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#1689366 - 04/17/06 11:37 AM Aging band members
Jeff Klopmeyer Moderator Offline
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Registered: 10/13/00
Posts: 19132
Loc: Redondo Beach,CA,UNITED STATES
I want to talk about something that affects my band, and I'm sure I'm not the only one.

At age 37, I am the young puppy of my band. My drummer and close friend is 38. Our bassist is 50. And our singer is 52. Now, none of this precludes our playing good music. In fact, it could be said that our collective experience gives us an advantage over those youngsters who are still learning their instruments, or have no experience gigging. Between us, we've probably done hundreds, if not thousands, of live shows.

That having been said, there are a couple things about being older guys that make it a little harder than when we were young and hungry.

1. We don't get booked at places that appeal to a young crowd. They don't want a band that look like their dads.

2. Physical problems hamper things. All of us have had issues with bad backs and other common things that make it really hard to load gear in/out of gigs, and we don't make enough to really afford roadies and still have profitable shows.

3. Especially in the case of the two older guys, there is a slight prejudice toward playing newer songs within the band. It's not that they don't like newer tunes; it's just that they're not familiar with them and are therfore less comfortable playing them, and since they don't really like the newer music on a personal level, they don't want to take the time to absorb the song.

Any of you run into these challenges? Any advice on how to deal with them?

- Jeff

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#1689367 - 04/18/06 10:28 AM Re: Aging band members
The Bear Jew Offline
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Registered: 11/13/01
Posts: 7703
Loc: Philadelphia,PA,UNITED STATES
At 35, it's getting a little weird for me to play all-ages gigs... the teenyboppers who hit on me are literally less than half my age.
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"To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting."
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#1689368 - 04/18/06 12:45 PM Re: Aging band members
GTRBass Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 12/03/03
Posts: 598
Loc: Los Angeles, Ca
Ageism is a factor no matter what. You try to age gracefully I guess. I don't know what the barometer is. I do know that when you take a good look in the mirror, if you look like somneone who's pretending to be someone they're not, it's time to stop or make some changes. If you're over 40 and you're trying to sound like Linkin Park or Death Cab for Cutie, WTF??? Is that really who you are?

If you're over 40 and have dreams of "making it big", you might want to reconsider your career options. You'd be surprised how many guys I deal with who have this issue. They argue "but people are ready for it. It isn't fair." Yeah, well be realistic.

If you're over 40, enjoy making music, AND you are good at it, why stop?

The baby boomer generation is aging, but that age group is far more vibrant and active than previous generations. I think the audience still wants to be entertained. If you pine for the days when "rock was king", that's the demographic who identify with it. I swear kids today put on an AC/DC shirt and try to emulate what "Rockstar" meant, but they're missing some things.

Do people still go out to bars and see live bands? Not as much as they used to, but that's somewhat true across the board regardless of age. There are many reasons why. There are fewer gigs in general. 20 somethings probably don't want to watch a bunch of 40+ guys on stage, unless the music they make is the real attraction. It's so good that they don't care what they look like.

Humping gear sucks. We all know that. IT used to be the trend to carry a ton of crap into bars that was way too much stuff. I Think the good news is that a lot of gear today is more efficent and compact. It sounds better and its more mobile. I used to hump a huge SVT rig. Now I use a 4x10 which is half the size and weight of the SVT 8x10 and is just as powerful. I have a rackmount SVT 3 head which weighs less than half the classic SVT head I used to have. Mackie SRM's are very portable and sound way better than the Yamaha 4115's and Crest power amp I used to carry.

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#1689369 - 04/18/06 04:11 PM Re: Aging band members
Steve Force Offline
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Registered: 03/01/04
Posts: 8768
Loc: Metro-Detroit, Michigan
Quote:
Originally posted by Jeff Klopmeyer:
...
1. We don't get booked at places that appeal to a young crowd. They don't want a band that look like their dads.

...
- Jeff
Form/join another band, while keeping the current one intact.

I'll bet your current band members will understand and appreciate your logic. If not, then they have an issue.
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#1689370 - 04/19/06 01:48 PM Re: Aging band members
PBBPaul Offline
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Registered: 07/31/02
Posts: 3083
Loc: Wonderful World of Cheese - Wi...
At 42, I'm the youngest guy in my band. Our drummer 47, our bass player is 50 something and our keyboard player is 62. We still have a helluva lot more energy than 90% of the bands in our area. Our keyboard player still hauls a B3 too.

