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  #1  
Old 07-08-2010, 10:02 AM
motojt
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Default Musician vs Artist

Let me set the stage by saying that I'm a software engineer by trade, but deep down, and only in private, I still consider myself an artist. I've been drawing and painting since I was a toddler, was an art major in college, and a designer for a while before I fell back on my math minor for the much more lucrative field I've held for a little over a decade.

Back in school, a teacher I had once said, "A designer is a practical artist." Meaning it's great to be creative and all, but eventually you have to pay the bills. Currently I work for "The Man," which affords me the opportunity to do what I enjoy (family time, making video games, jamming with the guys, etc.) on my own time, which is basically every day after 4pm, weekends, holidays, and paid time off. In other words, a lot of time. I honestly have no complaints and no regrets about my education and/or career choices.

On the other hand, I hear/read a lot about professional artists and all the sacrifices they have to make. All the time and work they put into it. When I was working as a designer, it started feeling like a "normal" job almost instantly so I figured, "Well shit, if this is how it is I may as well get paid better." From some of the accounts I hear and read about, a lot of other designers and musicians seem to feel the same. In a documentary Jimmy Page said how he quit his job as a session guitarist to join The Yardbirds because he felt stifled as an artist. He no longer enjoyed playing.

So the question for all is, would you rather be a "working musician" or an "artist with a day job?"
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Old 07-08-2010, 10:42 AM
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Default Re: Musician vs Artist

i don't think (at least for me) it matters if i get payed for it or not. i don't even care if people listen or even like what i do. i do it because i enjoy it, period. if i don;t enjoy it, then it's work and you better be paying me for it!!!

i also wouldn't consider people who do it (art, music, designing) for a living as not being an artist. if you create your an artist......
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Old 07-08-2010, 11:31 AM
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Default Re: Musician vs Artist

I was a working musician (working for the Mouse at Disney), and through that career path, became an Artist with a day job (still working for the Mouse as an audio engineer now).

What sucks about it is that my hours are not consistent, I work alot of nights because in entertainment, alot of things happen at night, but I do have the flexibility to get nights off if I need them (the advantage of seniority).

However, having been both, I think I like my place in life now: steady income which allows me and my wife to do alot of things together and not have to sacrifice so much. Initially I was kinda' depressed about it because I wasn't doing what I wanted to do and over time I had to discover my balance, and I think I've done that. I've made money as a musician which sustained me through college, but things change once you have a house, bills, and a life to live. So, although a majority of my income comes from being an audio engineer, I can at least say I made a living playing drums for a little while so I know what that's like.

I just wasn't prepared to have to leave town for gigs (I was offered to play for a show in Korea once, which was supposed to last for 6 months, but ended up being a year). In hindsight people say it was a bad choice not to have gone, but the guy who actually did the gig, ended up having to take every job that went to Asia because no one knew him here in L.A. once he left town. If I was going to make it, I wanted it to be here where the really good players are. So now I have a broader view: I, at the very least, work in the entertainment industry, and not just as a drummer. If a drumming opportunity comes up and I can do it, I count my lucky stars that I still get the chance.

I do know folks who are very "hard-core" in their views about only making it as a performing artist, and that's OK. I had the drive to do it, but I think my playing suffered because of it. Now, that I have this "day job" drumming is totally for pleasure which is where I think it belongs most of the time. But it's nice to know that if I wanted to be a full-time player again, at least I'm already half-connected!
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Old 07-08-2010, 11:46 AM
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Default Re: Musician vs Artist

Wow James. For me, as someone who has been on both sides of the fence, it depends on what part of my life we are talking about. And my answer has 3 parts...

I toured the country with a band when I was single, played in a house band, etc. But I had nobody to worry about but myself. I got to see and do some pretty cool things, plays some really great shows and even be in a movie.. however, there were times when I was looking for food or a side job to pay the bills.

Now that I have a family, my perspective has changed. While I hate my job, I enjoy the (what I thought was) job security. Knowing that I will have a paycheck next week eases my mind to support my family. I still have and play my drums. I know local and not so local bands that make good money playing on top of their "day jobs" so they still get to be creative and don't have the added pressure on their families.

