Anyone NOT want to be a pro?

jim_gregory

Senior Member
So..for my 52nd birthday I decided I wanted a drum kit. Needed the exercise for my Type II diabetes and I wanted to bang on them anyway. So got a TD3 roland kit. Then figured I could keep a beat so I set up a jam room downstairs. Guessed If I built it they would come. Added some old broken amps and guitars, bass, PA and keys. Fixed everything to good working order and they came. Sometimes too many but I always had fun. Till the puker showed up. After that I was a bit more discriminating.
It filtered down after a while to two fairly gifted guys and a few not so gifted. Me being one of the "not so". Well hey..What do I know. So these guys decide "we gotta gig" So I get me some real drums and away we go. Having a pretty good time this winter but remember this started as a way for me to get exercise without really exercising. Laziness is the mother of invention after all.
I had to be prodded at first to go on a stage and play. I know I'm a poser but what the hell. I wasn't born into this and don't have a lifelong love of drums and I don't know a 16th note from a paranoodle and frankly don't give a damn either. Can't solo my way out of a paper bag but I mind my business and everybody cheers and claps so I guess I sound OK.
I have no desire to be a rock star, though I do enjoy watching girls dance. Sadly I can't just watch girls dance. Probably get arrested! But I'm getting into this slowly, and finding out quickly just what it takes to be a "real" drummer. Biggest problem is, I don't want to do all that. Hell I just wanted to bang the drums in the basement with a cocktail and a smoke! Now these guys are getting gig's left and right, and we are quite well received oddly. However I have a day job and a life that I am unwilling to screw up. Of course it should be known that I only stay in one career for about 6 years before I move on to something else. Dunno why and gave up wondering a long time ago. But I signed on to my latest job as a sail designer/consultant/professional sailor and I gotta do it. These boys are gonna have a rude awakening come summer when I am off sailing or racing. And I tell them ONLY dinner sets on work nights. I am the ONLY one in the band with a job that isn't self employed. And I have to lugs drums and PA stuff and stands and all that crap. Still they say, hey we got a gig at so and so and we go on at nine and I gotta be a dick and say I won't do it. I'm just a hobbyist drummer. My hopes and dreams consist of sailing off to a distant port, tossing out the hook, having a nice dinner on board and snuggling up in the berth with the bride. Wake up, have a smoke and read a book, then do it again.
So, while I do actually love my drums, I like tuning them, modifying them, buying stuff for them and reading stuff about drums, I don't actually love playing them. I don't love playing on stage though it's fun and different. I like different. I am not sure what I am asking here, if anything, but I reckon I'm going to have to tell these boys to move on if they really want to go to the next level with this. Believe me it's no secret how I feel about it. problem is I have the rehearsal space and a lot of the gear so that may be an issue. Oh well. I want my jam band back!
Anyway this stuff has been rattling around my head for a couple of weeks now, and now it's free. I feel better!
Apologies for stealing 5 minutes you will never get back!
 

MikeM

Platinum Member
I don't want to be a pro, either.

I do love drumming and have been doing it since I was kid - against the advice and appreciation of my parents, siblings, and neighbors. My goal was to become a pro, and at the tender age of 13, I really thought it was going to happen. It was just destiny.

By the time I was in my 20s I was playing in lots of bands, writing a lot of cutting edge material, recording, and playing out endlessly. Various bands had varying degrees of success with indie labels paying for our recordings, touring, and playing some great shows. Touring Europe in support of major acts, and recording with some well-knowns during those years was the apex of my drumming career and as close as I ever got to being a pro.

Now I'm in my early 40s with a wife, two small children, and an actual career that I don't hate that covers my mortgage and everything else, including my drum habit.

I'm still playing bands doing exactly the same stuff (writing, recording, and playing shows), and figure I always will, but I'm not at all interested in touring. Not even a little bit. I quit my last band when the touring requirement came up - it isn't enticing enough for me to want to sacrifice what I've got going at home, and it isn't something I particularly enjoyed when I did do it.

The idea of making a living off of drumming has lost ALL of its luster for me. I've seen enough to know that if I want to keep it fun, I need to leave money out of it.
 

jim_gregory

Senior Member
I don't want to be a pro, either.

I do love drumming and have been doing it since I was kid - against the advice and appreciation of my parents, siblings, and neighbors. My goal was to become a pro, and at the tender age of 13, I really thought it was going to happen. It was just destiny.