We have no problem playing any music we want but don't play much newer stuff unless we like it.

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#1689371 - 04/21/06 12:00 AM Re: Aging band members
Tedster Offline
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Registered: 09/21/00
Posts: 5935
I don't think it's unrealistic to think in terms of "making it big" at any age. But...one SHOULD, as they age, re-define what making it big means.

When I was 18-25 or so, "making it big" involved playing to huge stadium crowds on a major label tour.

Now that I'm almost 50, I could see "making it big" as successfully marketing my original music to a smaller but loyal cadre of fans, people who are interested in my music rather than how I look, getting some local public station airplay on occasion, playing a small tour of clubs that featured original music, maybe getting some nods by having your songs performed by big stars. Think kinda along the lines of John Hiatt, or any one of a number of blues, jazz, acoustic whatever type artists.

Or, making it big could mean either:

A) Having one of my songs recorded by a major act
B) Writing music for ads, TV, film
C) Joining an established backing band for a major younger star, if one has the chops and the right connections. In other words, you have to look like Jessica Simpson or Justin Timberlake to be a star, but their backup bands are full of guys who look just like me. And before any of you naysayers laugh and say "Whodafuck would want to play with those nimrods anyhoo?"...Laugh all you want, but they fill their bands with some badass session folks. You don't get there by being a slouch.
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#1689372 - 04/21/06 11:19 AM Re: Aging band members
PBBPaul Offline
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Registered: 07/31/02
Posts: 3083
Loc: Wonderful World of Cheese - Wi...
A friend of mine "made it big" in his 30's. I tend to share Ted's opinion on the definition of making it big. My friend supports himself and his family comfortably by making music. That's my definition. He's not a household name but does a lot of session work, records for a secondary label, tours, does a lot of jingles, and works for Fender doing clinics. He also writes articles for GP and lesson books for Hal Leonard. He is always in demand and busy and it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.

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#1689373 - 04/21/06 06:53 PM Re: Aging band members
Big Red 67 Offline
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Registered: 06/27/04
Posts: 7334
Loc: Sacramento
One band is my age or older. (except the revolving singers) The other is younger. The younger band sticks up there noses up at Cream, AC/DC, Rush. They are coming around, the singer and I watched the Cream farewell DVD last night and he said, "Hey that's me! That's what I am like, and yer more like Rush." (We had been watching the R30 DVD). It was cool as KOOL to have this guy that I had been telling for years that Cream was his kinda thing finally get it! The other band wants to do Squeeze covers, always a wish of mine. And launches into Zeppelin tunes inbetween our songs at pratice. I seem to have found a place that is right for me and had the grace to let go of the places that were not right. Good friends, good music, good times ya!
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#1689374 - 04/23/06 06:45 PM Re: Aging band members
jay da cop Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 01/01/01
Posts: 600
Loc: Sudbury, Ontario
At 44 I am the "old fart" of the band, with our drummer being 17, and everyone else inbetween. That being said, I think that the type of music you play has nothing to do with the kind of talent you have. We have a 21 year old lead guitar player who grew up playing Page, Hendrix, Clapton, Beck (Jeff), Blackmore, etc. He has a real grasp on "classic" rock, even though we play a more contemporary version, and knows how to play in the pocket despite his years, or lack thereof.

I am not saying that I will go out and pretend to be Green Day, or some of the other "hot" punk or alternative bands, I am most comfortable with classic rock, milder progressive (Styx, etc) with a touch of funk, R&B and electronica. I play in a contemporary Christian rock band, and my background (30 years in bands) lends itself well to being a tutor in my endeavors, not just the music director. There is an advantage to years, especially if those years are filled with experience. There is the maturity of age, and the enthusiasm of youth. Combined they are unstoppable.

I also agree with Tedster's approach to "making it". I have done the pro touring thing, the mega jingles in too little time, and the time of sitting at home on my ever-spreading butt due to burn-out. All things being equal, I will take the smaller gigs with competent musicians over the hype any day of the week. When it comes down to it, why are we musicians? Is it for the fame or because we love to play? I love to play. End of story. If I make a few bucks along the way, great. If I don't, but I had a good time, great. In the end I am a musician for me. I choose to let other people into my world. They can take it or leave it. As my dad would say (with his heavy German accent) "machts nichts aus" ("it doesn't matter").

To be fair, I used to hump around way too much stuff, also, and have learned how to do more with less. Learning my gear inside out was a great thing to learn, and time well spent. I have mostly older gear that does so much more than play presets (I am a keys player). Even guitar pedals nowadays have lots of features just below the surface waiting to shine if someone will take the time to find them.

