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  #1  
Old 07-01-2014, 01:31 AM
iamDevinAdams iamDevinAdams is offline
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Default Making Ends Meet Between Tours?

Hey Drummerworld, I've been a "lurker" for a long time and have acquired plenty of useful information from this site, but this is my first post.

I plan on moving to Nashville TN in the near future. I know I have the talent to grab some playing opportunities, and I'm just trying to piece together a plan of action so I can begin to make a living in Music City, USA. I am trying to find independent artists/ up and coming signed artists looking for drummers, and have found a couple opportunities I'm in the process of working out.

So Here's my question: What are ways that most of you drummers make ends meet between tours? Let's say I leave for 4 months on a tour, I obviously can't keep a regular day job over that time, so when I'm first getting started, what are some good ways to make ends meet in between tours? I probably wont be making very much money on my first few tours, so what are good temporary jobs or money making opportunities I can take? I know giving lessons is a good one, but what else?

I'd really appreciate any thoughts or ideas.

Thanks,

Devin
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  #2  
Old 07-01-2014, 01:34 AM
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Default Re: Making Ends Meet Between Tours?

I'm assuming you'll already be living with other people so you can spread the rent?
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Old 07-01-2014, 01:37 AM
iamDevinAdams iamDevinAdams is offline
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Default Re: Making Ends Meet Between Tours?

Let's say yes. I don't have any real plans yet, I'm just formulating a plan. But let's say I'm gonna have 2 other roommates to help with rent.
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  #4  
Old 07-01-2014, 02:17 AM
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Default Re: Making Ends Meet Between Tours?

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Originally Posted by iamDevinAdams View Post
Let's say yes. I don't have any real plans yet, I'm just formulating a plan. But let's say I'm gonna have 2 other roommates to help with rent.
How are you going to pay the rent?
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Old 07-01-2014, 02:19 AM
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Default Re: Making Ends Meet Between Tours?

Also, are you automatically going to get on some tour? How is that working out? Last I heard there are ALOT of musicians in that town looking for work, and those are the ones that are already there and in the circuit, so to speak. Are you one of those people?
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Old 07-01-2014, 02:21 AM
KamaK KamaK is offline
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Default Re: Making Ends Meet Between Tours?

Most of the working musicians I know hustle when off tour. They teach, they work part-time in a music shop, some are fortunate enough to work as a drum tech for another drummer. I know one that is a street performer (Kick/Hat/Snare + cashbox). If you do cover material, or can sight read, you can sub. If you're able to do session work, see if you can pick some up.

Getting work can be tough, and for most of the drummers I know, finding work 'is' their full time job.
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Old 07-01-2014, 02:42 AM
iamDevinAdams iamDevinAdams is offline
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Default Re: Making Ends Meet Between Tours?

Quote:
Originally Posted by KamaK View Post
Most of the working musicians I know hustle when off tour. They teach, they work part-time in a music shop, some are fortunate enough to work as a drum tech for another drummer. I know one that is a street performer (Kick/Hat/Snare + cashbox). If you do cover material, or can sight read, you can sub. If you're able to do session work, see if you can pick some up.

Getting work can be tough, and for most of the drummers I know, finding work 'is' their full time job.
Thanks, very helpful. Anyone have any more ideas?

Bo Eder: I'm not in the city yet, I'm working on getting money to move there. I'm looking at gigs on craigslist and musicians wanted sites to get a feel for what's available on at the lower levels.

Con struct: Thats the exact question that I'm asking.
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  #8  
Old 07-01-2014, 02:48 AM
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Default Re: Making Ends Meet Between Tours?

Quote:
Originally Posted by iamDevinAdams View Post
Thanks, very helpful. Anyone have any more ideas?

Bo Eder: I'm not in the city yet, I'm working on getting money to move there. I'm looking at gigs on craigslist and musicians wanted sites to get a feel for what's available on at the lower levels.

Con struct: Thats the exact question that I'm asking.
I hate to be the one to tell you this, but this is a non-starter if I've ever seen one. You don't have enough money to get there and you don't know what you're going to do once you get there.

