Playing gigs you don't inherently enjoy?

spleeeeen

Platinum Member
For me, not liking the genre can become part of the adventure, finding some point(s) of entry to get inside the music and enjoy making it feel and sound good.

But like some others have expressed, a younger me didn’t have much access to this kind of intention. That guy was more interested in looking for musical spaces to blow chops and then wondering why more people weren’t interested in playing with him.

I like how these kinds of conversations give us opportunities to notice ways we’ve become better musicians over the years.
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
For me, not liking the genre can become part of the adventure,
Indeed.

One of the vocalists sang I Just Wanna Dance With Somebody by Whitney Houston. I’d heard it on the radio, but never in my life have I played this tune. It was produced by Narada Michael Walden, who also played drums on the tune/album. The tune has the usual 80s processed sounds, but it is damn fun to play, especially with a vocalist who can sing it well.

I never would have known how enjoyable it was to perform had the tune not been introduced to the band.
 
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SomeBadDrummer

Well-known member
For me, not liking the genre can become part of the adventure, finding some point(s) of entry to get inside the music and enjoy making it feel and sound good.

But like some others have expressed, a younger me didn’t have much access to this kind of intention. That guy was more interested in looking for musical spaces to blow chops and then wondering why more people weren’t interested in playing with him.

I like how these kinds of conversations give us opportunities to notice ways we’ve become better musicians over the years.
As an over 50 guy who’s been playing for a long time, my two main regrets for my younger self are
1. Should have mastered site reading for the kit
2. Should have gotten a double bass pedal

All the other stuff- rudiments, fills, speed, chops- is achievable at a fairly high level by virtually anyone with the drive willing to put in the time.
 

River19

Senior Member
I would take the gig. At minimum those gigs offer great exposure and let's be clear, modern country and classic rock are not too far apart. The Eagles today would be a Nashville band played on country radio.

I played the longest with a successful wedding band.......I can't think of a song list that contains as much compromise as what we had in our large playlist. Sure there were plenty of good tunes in there but there were plenty of "Chicken Dance" clunkers (or is that a clucker?) in there. But, eventually you realize playing YMCA for the second time in a night as all the drunk hot bridesmaids want it isn't a bad thing and wearing a tuxedo and eating rubber chicken at a back table with the photographer isn't a bad thing when you know you are splitting $3500-8000 5 to 8 ways (if horns were included) for a few hours work.

It all depends on what your end game is and why you play music. Everyone is different.
 

nicholasBR

Well-known member
I played the longest with a successful wedding band.......I can't think of a song list that contains as much compromise as what we had in our large playlist. Sure there were plenty of good tunes in there but there were plenty of "Chicken Dance" clunkers (or is that a clucker?) in there. But, eventually you realize playing YMCA for the second time in a night as all the drunk hot bridesmaids want it isn't a bad thing and wearing a tuxedo and eating rubber chicken at a back table with the photographer isn't a bad thing when you know you are splitting $3500-8000 5 to 8 ways (if horns were included) for a few hours work.
Would you care to share your setlist? I'm trying to accumulate a list of songs to learn to potentially make myself available to bands like that.
 

River19

Senior Member
Would you care to share your setlist? I'm trying to accumulate a list of songs to learn to potentially make myself available to bands like that.
Honestly, there was a catalog of 150-200 songs we would play.....about 100 of them were regulars for us and then you end up accumulating new material as Brides will usually have specific "asks" for the Father/Daughter dance, the entrance of the wedding party, the First Dance etc. and in many cases those will be real one off tunes that have special meaning to them but might not be mainstream.

The reality of the common wedding scene for us was that we needed to play everything from the 50s/60s stuff straight on through modern tunes to literally get everyone on the dance floor from Grandma to the teenagers.