Part 3: What I thought was a secure job is now getting outsourced to India. So I will be out of a job by the end of the year. ARGH!! With this said, I don't think there is a "safe" road anymore. The time of finding a good job for life is no longer unless you are a mortician or work in the medical field, most blue collar jobs are disappearing.

I wouldn't go back out on the road for less than an astronomical amount of money now. Whatever I have given up could never replace raising my kids. Seeing them everyday, helping them, etc just being there for them. I grew up with a father (who busted his ass) that was gone M-F and only home on the weekends. He has told me several times he wished he could have been home more. So I guess there comes a point in time where your sacrifices affect more than yourself and I'm not willing to put those I love through that.

I don't know if any of this makes any sense or answers your question..

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Old 07-08-2010, 03:53 PM
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Default Re: Musician vs Artist

I like job security and the freedom to play what I feel like rather than thinking of how my playing can pay the bills. The flipside is that you don't get to play nearly as much so improvement is slow. Worse, when work is heavy it can really impact on your playing. Most of the time my job's a breeze but at this time of year my workload goes berserk and I was stressed almost to the point of tears for most of today. We had band practice tonight and, unsurprisingly, I was awful. That's pretty disheartening.

On the flipside, I never liked doing those gigs where you finish at crazy hours, or trying to get a close park, or driving out to woop woop to play, or the endless carting and setting up of gear, or dealing with bar managers with attitude and obnoxious drunks.

I don't try to make $$ out of my cartooning either. The minute someone's paying the bills you hand them control. With stats and reporting I don't mind how much control I give away, but when it comes to creative stuff that's close to my heart, I want to do what I want to do.

People who can make a living by doing exactly what they like creatively are rare, but they are the luckiest people in the world IMO. But you needed greater gifts than I have to do that.
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  #6  
Old 07-08-2010, 04:23 PM
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Default Re: Musician vs Artist

since I've neither been a musician for a living in a party/wedding band or a drummer in a band that toured with original material it is difficult to say. However, I must say that I have always dreamed of having my own band that played original songs but on the other hand I would also like to go out and play at crazy hours, at least for a while to try it... I just love to play but if I could choose I would prefer having my own band with original songs. One thing I know for sure is that I dont do it for the money.
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Old 07-08-2010, 04:28 PM
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Default Re: Musician vs Artist

I would much rather be an artist with a day job than a working musician.

I'm an electrical engineer with a family so I'm not even interested in the out-of-town shows, much less touring. Session work would mean doing what I'm told more than I'm comfortable with.

Drumming and playing in bands is what I do as an artistic outlet. If I had to hand control of that over to someone else who was paying me, as Polly said, it would cease to be "mine" and I would be miserable -- and I might then turn to building electronic gizmos as a creative outlet!
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Old 07-08-2010, 04:29 PM
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Default Re: Musician vs Artist

"Working Musician vs. Artist with a Day Job" - Wow, great question! I agree that there is still a sector of artists (not just musicians but painters, writers, etc.) who cling to the whole notion that true art can only be accomplished through intense suffering and self sacrifice. The whole "Starving Artist" lifestyle being embraced and the notion of not selling out, yada yada yada. On some level and for some people that might be necessary to fuel the creative process but unless you're a trust fund baby or otherwise independently wealthy, we all have bills to pay. A working musician may see himself as more of an artist than a 9 to 5er who can only create during down time but the full time musician will find that his vision may be compromised once he begins to become popular and bring his art to the masses. There are managers, record companies, and the fickle public to answer to. So I guess what I'm getting at is that I agree with the teacher who said "it's great to be creative and all but eventually you gotta pay the bills." and I don't think that makes you less of an artist. Art in general seems to be open to interpretation as to what is and isn't art anyway. I've been in gallaries and seen paintings that look like they were created by a monkey with a bucket of paint, a blow torch and a bad attitude yet the owner is trying to convince me that the artist is the next Picasso and the prices on their works are outrageous. Anyway, I'm rambling so I'm done here, but interesting topic nonetheless.