Let me ask you this: what gives you the idea that you're ready to compete with the very high class of musicians in that city who are also looking for work?
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  #9  
Old 07-01-2014, 03:55 AM
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Default Re: Making Ends Meet Between Tours?

Quote:
Originally Posted by iamDevinAdams View Post
Bo Eder: I'm not in the city yet, I'm working on getting money to move there. I'm looking at gigs on craigslist and musicians wanted sites to get a feel for what's available on at the lower levels.
Lots and lots of gigs that don't pay because there are 1001 drummers who will do any gig just for "the experience" or in hopes of "being discovered".

Which isn't to say it can't happen. But competition is fierce.

As we say in Los Angeles, there are no waiters or waitresses, just actors/musicians in-between jobs.
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  #10  
Old 07-01-2014, 04:14 AM
KamaK KamaK is offline
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Default Re: Making Ends Meet Between Tours?

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Originally Posted by DrumEatDrum View Post
As we say in Los Angeles, there are no waiters or waitresses, just actors/musicians in-between jobs.
Bar-tending is also highly lucrative if you have the aptitude. Good networking, other perks.
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  #11  
Old 07-01-2014, 04:35 AM
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Default Re: Making Ends Meet Between Tours?

As has been said, you are a stranger going into a strange land, or in this case, town...

By the sounds of it you have no contacts and no knowledge of the local music scene...

Unless you have several hundred thousand dollars to prop yourself up for several years, you'll be back home in no time.

you need to network and get your name around town, that my friend can take years!!

Working on money to get there..............this is a waste of a post if I ever I saw one

Sorry, old jaded musician here, who's been there and done that and seen them all come and go

If you are young and can live on rice, then go for it..........if you are at all weak willed, or can't take the rough with the smooth, don't waste your time, or anyone else's.......
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  #12  
Old 07-01-2014, 04:41 AM
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Default Re: Making Ends Meet Between Tours?

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Originally Posted by DrumEatDrum View Post
As we say in Los Angeles, there are no waiters or waitresses, just actors/musicians in-between jobs.
This is why I've always joked that waiters and waitresses don't need a union. They already have one. It's called the Screen Actors Guild ;)
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  #13  
Old 07-01-2014, 04:42 AM
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Default Re: Making Ends Meet Between Tours?



Have you considered selling a bit of the ol' man-gina?
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  #14  
Old 07-01-2014, 04:58 AM
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Default Re: Making Ends Meet Between Tours?

Between tours? To get to a "tour" you'll need to get employed in one of the most talent-full cities in the world. Once you get into the rotation you will have to hook up with a group that ends up on tour and keeps you as their drummer. So making ends meet until you get all that started will be the first order of business. I would try 7-11 unless you've got the resume to get on with a "regular" business until the music takes off. Good luck.
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  #15  
Old 07-01-2014, 05:05 AM
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Default Re: Making Ends Meet Between Tours?

One of my band mates had a chance to have a long talk with Lzzie Hale of Halestorm after one of their shows. She gave him a few words of advice which boiled down to find a group where you can be creative and work with and stay where you are. Play as often and wherever you can, but stay where you are for now. With the internet it doesn't matter so much where you are, what is more important is that you work on your material and delivery, then start touring out of your area. Moving to an area like LA and Nashville might put you in the middle of a lot of talent, but you are now a fish in a huge pond with a lot of other fish.

On to the original topic, number one piece of advice, keep your day job, and if you don't have one a career as backup. Like some of the other posters mentioned there are potentially a lot of people out there who will play for cheap or even free. You can build up a band, material, and a following while working. Eventually you can have merchandise and do short tours. If all works out you might be a be to live the dream, worst case you still have a fun side project or hobby.

There are 4 members in our band, two of us have careers. The other two are still trying to figure out what to do. Our lead guitarist in particular has had the attitude that he was going to be a "professional musician", but is finally coming around to the reality that he needs a backup plan.

Edit, pic of him and Lzzie for those on Facebook:
https://scontent-b-sea.xx.fbcdn.net/...20281128_n.jpg
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  #16  
Old 07-01-2014, 03:18 PM
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Default Re: Making Ends Meet Between Tours?

