 hours ago, MonoStone said:

 

4 hours ago, HoboSage said:

LOL  I'd hire some super-hot gal and she'd be enjoying herself in the shower while lip syncing to my tune.  A million views guaranteed!

 

I'll do a whole series of such music videos.  I'll be the Hugh Hefner of indie music Youtube videos!!!

 

Just thinking..nothing that crazy new....hot gals have been helping to push music for awhile. :)

 

Go for it!

 

Edited by Peggy

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Richard Tracey    252

Just do a video of cute kittens and have your music playing over the top. It will then go from YouTube to Facebook and will be one of the vids people are talking about and before you know it, you'll be on TV programmes, with 50 billion views and a household name. You might sell a couple of songs, but the YouTube and other income from advertising would be through the roof. If you did a song about how much you like kittens, then even better.

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starise    369
On 2/23/2017 at 0:32 AM, TCgypsy said:

Like you, I was a rocker who wanted to be in a successful band (with albums in the stores, etc.). I was in my first rock band in high school and kept at it for quite a few years. I had some limited success as a guitarist and studio musician, and even toured in a band for a few years. At the time, I looked at this as success because I was doing what I loved, and making money doing it.  Back in the 1990s bands still looked for that big record deal but the emergence of indie studios made producing records much less costly. In fact, most bands initially got distribution deals where the studio might or might not remaster the song(s). I was involved with a few records; none ever made it 'big' but I loved every minute of it.

 

Fast forward to now. I am no longer banking dollars as a "pro" but I still consider myself successful because I am able to persue my art and make a living (I teach now for money). I was never into it for the fame thing; I just wanted to be able to do what I loved and live comfortably. If I had my way, I woulda been one of those behind the scenes musicians who were well known and respected among their peers, made crazy money, but could walk down the street without anyone having a clue who they were. The only thing I do miss is playing in front of big audiences.

 

1. The definition of success varies from person to person. In terms of realistic goals, no, nothing has changed. You work hard at it, and hope for a few shots of luck along the way. Rarely is talent enough.

 

2. My personal definition has been met. I live comfortably and am able to persue my art. I have played on the road extensively, and I am having a ball learning everything I can about studio production while I record my tunes. It would be great to have a band again but it is not my focus anymore.

 

3. Let's face it, there is a diminishing number of "stars" now. I have been out of the mainstream industry too long to do much more than theorize about how stars become stars in today's industry. One thing is certain and some things never change: youth is prized, and in popular music you hit it big fairly early on or not at all.

 

Peace,

TC

 

This is a very healthy approach IMO for people who want to stay in the game. Simply find another way to do it. There were a few trade offs , sure. Teaching is one great alternative. I seem to resonate most closely with this approach. Even though I don't teach, I'm still heavily involved with live performance at church. Yeah I know. Way different. FWIW we have a bass player and a drummer.

 

Like TCgypsy, I was never in it for the 'front and center' position. I don't prefer that really.

 

Playing with other small groups of musicians locally is something I love to do. Irish sessions are common around here and I try to get into a few of those. It's funny in the sessions though. I don't know half the songs so I fake it. I've been alongside the leaders of a song in a full bar. Eyes are tearing up and I'm thinking to myself, I don't know this song, but somehow I'm playing along and people are getting emotional :) I thought I had a bad week at church last week and we had visitors who later commented that the music was good. My wife said I hit it out of the park. It sometimes baffles me, although I put everything I have into whatever I'm doing at the time.

 

So I feel like a small time local successful musician. I'm well known in the places I play I continually try to sharpen my craft. I guess this is how I measure my success, a little like TCgypsy, 

 

I am able to play and practice most evenings, even if it's late. I guess it doesn't take as much to make me content. I'm doing it for the fun of doing it right now.

 

 

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Rob Ash    477

Wow.

 

There's simply no way to cover it all. The posts are flying willy-nilly, and I can barely keep up just reading them!

 

It's funny... and what I am about to say refers to myself, included... humans seem to have such a hard time with change, by and large. Often, to me at least, it seems that those who accept and/or embrace change seem to profit and prosper the most. At least such seems to be the case the older we all get, anyway.

 

I have to say though, to me it seems pointless to resent a person who achieves a measure of personal success posting videos on youtube.

 

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Peggy    380

Working on lyrics right now

"Where did the music come from

  Where does it go"

 

:)

P

 

(I'll have a melody in case you think I was talking just words on a page) lyricist rebellion :)

 

Okay may not be the best melody in the end but,,,,

That's why we need musical artist. 

