Life As A Musician

I wonder just how different my life would have been, had I spent all my life working as a musician and nothing else.

The stories ya hear are depressing for the first ten years; peanut butter and no electricity…all that.

It’s seems enough to have the proverbial “cake” of life, (family, a career, free-time), and then also to have the sideline of music to fill the gaps.

Sure, my name is not “up in lights” and I’m not gracing the cover of People Magazine, Rolling Stone, or any other magazine of note, but that’s quite alright with me. I can get up in the morning and go for my morning paper, without photographers hangin out in the bushes, seeking to get a shot of my messed up hair.

Besides, the playing of an instrument is like therapy for me. It helps me shake off whatever is messing with my mind that day, in that moment when nothing else seems to help.

This is an observation, and not a question. This is a moment to say “hmmmmmmmmm” and to ponder the value of music without the pressure of creation; the push to produce “that next CD” (or “Album” as we used to call them).

I’m free to create or NOT to create. I’m able to walk away from the instrument or pick it up…it’s MY call.

-Plectrum Squeezer

“Singing” has been as much a part of the fabric of my life all these years, as wearing sandles in the summer is. To think of having to go through life without “singing” would be the end of me. (Barbershop, Gospel, whatever).

-Plectrum Squeezer

I’ve had a mindset since high school that I don’t want to look back on my life and say “I wish I would have…”. For the most part, this mentality has been a good compass.

The one element I did miss the boat on was making music a full time job when I had my window. As we get older, we fill our lives with commitments that don’t allow the flexibility to branch out. Don’t get me wrong, I love where I am. However, I do wonder where that road would have led had I been more active in staking my claim.

Now, I do agree with you both. Once you loose your “amateur” status, some of the pleasure can be lost. My band is by no means a top tier group - but the same rules apply I would imagine. Practice is work. Gigs are work. We all enjoy our time playing together, but it’s not the same as just attending a jam. As landshark mentioned, having to satisfy a contract takes some of my fun away. After all, we’re supplying a product that must meet certain criteria.

So, this begs the question - “Why would I look back and even want to have made music a full time career?”. Although you give up some creativity and overall fun, the feeling of accomplishment when you can reach an audiance is like no other (for me). I differ my enjoyment to the satisfaction of the crowd. If they are digging what we’re doing, I take equal (if not greater) satisfaction in that over how I feel when I’m just playing for fun. The dynamics of being a paid musician is pretty special (although often a pain).

Bands name is Trainwreck (trainwreckrocks DOT net). One of a million rock cover bands out there. We have 2 gigs this weekend in fact.

Here’s some examples of why it’s not always so much fun.

-Setup and tear down: Nuff said.
-Drunks spilling beer on your equipment: Nuff said here too.
-Wearing in ear monitors: It assists me in singing harmonies and hearing my mando (we can be loud). That being said, anyone that has worn one will attest to you loosing out on the “feel” of the music. The music never sounds as good to you when you’re wearing them. Of course, it assists you in singing and playing better - so you sound better to the audiance.
-Stress at home: When you play out a bunch (usually on weekends), it soaks up a lot of your free time. Weekends are often shot. Although understanding, my wife has had issues on many occasions over the years dealing with my 2nd job. 4-5 shows a month doesn’t sound like a lot. Well, until you start trying to squeeze in the rest of your life.

As I type this I’m asking myself for the umpteenth time - why do I do this? It’s who I am. If I quit, I would miss it.