When drumming as career take s a turn

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
Nope. That's what I was making back then too. But remember: as everyone else's pay went up to keep up with inflation, musician's pay stayed pretty much where it was, with too few exceptions. Imagine trying to get by on 600 a week these days.
Not to get off topic, but have you looked for a job in this economy?
Plenty of jobs that require a college degree won't even pay $600 a week anymore.
 

jonescrusher

Pioneer Member
Nope. That's what I was making back then too. But remember: as everyone else's pay went up to keep up with inflation, musician's pay stayed pretty much where it was, with too few exceptions. Imagine trying to get by on 600 a week these days.


Sure, 600 p/w these days would be on the lower end of the scale, but early 70s? That was surely hugely above the average. I'm doing the impoverished musician thing at the moment. If I was earning $600 pw equivalent I'd be happy as a pig in the proverbial. $600 wouldn't be far off the average pay for a majority of pro musicians in the UK.
 

con struct

Platinum Member
Isn't that a huge weekly wage for the time?
Nope. That's what I was making back then too. But remember: as everyone else's pay went up to keep up with inflation, musician's pay stayed pretty much where it was, with too few exceptions. Imagine trying to get by on 600 a week these days.
 

tamadrm

Platinum Member
Isn't that a huge weekly wage for the time?
Like I said..it sounds like it till you have to pay for every little thing.The overhead is where you lose ground.Think of Murphys law.Everything that can go wrong....will go wrong.Gas,tolls,repairs,insurance,registration,tickets,food,lodging,event insurance,management fees,roadies,instrument repair/purchase,clothes,lighting,medical bills,legal fees......and thats just off the top of my head.

Not so much money now is it?

Steve B
 

Derek Roddy

DRUMMERWORLD PRO DRUMMER
I don't read anywhere where he blames the drums, or claims he wasn't informed.

I just read an honest assessment of what a career in music is like at that level.

I don't see it much differently than your excellent interview in Drumhead magazine
I don't take this as him blaming anyone, just him being brutal honest.
Maybe I read too much into it but, when you say that "music isn't worth the effort" and that you're going to "stop playing drums and music"........ ?

Yes, I am very vocal about the industry but, you've never seen or heard me say that I was going to stop drumming and music because of it....that's what I was getting at.

D
 

jonescrusher

Pioneer Member
We tried it for a while.We were making around 4-600 a week each in early 70's dollars...in CASH.It was a cash business back then.Most of the owners of there venues delt in cash only.Sounds like the rock n roll dream right?

Isn't that a huge weekly wage for the time?
 

tamadrm

Platinum Member
In the mid 60's and into the 70's while growing up in NY City....you couldn't swing a dead cat without hitting a bar or a club that had live music.Some venues actually had 2 or 3 bands on any given night.There were also clubs in the area, which were what we called A clubs,where talent scouts and rock journalists were known to frequent.A place where you had a shot at the brass ring.We opened a straight week for Manhattan Transfer,and were reviewed in the Village Voice.Our foot it seemed,may be in the door,but it was not to be ,as cooler heads prevailed.

The thing that they all had in common was,no matter where you played,you got paid,period.The idea of playing for free was something all bands laughed at.Had the band at the time chosen to just do the music scene,we could have made a living out of it.Had we also decided to tour the college circuit,we could have made a better than decent living out of it.

We tried it for a while.We were making around 4-600 a week each in early 70's dollars...in CASH.It was a cash business back then.Most of the owners of there venues delt in cash only.Sounds like the rock n roll dream right?

Crappy hotel rooms if at all.Sleeping in a van,lousey food.No health insurance,dental plan,pension plan.The limits of your immortality go right out the window when that first serious toothache comes along,and it's either starve ,or get it taken care of.You can't have it both ways on the money you're making.You have to pay for everything,so that money you made dosen't last long.So the better you get,the more fans,the more you get paid.....but the greater your expenses become, till you feel like the proverdial dog chasing your tail.

