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Cities to make a living as a player, 2019 edition #3005247 08/27/19 05:26 AM
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Here's a thing I'm putting in writing in public for the first time, which is kinda scary, but what the hell, gotta jump sometime: I can feel my time in New Orleans coming to and end, and I'm starting a serious search for other options. So I'm putting this out there: who's making a living as a full-time keyboardist, and where are you, and do you recommend your city? Or do you know of a place that you don't live, but would recommend nonetheless? BTW, this would be not just me, but also my wife, who is also a full-time performer as a bassist, bouzouki player, and singer/songwriter.

Things I'd like (in addition to the obvious ability to make a living as a musician), and dealbreakers: Mild winters are a big bonus, as 25 years in NOLA have turned me into a cold weather wuss. Yet the deep south, and "red" states in general, are out, for reasons I won't elaborate on out of respect for the forum's wise "no politics" policy. I like cities on the water, be it a river, lake or ocean. NYC is out; maybe when I was younger, but nah. Non-USA options are definitely not off the table, and may even be preferred in the long run, for reasons I similarly won't elaborate on. Areas that are likely to still be above water and inhabitable in 20 years are extra awesome. I'm intrigued by Denver; I've done a few gigs there in recent years, and been consistently impressed. Most recently, a few months ago, the sound guy at my gig (who seemed to be a knowledgeable veteran) said the music scene there is thriving because so many weed lovers have moved there, and weed lovers tend to be music lovers. Pittsburgh has always given me a good vibe. And Vegas has been in the back of my mind for years, despite the fact that neither gambling nor topless showgirls do much for me.

The short answer to the obvious "but why would you leave New Orleans?" question: because the New Orleans I fell in love with doesn't exist any more, and what has replaced it simply doesn't make me happy. In fact it has made me less happy every year for a good while now, and I don't see that trend changing. My recent joke is, "I predict that future historians will view the summer of 2019 as the definitive end of the golden era of New Orleans' musical and cultural significance. No, I'm just kidding; I don't really think there will be future historians."

So yeah, it's like that. Any tips much appreciated.

KC Island
Re: Cities to make a living as a player, 2019 edition [Re: Josh Paxton] #3005254 08/27/19 07:11 AM
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Vancouver? Portland? Seattle? I know nothing about making a living as a musician in those places. They just fit the bill for your other requirements.

I've known some Vegas pros. That town can burn you up and spit you out. It's really a tiny place. Some musicians work a lot but it's a grind and it can mean playing whatever dreck you're hired to play. Also, if you're more and more unhappy in NOLA, you would probably be much the same in Vegas ... except that you wouldn't start out happy. Just my 2¢. Your experience might be very different.

You might consider some Texas towns like San Antonio. Austin I'm told is oversaturated now and is like Nashville -- the clerk at the 7-11 can play guitar twice as better as I will (see Lovin' Spoonful's "Nashville Cats").

But seriously, man. I saw you play solo New Orleans style piano in a club one night and the next day play with Big Chief Monk Boudreaux and the Mardi Gras Indians were all over the place. You ARE Mr. New Orleans piano, the heir to Fess and Booker and Mac. I don't know if that translates to Denver. Can it even be transported out of NOLA? You are of your environment. Maybe you don't like what has happened to it, but you are part and parcel of it now.

Maybe you can become bi-coastal – gulf and west coast. Go to L.A. as a representative of Nawlins keyboard style? But go home again. If you live full time in LA, you lose your soul. I say that as a Northern California/San Francisco Bay Area resident of 45 years. (My son and 4 grandchildren live in LA.) My brother, a full time musician, lives in Santa Barbara. You can commute to LA from there. But nobody can afford to live in California any more, so forget the entire state as a place to move to, unless you're willing to be way out in the sticks and commute long distance into LA.

Re: Cities to make a living as a player, 2019 edition [Re: Josh Paxton] #3005265 08/27/19 11:00 AM
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A friend of mine, who’s a full time musician, moved from New York to Boulder, CO several years ago and loves it there. He’s a full time musician. He not only has a lot of gigs but he’s also playing excellent music with accomplished players. I visited him last year and was very impressed with the music scene (which includes Denver). I don’t know if the winters are mild.

Re: Cities to make a living as a player, 2019 edition [Re: Josh Paxton] #3005275 08/27/19 12:23 PM
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Here in Western NY (Buffalo, Rochester) we have a good scene and I gig throughout the Finger Lakes up into Niagara Falls. The cost of living isn't bad but I am not doing music full time. Vegas is kind of on a downswing. Guys I know that moved there had a hard time and felt there was no community of musicians the same as other places. In the late 90's early 2000's it was easier but gigs are a little harder to come by they tell me. Personally it would be hard for me to leave the northeast but then I am also not doing it full time like you are.


