For me gigging is fun, but I know it's not for everybody. I'm fortunate to be able to play music for a living. I've never lacked for gigs. Either I'm very lucky, very good, or I've fooled enough people into thinking I'm very good.

Some people hate playing for a living. It takes the fun out of it for them. Not for me, I love it. Different folks have different personalities.

I've had two "day jobs" in my life, Telephone Installer/Repairman (back when phones had wires) and Cable TV Field Engineer. Playing "Yakety Sax" beats climbing a utility pole or riding up in a bucket truck in the winter -- or actually any day.

I love both my audience and the love they send back to me. They are like extended family, they come up and hug us, and some who vacation here even have given us their addresses "up north" or in other countries telling us we are welcome to stay with them for vacation. We play, they dance and applaud us, they tell us about their families, we celebrate their joys and console their losses. We play shtick games and act silly on stage, get them involved singing along or singing nonsense syllables instead of the real words in the hook, it's like being the class clown in a way.

I'm in a duo with my wife now. When I met her she was in a different band. Both our bands broke up, and we got into a 5 piece together. Eventually we decided to go duo. Later we married. I write my own backing tracks, because it's a creative and learning exercise for me.

I don't record and sell recordings (although some local studios hire me on other people's recordings), I really like playing live. And while pop music tends to be a little simplistic (sometimes the simplicity is deceptive), it's about having fun with it.

I do record aftermarket MIDI styles for the auto-accompaniment app, Band-in-a-Box. When visiting music stores while on vacation, or meeting people in bands I've listened to, I've been asked a dozen times if I'm "The Real Bob 'Notes' Norton". My audience spans over 100 different countries in the BiaB market. To tell the truth, that won't make me rich, but it sure feels good. I think Craig can relate to that good feeling. It's like applause which tells me I'm doing good work.

I started making BiaB styles for myself, gave them to my friends who told me I should be selling them. I took an ad out in Electronics Musician (when Craig was editor) and now 27 years later, I'm still selling them. I write in the summer during the slow season in Florida

I can play 'art music' at home and I definitely listen to art music (mostly great symphonies) when i want that. I also listen to simple music when I'm in that mood.

Being in the phone company or working for the Cable TV Electronics Manufacturer wasn't fun. I could have made a lot more money at it but I really wasn't enjoying life. I found normal to be soooooo overrated wink

OK what is all this crap about me building up to?

Life is short, too short. Don't do it if you don't like it unless you have to do it. Seek every opportunity to enjoy yourself. Follow your bliss. There is no one right way for everyone.

You might try just taking a vacation from music. Give it a rest for a few months and see if you miss it. Whether you think you missed it or not, pick it up again and see if it's fun. It's worth a second chance.

Insights and incites by Notes


Bob "Notes" Norton
Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com
Style and Fake disks for Band-in-a-Box
The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<