There is a balance to everything (without getting Zen on you). When you have found the balance, Danielsan, then you will find happiness.

Jay

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#1689375 - 04/24/06 11:15 PM Re: Aging band members
Basshappi Offline
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Registered: 06/16/03
Posts: 3362
Loc: Tucson,AZ
I'm 42 in May. I am also the youngest member of my band. I have definitely noticed the effects of 'ageism' and it bothers me sometimes.

I play in a "Classic Rock" band and it seems as though connecting with an audience is so hit and miss these days.We are not opposed to playing new material but it is difficult to get a good blend as well as try to keep the "tried and true" (or as some may say 'worn out')tunes to a happy medium.

I have never really bemoaned 'humpin' the gear' because I've just always excepted it as part of being a musician. But I do feel the physical effect of gigging more than I used to.


Bar owners still suck, audiences are still fickel, the pay stinks and the biz is every bit as lame, mean and heartless as it ever was. But if I can't get up and play for an audience I start to go crazy, so what choice do I have?

A good gig makes it all worthwhile.
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#1689376 - 04/27/06 01:55 PM Re: Aging band members
Michelle (ggurl) Offline
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Registered: 08/17/03
Posts: 2621
Loc: near San Francisco
Hey Erik, how's it going? Haven't seen you around much lately (well, could be because I haven't had time to hang out myself ...)

Quote:
Originally posted by CMDN:
At 35, it's getting a little weird for me to play all-ages gigs... the teenyboppers who hit on me are literally less than half my age.
I think this is one reason why I play jazz. \:D Seriously, I'm wondering if this factors into why, in my late 20s, I started rediscovering the jazz I had studied in high school and college. I've always played and written kinda jazzy music, but also played in Chili Peppers-esque funk-punk, as well as grunge and acoustic rock bands. Now I'm pretty much just writing and playing jazz (well, straight-ahead purists would call it s**t, so f**k 'em ... kisses!).

In my mid-30s I'm actually the youngest in my group by a wide margin.
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#1934374 - 04/29/08 04:28 PM Re: Aging band members [Re: Michelle (ggurl)]
skampiepoo Offline
Member

Registered: 04/05/07
Posts: 13
my friend just got signed for a 3 album deal in the USA....at the age of 60!
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#1937443 - 05/05/08 02:12 PM Re: Aging band members [Re: skampiepoo]
Jeff Klopmeyer Moderator Offline
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Registered: 10/13/00
Posts: 19132
Loc: Redondo Beach,CA,UNITED STATES
Well, that's great. Send your friend our collective congratulations. \:\)

As I looked back at this thread from two years later, I realized I forgot something crucial: genre.

That band was a hard rock band, and the age factor probably was amplified by the type of music we were doing. Had we been a jazz quartet or a bluegrass outfit, no one ever would have cared about our relative lack of youth.

I'm now performing as a solo singer-songwriter doing poppy indie/folk original stuff, and at just under 40, my age is very much irrelevant. It's as acceptable to be a 22-year-old hipster as it is to be a 63-year-old Neil Young-type guy in this world. I'm not at all concerned by my non-youthfulness at this point.

Good thing, too... I'm sure not getting any younger. \:\)

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#1942608 - 05/15/08 01:42 PM Re: Aging band members [Re: Jeff Klopmeyer]
The Bear Jew Offline
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Registered: 11/13/01
Posts: 7703
Loc: Philadelphia,PA,UNITED STATES
Genre is definitely important here.

If I was playing in a band that wanted to jump around and play music like Red Jumpsuit Apparatus and whine about being in love with a girl from History class, I'd feel a bit like a moron doing that at my age. Plus, as much as I can relate to those things, they're not current interests for me.

I'm pretty lucky to be playing in a genre where my band can share bills with old-schoolers like Blue Cheer and fit right in... even though we're a lot younger than BC, we're definitely a good bit older than RJA. This crowd doesn't care a whit about some gray hair here and there as long as the rock is brought with authority.
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\m/
Erik
"To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting."
--Sun Tzu

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#1945465 - 05/21/08 09:07 AM Re: Aging band members [Re: The Bear Jew]
Jeff Klopmeyer Moderator Offline
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And that's a HUGE factor, as Erik points out.