Not me you say...I'm smarter that that.Thats how the bizz was built back then,and it's much worse now.There are still venue owners and promoters who will screw you out of every dime they can,if you get paid at all.Bands have been falling for that.."we can't pay you..but think of all the exposure you'll get" line for so long.....all of you now believe that it's actually true.You believe the exposure thing,and refuse to believe that just about everybody else is making money on your back.

Thats just the way it is ,till you have built a fan base and money that gives you the power to stand up to these guys and tell then to kiss my butt.Now and only now the tables have turned,and they need YOU to make money.

But remember...see paragraph four.There is still a big overhead,especially if you have a family.The cost there isn't just financial.There's only so much of your soul to go around,and in order for one to florish,one may have to take a back seat.Wife,kids,...band or both?

There are exceptions to the rule....but those that have achieved this balance,can tell you that they are in the great minority.How many marrages/famillies survive a career in music?

I'm not talking about teaching only.Playing live as a touring band is a tough mistress,and at a certaing point..is it really art anymore,or is it just paying the bills ,that supports a certain lifestyle.No negativity here...just honesty.Somewhere along the line....you have to pay for that adrenelin rush you get on stage....it comes with a built in cost.:)

Steve B
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
a musician in name only. .
Ha! I can relate. I think I'm going to have that phrase embroidered on all my clothes!

Bingo.
And, I really don't understand why this whole outcome is a surprise (enough to "vent" about it online) when 10 years ago I said everything he has just said.....in my warehouse directly to him.
Haha, ouch!

But to fair, how people view the world at 19/20 and at 29/30 are usually two very different things.

As Neil Peart once wrote, we all "learn that we are only immortal for a limited time".

I would think that the better way to approach "venting" about it...would be to tell others what they could do to change their musical situation....not to give up and blame the drums.

D
I don't read anywhere where he blames the drums, or claims he wasn't informed.

I just read an honest assessment of what a career in music is like at that level.

I don't see it much differently than your excellent interview in Drumhead magazine
I don't take this as him blaming anyone, just him being brutal honest.

And this doesn't apply only to metal drumming, it applies to being a musician, any musician. I was lucky enough to get into the nightclub circuit while there was still such a thing, and that led to other things, but those days are over. For the most part, there's no such thing as a steady job in music, unless you play in Radiohead or the David Letterman band.
This. It's amazing when you read autobiographies of musicians who came up in the 60's and how so many of them were able to get to where their music career ended up because they could completely 100% support themselves playing clubs in the early days.

Hal Blaine supported himself for years and years long before he stepped in music studio. Mick Feetwood supported himself at 16, despite being a relative beginner at the time, simply because he owned his own kit and there was a demand for drummers who didn't have to borrow a kit. Grace Slick wrote she joined her first band because she realized she could make money playing clubs then her day job at Macys; where are as now that is the complete opposite.


Anyhow, I wasn't posting this because I thought the author was looking for a pity party.
But in light of how many "how do I make a career in music" threads we get around here, I thought a splash of cold water might be useful.
 

Duck Tape

Platinum Member
I've had realizations of my own but reading this forum has opened my eyes a little more, and I'm just happy that I'm realistic about what I can expect from a career in music (little more than my own personal enjoyment and meeting new friends) and content that I do it because I enjoy it.

Valuable shit. Read dw, save 10 years!
 

dmacc

Platinum Member
Whatever career you decide to persue in your life is your decision.You an you alone decide to be a cop,fireman,lawyer,farmer or a musician.After a very short time in whatever profession you chose,you pretty much know what the job vs. job descriptuion is really about.At that point...you and you alone,make the decision to stay in that job or go to plan B.If there is no plan B ,or you're the "all in or nothing type,then shame on you.

Take personal responsibility for your action or lack of it...and cowboy up.It's just so easy to play the blame game,and feign the "I didn't know " B.S.My life that was, my life that could have been and my life as it's going to be.

I'm not being mean here either.It's just plain common sense.How does it become ok to just blame everything for what went wrong,and not accept the full measure of blame ourselves.Sorry...but I don't attend pity partys.