By the time I was in my 20s I was playing in lots of bands, writing a lot of cutting edge material, recording, and playing out endlessly. Various bands had varying degrees of success with indie labels paying for our recordings, touring, and playing some great shows. Touring Europe in support of major acts, and recording with some well-knowns during those years was the apex of my drumming career and as close as I ever got to being a pro.

Now I'm in my early 40s with a wife, two small children, and an actual career that I don't hate that covers my mortgage and everything else, including my drum habit.

I'm still playing bands doing exactly the same stuff (writing, recording, and playing shows), and figure I always will, but I'm not at all interested in touring. Not even a little bit. I quit my last band when the touring requirement came up - it isn't enticing enough for me to want to sacrifice what I've got going at home, and it isn't something I particularly enjoyed when I did do it.

The idea of making a living off of drumming has lost ALL of its luster for me. I've seen enough to know that if I want to keep it fun, I need to leave money out of it.
Maybe I don't know the definition of Pro, but it sounds you were there. I just know I don't have the time, skills or inclination to get anywhere near where you were/are. Hell I'm 55 and just picked it up. It's fun though and my mates are just going to have to respect my attitude or move on. I enjoy playing the local yacht club thing being I know many of the audience but the beer joints you can have. Or somebody can have. I don't even know what you call the stuff they want to hear.
Thanks for the input..
 

MikeM

Platinum Member
Seems to me like the important thing is keeping it fun. As soon as that goes away, it's time to step back an re-evaluate.
 

Brundlefly

Senior Member
I have a similar story to MikeM's. I thought for certain I would be drumming for a living at age 15 and already playing Hollywood clubs in the early 80's. But by 20, after several band changes and lots of club dates, I realized two things: 1) being in a band is like having to manage that many extra ego-centric girlfriends —*who never put out and 2) I really only enjoy playing behind a big kit and yet I truly despise lugging a big kit around.

So, I went back to my first loves (video games and art) instead. Now I have a job that I love, working on projects that sell far more copies than I probably ever would have sold CDs as a musician. At age 43, I have no desire to make a living at drums as it would probably ruin all of the fun Im having now.

One thing has never changed, though: I still pursue drumming as if I might one day be a pro. Hopefully, that never changes.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
I had a dream of making it when I was young. Played lots of gigs but never got close. Then I woke up. After a long hiatus I went back to playing, but the only dreams I have now are about the quality of performance - maybe akin to a golfer who plays in a local comp.

I couldn't care if I never gigged again but I will because the others want to gig. It's fun in some ways and a pain in the backside in others. Recording ... that's another matter. Love it.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
I wanted to be a teacher, and not music. I just enjoyed music and still do. Never had any aspirations and now my bar tab for Geritol would be much too high.
 

yesdog

Silver Member
I have always wanted to play drums for a living ever since I was 9 years old.
I am 41 now and I still have the same burning desire to do it. It has been my one and only dream to play music for a living. Just being able to make a decent living doing it would be the pinacle of my life. I will still work on cars like I have for the past 21 years ( I F#@ing hate it) but it pays the bills. I will never give up on that dream if it happens or not.
I guess I need to get into a band and wright a really stupid song or something. Has anyone ever noticed that most of the music on the radio just plain sucks. It just ticks me off when most of the drummers on this forum work very hard at there craft to be the best they can be and you turn on the radio and hear all of this crap. half of those people can't even play. They just got lucky and wrote some stupid song. Sorry for the rant, I feel better now.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Wrong.

Those songs were written by guys in suits who did lots and lots of R&D.
Nup. The suits do the organising and sponsoring. They hire talented artists who don't want to wear suits but still need to pay the bills to put the music and visuals together for some gorgeous young American Idol type person to front.

Sometimes a band will get lucky with a stupid song. Usually their "overnight success" comes after a decade or so of hard work for not much money. There is no one formula for musical success, but I'm sure the suits are still working on that ...

Most pros don't "make it" anyway; they just do a range of things that adds up to an income.
 

keep it simple

Platinum Member
. Oh well. I want my jam band back!
Jim, nice post. You stick to your plan & get what you want from drumming. I would, however, give the gigging thing a chance. It'll pull your playing to another level. That in turn will increase your level of satisfaction. Goes without saying though, you need the gigging schedule to work around you.

I was a so called pro for 6 years back in the early 80's. By pro I mean I earned a living playing drums. Not a great living, but enough to get by on. That said, I was young so my income needs were nowhere near what they are now (ah, bliss). Anyhow, I got out of the business because I hated the whole commercial vibe and sea of sharks & takers. I regret my decision on artistic grounds but never as a balanced lifestyle choice. If I'd kept at the business I'd certainly be a better player now, but at what cost. I took a 20+ year break to get a life and mostly succeeded. Now I play purely for pleasure. This gives me the freedom to do what I want, how much & when I want. I wouldn't swap that position for anything.
 