Last edited by Malti; 07-08-2010 at 05:00 PM.
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Old 07-08-2010, 04:47 PM
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Default Re: Musician vs Artist

All I ever wanted to do was bungle my way through life as a goofy millionaire rock drummer who seemingly falls backwards into money and babes like Tommy Lee or Keith Moon. That's really all and whatever catagory that is...sign me up!
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  #10  
Old 07-08-2010, 04:57 PM
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Default Re: Musician vs Artist

I have been laid off a couple of times over the past 2 years. I am currently laid off, I am an auto mechanic and have been for 22 years. I have played the drums for 30 some years. I am very thankful I have my drums, Its been very helpful through these hard times me and several other Blue coller workers are going through right now. As well as pounding the pavement looking for work, I have been practicing like a mad man and take lessons. I am glad my wife works. I would love to play in a wedding band/corporate band and be able to play drums for a living. There are not very many people out there that get to do what they really love for a living. I consider a musician and artist the same thing. There is no better feeling than sitting down at the drums and just play an idea and get lost in some other place and be able for that moment to forget about everything thats going on. Beats doing drugs or drinking. I play in a classic rock band and I play out every weekend. I am playing covers but I still call it art, because its me drumming. Besides the key fills and beats in said song the rest of the song is open to ad your own personal touch. I play with heart and passion,
( not overplaying ) that alone is art/music. I think if you play music you are an artist no matter what you play. Thats my feeble opinion.
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Old 07-08-2010, 05:14 PM
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Default Re: Musician vs Artist

Funny TFit

Too much of a good thing is not a good thing.
I wouldn't want to do music full time and depend on it for money, the need for money would certainly taint my love for music.
I am happy working hard at my job, and being able to enjoy the music on my own terms, instead of depending on the music to make an insurance payment.
I need balance. I get sick of doing things that I love, if I had to do them all the time.
I love seafood, but I wouldn't be happy eating seafood every day.
Gotta balance things. The joy of a great gig is even sweeter when I know how hard I have to work.
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Old 07-08-2010, 05:44 PM
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Default Re: Musician vs Artist

What I see sometimes with stuff like this is that people believe that they can only be paid for something they hate doing. And honestly, I hate it when they say that.

If you don't like your work, it's unnecessary stress on you, even if it's for the money. If it's just for the money, it's like being a sell-out. Which is stupid.

I'm personally aiming to get a Masters in Fine Arts from a good school, either so i can create art as a free-lance artist or as a commisions artist or what have you. Even better if anything musical takes me somewhere.
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Old 07-08-2010, 05:49 PM
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Default Re: Musician vs Artist

@latzanimal, dude your story almost mirrors my own, just replace drumming with design. It really was nice to actually do what I'd always wanted at least for a while. For me it was a combination of working for The Man and independently as an entrepreneur. After I left design I still kept the business and got to work for 6-9 months at a time and take long breaks in between, but that was before we had the kids. As soon as I wife got pregnant I "buckled down" for the "security" and benefits. And yes, in my experience the security aspect hasn't existed since at least 2001. I still draw and jam, but now my audience is my wife and kids, which is fine by me. I'd rather entertain them than a bunch of strangers any day. ;)

P.S: That sucks about your job, man. You're lucky to have a decent amount of notice. Good luck on the next one, eh?

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Originally Posted by Coldhardsteel View Post
What I see sometimes with stuff like this is that people believe that they can only be paid for something they hate doing. And honestly, I hate it when they say that.
Haha, yeah I hear ya there. I don't think as many people really hate their job as those who just say it. I've actually been saying I hate my job at least once a week since I graduated high school, but I only really meant it for the first 3 years or so. :p

In reality I love writing software, creepy as that sounds. I've been doing it almost as long art, but I just never expected to end up doing it for a living. I think in most cases people end up doing what they're good at, and if they're so good at it, they must like it at least a little right?

Last edited by motojt; 07-08-2010 at 06:00 PM.
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Old 07-08-2010, 07:07 PM
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Default Re: Musician vs Artist

i'm a software engineer too by day and i have to say i really like it. i love tough problems, and in this field there are many tough problems. every day there's some crazy, impossible problem to solve and i dig in there and power through it. i actually like that!

i'm very passionate about music but i'm kind of glad i don't have to depend on it for money. i see so many musicians who are really struggling and barely getting by financially. i think that aspect of it would be somewhat of a buzz kill. having said that, my hat is off those who persevere with it and manage to get by or even thrive in the music biz. that takes serious dedication!
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Old 07-08-2010, 09:17 PM
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Default Re: Musician vs Artist

Quote:
Originally Posted by Coldhardsteel View Post
What I see sometimes with stuff like this is that people believe that they can only be paid for something they hate doing. And honestly, I hate it when they say that.

