Playing gigs you don't inherently enjoy?

bearblastbeats

Senior Member
I've been offered a gig for a modern country band. Never once on the last 20 years have I thought this be a thing for me. I don't listen to it so I don't know it or it's culture.

The band is one of the top 3 modern country acts in the area. Opening up for Toby Keith, Nascar, and seems to have a decent following.

Ran through a few sets and it's not terrible. Most of the songs are the same (the money beat) and at least it is upbeat. I did enjoy most of the songs as they grow on me. I've only done cover bands of classic rock that I grew up on, or original projects for my own enjoyment.

Anyone take a gig that was a complete 180 from what you're used to and either do it for the money or grew to like it?
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
While I've sat in quite a bit with bands whose repertoires haven't done much for me, I've never accepted a full-time role under such circumstances. If I'm assuming long-term responsibility for a band's welfare, I need to be fully committed and thus fully engaged. Wishing I were somewhere else is a formula for disenchantment. It's also unfair to the band, at least in my eyes.

As far as money goes, I've always been able to take it or leave it. I've never relied on music as a sole means of livelihood. What I've earned from drumming over the years -- both through gigging and recording -- has been purely disposable and always secondary to the pleasure I've derived from playing. I wouldn't have it any other way. I love drumming far too much to associate it with survival.
 
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bearblastbeats

Senior Member
While I've sat in quite a bit with bands whose repertoires haven't done much for me, I've never accepted a full-time role under such circumstances. If I'm assuming long-term responsibility for a band's welfare, I need to be fully committed and thus fully engaged. Wishing I were somewhere else is a formula for disenchantment. It's also unfair to the band, at least in my eyes.

As far as money goes, I've always been able to take it or leave it. I've never relied on music as a sole means of livelihood. What I've earned from drumming over the years -- both through gigging and recording -- has been purely disposable and always secondary to the pleasure I've derived from playing. I wouldn't have it any other way. I love drumming far too much to associate it with survival.
While I'm not in it for long term or money. I think maybe staying active and keeping my chops up is key. Its been over a year since I was gigging.

Maybe also that this could end up being fun since it appears to be a thing here?
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
While I'm not in it for long term or money. I think maybe staying active and keeping my chops up is key. Its been over a year since I was gigging.

Maybe also that this could end up being fun since it appears to be a thing here?
I'm definitely not trying to dissuade you from moving forward, just responding to your question from my perspective. It will be as fun as you allow it to be. With the right frame of mind, you might end up loving it.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
I was trained to play as much music as you can.
Same here. I love playing the drums, so I'm up for any gig that's within my style limits. I'm not a Jazz or Latin player, but I never get offered those gigs, so it works out fine. :)

Even when I'm playing songs I wouldn't normally listen to, I'm still enjoying playing them. If they're songs I like, that's icing on the cake.
 

bearblastbeats

Senior Member
Same here. I love playing the drums, so I'm up for any gig that's within my style limits. I'm not a Jazz or Latin player, but I never get offered those gigs, so it works out fine. :)

Even when I'm playing songs I wouldn't normally listen to, I'm still enjoying playing them. If they're songs I like, that's icing on the cake.
Totally! I guess its no different than my Friday nights of back in black... or the twist... or Johnny B. Goode.

Finding enjoyment in the act of playing outweighs what it actually is when it grooves.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Summer1980..I was thumbing it to this really good local Southern Rock band's gigs. My bass player buddy was in the band and told me their drummer would be leaving to do Jesus Christ Superstar in 6 months. So I hitch hiked to their gigs, and learned all their songs. 2 gigs after I joined, the Country craze hit. The movie "Urban Cowboy" ignited it. The whole gig changed.

I had never played Country before in my life. I knew about a half dozen Country songs, but never had the bug to play it, I was young and had to play a lot of notes man, you understand lol. Long story short, and I didn't realize it at the time, but those 2 years playing Country were so good for me down the road and still to this day. We went all over, Georgia, Florida, DC...Country taught me how much "less is more" works. It was a great primer to learn Blues from, same basic concept (for me), background support without rocking out. I was a rock kid. Country really taught me how to reign it in.
 
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BruceW

Senior Member
I enjoy playing. I really enjoy playing with people I like, and people whose playing I like. The songs aren't AS important. Yes, I enjoy playing some songs more than others. But after a very long period of time when I couldn't play, I'm really soaking up the chances I have to play these days
 

Morrisman

Platinum Member
I’ve been helping out another 50’s band whose drummer is very sick. They’re old guys and play everything slower, and every song sounds the same.

But they’re nice guys, have lots a gigs, compliment me on my playing and pay me well. So I smile, act professionally, play what they want me to play and watch the happy people dancing...

But I wouldn’t join them as a permanent member.
 

KEEF

Senior Member
As a band we take some gigs we'd rather not play. We make it very clear we're not a 'function band' but still get asked to do weddings etc so those gigs are what we call "smile and wave".
Only once have I been full time in a band where I didn't really like the genre and it sucked the fun out of playing. It's the only time I've moved on without having anything to move on to.....
 