 

 

Edited by Peggy

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starise    369
On 2/26/2017 at 0:24 AM, RobAsh15 said:

It's funny... and what I am about to say refers to myself, included... humans seem to have such a hard time with change, by and large. Often, to me at least, it seems that those who accept and/or embrace change seem to profit and prosper the most. At least such seems to be the case the older we all get, anyway.

 

I can only speak for myself here. I think we get smarter with age. At this stage I need a good reason to change. This wisdom comes from making stupid changes in the past.

I get really tired of my job sometimes. I'm free to quit it at any time. I've already calculated the outcome of that decision. It doesn't look good, so I opt not to change.The pros outweigh the cons.

 

There was a time when I flew mostly by emotion. I would have said, I'm tired of this, I'm going to drive for Amish carpenters to get some fresh air.

 

I think it's healthy to visualize the outcome of our choices.

 

When it comes to music, close your eyes for a few minutes and take a little trip into the world you envision. Don't let it be a nice dream. Try to imagine it warts and all. Phone calls from the manager, organizational duties, sitting in a small waiting room before you go on, band dynamics, small bad smelling bathrooms. Motel rooms with the band- Don't imagine the pretty chicks coming for you if you're over 40. It's going to be the chicks your age, Everything has flopped and dropped.

 

 Imagine the cancelled appointments, setting up the sound gear. If you're in it for the glamour and attention the ratio is probably 99% work, hassle and perspiration for one minute of glory. Still some of you will like that lifestyle. More power to ya bro! Not me.

 

I got a small glimpse into the headaches that can accompany even a small part time band this weekend. They got to the gig and had forgotten D-boxes, had bad cords, took over an hour to set up, not to mention tear down. It was stressful, but they pulled it all off and sounded great. It feels like living on the edge to me though.Unless you happen to be U2 and you can rent a Moroccan motel to record for a year and have everything brought to you, flown to concerts in your own private jet etc. I'm sure even that isn't stress free.

 

It seems the larger the circle, the less control and freedom there is.

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TCgypsy    114
4 hours ago, starise said:

 

When it comes to music, close your eyes for a few minutes and take a little trip into the world you envision. Don't let it be a nice dream. Try to imagine it warts and all. Phone calls from the manager, organizational duties, sitting in a small waiting room before you go on, band dynamics, small bad smelling bathrooms. Motel rooms with the band- Don't imagine the pretty chicks coming for you if you're over 40. It's going to be the chicks your age, Everything has flopped and dropped.

 

 Imagine the cancelled appointments, setting up the sound gear. If you're in it for the glamour and attention the ratio is probably 99% work, hassle and perspiration for one minute of glory. Still some of you will like that lifestyle. More power to ya bro! Not me.

 

I have dreams where I am at a gig and everything that can go wrong, does go wrong. I have other dreams where I am trying to untangle an endless pile of cables to find the one cable I need to go onstage.

 

I remember gigging, and it was a lot more work than glory. Touring is a young man's game unless you are rich and famous enough to have your entourage do all the hard stuff for you.

 

Peace,

TC

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starise    369
On 2/27/2017 at 0:41 PM, TCgypsy said:

I have dreams where I am at a gig and everything that can go wrong, does go wrong. I have other dreams where I am trying to untangle an endless pile of cables to find the one cable I need to go onstage.

 

I remember gigging, and it was a lot more work than glory. Touring is a young man's game unless you are rich and famous enough to have your entourage do all the hard stuff for you.

 

 

These haven't been dreams for me lately.

 

I showed up two weeks ago and there wasn't any sound coming from the mains. In 30 minutes 50 people were showing up. We couldn't find the problem in time, so we literally turned to mains out to the audience and played deaf. I went back later and found out the Digitech Driverack PA had lost programming. I reprogrammed it.The week after that, there was an activity there before we got to the location and someone had put the person giving the talks into my stage monitors. I didn't know this until we started singing...let's just say all I could hear was him attempting to sing . 

 

I attended an Irish session workshop and I had my bouzouki and fiddle there last weekend. I had my fiddle locked into a Hercules stand. Maybe you've used one of them? It is supposed to lock in your guitar or fiddle until you lift it off the stand. My fiddle must not have been locked in correctly because when I got halfway across the circle holding the stand  it came loose and fell on the concrete floor. It bounced a few times. Miraculously it is ok. Not even a mark. Playing in an unfamiliar place can really present a lot of headaches. Hopefully the sound guy hasn't had too much to drink.

Edited by starise

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Rob Ash    477
On 2/27/2017 at 7:58 AM, starise said:

I got a small glimpse into the headaches that can accompany even a small part time band this weekend. They got to the gig and had forgotten D-boxes, had bad cords, took over an hour to set up, not to mention tear down. It was stressful, but they pulled it all off and sounded great. It feels like living on the edge to me though.