If you don't like your work, it's unnecessary stress on you, even if it's for the money. If it's just for the money, it's like being a sell-out. Which is stupid.

I'm personally aiming to get a Masters in Fine Arts from a good school, either so i can create art as a free-lance artist or as a commisions artist or what have you. Even better if anything musical takes me somewhere.
I get the point. But I agree with others here - I don't think anybody really hates what they make money at. Too often we equate "musician" vs. "day job" as "love" and "hate". I think like all regular human beings, we adapt and adjust.

I have a question about your Master in Fine Arts degree, though. What does it say you can do when you're all done? Not to be a smartass or anything, but you would have just spent thousands of dollars on something that will take time to pay back. How do you plan to pay it back? If you're answer is to get a job that you didn't need a degree to get to pay it back, then obviously that's not a satisfactory answer.

I know a semi-famous music conductor who is advocating that everyone who went to music school to get their performance degree, they should band together to file a class action lawsuit against their universities to get their money back! For instance, if you went to be a trumpet performance major, and you're not performing on trumpet for a living, you should be entitled to getting your money back! Very funny conversation, but I wonder.....
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Old 07-08-2010, 09:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Bo Eder View Post
I have a question about your Master in Fine Arts degree, though. What does it say you can do when you're all done? Not to be a smartass or anything, but you would have just spent thousands of dollars on something that will take time to pay back. How do you plan to pay it back? If you're answer is to get a job that you didn't need a degree to get to pay it back, then obviously that's not a satisfactory answer.
It sounds like he's planning on making money making art. It's not as easy as applying for a job at Bank of America, but it's not impossible. You certainly can't do it if you start with the assumption that it can't be done.

CHS: Don't neglect the business end of your studies- the one thing that will not happen is someone recognizing your talent and throwing a lot of money at you. You have to build a business just like any non-fine arts craftsman.
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Old 07-08-2010, 10:26 PM
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Default Re: Musician vs Artist

Interesting question, which I've had to ponder.

For years, I tried to mix the two. I worked in drum shops, selling drums. While selling drums doesn't equal playing them, at least I was in the environment. Many people I worked with would be the same people I'd see later that night at gigs. Ultimately though, there is very little money in selling drums anymore, as the internet and mail order has driven prices down to pennies on the dollar. Working with a guy for days on end describing all the different drums and color options, only to have to match an internet price, I'd realize that profit per hour I put in with the client would equal out to maybe 7 cents an hour. Not worth it.

I spent all of my 20's and first part of my 30's trying to "make it." I was in bands playing around LA, and it seemed to be working. We always had record company interest, the contract was always "in the mail' the A&R people always saying "we'll sign you next Tuesday". It never worked out, but I can say I played in front of at least one person from almost every label that existed at the time.

But the older I got, the more I found myself compromising my integrity in what seemed to be a constant stream of "last ditch" efforts to take it to the next level. To the point I had spent a lot of time, effort of my money making an album I wasn't happy with, and chasing new bands simply for their marketability over music.

Finally, I got burnt out of the process. Got married, looked for steady job. I eventually found a great day job, realized I missed music, and formed a new band, and the two seemed to co-exist rather well, until the economy collapsed and the job fell apart.

I say I fit into the "artist with a day job" category. While I've done cover bands and free lancing in the past, and the cash is always nice, it doesn't appeal to me so much now. I have two young kids (both under 4), so the idea of touring, or playing bars x-time a week is not appealing. I want to be home for bedtime.

Working in an office isn't fulling the music part of me, but neither is playing "Mustang Sally" multiple times a week, and one pays far more than the other anyway.