"Danny, ci manchi a tutti. La E-Street Band non e' la stessa senza di te. Riposa in pace, fratello"


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Re: Cities to make a living as a player, 2019 edition [Re: Josh Paxton] #3005277 08/27/19 12:37 PM
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I had a number of friends in Pittsburgh who made a living in music full time. Some of the caveats are that there were a wealth of teaching and adjunct professor opportunities there, and that the cost of living was well suited as a place to live as a touring professional. This means that there aren't necessarily deep pockets in playing around clubs, bars, restaurants, but there is a critical mass of performance opportunities, educational outlets, professional networking, production and a moderate cost of living. However, these were players who were pretty deep in touring work and academia.

I really loved the community and people really appreciated the music there. I also met a lot of people who seemed.... well... "stuck in the past". I think the city was once swinging with blues and jazz everywhere and most of those places are gone. There are definitely great places to catch live music all around, even some great landmark places to catch a local band (The Thunderbird Cafe in Lawrenceville even has a house Hammond/Leslie), but, needless to say, the Crawford Grill and the juke joints on 51 aren't coming back again. So there are just lots of amazing people that I love and appreciate their talents who aren't getting paid for doing what they were doing 20+ years ago.


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Re: Cities to make a living as a player, 2019 edition [Re: Josh Paxton] #3005281 08/27/19 01:10 PM
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I'm probably not the best barometer on LA circa 2019, since I'm basically semi-retired now. Being here almost 41 years though, it was a great move for me and my wife out of St. Louis. No regrets in the least. In fact I shutter to think how both of our lives would've turned out had we stayed there or anywhere in the Midwest for that matter.. cry

LA in its heyday for me - late 70s, 80s, 90s and almost till 2013, the work was plentiful if you could play, were versatile and could read. I do see the gigs - casuals/club dates and pick up recording sessions still paying what I was getting in the 80s. And the traffic is probably ten times worse ! So you are spending more time in the car for the same and often less dough. There was a resurgence of live music at clubs in certain areas but that seems to have gone down with clubs closing left and right. Always can find karaoke and DJs though, I'm sure just like anywhere else. razz

From what I've heard on pop/rock/RnB name road acts- the pay is less then it was when I was doing that in the 80s and 90s..

I'm guessing you are 15-20 years younger then me so I can only relay what I see other guys/ women that age doing. Almost all are supplementing playing with teaching. In fact the major hustle seems to be what school you can get hooked up with. Don't quote me on this but I believe places like USC and UCLA, you can get hired with Pro and street creds, as opposed to only having a Masters like in the past. That scene may or may not appeal to you.

I can relay that two friends and their wives - both musician couples, singer & keyboard - have left LA in the past couple years for different parts of the country. They both are closer to my age and were all very active, like everyone else, until things started changing dramatically. One couple moved maybe 40 miles outside of Austin and the other to the Tampa/Clearwater area in Florida. The Texas couple I don't think have been there long enough to formulate an opinion about the scene - other then, great we're out of LA ! They have an original pop type duo and drive around and do house concerts. She sings/plays with the surviving Moody Blues guy , Justin whoever that is. They just had a new house built so that was taking a lot of their time too. He's a fantastic and versatile musician, mainly a pianist like me.. So he should be able to play with anyone locally.

The Florida couple have been done there a few years now and know the area. I know she would come back to LA in a heartbeat ! Him, he says he hates CA. But in reality knowing him for a long time, he'd move back as well if the financial pressure of a two musician household wasn't an issue. Neither are thrilled with the scene down there, many of the locals and the brutal humidity. But they pretty much knew all of that going in. One huge obvious advantage they moved was the lower cost of living and the fact there were able to pay cash for their house after selling their house here. I know they highly miss their friends here and the level of LA musicianship, even playing little clubs and casuals.

The housing prices in Austin and Al mentioned Boulder, are on par with areas in LA. Personally Boulder would appeal to me, based on the outdoor activities, more then Austin.

I can't say I'd recommend LA today based mainly on the high housing costs to buy and the rent. And did I mention the traffic , the traffic and even more traffic ? ! You used to be able to pick a time and route to go to a gig or run around town and do fun stuff. Now it seems like everyday, with the exception of 7 AM on a Sunday morning, you're going to get stuck in the mess. We, both being retired, can basically stay in our area and don't "have" to venture out. It's a great existence and highly recommended for "living in LA" but of course not practical for someone younger and in the prime of their careers.