 

Sometimes there are things someone like myself can post about, but find that I am not sure how it will be accepted. This subject is a case in point. If you post regarding experiences where a band handles things such as getting ready for a gig in a professional way, you can draw comments from a certain contingency that want to belittle you for over thinking the situation, or doing to much for too little a return.

 

I find such castigation to be extremely telling, in terms of what it says about those who engage in such putting down of another.

 

I've been in some good bands. All the bands that I would place in the "good" category shared traits in common. The same could also be said of the bands I have been in that I would NOT place in the good category.

 

I was the lead vocalist for a couple of years for a band that called itself "Alternate Energy", based out of north central Texas. The band did it's own all original progressive rock/fusion music. We had about 15 songs complete and were working on pieces of an additional 7 or 8 tunes when the band broke up. The band was one I would call very good. Intelligent minds producing intelligent music. Unusual time signatures, complex arrangements. Lots of fun, but also very intense. To play what we played well required a certain level of commitment. That commitment bled over into all facets of what the band did.

 

Prior to playing a gig, we would scout the location. We knew where the load in/load out staging area was. We knew what help was available (or not), and what other acts were playing the day we were scheduled. We knew how long we had to set up and do a sound check. We knew who was in charge of what, and who to talk to about sound, lights, everything. During the week before a gig, we would stage our load out. We would pre-stage how the van would be packed, so that when we did the load in at the gig, all of our equipment came out of the van in the exact order we needed it in order to set up on stage as fast as possible. The night before the gig, we would meet at the rehearsal studio and do a mock load out and discuss everyone's responsibilities before, during and after the gig.

 

Of course, checking every cable, every electronic devise, every amp, every instrument, etc., to ensure that all were in perfect working order, was a given part of the process. As was making sure that extra cables, strings, picks, straps, duct tape, first aid kit, bottled water, ice... anything the band might need was packed and ready to go.

 

I am not exaggerating when I say that that band never suffered a mis-step at any gig. The only problems we ever experienced were on the house side. And the beauty of the anal way we prepared for each gig was that it was easy to narrow any problem down to it's actual source, because our side of things was always right and ready to go.

 

In bands I've been in, and in other parts of my life, such as my career, and the various businesses I worked for, I have always found that the organizations that consistently succeeded all paid the same kind of careful attention to preparation. In everything, from preparing for a gig, to preparing for a convention, or a bid presentation, or any other thing where preparation was vital to the success of a given enterprise, those groups or businesses that put the extra effort into careful preparation were the ones that enjoyed the greatest success.

 

 

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starise    369

I appreciate your comments Rob.

 

If anyone would have something to say on this, I think it would be you and maybe one or two others who would know since you've been there and done this in spades.

In the case of the band I mention, they clearly weren't prepared.

 

When they came, we were under the impression that they had their own PA. They didn't, so I had to give them the speed course on our system and how it was laid out. I don't like that feeling, the feeling of not having it together 20 minutes before show time. I realize some things can't be avoided. In addition, we had to re configure our system to accommodate them which means we had to put it all back afterwards. In the end it all worked out. Not without significant pressure though. I'll bet the band leader slept good that night.

 

Another part of the equation is that too many unskilled people have their hands in the system on a regular week. These are volunteers, need I say more? While I appreciate the spirit of a volunteer, we don't tend to get the best talent that way.

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TCgypsy    114

Regardless of preparation, shit happens.

 

Unless you have backup plans for every contingency which requires money and a team of pros, you are bound to run into issues at some point when you gig regularly. During one stint, I was on the road for over 3 years, and I can tell you that there is no way to conceive of the types of problems you are going to run into on tour. Even if you have all the bases covered, stuff still happens beyond your control. That being said, having your act together certainly helps. Repetition solves most of the usual problems, and the load-in, load-out, etc. becomes so second nature that it's automatic. You are bound to rely on other people (it's nearly impossible and extremely draining to try to manage every facet of a gig yourself), and people are fallible. 

 

I loved the playing part. The part that takes its toll is every other part, lol. Some examples are:

 getting pulled over by the cops who want to search your truckload of equipment for contraband and make you 3 hours late to a show;

 having a roadie steal a bunch of your merchandise and disappear into the nether regions of the planet;

 showing up at a gig where the college frat boys decided to put the keg of beer in the electrical room and the power is down with beer/water all over the floor;

 having fans climb onstage and not having the security you need to regain control of the situation;

 finding out one of your bandmates has gone over the cliff of drug addiction;

 watching your new soundman blow out one of your bottoms to the point it catches fire 500 miles from home base;

 and so forth.