I moved onto writing my own music, which is an ubber slow process, but it's also the ultimate fulfillment for the "artist"side of me. When my kids are a bit older, I think I'll look for a blues band or a cover band to get out more, but that is just not where I'm at right now.
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Old 07-08-2010, 11:58 PM
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Default Re: Musician vs Artist

I think all musicians are artists. Even if you are playing classic covers you still throw a little of yourself into that song which would make you an artists as far as I can tell. But when it comes to how you approach what you do I think there is a difference. Some musicians spend all their time working on their skills and music, others play when they have time between their jobs and family life. We all choose our own paths to follow. Some people are mechanics and come home in the evenings to play music with their buddies for fun. Some people are musicians who come home and tinker on their cars for fun. Both are musicians and artists.
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Old 07-09-2010, 12:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motojt View Post
So the question for all is, would you rather be a "working musician" or an "artist with a day job?"
This touches a nerve. I started a similar thread a while back with this post:

" When I was 21, I had a chance to turn pro. But I didn’t.

I chickened out. I saw my future before me with perhaps too much maturity and not enough youthful idealism.

I envisioned myself playing weddings & bar mitzvahs for the rest of my life.Being a 'successful' working musician was too far-fetched an idea.
My friends and peers were doing MBAs, starting businesses, had real jobs, went to offices and here I was, a long haired drummer flake, by comparison.

So I did what many musicians do. I took the easy way out.

I built my career in something ’legit’. Years went by, and I was reasonably successful. Sure, music was always there, like a mistress on the side. To be visited on my free time & weekends.
Being in the advertising profession and the business-end of the music business helped.
I was around creative people all the time, played in bands on the side and even got to play with some ‘heavies’ on occasion. But of course, it wasn’t the real thing.

Today as I stare at myself in the mirror at the age of 49, I seriously ask myself do I regret not starving, not having traveled up & down the highway playing for beer & peanuts, not being away from my family for weeks, being secure about where my next paycheck was coming from.. not having spent my years doing what I truly loved?"

At my age, one wants to justifiy the compromises made with life, and maybe that what life is after all. A compromise.

...

Last edited by aydee; 07-09-2010 at 12:39 AM.
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Old 07-09-2010, 02:15 AM
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Today as I stare at myself in the mirror at the age of 49, I seriously ask myself do I regret not starving, not having traveled up & down the highway playing for beer & peanuts, not being away from my family for weeks, being secure about where my next paycheck was coming from.. not having spent my years doing what I truly loved?"

At my age, one wants to justifiy the compromises made with life, and maybe that what life is after all. A compromise.

...
Geez, you make it sound so... heavy. Which it is, of course, and I look at myself in the mirror at 43 with similar sentiments, but I know people who wagered it all (as I'm sure you do too) and they are, for the most part, skimming the bottom wondering where the dream went. Some are still chasing after it while running from creditors and other adult responsibilities.

The singer in my current band was *this* close to "making it" himself (as a bass player), and was surrounded by, toured with, and personal friends with many that did (Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, et al). But to see him now at 47 is to see a stark lesson why having a Plan B in place is so critical. It makes me think that Plan A should always be the stable day gig with Plan B as hitting the musical jackpot. (in a similar vein, I always thought the lottery was a tax on those who can't, or refuse, to do the math)

Instead of seeing it as compromise (which is accurate), I prefer to see it as balance and risk management. At least we, with our secure jobs and families, can afford to keep dabbling in that which has always brought us so much joy, and not be bitter about our poverty and the dream that seems to have turned on us.
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Old 07-09-2010, 02:30 AM
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Default Re: Musician vs Artist

I might answer this question differently if musicians were paid what they're worth.
If it were common to make 100,000 USD a year as a musician, then I probably would have tried harder at doing it full time. But knowing that it's more likely to be making like 25,000 a year as a full time musician...that makes it less attractive. By and large, being a musician in 2010 doesn't pay nearly as good as it did 50 and more years ago.
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Old 07-09-2010, 02:53 AM
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I think "art" is a very precious word that's used far too much in discussions about music. There is artistry in music, I guess, but only in the mind of the person who sees it there.

I don't consider any of the CDs I own to be works of art, not even the few classical CDs I have. I don't think good or even "great" music is necessarily art. Maybe it is but I've never seen any concensus on that.

I am a musician, I play the drums. Not once in my career have I ever thought that anything I was playing was art, certainly not when recording a Popeye's Chicken jingle, for example.

Is jazz art? I don't think so. I can percieve artistry in jazz but I can also percieve artistry in "Strawberry Fields Forever" or in an old Skip James recording. When those perceptions arise all I can do is wait until they're gone so I can start enjoying the music again!
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Old 07-09-2010, 03:18 AM
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This is an incredibly interesting question that I have tackled many times.