When you decide that music is going to be your life,and then you also want a "normal" life with a house,a wife,a car,2.2 kids ,a dog and goldfish...well good luck with that.In the plus and minus column you'll find very few happy ever after stories.I'm not saying that it dosen't happen.But the odds are stacked against you.Choose to ignore those facts at you own peril.

The music business has always been a crap shoot.It's no different that professional sports.There are just so many jobs,and so many players.Not everybody that picks up a baseball is going to play first base for the Yankees.Yes it would be nice to have a spot in Lettermans band.

How many spots are there,and how many guys would kill you an your whole family,if they had a shot at that gig.We can't all be Anton Fig.

Steve B
Well stated.................. This should be put in bronze someplace and on the cover of DrummerWorld for kids to read.

I once had stars in my eyes and then quickly learned I had no desire for the lifestyle it would require. Ever since that reconciliation, I've been a much happier and better drummer.
 

toddmc

Gold Member
He doesn't sound surprised to me. He's just tired of what he's going. Look at what he said:

"I don't enjoy playing drums anymore, shows or anything to do with it. I just want to be home with my family. My fiancée, the kids, my Mom, Grandpa. Those are the only people who mean something to me."

I don't see anything at all wrong with that, do you?
Not at all. I was just a weekend warrior and even that got to be too much for me after 5 years so I can totally understand where he's coming from.
 

Anon La Ply

Renegade
Take personal responsibility for your action or lack of it...and cowboy up.It's just so easy to play the blame game,and feign the "I didn't know " B.S.My life that was, my life that could have been and my life as it's going to be.
Fair crack, Steve - he didn't blame anyone. He tried to make it and he didn't. Like a million other small business startups and contractors. He gave it his best shot and he did better than most but not quite well enough for what he wants out of life.

Of course he's going to be upset - he's letting go of the dream he's held from childhood. I think plenty here will be familiar with that, whether we made that decision at 20 or 40.

DED's quote is just a very human tale - having a dream, shooting for that dream, losing the dream, and then reconciling with "normal" life ... which is pretty damn humdrum compared with being on a stage with lights and working an audience :)

It wouldn't surprise me if that's what's eating Phil C and Ginger (I didn't know Phil was on a downer, he always seemed like a happy guy to me). They had the dream, lived the dream but the glory days are over.

Cest la vie.
 

con struct

Platinum Member
You said it all right there Steve. We're talking about the most competitive industry in the world (music/ entertainment- not just drums) as your principal source of income and he's still surprised everything didn't work out (even after some well meaning advice from Derek)?
He doesn't sound surprised to me. He's just tired of what he's going. Look at what he said:

"I don't enjoy playing drums anymore, shows or anything to do with it. I just want to be home with my family. My fiancée, the kids, my Mom, Grandpa. Those are the only people who mean something to me."

I don't see anything at all wrong with that, do you?
 

toddmc

Gold Member
Whatever career you decide to persue in your life is your decision.You an you alone decide to be a cop,fireman,lawyer,farmer or a musician.After a very short time in whatever profession you chose,you pretty much know what the job vs. job descriptuion is really about.At that point...you and you alone,make the decision to stay in that job or go to plan B.If there is no plan B ,or you're the "all in or nothing type,then shame on you.

Take personal responsibility for your action or lack of it...and cowboy up.It's just so easy to play the blame game,and feign the "I didn't know " B.S.My life that was, my life that could have been and my life as it's going to be.

I'm not being mean here either.It's just plain common sense.How does it become ok to just blame everything for what went wrong,and not accept the full measure of blame ourselves.Sorry...but I don't attend pity partys.

When you decide that music is going to be your life,and then you also want a "normal" life with a house,a wife,a car,2.2 kids ,a dog and goldfish...well good luck with that.In the plus and minus column you'll find very few happy ever after stories.I'm not saying that it dosen't happen.But the odds are stacked against you.Choose to ignore those facts at you own peril.

The music business has always been a crap shoot.It's no different that professional sports.There are just so many jobs,and so many players.Not everybody that picks up a baseball is going to play first base for the Yankees.Yes it would be nice to have a spot in Lettermans band.

How many spots are there,and how many guys would kill you an your whole family,if they had a shot at that gig.We can't all be Anton Fig.

