The virtues of gigging - or otherwise

8Mile

Platinum Member
Last practice the guys talked and said they want to play more gigs. I am seriously thinking of leaving the band. Trouble is it could result in the group breaking up - our singer would almost certainly leave to focus on his other (serious) band rather than go through the process of finding and training up a new drummer who he's unlikely to find as much fun :)

This leaves me in a quandary because I truly detest public performance but these are good people who I'd prefer not to upset.

I dislike or am indifferent to everything about gigging unless the acoustics are great. Even then my loony tunes anxieties (hangover from a tortured youth) largely spoil it for me. I gigged heaps in the 80s and 90s and the nerves problem never eased, though I learned to at least pretend to have a good time by goofing around.

I admit that I'm a choker - when it's time to show what you're made of my playing falls to bits. For years I've persevered because I felt the struggle would be character building, but I'm over it.

I am heading towards a new phase of life with new interests, I guess, but I don't want the transition to cause harm ... advice and perspective appreciated!
Anon,

You mention the stress of public performance and preferring recording to gigging. But I find the pressure of getting a perfect take while the clock is ticking on expensive studio time much more stressful.

I guess there's nothing I'm going to say here to cure the anxiety you've felt playing live for 30 years. But to me, unless you're playing a huge arena, there isn't much to be nervous about. Nobody in the crowd has any idea about what you're doing, ya know?

Anyway, you should do what you want to. If playing live has nothing to offer you anymore, then you shouldn't do it. Your bandmates and friends will just have to respect that. And I don't see why they wouldn't.
 

Anon La Ply

Renegade
Anon,

You mention the stress of public performance and preferring recording to gigging. But I find the pressure of getting a perfect take while the clock is ticking on expensive studio time much more stressful.

I guess there's nothing I'm going to say here to cure the anxiety you've felt playing live for 30 years. But to me, unless you're playing a huge arena, there isn't much to be nervous about. Nobody in the crowd has any idea about what you're doing, ya know?

Anyway, you should do what you want to. If playing live has nothing to offer you anymore, then you shouldn't do it. Your bandmates and friends will just have to respect that. And I don't see why they wouldn't.
Thanks for your clear perspective, 8. It's weird. The nervousness is like a reflex and will kick in even if only a deaf pensioner and a dog are present. Oh well. Not everyone's cut out for it.

So yes, I feel compelled to move on. Life's funny like that.

PS. Did you see the Hermeto link I posted in the jazz cats thread? It's killer :)
 

Taye-Dyed

Senior Member
Grea, I never got the impression that you were nervous or uncomfortable in any way in any of your live performance videos I have watched. You come across just the opposite - like a seasoned performer.

I am generally a shy person, uncomfortable in most social situations, hate public speaking, etc., but when it comes to playing drums or bass live, I have never been nervous. I feel right at home being on stage. I do not really care much for practicing by myself, rehearsing with the band or recording. I see those as necessary chores to get to my final goal of playing gigs. When a 3 hour gig is over, I am not ready to quit and am sad that it is over and can't wait for the next gig. For the last three years, I averaged about one gig per month (most for chickenfeed or less!). Lately, it has been really slow and I am itching for gigging badly.

I took a break from playing in bands between the ages of 30 and 45 for family and career reasons. I am not exaggerating, during those 15 years, I longed for being on a stage every single day. I was sort of depressed deep down, thinking I might never be in a band situation again. So when the stars aligned and I got back to playing in bands, I sort of pursued it with vengeance to make up for those lost years.
 

BobC

Member
I always say that I get paid to drive to the gig, haul the gear in, set up, tear down, haul it out, drive home and unpack the car. I play for free.

I have been playing gigs steadily for so long that it's part of my DNA. I had a garage band in high school and only stopped for a three year period in the 70's, when I temporarily lost interest. I started working again around 1978, and haven't stopped. Some gigs are better than others, but I generally live for live work, when the band is in the pocket, and all pistons are firing. I love it. I can't live without it, so I try to take care of myself so I can continue to gig for as long as I can.

Our gig Saturday night was great. It was sparsely attended, because of the extreme cold, but the band was locked in, every song. We did some things we hardly ever play, and pulled it all off. We jammed on some songs. I love nights like that. Last week, with a bar gig, a wedding, and New Year's Eve, was a good pay day.
 

Anon La Ply

Renegade
Thanks TD. Ironically, I got much less nervous doing public speaking for work than I do with gigs. And feeling that time in the studio is a necessary chore to complement the main game on stage. It sounds like you would like to gig a whole lot more than one a month. We're like opposites! :D

Should be said those videos you saw were most likely taken later in the set after the belfry bats have settled down a bit. If the room sound is good then my ears eventually kick in and it's fun.

Hanging up my sticks will be as close as I ever get to Bill Bruford :)
 

Florian

Gold Member
Ive been paid gigging since I was 16, over 30 years now, and what I like most has already been espoused here; the camaraderie, the music, and being able to get paid for something I love to do - play the drums with my friends....its pretty simple to me. Sure its a lot of work (hauling my gear everywhere) sometimes the Union will hump my stuff for me at venues, thats nice....but to me, it doesnt matter - cause as Neil Peart said "living on a lighted stage approached the unreal" For me, thats true.


