Drum Talk | Cruise Ship Drumming - A Career at Sea

Mighty_Joker

Silver Member
Nice interview! Man I bet it's both an adventure and tough life. I can't imagine how recent events are impacting cruise musicians.
Thanks for the kind comment.

Needless to say Mike is not at sea at the moment, and due to an asthma diagnosis, it's looking very unlikely he will be again.

He's loved it though, and has some fantastic memories (and photographs).
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
Good interview. That's about the size of it. The last arena where you can actually go out and work as a musician, and get paid like a normal job, where it's easy to get in. He made a good point that nobody shows up knowing what to do on those things-- you learn it on the job. That 9 month contract he mentioned is pretty horrifying.
 

Mighty_Joker

Silver Member
Good interview. That's about the size of it. The last arena where you can actually go out and work as a musician, and get paid like a normal job, where it's easy to get in. He made a good point that nobody shows up knowing what to do on those things-- you learn it on the job. That 9 month contract he mentioned is pretty horrifying.
Thanks!

Yeah, he paints a pretty grim picture of it; I don't know how many 9-monthers he did. Unfortunately, he works an office job now - his asthma (and C-19) has put a stop to the cruise work, and he pretty much has no career on land. It's really sad.
 

mrthirsty

Junior Member
I worked on cruise ships for 5 years, musically I liked it, you got to hone your skills in a variety of styles. The living conditions were another story, I just couldn't share a cabin anymore, no matter how much effort you put into making it work it just wears on you after awhile. You realize that you are an adult that needs their own personal space and can't do the whole kids at camp thing for 6 months at a time. I would pay rent to have my own cabin but that option is never available, if it were I would probably would have kept doing it.
 
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Richard Jackson

Junior Member
boats are tough for sure. good for younger people. I was lucky enough to get great people when sharing rooms but still not easy.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
I have been on only one cruise. The was a reggae band on board that played as we entered or left port, and in the evenings for social gigs. During the day I saw them making beds etc. I'm sure there were others in the show band that did shows in the evening, but the reggae lads were earning their keep.
 

jazzin'

Silver Member
Good interview. That's about the size of it. The last arena where you can actually go out and work as a musician, and get paid like a normal job, where it's easy to get in. He made a good point that nobody shows up knowing what to do on those things-- you learn it on the job. That 9 month contract he mentioned is pretty horrifying.
There’s still also the military side of things for pure working musician on a salary...Jazz Ambassadors, Army Blues Band, Airmen of Note etc etc etc I think are some of the main ones in the US. Jazz Ambassadors are a fantastic big band with both good contemporary and classic stuff and Im sure these bands would also do rock and pop stuff along with their usual ceremonial business. I’m pretty sure a lot of the JA big band guys are former North Texas alumni.

But easy to get in? Well, that’s a whole different bag obviously. Along with all the uni music study, and long auditioning process you’ve still got the military side of things to get through too urgh...so different there but still a full time salaried playing gig that is actually current!

I was not that big a fan of the cruise ship work I did when I was younger. Helped me later of course, but it’s a bit of a weird environment I found and there’s no escaping the people you work with if you come across someone difficult. But it also has its fun moments.
 
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