I hate to tell you this kid,but you can't swing a dead cat without hitting very good,well known,experienced,WELL connected,union card carring,Nashville number system reading, studio and touring drummers.Usually the big studio guys,like Paul Liem, don't tour,or tour very little.

Nashville is LOADED with great players,and the biz isn't looking for anymore,in an evironment that already ,overloaded with dreamers.However talanted you may be,those that are there already ,have connections,and are playing around in clubs ,just to get heard

Our own Bill Bachmann is, or was a Nashville guy.He can tell you first hand the real deal.The chances of you,just dropping into a great deal,are litteraly .....zero.

Lastly,most touring drummers are poor people.....at best .If they're playing with a known artist,they're paid like hired help,which is usually verry little.

Hopefully,Bill or Bermuda will chime in here.It's not impossible to make a living playing drums,but there's a lot of hustle involved.

Steve B
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  #17  
Old 07-01-2014, 04:03 PM
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bermuda bermuda is online now
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Default Re: Making Ends Meet Between Tours?

Steve's right, and hustling is a real art whose ultimate success includes a healthy dose of luck.

I wouldn't recommend moving anywhere without a plan, and the ability to already make a living (day-job/career.) Nashville is majorly saturated with great players, and there's no lack of passionate, willing, and talented players. Not mention the influx of outsiders who've gone there looking for fame & fortune. It's not just a challenge... it's an uphill climb.

There's one possible encouraging aspect of the Nashville scene, artists often use one group of players in the studio, and another group live, so there's twice as many opprtunities. But, they work half as much. And tours are often the weekend-warrior variety, not 4-6 months of solid work. And... because of the glut of players there, you're not going to make top-dollar, because someone trying to survive will work for less.

So, good luck! And by that I mean, good luck.

Bermuda
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  #18  
Old 07-01-2014, 04:20 PM
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Default Re: Making Ends Meet Between Tours?

Back to the original question of how to survive between tours, assuming you are actually touring. You work! Teach, play local gigs, have a day job... probably all three.

It's no secret that I had a full-time career while up & coming with Weird Al, even having my endorsed company product and Gold & Platinum records sent to my office! I never missed a tour or a session, and they treated me well, because I treated them well. There was never a hint that I considered it a day job until my career took off, and I was always 100% when I was on the job. Granted, there are precious few jobs today that would allow an employee the kind of freedom I had in the '80s & '90s, but that's what I did, and there was no shame or embarrassment about it, despite being with a national touring and recording artist. My fellow struggling musicians would have killed to be in my shoes: pursuing a dream, and being able to afford it.

The alternative is to starve for your 'art', but trust me, that's higly over-rated. Don't do it.

This is a tough business, good luck.

Bermuda

Last edited by bermuda; 07-02-2014 at 05:25 AM. Reason: speling
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  #19  
Old 07-01-2014, 07:24 PM
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Default Re: Making Ends Meet Between Tours?

Quote:
Originally Posted by iamDevinAdams View Post
so what are good temporary jobs or money making opportunities I can take?
This thread may be more about business than being a musician. You might visit a library and look at some books about 'how to start your own business' and "how to be an entrepreneur'. Basically try different ideas and stick with what works.
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Old 07-01-2014, 08:12 PM
iamDevinAdams iamDevinAdams is offline
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Default Re: Making Ends Meet Between Tours?

I appreciate all the posts, but I feel like some of you read the topic as "Reasons why it is extremely difficult to make a living in Nashville" I know it's difficult to make it in the music business. I know Nashville is over saturated with talented players. I also know that everyone has to start somewhere. Telling me "Don't try to be a musician there! It's really really really hard!" Doesn't do anything to my plans, doesn't make me think maybe this IS a bad idea. I'm not an idiot, I'm not gonna move out there and starve to death, I'll have a plan of where I'm going to live, how I plan to work, and where to fit in my pursuit of "the dream". I guess it's in the nature of working musicians to say don't move here, the biz doesn't need you. But again, everyone has to start somewhere. I'll be playing drums on a cruise ship for a while (once my damn proship agent calls me) and I'll be using that money to get me to Nashville where I will find a day job. Then comes the music search.