F
 

Aeolian

Platinum Member
Interesting that you find live performance intimidating after all these years. I was talking with a friend today at a jam night just after she got off the stage. She was talking about points when she locked in and it became easy, and then she started thinking and lost the comfort. My impression was that she started thinking that she should should be doing more and got ahead of herself. It's like the parable of the blind men and the elephant. She had studied with the house drummer in this place who is very very good and able to superimpose all kinds of things while keeping a pulse going though all of it. As an intellectually oriented person (she a nurse in the daytime) she focuses of all the cool stuff and thinks if she isn't doing it people will think she isn't any good. But what the musicians (and dancers) focus on is how solid the feel is. My advice to her was when she gets that locked in feeling where it gets easy, to run with that. Just feel the music and keep that pulse going. Eventually the stuff practiced at home will creep in. But in the meantime people will be more impressed with how solid her playing is.

I've got a gig next weekend with a guy who teaches African drumming and does lots of drum circle stuff. He's also a great R&B singer which is what the gig is about. I've been trying to think about how those drum circles work. People aren't thinking about 2nd inversion paradiddles or superimposing 5 over 4. They're having a conversation throwing accents and syncopations back and forth at each other. As drummers in bands playing songs we tend to get too caught up in playing parts and lose that camaraderie with the other musicians about the pulse. The tempo and time gets laid on us, while at the same time we have to do these specific patterns. Your more open and avant garde situations are freer but I think that the trick is to get back into that drum circle in the park. Have that head bobbing conversation with folks. And enjoy it for that.
 

Duck Tape

Platinum Member
Once I knew I was no longer interested in playing in my last band, I couldn't stand it. I quit on the spot after an awkward practice.

I think the best you could do is try find them a replacement.
 

Anon La Ply

Renegade
Aeolian, I could play in front of just you and be just as dysfunctional. Coincidentally, what you said dovetails nicely with an article I read earlier that some may find useful: http://www.bulletproofmusician.com/want-to-perform-better-under-pressure-why-autopilot-may-not-be-the-answer/

It would seem false adherence to things to keep playing out, given that I don't need the cash. The band, if they reform, will be happier with a drummer who's into playing out, as will the punters.

I have to say I don't tend to think about 2nd inversion paradiddles or superimposing 5 over 4 when I play ... it's more boom pa, boopy-doo pa :)

Edit: Dre, just read yours. Our thoughts line up, eh? Pretty sure the singer will jump if I go but there's a drummer the others would call. He filled in when I was caring for the old boy. I can imagine him getting up to speed pretty quickly and the band would become more rocky. It would be hard to find a new singer who's as good as ours, although someone more conventional might make the band more widely accessible.
 

keep it simple

Platinum Member
Last practice the guys talked and said they want to play more gigs. I am seriously thinking of leaving the band.
Grea, you fit that band like a glove. Are you throwing the baby away with the bath water here? From what I've picked up over the years, there's a high level of musical empathy in your band. If you gave that up, finding other players, say in a jam situation, would be really difficult. By leaving the band, you may actually be walking blind towards a situation of giving up playing with other musicians period.

As you hardly play out at the moment, how many gigs do they want to do? 6/year, or something similar? Ok, I'm biased. I love playing out, & accept the mix of good & bad that entails. Coincidentally, my band is currently talking through members gigging expectations, & that may go tits up too :(
 

Midnite Zephyr

Platinum Member
I'm not too excited about gigging because it doesn't pay and it's another expense for me. I could be very self-conscious about my stage presence too if I allowed myself to be.
I mostly do it for the other guys in the band because they want to gig so bad, and I do it for the audience because I like to share my talent with other people. It's really my only way to give back so-to-speak. Lately, the audiences have been good so that is a positive ego-booster and makes it more exciting to play.
 
T

The Old Hyde

Guest
I cant read through everything on this thread but Pol are you seriously " quitting". I had stage fright so bad years ago I was glad when one of my bands finally called it quits. I took about 15 years off from even touching a drumstick. I cant live without it now. I also had weird and unrealistic expectations for myself that put pressure on my playing. I saw a young Jacob Armen on the tonight show and I really wanted to quit playing right there thinking how dare a young kid play better than me. just stupid thinking really. Anyway, if you enjoy it and the band enjoys you, share that joy with an audience, a band is really something special.
 

viva_nate

Member
I am heading towards a new phase of life with new interests, I guess, but I don't want the transition to cause harm ... advice and perspective appreciated!
Nothing wrong with finding a new direction for part of your life at any point, but I'd miss yr youtube channel.

Do you feel like it'd be too difficult to find new like-minded people to make music with? You seem more worried about their search for a drummer than your search for new partners, but I'm sure they'd understand you weren't comfortable with more gigging.
 