The attitude overwhelms a few gray hairs in the beard. I know guys who are 20 years older than me that can rock like crazy. No one in their audience cares that they're around 60. And since they bring the rock with authority, as Erik says, even the youngsters in the audience look up to them.

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#1950526 - 05/30/08 11:07 AM Re: Aging band members [Re: Jeff Klopmeyer]
Eric VB Offline
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Registered: 02/02/05
Posts: 5789
 Originally Posted By: Jeff Klopmeyer
And that's a HUGE factor, as Erik points out.

The attitude overwhelms a few gray hairs in the beard. I know guys who are 20 years older than me that can rock like crazy. No one in their audience cares that they're around 60. And since they bring the rock with authority, as Erik says, even the youngsters in the audience look up to them.
I think we can thank groups like the Stones for stretching the age boundaries of rockers.

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#1952358 - 06/03/08 06:22 AM Re: Aging band members [Re: Eric VB]
Ed Coury Offline
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Registered: 11/28/03
Posts: 1114
Loc: Detroit area
Sometimes you can find a new tune that came from an older one. For example, Kid Rock has a recently released song that is basically "Werewolves of London" with new lyrics, with a few bits of "Sweet Home Alabama" thrown in for good measure.
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#2032571 - 01/14/09 08:36 AM Re: Aging band members [Re: Ed Coury]
Gene Offline
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Registered: 11/25/08
Posts: 24
Loc: Delaware USA
I'm 59 and play in an Elvis tribute show. I'm the oldest guy in the band but it don't matter because we draw older crowds anyway.

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#2034449 - 01/19/09 11:45 AM Re: Aging band members [Re: Gene]
Eric Iverson Offline
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Registered: 08/03/05
Posts: 5266
Loc: Jackson Heights, NY
I have mostly played in church bands - some of which was loud rock, BTW and of course there my age (now 55) was never an issue. Some of the kids actually looked up to me, except for one snotty little bastard, who I liked for some reason anyway. Not cause he played all that well, but he had great stage presence. I wish he'd return the cheap classical guitar I lent him, but after 6 years, I ain't holding my breath!

I can see where in some venues gray hair might be a factor, though.
But girls didn't hit on me when I was young, either! LOL

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#2073779 - 05/11/09 05:17 PM Re: Aging band members [Re: Eric Iverson]
trrish Offline
Member

Registered: 05/11/09
Posts: 2
Loc: Boulder, CO
Also, I wouldn't assume that it is age that necessarily dictates unwillingness to play newer stuff. That in itself is ageism. It may just have been the personalities of the two "old guys" in your band.
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#2073791 - 05/11/09 05:58 PM Re: Aging band members [Re: trrish]
Bottom End Offline
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Registered: 05/27/08
Posts: 2274
Loc: VA
1. Someone mentioned, knowing the genre, I'd add know your audience/venue. Do you NEED to add songs? If so, what new songs fit best.

2. Humping gear is part of the show, and newer lighter gear is a good idea, how about just buying a few quality dollies, maybe one that even converts into a cart? Sure it may not seem "rock and roll" but you're saving your back, and probably a few trips to the van. Work smarter, not harder.

3. As for new songs, see #1 above. Ask yourself if you NEED to add new songs, and ask those guys why they don't want to learn them, communicate.

Good luck.


Edited by Bottom End (05/11/09 05:59 PM)
Edit Reason: I have infinite wisdom tempered by ADD
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#2099709 - 07/27/09 07:10 AM Re: Aging band members [Re: Bottom End]
Nu2Keys Offline
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Registered: 02/11/05
Posts: 483
Loc: USA
I've just become aware that one of the bands I play with, as well as at least two other local bands, is being "Age Descriminated" against. Long story: a new bar & grill opened us about 4-5 years ago and became the new hot place and we became one of the main bands playing there. In fact we because their 'go to' band when another band cancelled, so we played there a lot, until last year, when the owner's daughter started running the place. After that, whenever we tried to talk about new bookings, she would say "Let me check my calendar and I'll call you" and then she wouldn't call. This went on for 6 months or so when the guy in our band who does the booking basically gave up. I found out this past Saturday night what has happened. About 6 weeks ago another band (also geezers) were playing on a Friday night. Apparently the next day the bar got several e-mails saying "We didn't know it was old folks nite" and things like that. It was like a light switch went off. Since then the new booker (owner's daughter) has been slowly weeding out the older bands. She would never admit it, of course. However, I have noticed that they have all kinds of new first time bands booked, so they have had openings but they're trying new bands rather than the geezer bands. I guess the little under age to 30 year old cuties, which is the crowd these days, don't want to look up and see someone their dad's age playing "Crazy Bitch" after all!