Thanks for all the useful comments, and the reality check, but it's like you said, a select few get to make a living playing music. And I believe I can be part of that select few.
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Old 07-01-2014, 08:35 PM
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Default Re: Making Ends Meet Between Tours?

Hey Devin,

You can increase your odds of being selected by getting some form of recognition.

Competitions can be a good form of recognition if you win.

Check out the various national ones...like Musicians Friend and Guitar Center...nice to be able to list on an application...

As far as making $...its no different than any other small business venture...I suggest treating it as such and getting educated re: running your own small business.

As far as alternate flexible employment, depends on your skills...and is highly competitive...usually going to those with a relevant College Degree AND experience....and often a helping of nepotism...tech skills are a good telecommuting possibility and from what I understand there are well known drummers who moon-light as computer technical skill providers by telecommuting while on the road.

Running another small business(or a few) besides your drumming performance business can work...

In the end, there are no cookie cutter solutions...as I am sure you are aware....but I hope these ideas help.

Luck out there...
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Old 07-01-2014, 08:55 PM
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Default Re: Making Ends Meet Between Tours?

Pool cleaner, irrigation installer, pizza delivery dude, dishwasher, line cook, illustrator, waiter, lawn care, website builder, food prep, barback, construction worker, grease trap cleaner (it only sounds glamorous), storyboard artist, magazine layout, bouncer, and courier.

Just a partial list of the things I've done to support myself in between tours. Short answer to your question: anything and everything.

Musicians have been asking the same question since the days of Jericho, and they'll still be asking it generations from now.
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  #23  
Old 07-01-2014, 09:13 PM
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Default Re: Making Ends Meet Between Tours?

+100000 to what has been said. First try to line up a job interview days after you arrive. Thats what I would do.
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Old 07-01-2014, 10:32 PM
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Default Re: Making Ends Meet Between Tours?

Guitar Center now has a program where sales staff can leave for a tour and not lose their job.

Of course, working at GC isn't a great paying job, nor an easy job, and I imagine it would be difficult to build up a client roster if you're gone a lot. But it is an option. And if nothing else, working at GC is a great way to network.
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Old 07-02-2014, 05:30 AM
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Default Re: Making Ends Meet Between Tours?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Otto View Post
Competitions can be a good form of recognition if you win.

Check out the various national ones...like Musicians Friend and Guitar Center...nice to be able to list on an application...
Not in Nashville you don't! The last thing they want there is a drummer who won - or even entered - the chopfest known as the Drum Off! In fact, there are very few realistic opportunities for such winners. Yeah, a few got noticed and got gigs, but most didn't.

Bermuda
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Old 07-02-2014, 05:48 AM
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Default Re: Making Ends Meet Between Tours?

http://time.com/31882/louis-c-k-bradley-cooper-famous/

I have nothing useful to add; I'm a hobbyist with a day job myself.

Just thought I'd buck the trend. :)
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Old 07-02-2014, 02:45 PM
drum4fun27302 drum4fun27302 is offline
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Default Re: Making Ends Meet Between Tours?

The music business is not what it used to be anymore. Go for it and let us know how it turns out in a couple of years.
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  #28  
Old 07-02-2014, 03:03 PM
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Default Re: Making Ends Meet Between Tours?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Otto View Post
Hey Devin,

You can increase your odds of being selected by getting some form of recognition.

Competitions can be a good form of recognition if you win.

please do not take this advice for it is among the worst given

even if you arrived in Nashville as a landslide drum off winner not one person would give a rip .... and it would probably hurt more than help and be a complete waste of time

study someone like Paul Leim and Chris McHugh and do what your heart desires

there is no substitute for lifes experience and taking chances because your heart feels it is right

side jobs will come and go .... don't worry about that ... we've all done crazy things to make ends meet.... it doesn't matter... 10 years from now you probably won't even remember half the jobs you had.

what is important is that you have no regrets when you are old and gray sitting under the tree with a glass of lemonade saying .... I should have and I could have

even if you don't becomes as successful as you envisioned in your wildest dreams.... the experiences you will have will be absolutely priceless and fulfilling

wise words here
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-PdjNJz7B1Q

I moved to LA in the mid 90s with no money knowing noone.... and it changed my life forever in so many ways

best of luck to you
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Old 07-02-2014, 03:14 PM
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Derek Roddy Derek Roddy is offline
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Default Re: Making Ends Meet Between Tours?