Anon La Ply

Renegade
Thanks for all these smart, thoughtful replies guys. Squad, good to know you read pidgin too.

Grea, you fit that band like a glove. Are you throwing the baby away with the bath water here? From what I've picked up over the years, there's a high level of musical empathy in your band. If you gave that up, finding other players, say in a jam situation, would be really difficult. By leaving the band, you may actually be walking blind towards a situation of giving up playing with other musicians period.

As you hardly play out at the moment, how many gigs do they want to do? 6/year, or something similar? Ok, I'm biased. I love playing out, & accept the mix of good & bad that entails. Coincidentally, my band is currently talking through members gigging expectations, & that may go tits up too :(
Thanks Andy, but apart from Glenn and me, I've had better musical chemistry with other bands. Good point about throwing out the baby with the bathwater, though. It's the only time I've played with a group of really sane, decent people ... but ...

The number of gigs I'm willing to do in a year is zero. For years I've made it clear that I don't like gigging and that's largely been ignored and dismissed. Understandable, sure, I know I'm quirky. Everyone was busy last year and before that I had dad's issues, hence not much playing out. A few gigs a year was fine if everyone was happy.

Then last week the guitarist (who normally doesn't say boo) says he's not willing to practice weekly without gigging more regularly. That was a bombshell for me because it immediately shifted the middle ground towards more gigs. Bleagh. Gigging takes so much time, effort and emotional energy for almost no reward (for me).

Not long before last week's practice the keys player sent around an email saying the jazzy stuff we're playing is too hard for him and maybe we should look for another keys player (we suggested he simplify, which we've said for the last 5 years lol). If two people have entertained the notion of leaving in a week it suggests that this lineup has run its course and people have stuck around out of commitment and habit and are looking to move on.

I mostly do it for the other guys in the band because they want to gig so bad, and I do it for the audience because I like to share my talent with other people. It's really my only way to give back so-to-speak.
Good point about giving back, Bon. I tried to give it back but no one took it :)

I cant read through everything on this thread but Pol are you seriously " quitting". I had stage fright so bad years ago I was glad when one of my bands finally called it quits. I took about 15 years off from even touching a drumstick. I cant live without it now. I also had weird and unrealistic expectations for myself that put pressure on my playing.
Yup, pretty sure my ears have expectations not matched by my technique so "unrealistic expectations" is probably bang on. But nerves is just one issue. Great that you're digging get back to it, though.

Nothing wrong with finding a new direction for part of your life at any point, but I'd miss yr youtube channel.

Do you feel like it'd be too difficult to find new like-minded people to make music with? You seem more worried about their search for a drummer than your search for new partners, but I'm sure they'd understand you weren't comfortable with more gigging.
Nate, I'm not at worried about my own musical situation (other than playing gigs against my will). If I keep playing I'd rather find a smaller, non-mainstream musical situation. Maybe with one, maximum two others, playing all or mostly originals. So much more freedom.

I've had some ideas for another soundscape so my channel will keep being updated, although the offerings may get more weird :)
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
I swear I had a post in this thread the 1st time around.

I am actually with you on this on. I gigged a ton in my 20's and 30's.

The thought of loading all my gear into my car, driving to said venue, load, set up, deal with snarky club/bar manager/owner, play, break down, load back into car, unload car.... all for little to no money....

vs....

Being home with my wife and kids.

Kind of a no brainer.

I took a break from gigging to concentrate on writing my own music. I took a break from that to work on film score, and I had to take a break from everything to deal with an injured shoulder. I really discovered how awesome being dad is.

I still love drums, drumming, bands, and playing music. Heck, I even dig going to help out my buddies on their gigs now and then. But going out to play live is not high on my priority list right now. I do miss it, but not enough to sacrifice all the other things I can do with that same amount of time.
 

NC68

Senior Member
When I was gigging, I really enjoyed playing shows, but wasn't really interested in all the other crap that goes along with it. Drunk people are annoying, road trips get boring, floors and couches and cars are crappy places to sleep, and honestly I am not very social so the whole atmosphere of before and after the show just wasn't for me. Oh yeah, I almost never got paid either, as all the money we made would go back into the band.

Another thing that kind of erked me somewhat is playing the same songs all the time. Sometimes I would just get sick and tired of playing our material, no matter how good it was. Like the saying goes, variety is the spice of life.
+1 - I can relate to all of MrInsanePolak's comments. You're the first one there (setting up) and the last to leave (tearing down). It's fun for a while but it does get old.
 

Anon La Ply

Renegade
I took a break from gigging to concentrate on writing my own music. I took a break from that to work on film score, and I had to take a break from everything to deal with an injured shoulder. I really discovered how awesome being dad is.
And your soundtrack was awesome too, which you did without "loading all my gear into my car, driving to said venue, load, set up, deal with snarky club/bar manager/owner, play, break down, load back into car, unload car.... all for little to no money.... "

It's fun for a while but it does get old.
That's what I've been groping for over the last 2 pages ... here's the theme tune http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4fk2prKnYnI
 
Top