Some things off the top of my head:
Elvis (Jailhouse etc.)
Beatles (any and all of their up beat tunes, USSR etc.)
Motown......lots of it
Stevie Wonder (Sir Duke, Superstition, etc.)
Hall & Oates (yes Hall & Oates)
Train (their popular hits)
Maroon 5 (some popular hits and swap Adam for a woman vocalist if need be)
Huey Lewis & the News (again hits)
Billy Joel (yes someone will request Piano Man if you have keys)
Commodores
YMCA
Friggin ABBA (Dancing Queen)
Come on Eileen
Escape by Rupert Jones (Pina Colada Song)
Some more rocking tunes for the head bobbing crowd or drunk uncles like.....Lawyers Guns and Money, Peace Love and Understanding
No AC/DC

You get the picture.....everyone will dance to classic tunes like Motown standards, 80s pop hits etc.

Some smooth to light jazz standards for cocktail hours as it was common to be asked to play "light background music during cocktail and appetizer times" and/or through dinner then kick it up for post dinner dancing and drunken goofiness

It really takes a skilled group of musicians to pull that all off. I just had to have my collective crap together and know the tunes and styles everything from jazz to disco to straight rock.......I always felt like the rockin' tunes were my reward for playing the Electric Slide 3x's for the kids.....
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
I try to look at every gig and every project as an opportunity to learn and grow. My background and rep here in my smallish community leads me in a lot of directions. I'm currently in an originals band with an alt-rock/punk/indie/Latin mishmash of styles; a covers band that does everything from "Mack The Knife" to Hank Williams to "Seven Nation Army"; a blues band that coalesces for special occasions; and my current project is a Christmas concert led by a classical pianist. I've played chamber music, worship music, sports arenas, musical pit, and biker bars - sometimes all in the same week.

In this market, pay is never going to be the driving factor, so what I look for is good musicianship, good bandmates, and good opportunities going forward. Every one of the bands I called out has a song (or several) that I'm not crazy about. I try to work out what it is I don't like about those songs and see if there's anything that can be done about them. It might be a simple arrangement, tempo, or key change solution - for example, the covers band's version of "Tennessee Whiskey" was a snoozer until I suggested we take it up a few BPM to breathe some life into it.

I have left bands and projects due to lack of professionalism or over-exuberant egos, and while money isn't the object, I stay away from playing situations where there's no pay and no understanding of why there should be pay. This allows me to find something enjoyable in almost every gig I take. For me to come home after a gig and say "that felt like work" is typically rare and usually has nothing to do with the band or the music.
 

jimb

Member
Slight de-rail but I gotta spit. Im a very laid back type but the one thing that lowers the red mist is when u get to rehearsal and then someone has to put his phone up to the mic playing the track so they can "figure" the chords or whetever....makes me flippin boil. In fact in my last band, and bear in my mind drums for me is all new, fresh and exciting (bassist for decades) Im really keen and to have to put up with this sort of thing just made me want to leave. I did leave eventually but for health reasons.
 

SomeBadDrummer

Well-known member
Honestly, there was a catalog of 150-200 songs we would play.....about 100 of them were regulars for us and then you end up accumulating new material as Brides will usually have specific "asks" for the Father/Daughter dance, the entrance of the wedding party, the First Dance etc. and in many cases those will be real one off tunes that have special meaning to them but might not be mainstream.

The reality of the common wedding scene for us was that we needed to play everything from the 50s/60s stuff straight on through modern tunes to literally get everyone on the dance floor from Grandma to the teenagers.

Some things off the top of my head:
Elvis (Jailhouse etc.)
Beatles (any and all of their up beat tunes, USSR etc.)
Motown......lots of it
Stevie Wonder (Sir Duke, Superstition, etc.)
Hall & Oates (yes Hall & Oates)
Train (their popular hits)
Maroon 5 (some popular hits and swap Adam for a woman vocalist if need be)
Huey Lewis & the News (again hits)
Billy Joel (yes someone will request Piano Man if you have keys)
Commodores
YMCA
Friggin ABBA (Dancing Queen)
Come on Eileen
Escape by Rupert Jones (Pina Colada Song)
Some more rocking tunes for the head bobbing crowd or drunk uncles like.....Lawyers Guns and Money, Peace Love and Understanding
No AC/DC

You get the picture.....everyone will dance to classic tunes like Motown standards, 80s pop hits etc.