 

You can prepare all you want but be prepared to roll with the punches :P

 

Peace,

TC

 

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Rob Ash    477
18 hours ago, TCgypsy said:

 

You can prepare all you want but be prepared to roll with the punches :P

 

No doubt. I've maintained a mantra for most of my adult life, TC ..... "Shit happens when you party naked." ... I say this so often, another member of my immediate family could use the saying as a secret way of identifying me. "What is my dad's favorite saying?"... If a doppelganger could not repeat this mantra as something I say so often it is directly associated with me, then my family would know I had been replaced.

 

Think about it for a minute, and you'll see how apt the saying is to the current conversation. What it means, basically, is that if you put yourself into situations where shit can happen, it can, and usually will.

 

The point of careful preparation is not to prepare for EVERY contingency. You can't prepare for everything, If you try, you will spend your whole life doing nothing else.

 

The point of careful planning is to prepare for that which is under your direct control. If you do this, then, when shit happens, all you have to deal with is the shit, not that which you prepared for, which is covered.

 

One axiom, for sure, can be put forth for any gig: shit WILL happen. The greater the number of variables in any situation, the greater the chance for misfortune, and there are few human endeavors which contain a greater number of variables than a band performing live. So, I agree. Be prepared to roll with the changes, as it were. But be prepared to best handle those changes by carefully preparing for that which is considered by all to be your direct concern.

 

That's all I am saying. And to deny that most amateur bands fail utterly to makes such preparations, which would be totally to their advantage, would be disingenuous.

 

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Rob Ash    477
19 hours ago, TCgypsy said:

 

 watching your new soundman blow out one of your bottoms to the point it catches fire 500 miles from home base;

 

This one's easy, by the way.

 

Just set the other bottom (assuming you only had two to begin with) in the middle, in front of the stage, do a quick cut, splice and tape on the patch cables so that the left and right channels both now go to the one cabinet, and pull two big, mean, ugly looking bastards out of the audience to personally guard the cabinet for the duration.

 

Been there, done that.

 

Here's one back at you TC...

 

You accept a gig to play as the ONLY band at a big biker rally following a ride for charity. 5000 mad (as in insane and happy about it) bikers from a dozen counties in north Florida show up and start partying at about 2PM, when the temperature is a balmy 65 degrees on a fine sunny February day in the sunshine state.

 

Then, during the afternoon, a Nor'easter pulls the jet stream south by several hundred miles, and in the space of a few hours, the temperature drops to 25 degrees at 9PM and a fine, misting rain starts to fall, at precisely the time when the band is supposed to play. Ambient moisture is freezing in the strings. Electronics are threatening to short. You can actually watch ice collecting on the equipment in real time. Fingers aren't working. And the temperature is STILL dropping, on it's way to 19 degrees at 10PM.

 

The stage is built up around a flat bed tractor trailer (plenty of width left to right, not much depth front to back), so the main stage area is about 4 and a half feet off the ground. It's an outdoor gig at a camp grounds. There are picnic tables, 30 gallon drums for trash, etc., all the usual accouterments of a camping facility. And all the while, 5000, now drunk and still quite mad bikers are now gnashing at the bit, while every so often firing their guns into the air, as they begin chanting in unison, and at an ever increasing level of volume, for the band to start the show.

 

What do you do?

 

Edited by RobAsh15

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starise    369
1 hour ago, RobAsh15 said:

What do you do?

 

I for one, could get really creative with that answer. :)

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TCgypsy    114

 

3 hours ago, RobAsh15 said:

What do you do?

 

You play! The show must go on. It's a bitch but you gotta play.

 

I've played at Toy Runs with the bikers (was this a Toy Run?). They are pretty cool, and will let you off the hook as long as you give it a try. Not at least trying to go out and play is a 'no no' lol. 

 

Even 'big' acts have these issues but they have management etc. to help deal with them. I love in the movie 'Almost Famous' where the guitarist almost gets electrocuted (I been shocked on mics but never like that). Welcome to the jungle.

 

Peace,

TC

 

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Rob Ash    477
On 3/17/2017 at 2:30 PM, TCgypsy said:

You play! The show must go on. It's a bitch but you gotta play.

 

Hell yes, you play.

 

You also recruit a handful of oversized biker brothers to reduce a couple of picnic tables to kindling, while a couple more use empty 2 liter soda bottles to syphon some gas from cars in the parking lot. At the same time a few more are requisitioning five or six of the big barrel trash cans.

 

Two get placed on stage, just inside the front line speakers. Two get placed behind the stage about 8 feet off the back of the stage, about 20 feet apart. Two more get placed on the ground in front of the stage about 8 feet out and fifteen feet or so apart.