Jim, what an excellent post! I can relate to many of your points (mid-50's, employed, playing for fun with some very talented musicians, etc), but there was one sentence you wrote that I don't understand. You wrote that you don't really enjoy playing drums. Is that true? Until I hit that sentence, I was thinking that for all your modesty, you must be doing something right, otherwise you would not be pleasing so many people with your playing.

I play in a band with some co-workers. Right now we are jamming, but with the goal of playing out within a year. Except for the singer, all of us have performed in public long in the past. None of us have been pros, just passionate about playing for others instead of just ourselves. Personally, I am with you in the sense that I don't want to try making a living from drumming. I love it but am too aware of my limitations. But I still want to play in the bars.

I do hope you can get a jam band together then play when you can and when you want to. Sounds to me like either your persinality, your ability, or both bring a lot of pleasure to folks.
 

jim_gregory

Senior Member
Thanks for the insights all. The boys will have to realize that my job comes first. It's a simple matter of doing what you say you are going to do and I will not bend on this. There is no question that it's fun playing on stage when it's going well. And I can break down and be home by 10 or 11! Weekends I'll play all night, no problem..
Making a living playing drums simply never occurred to me. Still hasn't really. I'm surprised I am even doing what I'm doing. But what the heck. I have always just let life happen to me and this is whats happening now. BTW I don't recommend that attitude, but it's mine and always has been. I have no plans and don't make any, beyond the short term. Plus I don't like being pulled in a direction I don't want to go. Much like a jack ass? (Mule)..Hmm..
OK this is the most talking I have done in a LONG time when sex wasn't in the near future, and it isn't, so I will let it go and put my "man" hat back on.
Again thanks very much for the insights. Very interesting to me.
 

Michael McDanial

Senior Member
I would love to make my living as a professional musician. However, at the same time I love the kids I work with and would never want to give up teaching. Oh, well! I guess I just gotta love both! :)
 

jim_gregory

Senior Member
You wrote that you don't really enjoy playing drums. Is that true? Until I hit that sentence, I was thinking that for all your modesty, you must be doing something right, otherwise you would not be pleasing so many people with your playing.
Well I think I was saying I love the drums themselves more then playing them. I love all the music gear I have. I really enjoy tweaking the old amps and getting things ship shape and back in order. The drums are certainly my favorite, and the only things I can actually DO anything with. But AS a drummer I am acutely aware of my shortcomings and my apparent unwillingness to do anything about it. I have found that the general public doesn't give a crap what you do right as long as you don't do anything wrong! So I putt along trying not to do anything wrong. And it works apparently.
I do love music and get a joy out of playing in the band but I don't have the burning desire that most young drummers have to perfect the craft. So... I dunno...I'm having fun with it, and it's keeping me off the streets.
 

mrbling

Silver Member
im 17 i still have the dream of being a pro. but at least i realise that realistically its never going to happen. 1 idea i have recently liked the idea fof is being a session drummer.
 

yesdog

Silver Member
Wrong.

Those songs were written by guys in suits who did lots and lots of R&D.
I understand that, Kelly Clarkson,Madona,and so on have there songs produced and written by the best in the business. But what I am saying is there are some horrible bands out there getting there one hit wonder. I would love to just do sessions and gigs and teach to make a living doing what I love. Its not what you know its who you know. The music business is a tough nut to crack.
 

Coldhardsteel

Gold Member
Seeing as music and the arts really are all I have, the prospect of not being able to live off of music kind of... crushes one's spirit, if they were in my shoes.

Then again, the world of commercially producing music is just that- commercial. It would ruin the idea of artistic value if it's anything like it's made out to be.

I just want to be able to sustain myself doing something I love.
 

jim_gregory

Senior Member
im 17 i still have the dream of being a pro. but at least i realise that realistically its never going to happen. 1 idea i have recently liked the idea fof is being a session drummer.
I have gotten everything I want out of life Bling. There is ZERO reason you can't do the same. Don't forget that!
 

jim_gregory

Senior Member
Seeing as music and the arts really are all I have, the prospect of not being able to live off of music kind of... crushes one's spirit, if they were in my shoes.
See above message to MrBling. Only one person can crush your spirit and that's you, so enough of this down talk.
 
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