Chris Whitten

Well-known member
As I mentioned in another thread, probably 80% of what I've played over the years is not music I would listen to.
It's not so much about money or 'enjoying playing drums', although they ARE factors. But if I only played music I loved, I would probably play one or two days a year.
The biggest thing for me is that you learn so much from getting outside your comfort zone. I hesitate to put myself forward for gigs I don't think I'm right for, but if people are willing to give me a go, I'm willing to do my best for them.
I am so much the better drummer for having played music I didn't particularly enjoy, or I thought was a hard grind. Looking back at the gigs I hated at the time, found very hard work, or were characterised by conflict etc... they are the projects I am the most proud of now.
 

Neal Pert

Well-known member
I think the ideal situation would be:
  1. Great music
  2. Great musicians
  3. Great hang
  4. Great gigs
  5. Great money
I am not sure that such a situation exists-- at least in my experience, you're going to be making trade-offs and you have to make decisions about what you value. I've certainly taken gigs "for the money," which is another way of saying "to keep from starving." But I always tried not to do that if, say, the musical director was a jerk or I detested what the band stood for. But one of the nicest compliments I've ever gotten when the MD told me he thought I must love the show because I "played the sh*t out of it." In reality, I pretty much hated 90% of the music. What kept me going? (1) The MD was awesome, (2) The other musicians were awesome, (3) The dancers were great and we were really feeding off each other's energy, (4) The audience loved it, (5) The money was fine, and (6) The level of excellence required to really nail it was a constant challenge. But I played a month long run of shows later that season with a different MD who was very insecure and had terrible time. Even though the music itself was WAY more enjoyable-- and even though my drums were literally rolled out to the middle of the stage every night so I could play a drum solo in front of 500 people-- that gig wasn't fun or rewarding at all. It was a slog.

At this stage in my life, playing music is definitely more a serious hobby/passion than a money maker. My work takes enough of my energy and time that I really can't take long runs of shows or tours or whatever. So, playing music I really believe in with musicians I enjoy on a musical and personal level has become my ideal. I'm not worried about the money or the gigs-- Just this week I got a call for a long run of shows next summer and I said no without even thinking much about it. My priorities have changed. It's neither good nor bad. It's just different because my life is different.

And, of course, nothing is permanent-- things change, and a gig that was great five years ago may no longer be great now.

There are tradeoffs in everything, and a degree of dissatisfaction is inevitable in every human undertaking. You have to choose which dissatisfactions you can live with.
 

someguy01

Well-known member
Go for it, you get one try in the game of life so get the most from your token.
I understand your conundrum, I've never been a big country fan as I feel country died with Hank Sr, Patsy Cline, and Johnny.
 

SomeBadDrummer

Well-known member
As I mentioned in another thread, probably 80% of what I've played over the years is not music I would listen to.
It's not so much about money or 'enjoying playing drums', although they ARE factors. But if I only played music I loved, I would probably play one or two days a year.
The biggest thing for me is that you learn so much from getting outside your comfort zone. I hesitate to put myself forward for gigs I don't think I'm right for, but if people are willing to give me a go, I'm willing to do my best for them.
I am so much the better drummer for having played music I didn't particularly enjoy, or I thought was a hard grind. Looking back at the gigs I hated at the time, found very hard work, or were characterised by conflict etc... they are the projects I am the most proud of now.
This may sound like others but…1980’s I was saturated in hard rock, but because I had also learned jazz/fusion I was asked to join my dad’s cocktail trio.
Almost exclusively brushes with a 3 piece kit while wearing a ruffled tuxedo shirt and clip-on bow tie was not exactly what I wanted to be playing as a 19 year old. But Big wigs throwing cocktail parties paid well. And always came with a nice free dinner. I could coast through the evening playing shuffle beats while watching rich people dance. Looking back it was a great time for me to develop better discipline in my playing and expand my repertoire.
Rock on.
 

Bozozoid

Well-known member
Yes..ive played gigs that I didn't enjoy...more times than I care to remember. So much so that it made me wonder if I should even be playing drums...that outlook isn't the healthiest..i always seem to want better but am anything but a primadonna.
I'm acutely aware of my shortcomings but easy enough to get along with. I'm far to picky to have enjoyed everything I've been involved with musically. This outlook has plagued me from day one.
 

Jasta 11

Well-known member
While I'm not in it for long term or money. I think maybe staying active and keeping my chops up is key. Its been over a year since I was gigging.

Maybe also that this could end up being fun since it appears to be a thing here?
YEARS ago in Modern Drummer there was an article by a pro rock drummer that took a country touring gig in his down time. he was very much against it but once he started he realized there was just as much energy and enjoyment playing country music. the article was about expanding your playing etc. but kind of mirrors this in a way.
 

Chris Whitten

Well-known member
I think the ideal situation would be:
  1. Great music
  2. Great musicians
#2 is probably my red line. I hate to be pulling along other musicians. In a way, I always want to be the worst musician in the band. It doesn't matter what the genre is, if your level of playing is above that of everyone else in the band, you aren't going to learn anything, you might start to slack. At least a majority of musicians I respect in the band, with maybe one or two below my level - or I just won't do the project.
 
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