 

Between the picnic tables and the gasoline, the temperature on stage goes from 18 or 19 Fahrenheit to somewhere in the oh so cozy 50's... all in the space of about twenty minutes.

 

We tried to play with frozen digits and iced over instruments for a couple - three songs, TC, but thank god for rowdy bikers is all I have to say. I'm not sure how far they were willing to go to ensure that we played as planned, but if it had taken them building a hall for us to play in, I don't doubt that that group would have tried to build one.

 

One of my all time favorite gigs, by the way, and it was a poker run for some charity I can't recall now. Panama City Beach to Pensacola, then back and to the campgrounds. 1200-1300 bikers did the run. A little over 5000 were on hand when we started to play. They made us play our whole (at that time) 2 hour show, then start over from the top and play it all again. Guns, naked bikers (male and female), many, many very drunk bikers.... a whole cadre who felt the best way to enjoy the show was with their heads buried in the bottoms. Never had a better crowd, All mad as hatters, but all singing and laughing and applauding as if we were the best band they'd ever seen. We were supposed to play from 9 to 11, ended up playing from around 10 to well after 2AM. At the end they had us standing up there trying to figure out how to play songs that got called in from the crowd.

 

We weren't sure, for a while, if they were ever going to let us off the stage.

 

The mini trash can bonfires were also the coolest light show we ever had. It was wet, cold... so smoky.... and the fires played off the smoke all around the stage and through the crowd. Very cool to see. As much alcohol as was percolating through everyone that night, I don't think anyone was really very cold. i know I wasn't.

 

Maybe my all time favorite gig.

 

Edited by RobAsh15
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Rob Ash    477

I wanted to come back and build just a bit on my reply to TC. I've found myself thinking of what he had to say quite a lot, and relating it to experiences I've had.

 

I can remember too many experiences like what he described in his horror list.

 

Amps short circuiting on stage and pulling down half the PA with them. Equipment catching on fire. Breaking a string, and then, after doing a quick change to a back up guitar, breaking a string again in 15 seconds later. A short in the snake that nobody can trace down to fix. Front line stacks falling into the band. Or into the crowd. Drunk band members falling into anything and everything on stage. Monitors going silent and the drummer losing time with the band he can no longer here, so that after about 20 seconds, he's a full bar ahead of the band. And there's always the chance that a flash pot will go off in the wrong spot and catch a band member's hair on fire. Volume wars between the lead and rhythm guitarist. "All I can hear is YOU!" "Yeah? Well, all I can hear is YOU!" Which can, and has, lead directly to...

 

Fights. Fights is a whole sub category of stories. Fights between band members. Fights between band members and fans. Fights between fans that bleed onstage. Fights between band member's girlfriends/wives that bleed onstage. Some fights are almost a good thing, though. It's actually not a bad reason to take a mid set break when you are doing a beach gig and 4 or 5 drunk, hot body, spring breaker chicks in next to nothing bikinis decide to go at it. I called the action, serving as impromptu referee and MC (I did have a mic after all) when that happened at a gig once upon a time.

 

Then of course there's cars/vans/trucks breaking down on the way to a gig. Or members getting thrown in jail on warrants after getting stopped on the way to a gig. Or members pawning half the PA the day before a gig. Or members going into rehab the night before a gig. Or three out of five members of the band out of gas in some one horse town, an hour from the gig, only to discover that everyone in the car is tapped.

 

Nope, you can't control everything. Not by a goodly bit.

 

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Rob Ash    477
On 3/16/2017 at 1:53 PM, starise said:

If anyone would have something to say on this, I think it would be you and maybe one or two others who would know since you've been there and done this in spades.

 

I had a lot of local, amateur experiences in my teens and early twenties, Tim. All small time and fully amateur. Then I joined a (still amateur) but extremely dedicated band in my mid twenties, with a moderately high share of skill and ability, and had a good, fun run of about 4 and a half years. The first year was a slog of small gigs, and then we had a run of three years on the circuit, playing mid level gigs up and down the southeast edge of the US. We made just about enough money to starve, and had a ball doing it.

 

After that it was marriage, a full time mundane career, and kids.... a lot of hit or miss, amateur, garage bands... 3 months here, 8 or 9 months there... maybe a few so-so gigs, maybe not. Then, after marrying my second wife, who has been fully and honestly supportive of my being the man I am and pursuing my dreams, and once my last child left home, I got back into music on a deeper level, and was able to join a couple of pretty good bands in my mid to late 40's and do some shows (some of which were excellent fun!) and generally have a great time of it. Eventually my health ended all of that, and I turned my attention to studio recording and song making, which is what I do now.

