Making Ends Meet Between Tours?

WhoIsTony?

Member
I think this is the key phrase right here (things have changed slightly in the music biz since then I'm told)....
going to where the work is to find work is something that has not changed since the beginning of time and is not going to change anytime soon

things change in the business all the time .... that has nothing to do with traveling to where there is more opportunity than in someones small town
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
ugh! That's truly sad!
Sad that chopfest winners aren't in-demand? Do I really need to explain that?!

No wonder things sound like they do coming out of that region....(sterile and non-descript - all the same)
Matter of opinion - artists/labels produce records to sell, not to show off players' chops. There are outlets for such players... just not in Nashville (at least in terms of why people think it's smart to go to Nashville.)

Someone who wants to get ahead in the business has to do what the artists and producers want. Period. It's not a mystery, it's not a secret. If a player just can't bring themselves to play that way, they're welcome to do things their own way. 99.99% of them will tell you there's not much money in that.

Now, not every musician is required to make money playing, many are happy playing only what they want, and aren't looking for success. Some even rationalize that success is not what they want, because it's supposedly a sign of selling-out. Nobody needs to sell out if it would absolutely kill their soul to do so. But, those players shouldn't then wonder why they can't make a living, when they refuse to play what pays.

Very, VERY few musicians can completely call their own shots and be successful. Even fewer drummers can do that, as they typically don't have a melodic agenda (read: songs) that would attract an audience.

It's tough, it's business, and it's a tough business. Play by the rules, or don't, but don't expect the outcome to be suddenly different than it's been since recorded music began to dominate entertainment starting maybe 70 years ago. Don't forget, even Big Band and Jazz were mainstream and 'pop' in their day.

Bermuda
 
Last edited:

philrudd

Senior Member
Sad that chopfest winners aren't in-demand? Do I really need to explain that?!



Matter of opinion - artists/labels produce records to sell, not to show off players' chops. There are outlets for such players... just not in Nashville (at least in terms of why people think it's smart to go to Nashville.)

Someone who wants to get ahead in the business has to do what the artists and producers want. Period. It's not a mystery, it's not a secret. If a player just can't bring themselves to play that way, they're welcome to do things their own way. 99.99% of them will tell you there's not much money in that.

Now, not every musician is required to make money playing, many are happy playing only what they want, and aren't looking for success. Some even rationalize that success is not what they want, because it's supposedly a sign of selling-out. Nobody needs to sell out if it would absolutely kill their soul to do so. But, those players shouldn't then wonder why they can't make a living, when they refuse to play what pays.

Very, VERY few musicians can completely call their own shots and be successful. Even fewer drummers can do that, as they typically don't have a melodic agenda (read: songs) that would attract an audience.

It's tough, it's business, and it's a tough business. Play by the rules, or don't, but don't expect the outcome to be suddenly different than it's been since recorded music began to dominate entertainment starting maybe 70 years ago. Don't forget, even Big Band and Jazz were mainstream and 'pop' in their day.

Bermuda
Man, this is good stuff.

Very lucky that you post on these forums. All no-nonsense, tell-it-like-it-is musings from a guy who's 'been there, done that' - and continues to do it! Lots of us have had peripheral involvement in the music industry, but very few of us have seen the inner workings as much as you, Bermuda; it's good to get an authoritative perspective.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Thanks, and I try not to squash anyone's spirit, but sometimes a reminder is needed regarding the music industry. Hot shot players - especially drummers - account for a small percentage of successful musicians. Sure, they tend to get noticed, and technical expression may be fun, but such players usually have a fairly limited appeal - primarily to other like-minded musicians - and they usually have a short shelf-life.

For every Vinnie and Thomas Lang et al, there are 100 other drummers making a living playing at a more moderate technical level. I am all for players wanting to make personal statements with their playing, but the music business won't support more than a few at a time. When a hopeful player doesn't want to accept that scenario and wonders why they can't get career-type employment situations, they need to be reminded that things are just that way. You can't buck the system, and then question why you don't have a career.

Why they're that way is another discussion altogether. But the players who want to make a living playing, have to do what the artists and producers want in order to meet - or create - public demand in order to keep everyone working, and making money. The music business is a business, and everyone wants to make money. I can't fault anyone for that, it's how I make a living, too.

Bermuda
 

toddmc

Gold Member
going to where the work is to find work is something that has not changed since the beginning of time and is not going to change anytime soon

things change in the business all the time .... that has nothing to do with traveling to where there is more opportunity than in someones small town
All true but a couple of things which certainly have changed since you persued your dream in the 90's:
1. Downloadable music/ filesharing
2. Price of petrol (OK I'll say "gas")

Just two factors (among many others) which have diminished the revenue streams for all musicians which were not so much of a problem during that period.
The naviety of the title says it all. This poor bloke actually thinks he'll be making money from touring- how many stories have we read on this forum where even big name drummers on large scale tours are barely breaking even?
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
All true but a couple of things which certainly have changed since you persued your dream in the 90's:
1. Downloadable music/ filesharing
2. Price of petrol (OK I'll say "gas")

Just two factors (among many others) which have diminished the revenue streams for all musicians which were not so much of a problem during that period.
The naviety of the title says it all. This poor bloke actually thinks he'll be making money from touring- how many stories have we read on this forum where even big name drummers on large scale tours are barely breaking even?
As far as LA goes, it's still a music city.

Sure, the record labels aren't as big as they used to be, but they all still have major offices here.

Studio business may not be what it once was, but many of them still exist here.