As a preface I'd like to point out that I'm 16 years old: my opinions are not those of a sage!

I had a session job for about 6 months with a studio down here in Tucson. During the first month or so, I LOVED IT. I was thinking, "Man, I'm getting paid to play. How ingenius. The pieces are easy, the environment is nice, the drums are amazing*!" I would go into a booth, sit, and listen to my studio head play me a track, set a metronome, and say, "Tracking!" and I would record to it. I got about $50-225/hour depending on the track, mostly depending on who had sent it in. More frequently than not I was getting $110 an hour or so.

Now, here's the thing. When you are sitting in a booth playing tracks to whatever is streamed into your headphones, you don't really get time to make the track yours. You play a textbook style with maybe a little flair. By a little flair, I mean one or two accents or ghost notes. How.... riveting.

Eventually I feel into the mindset that I was playing the same thing over and over. This was mostly untrue, but the idea stays: I wasn't playing me. It was still nice to get those whopping paychecks (hell, I'm 16 driving a 2008 Jetta... I did well), but my creative mind was getting slaughtered by the rushed timeframes and 3am calls to record for obscure mexican commercials, usually in the style of tejano music.

Eventually, after a huge fight with the studio's owner, I vacated my spot. The studio closed two weeks later, because a couple of musicians and producers walked out with me.

I am now in a band (see my signature) and I couldn't love it more. Everytime I sit down for rehearsal and am running through songs I get intensely euphoric and happy - because it's me. I can express myself in the songs, and can really feel through anything the band does.

Obviously the idea of being 'paid to play' is a novel thought that many people wish for, but like it was said previously, it becomes work. I don't play music to work - I play music to enjoy it and myself and the musicians around me.

*They had these old DW Jazz Collector's series drums in almost every size imaginable, as well as just about every Zildjian K and A (as well as custom) cymbal you could think up. I was so tempted to just put on a mask, and load up a truck in the middle of the night.
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Old 07-09-2010, 03:58 AM
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I might answer this question differently if musicians were paid what they're worth.
If it were common to make 100,000 USD a year as a musician, then I probably would have tried harder at doing it full time. But knowing that it's more likely to be making like 25,000 a year as a full time musician...that makes it less attractive. By and large, being a musician in 2010 doesn't pay nearly as good as it did 50 and more years ago.
Good point. I'd certainly change my point of view if the money were better.

If you read autobiographies from Hal Blaine, Mick Fleetwood or others who got their start in the 60's (or earlier), there was a time it was possible to fully support oneself, and even a family, by just playing local gigs and local sessions.
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Old 07-09-2010, 04:21 AM
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Instead of seeing it as compromise (which is accurate), I prefer to see it as balance and risk management. At least we, with our secure jobs and families, can afford to keep dabbling in that which has always brought us so much joy, and not be bitter about our poverty and the dream that seems to have turned on us.
It is a heavy question, Mike.

And we can put any kind of spin on it as we like. And we get better at the spinning thing as we get older and probably wiser. Balance & risk management is a good way to put it. Makes it easier to live with the decisions we make or the cards that are dealt out to us. Also as you rightly say, when we see the crash & burn victims, we cant help feeling a little good about the choices we made.

But sadly the nagging 'what if' doesn't ever really completely go away. Not in my case. I mean, I'm not staying up nights, chewing my fingernails wondering.. but ya, I'm wondering.


....

Last edited by aydee; 07-09-2010 at 04:37 AM.
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Old 07-09-2010, 04:49 AM
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If you read autobiographies from Hal Blaine, Mick Fleetwood or others who got their start in the 60's (or earlier), there was a time it was possible to fully support oneself, and even a family, by just playing local gigs and local sessions.
That's what I'm talking about. Gigs these days are gas money, new drum head/stick money.
I wonder.... out of all the drummers out there, what percentage support themselves solely from drumming? 10%? 20%? Less?
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Old 07-09-2010, 04:50 AM
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But sadly the nagging 'what if' doesn't ever really completely go away. Not in my case. I mean, I'm not staying up nights, chewing my fingernails wondering.. but ya, I'm wondering.
I hear ya loud and clear Aydee.