 

So, all things being relative, as most things are in life, I've had a lot of experience by some standards, less by others, such as working professional musicians, who play 5 or 6 nights a week to feed their kids and pay the mortgage. I never did that, ever. Never-the-less, I've probably played upwards of 200 gigs all told in my life. Most of that (150 plus gigs) coming in a single, continuous four year period.

 

Edited by RobAsh15

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starise    369
5 hours ago, RobAsh15 said:

So, all things being relative, as most things are in life, I've had a lot of experience by some standards, less bu others, such as working professional musicians, who play 5 or 6 nights a week to feed their kids and pay the mortgage. I never did that, ever. never-the-less, I've probably played upwards of 200 gigs all told in my life. Most of that (150 plus gigs) coming in a single, continuous four year period

 

The way you tell the stories, it almost puts me there. You have certainly had some crazy experiences.

 

I still play with a few musicians who do it for a living from time to time. They seem happy to play small bar gigs within usually a 50 mile radius, but sometimes further away. Judging by only what I can see, they seem to get by ok. It might be more like they squeak by.

 

Much like my responsibilities now though, I'm sure there are times they would like to lay in bed and forget the gigs. One of them has a masters in guitar and he isn't a bad looking guy. It would take a strong person to turn down the offers I'm sure he must get.He goes to a lot of the stuff happening at the shore.Parties, girls in bikinis, you get the picture. The other one is older and probably one of the best musicians around. He is very good on at least a half dozen instruments. He can pick one up on a whim and play pretty much anything or do such a good job of faking it you wouldn't know. When I look at these guys I don't see something I would want to necessarily copy or emulate. I would love to have their chops though.

 

I married my first wife very young. I was only about 20. Kids came along soon after that. I spent most of those years trying to pay the bills  any way I could. I was in a few bands then that never went anywhere mainly because everyone wanted to be better but no one wanted to pay the price. I lived in the country and there were a bunch of local yokels who just wanted to occasionally show up and make noise. It was almost as if they thought the vision would some day show up and bite them on the butt. They had no real vision. I recently heard one of them play at a wedding and he hadn't gotten any better in over 20 years. He actually played one of the probably three songs he knows. That whole thing felt like a waste of time. Work all day, come home, meet in the basement. Attempt some kind of order for three hours, go to bed red eyed, rinse repeat.Everyone wanted to lead. No one wanted to follow. Luckily I was smart enough to bow out of it after a handful of tries. I think I would have had more potential as a band participant if I could have been in the right mix of people. 

 

I broke away from that and decided to play solo which I did for a long time.I remember practicing keyboard until 11-12pm every weeknight for years after working all day and then getting up at 5:30 the next day. It would amount to 2 or 3 hours of practice. I was also learning the technology. I've been doing the church gigs now for probably 25 years. The last one was at a school auditorium they rented so I loaded in and out every week, keyboards, guitars, amps etc. We had to bring our own PA which they kept in a big trailer. Lots of work on a Sunday when most people are sitting home drinking coffee reading the paper or in bed asleep.The one I do now involves very little load in most weeks. Everything is there all set up unless I bring my guitar. I show up every week and we practice an hour before we go on. I'm one of the first ones in and one of the last ones out most weeks. I'm usually pulling things together for it the day before and talking with our projection person to get the orders set etc. This is a lot of work for a volunteer position.The small band is tight though.

 

A few differences between that and a bar gig. People are usually more involved in the music, clapping etc. The bar gigs I've been to everyone is talking over everyone else and maybe 10% of the people there are really listening. In one sense it puts the musician at ease. In another sense it makes what you do seem less significant. People don't usually get drunk in church.The motives are way different. I guess the larger secular venues would be better in audience participation. I've been to lots of big name concerts and in most cases I would have rather bought the CD. A gig with 10,000 people in a concrete hockey stadium borders on ridiculous. Front row is way too loud and anything else is a distraction.Can't hear anything.

 

With some bands it's more of a communal thing. More about the comradery When Styx came to my area I had to see them live. I knew the bass would probably overpower everything else. I didn't really care. I wanted to see those guys play. It had to be scary for them though shining the spotlight out on thousands of grey heads wearing glasses. :)

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Rob Ash    477
On 3/22/2017 at 8:38 AM, starise said:

 

I broke away from that and decided to play solo which I did for a long time.

 

Tim,

 

With regards to what you've done a lot of and how that compares to bar gigs. Yes, some differences, but less than you might imagine, I think. Especially where it counts.

 

Less vomit at a church, I bet.

 

Load ins. Load outs. More set up than it's worth most of the time. Indifferent crowds. Not all of the time. But often enough.

 

I'd say we are like twin sons of different mothers. Similar, but not identical paths.