Steve B
You said it all right there Steve. We're talking about the most competitive industry in the world (music/ entertainment- not just drums) as your principal source of income and he's still surprised everything didn't work out (even after some well meaning advice from Derek)?
 

mikeyhanson

Silver Member
Amen to that, Steve B.

This is a situation I can't even imagine being in, unless I was physically incapable of playing. I could never choose to stop playing drums.
 

tamadrm

Platinum Member
Whatever career you decide to persue in your life is your decision.You an you alone decide to be a cop,fireman,lawyer,farmer or a musician.After a very short time in whatever profession you chose,you pretty much know what the job vs. job descriptuion is really about.At that point...you and you alone,make the decision to stay in that job or go to plan B.If there is no plan B ,or you're the "all in or nothing type,then shame on you.

Take personal responsibility for your action or lack of it...and cowboy up.It's just so easy to play the blame game,and feign the "I didn't know " B.S.My life that was, my life that could have been and my life as it's going to be.

I'm not being mean here either.It's just plain common sense.How does it become ok to just blame everything for what went wrong,and not accept the full measure of blame ourselves.Sorry...but I don't attend pity partys.

When you decide that music is going to be your life,and then you also want a "normal" life with a house,a wife,a car,2.2 kids ,a dog and goldfish...well good luck with that.In the plus and minus column you'll find very few happy ever after stories.I'm not saying that it dosen't happen.But the odds are stacked against you.Choose to ignore those facts at you own peril.

The music business has always been a crap shoot.It's no different that professional sports.There are just so many jobs,and so many players.Not everybody that picks up a baseball is going to play first base for the Yankees.Yes it would be nice to have a spot in Lettermans band.

How many spots are there,and how many guys would kill you an your whole family,if they had a shot at that gig.We can't all be Anton Fig.

Steve B
 
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TTNW

Pioneer Member
It doesn't matter what career path you take.

You can ruin it for yourself. It's not hard to make a few mistakes, have some bad luck and get beat up by shit that's out of your control and then decide you just don't want to do it anymore.

Everybody on my Mom's side of the family are lifelong professional musicians. Although none of them have ever quit the business, my cousin started out as a drummer. He spent most of his recording and touring career as keyboard player and song writer. Now he mostly produces and engineers and only tours every other year or so.

He played drums everyday since he was 8 years old, was a pro at 15 and by the time he was 26 never wanted to touch a drum set ever again. He hasn't played drums in 26 years.

Maybe if Kinkade puts some time between this, he might come back to it one day. You never know.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I wish it was anger that he can't play. He appears to be angry at the world and blames his career for the failures in his private life. I don't remember him ever being flogged so that he would perform and during his last marriage break up he was firmly ensconsed in NYC finalising the Tarzan musical- which he chose to be part of if I'm not mistaken. He was the master of his own destiny, much more than most musicans are. Yet he seems to place the blame on the business and not on his choices.

Go Figure!
Wow. I admit I had not followed him that closely although I'm a fan of some of what he's done. But his whole emotional break-up has been happening since the mid-70s, especially when Genesis got to the "Duke" album, yes? And this last thing he did, the Motown album, he was very happy to be doing that, wasn't he?
 

con struct

Platinum Member
Nothing of the sort. Not being mean about it at all.

I know Dave and have given recommendations one more than one occasion. When he asked about what he could do to make a living playing metal drums....I told him 10 years ago...get a job and play because you love playing....because you'll burn out (like I did).

Now, fast forward 10 years...he makes it sound as if he was never given any information about the "facts" of being in metal bands. He knew what he was getting into...that's all.

I would think that the better way to approach "venting" about it...would be to tell others what they could do to change their musical situation....not to give up and blame the drums.

D
Yes, I see now, thanks. And this doesn't apply only to metal drumming, it applies to being a musician, any musician. I was lucky enough to get into the nightclub circuit while there was still such a thing, and that led to other things, but those days are over. For the most part, there's no such thing as a steady job in music, unless you play in Radiohead or the David Letterman band.
 
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