My story mirrors many of those that have already posted (you guys are great, we'll sign you, rah rah rah). I'm happy with my lot in life, no doubts about that, but the "what if" is always there lurking......
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Old 07-09-2010, 05:00 AM
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I think "art" is a very precious word that's used far too much in discussions about music. There is artistry in music, I guess, but only in the mind of the person who sees it there.

I don't consider any of the CDs I own to be works of art, not even the few classical CDs I have. I don't think good or even "great" music is necessarily art. Maybe it is but I've never seen any concensus on that.

I am a musician, I play the drums. Not once in my career have I ever thought that anything I was playing was art, certainly not when recording a Popeye's Chicken jingle, for example.

Is jazz art? I don't think so. I can percieve artistry in jazz but I can also percieve artistry in "Strawberry Fields Forever" or in an old Skip James recording. When those perceptions arise all I can do is wait until they're gone so I can start enjoying the music again!
I am interested Con struct...what is an artist to you??
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Old 07-09-2010, 06:24 AM
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It is a heavy question, Mike.

And we can put any kind of spin on it as we like. And we get better at the spinning thing as we get older and probably wiser. Balance & risk management is a good way to put it. Makes it easier to live with the decisions we make or the cards that are dealt out to us. Also as you rightly say, when we see the crash & burn victims, we cant help feeling a little good about the choices we made.

But sadly the nagging 'what if' doesn't ever really completely go away. Not in my case. I mean, I'm not staying up nights, chewing my fingernails wondering.. but ya, I'm wondering.


....
Well Aydee, I did take some of those chances, but as it didn't work out, I'm still left with a few "what if's" anyway, such as "what if I joined a different band", "what if I I had been looked for side bands on top of what I was doing" "what if I practiced even more."

Bermuda made in a post in another thread a few months back "it's not who you know, but who knows you" and that cut through me like a knife. I realize I had gotten to know people, but I don't think I did a good job getting people to know me. Who knows how many gigs I missed out on?

I used to hang out at this one club where once a week all the local musicians would hang out. Everyone would hand out fliers to everyone else about upcoming gigs, and discuss the ups and downs of the LA music scene. I got to know numerous people, but there was a handful of guys for whatever reason I never made an effort to get to know. Flash forward a year or two later, those guys ended up Joey Jordinson's backing band in the Murder Dolls and they were all major rock stars for a brief moment in time. I'm not saying if I had gotten to know them I would have been selected for that band or ended up any off better, but still that was one heck of a networking opportunity I blew.

And now that I'm a "day job" guy, I struggle with the fact my resume is full of holes, and I don't have 5 or 10 or 20 years experience of any normal day job activity.
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Old 07-09-2010, 06:26 AM
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That's what I'm talking about. Gigs these days are gas money, new drum head/stick money.
I wonder.... out of all the drummers out there, what percentage support themselves solely from drumming? 10%? 20%? Less?
I'd guess far less. From working in drum shops, a vast majority of people who buy drums aren't even looking to make it a career. They buy drums because it's a fun/recreation thing to do.
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Old 07-09-2010, 06:44 AM
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I am interested Con struct...what is an artist to you??
To be honest, to me the word artist has always meant painters of pictures. Now, before anyone gets heated up, that just what the word means to me in a general sort of way, it's not something I really think about very much.

I don't think of myself as an artist. I write music and I play the drums, but that doesn't make me an "artist." Why get all hung up on that anyway?

When you come right down to it I think art is a jive term. What does it mean?
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Old 07-09-2010, 08:19 AM
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When you come right down to it I think art is a jive term. What does it mean?
Art is the process or product of deliberately arranging elements in a way to affect the senses or emotions. It encompasses a diverse range of human activities, creations, and modes of expression, including music, literature, film, photography, sculpture, and paintings.

Ref: Wiki. That definition works for me. The word art often carries a semantic of "fine art", which implies arty-fartiness, sophistication, superior intelect, sensitivity and a fair chance of flakiness / eccentricity. So when someone says they make "art" there's an automatic assumption of these qualities in abundance, as tends to be found in fine art, whereas you might be making folk art (for the plebs) or pop art (good ideas required, talent optional).