 

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starise    369
On 3/23/2017 at 0:40 PM, RobAsh15 said:

With regards to what you've done a lot of and how that compares to bar gigs. Yes, some differences, but less than you might imagine, I think. Especially where it counts.

 

Yes I guess people are people everywhere. There's usually a certain expectation at a religious gathering. They'll kick a rowdy out of a bar too.The people who typically cuss usually refrain from that at church. Different places and situations have different feels. Some gatherings are more uptight and rigid while others are way more relaxed and some are just plain nuts. There's crazies at both bars and at church sometimes.Some are like a planned show and others are more like an improvisation.Bars have "regulars" just like churches do. I can see right through pretense in both venues. I think it should be more like a weight loss clinic where everyone knows everyone else is fat, IOW equal understanding and respect. Not like Mrs. Skinny rubbing it in on the fat people. Everyone is at the same level with respect to that. No one is any better than anyone else.

 

 

On 3/23/2017 at 0:40 PM, RobAsh15 said:

I'd say we are like twin sons of different mothers. Similar, but not identical paths.

 Yep, seems there are many similarities.

Edited by starise

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My two cents.....I think that the music industry has changed in that it is easier to "make it" these days on a grander scale as multi media has opened to door to independent artists,musicians and lyricists. You can become famous with one popular YouTube video. You first must determine what you consider making it is to be. Once you define your goals and achieve them you have made it. On any level success can be found. Getting the big record deal these days comes at a great cost and the artist, songwriter etc may feel they have to settle for any offer they get. In doing so, without independent experience the deal may cost you to give up more then you bargained for. You may think you are going to be a huge famous artist, musician or songwriter whatever, if you have a deal with a major label and that could not be further from the truth. 

The music industry has ways of limiting your success even with a great deal so do your homework. Especially on who owns what in your deal. A label can sign you and shelve your work and you are stuck with them for the reamainder of your contract. Getting signed does not mean the big stage or even the big bucks. All it means is a label will now tell you what to do and how to do it. You may end up getting a signing bonus but in most cases the inexperienced artist etc will have to repay that out of any future earnings. In some cases the label will own your work, that's right. They will own all of your work that you do while under contract and they can own it beyond the life of the contract as well. There is a lot to know about this business. So be prepared. I too was offered a couple of big deals but turned them down so that I could retain ownership of my work and creative control. I have found success in doing things my way. Not letting others take control of my work has allowed me to be involved in many projects that were both fulfilling and fruitful. Don't be afraid to make it. Just do it on your own terms. There is no shame in turning down offers and being selective. Be in control of you career and achieve success. There is always a way.

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Rob Ash    477
On 4/15/2017 at 2:58 PM, Dawn Robertson said:

Don't be afraid to make it. Just do it on your own terms. There is no shame in turning down offers and being selective. Be in control of you career and achieve success. There is always a way.

 

Always very good advice.

 

Circumstances may change from generation to generation, but I agree. A sustained, individualized drive to succeed, accompanied by a healthy level of self confidence, is mandatory in anyone seriously pursuing success in the music/entertainment business.

 

 

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31 minutes ago, RobAsh15 said:

 

Always very good advice.

 

Circumstances may change from generation to generation, but I agree. A sustained, individualized drive to succeed, accompanied by a healthy level of self confidence, is mandatory in anyone seriously pursuing success in the music/entertainment business.

 

Thank you for the comment. Have a great day! Dawn

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MikeRobinson    146

Yeah, but at the same time ... "don't bet the rest of your life upon the illusion(!) of 'The YouTube Video!'"

 

At the end of the day, "your performance," drunken or not, doesn't really matter.  What matters is that "you own(!) the rights" to the song that you perform ... and ... that anyone else on Planet Earth actually gives a damn to hear it.

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john    1,419
5 hours ago, MikeRobinson said:

Yeah, but at the same time ... "don't bet the rest of your life upon the illusion(!) of 'The YouTube Video!'"

 

At the end of the day, "your performance," drunken or not, doesn't really matter.  What matters is that "you own(!) the rights" to the song that you perform ... and ... that anyone else on Planet Earth actually gives a damn to hear it.

 

Good to see you back Mike! I hope all is well :)

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Rob Ash    477
On 4/20/2017 at 0:16 AM, MikeRobinson said:

Yeah, but at the same time ... "don't bet the rest of your life upon the illusion(!) of 'The YouTube Video!'"

 

I agree with this.

 

The factors that nearly all majorly successful artists all seem to share in common are;

 

-a deep well of self confidence

- extreme dedication

-years of practice and development

-years of experience performing before an audience

 

The above is true, even in the case of boy bands or such acts as Justin Bieber, whom I personally detest. Say what you will about the Bieb, he's been doing his thing since he was a munchkin.