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#2100685 - 07/29/09 01:11 PM Re: Aging band members [Re: Nu2Keys]
MoodyBluesKeys Offline
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Registered: 03/27/08
Posts: 3383
Loc: eastern North Carolina
Well - if the owner's daughter is running the place and he has bowed out completely, not much you can do. Only thing that may work - are the newbie bands bringing in the crowd or not.

Whoever in the bar is concerned about the $$$$ - owner or daugher (someone better be, or the bar won't survive) - if the old guys can bring in the crowd and the young ones can't - you have a good chance of reversing the decision. OTOH, if their crowd is as good or better - start looking for somewhere else to play.

One other thing - the emails themselves probably don't mean as much as how well the cash register is ringing. Might just be a small group of very vocal people sending the emails.

If you don't get back there - maybe your band can work with one of the other bar/grills in town to make IT the new "hot" place. Come to think of it, "hot" place may or may not mean as much in the till at the end of the evening.
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#2100847 - 07/29/09 07:50 PM Re: Aging band members [Re: MoodyBluesKeys]
Jeff Klopmeyer Moderator Offline
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Registered: 10/13/00
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Loc: Redondo Beach,CA,UNITED STATES
I started this thread three years ago, and I've since turned 40. I've decided that any place that doesn't want a guy my age playing doesn't deserve me. grin

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#2100865 - 07/29/09 09:02 PM Re: Aging band members [Re: Jeff Klopmeyer]
Griffinator Offline
TPS cook & bottle washer
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Registered: 03/28/02
Posts: 20318
Loc: Lynchburg, VA, USA
Old fart.

(I'm about to turn 36. I'm in great shape - round is a shape, isn't it? grin )

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#2100984 - 07/30/09 08:03 AM Re: Aging band members [Re: Griffinator]
Jeff Klopmeyer Moderator Offline
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Registered: 10/13/00
Posts: 19132
Loc: Redondo Beach,CA,UNITED STATES
Hey, I look like a hundred bucks. grin

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#2101460 - 07/31/09 12:01 PM Re: Aging band members [Re: Jeff Klopmeyer]
J. Dan Offline
Bannination Free Since '08
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Registered: 07/25/08
Posts: 11875
Loc: St. Louis, MO
I think you can still play to the young 20-somethings as long as you can still look and play the part. We are 32, 36, 38 (me), 42, and 43. We are all in pretty good shape and fairly young looking. The wigs take care of the bald/gray problems.

I was recently talking to a 21 yr old guy on break who said "what are you guys doing playing 80's - you weren't around back then". Huh? How old do you think we are? "Oh, 29 or so". Thank you!

Single/Divorced members of our band have managed to still hook up with the younger gals on occasion. Of course, they eventually ended up with girlfriends, so there isn't any of that going on these days. But the opportunity is often there, believe me.

I have to admit, sometimes it wears me out more than it used to - but that could have more to do with working full time and having 2 kids.
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#2102420 - 08/04/09 07:55 AM Re: Aging band members [Re: J. Dan]
The Bear Jew Offline
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Registered: 11/13/01
Posts: 7703
Loc: Philadelphia,PA,UNITED STATES
I'm so glad that my band plays music in a genre where the musicians are generally expected to be old, fat, bearded and talentless. I fit right in.
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\m/
Erik
"To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting."
--Sun Tzu

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#2102433 - 08/04/09 08:45 AM Re: Aging band members [Re: The Bear Jew]
Griffinator Offline
TPS cook & bottle washer
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Registered: 03/28/02
Posts: 20318
Loc: Lynchburg, VA, USA
Originally Posted By: CMDN
I'm so glad that my band plays music in a genre where the musicians are generally expected to be old, fat, bearded and talentless. I fit right in.


It's amazing how inclusive Metal has become. grin

I too am old, fat, bearded, and talentless, and still manage to get gigs doing vocals, guitar, bass, whatever needs to be done in local bands... wink

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#2138023 - 11/26/09 05:56 PM Re: Aging band members [Re: Griffinator]
picker Offline
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Posts: 13433
Loc: Near 12th Street and Vine...
The only genre I've been able to find where age is not a hindrance is blues. If BB King can get by in his 70's, I'm good for a few more years anyway.

But then, maybe I can start a new genre of boy bands...Old Boy Bands...
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