The stats I produce are not art even though managers sometimes have an apoplexy at the numbers (manipulation of emotions) because my arrangement is not deliberate. Now, if I was to provide a report that aggregates the categories in such a way that the disturbing numbers are not readily apparent, that would be art :)
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Old 07-09-2010, 08:55 AM
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I think the whole "What if" thing is an entirely new thread...

Very few people get total satisfaction out of any job. The few that get paid enough to perform music are true exceptions to the rule. As for the ones who don't know how lucky they are to get to do that and piss it away just make me sick.

I do know of a band, that has been around for quite a while, that is going to gross just shy of half a million this year. They only play 2 nights a week and all have day jobs. They seem pretty happy, but how could they not be having just over $80,000 pocket change from their 'little' bar band..

For the rest of us average Joe's, it comes down to sacrifice. Or it has at least for me. As I wrote before, I sacrificed to make a more stable environment for my family. Everytime I hear one of my little ones or even the older ones say, "I love you Daddy." it makes it all worthwhile..

@ James, Thanks man... I'll be in touch
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Old 07-09-2010, 06:23 PM
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Very few people get total satisfaction out of any job. The few that get paid enough to perform music are true exceptions to the rule.
I dunno. I'd bet that even the "rock stars" and "great artists" aren't satisfied. And rightly so if you think about it. They are under constant pressure to perform and constant scrutiny and criticism of those performances. If they're under-appreciated they are labeled as hacks, unoriginal, derivative, etc. If they're over-appreciated they are labeled as sell-outs or too commercial. They are hounded by fans and paparazzi. Also, I'm sure they can be as overcritical of their work as I am of mine. Put it all together and eventually I'd probably be in a bell tower with a rifle. :p

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As I wrote before, I sacrificed to make a more stable environment for my family. Everytime I hear one of my little ones or even the older ones say, "I love you Daddy." it makes it all worthwhile..
Damn straight, brother. Damn. Straight. Before I had kids I never really got what the big deal was about. I understood, of course, but I never got it. People without kids can never truly get it.
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Old 07-10-2010, 02:04 AM
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The Beatles and Steely Dan had the right idea. What a life. Play in the studio at your own pace, write and produce brilliant music, make a fortune from it, and only gig when you feel like it.
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Old 07-11-2010, 04:52 AM
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The Beatles and Steely Dan had the right idea. What a life. Play in the studio at your own pace, write and produce brilliant music, make a fortune from it, and only gig when you feel like it.
I'd say a lot of people have the "idea" Polly! Its the few who can do it......and look at the bright side, the leading guy(s) of steely dan had so much free time after recording that he developed a bad coke problem...literally, both the drug and the drink! Messed up his choppers real bad!
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Old 07-11-2010, 09:28 PM
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I'm a graphic designer by day and an amateur musician by night.

I'd prefer to be a working musician, but the reality of the situation is that it's a lot easier, more secure, and lucrative to be a designer. I don't love it like I do music, but as jobs go it's pretty good.
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Old 07-11-2010, 09:59 PM
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Artist with a day job, most likely. Musicians are at the beck and call of various corporate bosses, artists do what they please.
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Old 07-11-2010, 10:38 PM
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[quote=motojt;721140]I dunno. I'd bet that even the "rock stars" and "great artists" aren't satisfied. And rightly so if you think about it. They are under constant pressure to perform and constant scrutiny and criticism of those performances. If they're under-appreciated they are labeled as hacks, unoriginal, derivative, etc. If they're over-appreciated they are labeled as sell-outs or too commercial. They are hounded by fans and paparazzi. Also, I'm sure they can be as overcritical of their work as I am of mine. Put it all together and eventually I'd probably be in a bell tower with a rifle. :p./QUOTE]

I just finished reading "Scar Tissue" by Anthony Kiedis and he writes that that's exactly what happened to John Frusciante. The more popular they got, the more money they made and the larger the audiences were a few of the (many) things that sent him over the edge and caused him to quit the band. For some reason I can't explain, that kind of surprised me.

Oops, sorry I messed up the whole quote thing by trying to edit it.
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Old 07-11-2010, 11:07 PM
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The Beatles and Steely Dan had the right idea. What a life. Play in the studio at your own pace, write and produce brilliant music, make a fortune from it, and only gig when you feel like it.
That is my plan.

Just remove the worlds "brilliant" and "fortune."
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