 

These minimum requirements seem to be all the more necessary in the current climate, where any major success seems to be tied more to live performance. It is still possible to secure a (relative) fortune in music sales, but most major artists these days seem to make their nut by playing behind the release of new material.

 

 

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Ray888    159
On 22/02/2017 at 9:31 PM, Rob Ash said:

 

Do you have a personal vision of what success represents? If so, please share it.

 

How do you think stars make it to the top today?

 

 

I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

 

 

 

Hi Rob, I think everyone's vision of success is different. I am an individual who doesn't believe that failure exists except as a word in the dictionary. Today we live in a society where we are taught that success is everything. When I think of the saying "If you don't succeed at first, try, try, try again" it sums it up for me. If someone tries then to me they are a success.

 

Life is a learning process until the day we die. We try many things in life, some of which we may be good at and some we may not but it doesn't mean that a person isn't a success if they aren't as good at something as others.

 

Regarding your second question:

Very few artists make it to the top without help from well connected people in the industry. It helps if they have a manager that believes in them and a producer who has had hit records in the past. During my 50 something years in this industry I have seen first hand how artists have climbed their way over the rollercoaster ride that is this business. I have witnessed a number of talented and non talented artists have good careers and others that got nowhere and gave up to do something else that they were good at. A common denominator of the ones that did well was that they had the motivation, drive, perseverance and stubbornness to pick themselves up when they fell at the hurdles and kept their focus on the finish line. Madonna was a perfect example of an artist who couldn't sing in tune and was turned down for a deal by my boss who said that she would never make it. 

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TapperMike    370

A few things about youtube.  Those who have had the greatest success started when youtube was young.  Lots of viewers few "artists"  Those that performed well and kept on performing would continually add to the ranks.  It's near impossible to get that type of traction if you are just starting out on youtube today.   People spend less time watching youtube videos.  I love watching youtube videos as well and I'm constantly seeking out new talent to enjoy while going back to my favorite youtube stars.  Well here's the thing.  I have a limited amount of time in a day or a week or a month.  I've got other things to do with my life.  As do others.
Let's take Julia Nunes.  She didn't start out with a band or a lot of equipment.  Just a video camera, video editing software, a uke and stuff laying around the house.   Pretty sparse living conditions although that's what dorm life can be like.

She kept on going at it making videos, finding people to help her out.  When she does do talking video's she mostly talks about her life.  Not doing a spit take on other artists.  Though she does throw praise out to those she admires.   It's been a long road for her.  Even trying to get gigs at coffee shops.  She grew her audience being a dedicated songwriter and musician while maintaining a positive outl look on life.  Eventually she worked her way up to the late night TV circuit and opening for larger acts.   Still not living in a mansion.  Still working hard on the business side of thing.  Finally has a band to speak of.  It will be hard work for the rest of her life.  She has and will continue to make sacrifices to maintain her career.  I've known a few who have mostly made it but gave up simply because they didn't like what their career was doing to their family.   She may have a large enough faithful followers to support her long term.  It won't be a life of yachts and caviar.

 

When I was at the most successful period of my career I always had self doubt.  Even having standing ovations night after night.  Even after having done endless session work in the studio for advertising firms and would be up and coming artists.  It was all part of the trade. I loved the stage.  I loved the fact that people would pay their hard earned money on a cover to see me perform.  I hated the constant glad handing.  Going out before the show, during a break or after the show and selling people to visit us on our next gig.  I also was uncomfortable with the constant and overwhelming attention of the audience when the music ended.   Just let me have a cigarette in peace, I'm on my break now.   Personal insecurities always arose.  My Dad harping on me that high school was over and it was time to settle down and get a real job.  Fellow musicians my age had long since packed it in and were established in careers with salaried income and security.  Me always wondering how long I could keep the lifestyle of burning the candles burning at both ends.  While I had a great deal of determination I never had that support system behind me.  I was always doing everything myself as much as humanly possible.  I didn't want a girlfriend because I didn't want to be tied down.  Moreover I didn't want to be in a taker relationship where I took everything and gave nothing back.  Which I'd seen time and time again in Sugar Momma rock star relationships.

 

 Now I work 6 nights a week as a cook.  I know if they ever get someone qualified who is willing to work for low wages my hours and shifts will be cut.  We go through staff like water.  Everyone in the industry does as the primary focus is to keep operating costs down without regard to staff needs or quality of work.  There are plenty of people who think they can cook professionally in the market who just need any job.   I couldn't afford to live on the hours they give to day cooks.   During the day I busk just to get myself out in front of an audience.  If they approach me during then I'm all ears.  I'm not selling them on my next gig and it feels nice to be recognized irl.  

Edited by TapperMike
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