It really is surprising to me that there are so many musicians/bands that think moving to another town or city is going to make something happen that hasn't happened where they currently are.

If it's one thing I've learned over the years it's.....if you're not loved, liked, or can't work in your home town (no matter the size) you won't be able to do it anywhere else.

Most of the musicians that have gone on to places such as Nashville, LA, etc...are there because they had the things that the people hiring want long.... before they ever made it to 'Nashville".

That's the biggest difference in what you're trying to do.....and, how it works.

D
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Old 07-02-2014, 03:46 PM
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Default Re: Making Ends Meet Between Tours?

Quote:
Originally Posted by WhoIsTony? View Post
please do not take this advice for it is among the worst given
That's our Tony

lol
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please do not take this advice for it is among the worst given
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Old 07-02-2014, 04:04 PM
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Default Re: Making Ends Meet Between Tours?

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It really is surprising to me that there are so many musicians/bands that think moving to another town or city is going to make something happen that hasn't happened where they currently are.

If it's one thing I've learned over the years it's.....if you're not loved, liked, or can't work in your home town (no matter the size) you won't be able to do it anywhere else.

Most of the musicians that have gone on to places such as Nashville, LA, etc...are there because they had the things that the people hiring want long.... before they ever made it to 'Nashville".

That's the biggest difference in what you're trying to do.....and, how it works.

D
with all due respect Derek I have to politely disagree with some of this

I moved to LA with very little money and knowing no one in the 90s and within a few months I was working for David Benveniste at Velvet Hammer Management that eventually got me working for System Of Down, which turned into working briefly for KISS, which led to me meeting a guy named Carl who was Perry Farrels assistant and got me working for Perry doing some web stuff ... all of which got me introduced to tons of musicians and got me countless gigs.
I also by chance met Elvin Jones and that turned into a 8 year friendship until he sadly passed
and every bit of that aided in the living I make today as a player and is 100% the reason I know the people I know in the industry and the relationships I was able to maintain and as a result am able to get work when traveling to multiple cities

none of that would have happened had I not left Berkeley Heights NJ

a wise man once told me .

a fisherman goes where the water is
a lumberjack goes to the trees
a musician goes where the music is
for sweet honey that comes from the bees

in other works go to where the work is to eat and make a living

99 people out of 100 will tell you not to do something and give a thousand reasons why.... but until one tries for themselves there is no answer..... none of those advice givers know the outcome of someones journey

you know how many artists whos art we would not enjoy had they not taken a leap of faith?
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Old 07-02-2014, 05:13 PM
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Default Re: Making Ends Meet Between Tours?

In any endeavor, especially artistic, the following is one of the commandments of work.
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  #33  
Old 07-02-2014, 07:49 PM
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Default Re: Making Ends Meet Between Tours?

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Originally Posted by WhoIsTony? View Post

a wise man once told me .

a fisherman goes where the water is
a lumberjack goes to the trees
a musician goes where the music is
for sweet honey that comes from the bees

in other works go to where the work is to eat and make a living

99 people out of 100 will tell you not to do something and give a thousand reasons why.... but until one tries for themselves there is no answer..... none of those advice givers know the outcome of someones journey

you know how many artists whos art we would not enjoy had they not taken a leap of faith?
I have to go with Tony here.

I grew up in San Francisco, who's music scene was certainly no slouch.
But despite the thriving music scene, it still didn't compare to the music scene in Los Angeles.

With-in a few months I went from playing in small bars in-front of just the local bar flys to playing clubs in front of record company reps. OK, so it didn't work out in the long run, but it was still the best decision.

And outside of the music itself, it was just time to be somewhere else. It was refreshing to just live somewhere else other than the city I had lived in for 24 years. Meeting new people, making new friends, having different experiences, all added up to meeting my wife.