So many name players still call Los Angeles home. Many now have their own studios they do their sessions out of. Sure, some have relocated, but for the most part, the name players are all here.

The movie industry is still here and strong, and they need sound tracks.

And outside of two clubs, the live scene is still pumping (granted, lots of those bands play for peanuts). But there is stuff going on 7 nights a week. And there are some local bands that do well for themselves.

I know a handful of musicians (drummers and others) who are not famous, but make their entire living playing music locally here in Los Angeles.

So, OK, Los Angeles may not be quite the music mecca it once was, and the money isn't flowing like it was in say the 80's, but it's still one of the music capitals.

But you are right about the touring aspect. There are lots of people touring who have secondary sources of income/support. Even name players have other things they do to make income outside of playing.
 

MCM

Senior Member
learn a blue collar trade and get good at it. u will be needed whenever you are available. and appreciated. money is great if you are working for yourself.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
learn a blue collar trade and get good at it. u will be needed whenever you are available. and appreciated. money is great if you are working for yourself.
I know plenty of great players with separate careers, and they enjoy playing weeknights & weekends as much as anyone else. It's a nice distraction from the 9-to-5, there's none of the pressure about having to make a living from music, they can afford the instruments they want, and they often get to pursue the type of playing they love because they don't have to conform or succeed.

Hmm, sounds like a pretty good deal!

Bermuda
 

Otto

Platinum Member
Sad that chopfest winners aren't in-demand? Do I really need to explain that?!
I don't see the ability to play 'chops' as an indication that a musician cannot play 'music'.

In fact, some of the best music(imho) comes from the folks that are proficient on their instrument....something a competition can show...but to each go their prejudice...not excluding myself!, of course ; )
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
I don't see the ability to play 'chops' as an indication that a musician cannot play 'music'.
It certainly shouldn't be that way, yet too many musicians can't distinguish between the two. It's called overplaying, and it always happens at the wrong time.

Those who know the difference, and when to employ which, and can do each well, are among the most in-demand players around. Vinnie, Gadd, Kenny and JR are good examples of such players.

Bermuda
 

yesdog

Silver Member
I have been born with the burning desire to play drums for a living. When I was younger LA was the happening place to go be famous. I have always played in bands, some good some really bad. My goal is still playing drums for a living and I will go to the grave with that dream, and thats fine. its not a fustrating feeling its a warm feeling. I am friends with some of Chicago's finest. The drum teacher I am studying with runs a corporate band company. The musicians have all been with major artist. They are just amazing. I was told they may be starting a 3rd corporate band. When that happens I will get an audition, if i get the gig that would be amazing, but if i dont the constructive advice will be priceless. I get to play a t my church every weekend in front 800 plus, I volunteer and love it because I am playing drums. I would be very satisfied with myself to do it part time, and make a few $100 a weekend. I really hope I can get a game changing moment. Im not looking for fame, Just a steady gig doing corporate gigs and getting to meet more people out there. Nashville is not the magic bullet. Its what you know and who you know. I will always be happy playing the drums regardless, and if I ever loose that burning desire I might as well hang it up This picture says it all
 

Attachments

Last edited:

WhoIsTony?

Member
Its what you know and who you know.
I used to think this was true also.....but my years of experience and making a living playing music has taught me otherwise

you can know every name player out there and still have a phone that doesn't ring

the true statement is ..... it's who knows YOU
 

yesdog

Silver Member
I used to think this was true also.....but my years of experience and making a living playing music has taught me otherwise

you can know every name player out there and still have a phone that doesn't ring

the true statement is ..... it's who knows YOU
I forgot about that one. Know one will call you if you are know fun to be around. You could play simple like Ringo and be super prepaired and on time and be a joy to work with, or you could have mad Vinnie chops show up late and are a complete dick to be around. Who do you think is going to get calls. I prefer to be The Ringo in this scenario.
 

Anon La Ply

Renegade
I know plenty of great players with separate careers, and they enjoy playing weeknights & weekends as much as anyone else. It's a nice distraction from the 9-to-5, there's none of the pressure about having to make a living from music, they can afford the instruments they want, and they often get to pursue the type of playing they love because they don't have to conform or succeed.

Hmm, sounds like a pretty good deal!
Juggling music, family and work takes energy, organisation skills and cooperation between employer, spouse and band/s.

I found juggling stimulating for a while but I didn't have enough of the above qualities and it wore me down, especially when my work hours ramped up. Something had to give, and it was music. Sometimes it's the family that breaks down.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
learn a blue collar trade and get good at it. u will be needed whenever you are available. and appreciated. money is great if you are working for yourself.
Yes, if I could go back, I think I would have become an electrician or such, and be ready to pick up work in-between bands, rather than trying to balance day-job with band-job.

I don't see the ability to play 'chops' as an indication that a musician cannot play 'music'.
Of course not, but the point being winning a drum solo contest only really impresses other drummers, rather than the kind of people who are looking to hire a drummer.

I used to think this was true also.....but my years of experience and making a living playing music has taught me otherwise

you can know every name player out there and still have a phone that doesn't ring

the true statement is ..... it's who knows YOU
^ This.

I used to be good at getting to know people, but I absolutely was terrible at getting people to know me. I have inadvertently sabotaged many potential good connections when I was younger. Opps!
 

Swiss Matthias

Platinum Member
Juggling music, family and work takes energy, organisation skills and cooperation between employer, spouse and band/s.

I found juggling stimulating for a while but I didn't have enough of the above qualities and it wore me down, especially when my work hours ramped up. Something had to give, and it was music. Sometimes it's the family that breaks down.
Absolutely, good point!
 
Top