Some smooth to light jazz standards for cocktail hours as it was common to be asked to play "light background music during cocktail and appetizer times" and/or through dinner then kick it up for post dinner dancing and drunken goofiness

It really takes a skilled group of musicians to pull that all off. I just had to have my collective crap together and know the tunes and styles everything from jazz to disco to straight rock.......I always felt like the rockin' tunes were my reward for playing the Electric Slide 3x's for the kids.....
Okay @River19 No AC⚡DC is where I draw the line....

This one will get everyone you described off their feet and on the floor...
 

River19

Senior Member
Okay @River19 No AC⚡DC is where I draw the line....

This one will get everyone you described off their feet and on the floor...

OK......just have the right singer as there is no in between full send and not playing it when it comes to AC/DC.......no one wants an elevator version of You Shook Me......lol And Grandma probably doesn't want to jam to Hells Bells......but maybe some do lol
 

Paul Blood

Junior Member
As an over 50 guy who’s been playing for a long time, my two main regrets for my younger self are
1. Should have mastered site reading for the kit
2. Should have gotten a double bass pedal

All the other stuff- rudiments, fills, speed, chops- is achievable at a fairly high level by virtually anyone with the drive willing to put in the time.
I think you could still get really good at both those areas, why not?
 

doggyd69b

Well-known member
I was trained to play as much music as you can.
I had no training per se, but I was invited to play in this band where I never played that genre nor was it something I listened to or liked, but I went (tried to be open minded). We played a few weddings and had fun (and got paid well on top of that).
On another band I played, I even played Tailor Swift songs and had fun with that. (Also got paid). I don't play for the $$ I play for fun so I would do it for free, but I just have been lucky that I select good bands to stick with. I am not a professional drummer, but I am at a level of playing that will make me valuable for a band that is established (I can learn and play a lot of stuff quickly and well), because of that I guess I tend to choose my Jam mates based on a similar skill set. (Once you can play at a certain level, you kind of expect others to be able to keep up).
 
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Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
I had no training per se, but I was invited to play in this band where I never played that genre nor was it something I listened to or liked, but I went (tried to be open minded). We played a few weddings and had fun (and got paid well on top of that).
On another band I played, I even played Tailor Swift songs and had fun with that. (Also got paid). I don't play for the $$ I play for fun so I would do it for free, but I just have been lucky that I select good bands to stick with. I am not a professional drummer, but I am at a level of playing that will make me valuable for a band that is established (I can learn and play a lot of stuff quickly and well), because of that I guess I tend to choose my Jam mates based on a similar skill set. (Once you can play at a certain level, you kind of expect others to be able to keep up).

that describes me and my country band...that I have now been with for 6 years. I still can't stand the music, but I like the guys I play with, and we get really fun gigs.
 

Polska

Member
I play in two bands that do music I hardly listened to before the band. One is a Celtic band (I'm Polish) and I love it. All the songs were new to me. The other does Americana, country, folk - mostly acoustic rock with some reggae and pop thrown in. I am not a fan of country music and never heard any of the artists that fall under the "Americana" umbrella, but I do like the songs we do by these artists.

New to me and outside my comfort zone is fine with me. I found that there are plenty of songs I enjoy playing that I wouldn't necessarily buy the artist's music. That said - none of what we do in either band is music I don't like/enjoy. I've been there before but decided if I don't enjoy the music then I won't enjoy the experience. I have a full-time job - I don't need my weekend warrior hobby to become a job too. If I don't like it, I'm moving on, regardless of the gig/money situation. Enjoy playing.
 

Cmdr. Ross

Silver Member
I was trained to play as much music as you can.
This.
I learned long ago to play with as many people playing diverse music as you can (within your ability).
This has been a blessing in my musical life & has kept my hired gun phone ringing. (y)
 

doggyd69b

Well-known member
This.
I learned long ago to play with as many people playing diverse music as you can (within your ability).
This has been a blessing in my musical life & has kept my hired gun phone ringing. (y)
I will have to be as open minded as to step foot in a church to play with the church band... it may be fun, I will not enjoy the sermon, never did, even when I was little and still to this day I am 1000% anti religion but since I will be living in the bible belt....
 
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