Quote:
what is important is that you have no regrets when you are old and gray sitting under the tree with a glass of lemonade saying .... I should have and I could have
That is exactly what I was thinking when I made the decision to move. Success or not, the idea was to not regret trying.
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  #34  
Old 07-03-2014, 10:03 PM
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Derek Roddy Derek Roddy is offline
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Default Re: Making Ends Meet Between Tours?

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with all due respect Derek I have to politely disagree with some of this

I moved to LA with very little money and knowing no one in the 90s
But, that didn't mean that you didn't already have (or weren't already using) the skills to work in that field right? Or did you just go out there blind without already having a grasp on what it was that you were doing?

They let you learn along the way?

All I was pointing out (and without knowing what the op's experience is...because he didn't mention it....only that"he feels he could make it") was that, many musicians are under the mind set that going somewhere else, is going to magically throw them in the mix with "da big dogs"

I get that and, at one point....going where the music is was the best way for young aspiring players to get noticed.

But, then and now....completely different dynamic. All that changed with the internet.

I have 2 really good buddies working out of Nashville right now. Both of them were already involved in the scene in a big way in their home towns....here in Ft Lauderdale.

One of them moved to Nashville several years ago and struck out....moved back home and continued to do what he always did. Now works with a big up and comer there because he was a known and trusted guy already in the scene here.

All I'm saying is you can't just up and decide that you're going to go to said town and get involved if you're not already involved doing what you want to do in said town....be it big or small.

The world has been made very small with the internet. All any hiring musician has to do to find new talent is ask a few friends for recommendations and cruise the web.

See it all the time these days.

Again, not saying don't do it but, without experience doing said job, not knowing what said job entails, Not already having a great reputation someone can call on, etc.....good luck.

D
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  #35  
Old 07-03-2014, 10:08 PM
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Derek Roddy Derek Roddy is offline
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Default Re: Making Ends Meet Between Tours?

Plus, if there IS "all this talent" in Nashville....why are "Da big dogs" there hiring guys out of Ft Lauderdale?

Could it be that they're looking for more than "talent"?

D
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Old 07-03-2014, 11:56 PM
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WhoIsTony? WhoIsTony? is offline
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Default Re: Making Ends Meet Between Tours?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Derek Roddy View Post
But, that didn't mean that you didn't already have (or weren't already using) the skills to work in that field right? Or did you just go out there blind without already having a grasp on what it was that you were doing?


D
I see your point

yeah I had already been touring out of NJ/NY and doing a good amount of studio work
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  #37  
Old 07-04-2014, 12:22 AM
wildbill wildbill is offline
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Default Re: Making Ends Meet Between Tours?

Many are Called, but Few are Chosen.

It might be wise to have a Plan B.
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Old 07-04-2014, 12:34 AM
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toddmc toddmc is offline
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Default Re: Making Ends Meet Between Tours?

Quote:
Originally Posted by WhoIsTony? View Post
I moved to LA with very little money and knowing no one in the 90s
I think this is the key phrase right here (things have changed slightly in the music biz since then I'm told)....
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Old 07-04-2014, 02:21 AM
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Bo Eder Bo Eder is offline
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Default Re: Making Ends Meet Between Tours?

Man, I'm close to L.A. and all I have to do is reach out and touch, and I'm still afraid. I'll just keep doing what I do ;)
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Old 07-04-2014, 02:37 AM
Otto Otto is offline
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Default Re: Making Ends Meet Between Tours?

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Originally Posted by bermuda View Post
Not in Nashville you don't! The last thing they want there is a drummer who won - or even entered - the chopfest known as the Drum Off! In fact, there are very few realistic opportunities for such winners. Yeah, a few got noticed and got gigs, but most didn't.

Bermuda
ugh! That's truly sad!

No wonder things sound like they do coming out of that region....(sterile and non-descript - all the same)

One myth busted out of my thought clouds....

I certainly defer to Tony and Bermuda on this one...and am thankful for the clarity!

I guess there is such a thing as 'bad press'.

Personally, I wouldn't want to work for someone who's prejudice worked that way...signs of poor logic and dicey decision making.
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Old 07-04-2014, 03:45 AM
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