After 41 years we are weather wimps as well. That along with the political leanings of this state - I could very well be happy the rest of my life to not have to venture outside our borders. It's a WAY different world out there then here and I don't like what I see. With each passing abysmal and depressing news day these last few years and despite all its warts ( yes there are many), my wife and I are constantly reminded of how lucky we are to live in CA. , and own a home no less. I do find parts of Oregon and Washington attractive though. Again because of outdoor activities.

Re: Cities to make a living as a player, 2019 edition [Re: Josh Paxton] #3005292 08/27/19 01:52 PM
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Reach out to Linwood about Las Vegas. He has been there for 3 decades


A reason why I collect old keyboards is that I feel partly responsible for doing it, responsible for preserving history and being a custodian for these things
Plus, old gear has a story. I like that.
Re: Cities to make a living as a player, 2019 edition [Re: Outkaster] #3005302 08/27/19 03:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Outkaster
Here in Western NY (Buffalo, Rochester) we have a good scene and I gig throughout the Finger Lakes up into Niagara Falls. The cost of living isn't bad but I am not doing music full time. . Personally it would be hard for me to leave the northeast but then I am also not doing it full time like you are.


And lets not over look the mild winters wink

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Re: Cities to make a living as a player, 2019 edition [Re: Josh Paxton] #3005308 08/27/19 03:29 PM
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Yeah sometimes winters can be sketchy but both cities have decent music scenes.


"Danny, ci manchi a tutti. La E-Street Band non e' la stessa senza di te. Riposa in pace, fratello"


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Re: Cities to make a living as a player, 2019 edition [Re: Al Quinn] #3005317 08/27/19 04:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Al Quinn
A friend of mine, who’s a full time musician, moved from New York to Boulder, CO several years ago and loves it there. He’s a full time musician. He not only has a lot of gigs but he’s also playing excellent music with accomplished players. I visited him last year and was very impressed with the music scene (which includes Denver). I don’t know if the winters are mild.


How can he afford to live there? Housing is insanely expensive in Boulder. Maybe he's commuting in? I guess compared to NY maybe it doesn't seem expensive, but still high for a musicians income.

It seems like some of the places that have some of the best music scenes are also the worst places to earn a living because the market is flooded. Take Nashville....rely entirely on the gal carrying around your tip jar.

I know plenty of full time musicians here in St. Louis, but you would hate the weather and the crime.


Dan

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Re: Cities to make a living as a player, 2019 edition [Re: Josh Paxton] #3005319 08/27/19 04:36 PM
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Man, I just started visiting both you and NOLA a couple of years ago. frown


The great thing about music is that there's always something to learn. The frustrating thing about music is that there's always something to learn!
Re: Cities to make a living as a player, 2019 edition [Re: Josh Paxton] #3005333 08/27/19 05:44 PM
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Just like to add-- if I were you and had your particular skill set that you do very well, I'd seriously look at San Diego. Of course Bobby and the other Josh would be way more in tune with the local scene then me. My remembrances of it were, again, from a different time.

What hasn't changed is, the quality of life would be better in San Diego then LA. Don't know about rents but housing has basically caught up with LA so that I'd say they are both on par with each other.

I'd think if you could find some places to do your solo thing, find a singer to come in and work with you when it would be apropos , supplement that scene with some freelance band things around town - man I think you'd be groovin'. I can't see you ever wanting to leave. It's really nice down there ! The weather is heavenly. Down a notch or two in intensity from LA. Less jive ass Hollywood types too.

I love NoCal ! If we had the dough, I'd have a place in Mill Valley, Larkspur, Kentfield , somewhere within 5 minutes of the Mt. Tam trails. They could bury me on one of those beautiful trails ! SF is so over the top expensive, even compared to LA, and the traffic is beyond insane now. Actually worse then LA in that you have less options to get somewhere. Again with your Nola solo piano style, I can picture you being very popular on the club scene in SF , Berkeley, Oakland and outlying areas.

Again though, I'd really look at San Diego personally.

Re: Cities to make a living as a player, 2019 edition [Re: Josh Paxton] #3005340 08/27/19 06:10 PM
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I just played in Vegas and connected with a good friend, a guitar player who's working steadily but says it's not the same as before. Just in the last few weeks there's been news of several long-standing live band gigs ending, with the leaders going to tracks. In the casino I stayed in, one of the bars had a guitarist who brought 3x more gear than I ever bring to a gig - huge pedalboard, 8 space rack, iPad, etc. He sang with tracks. For some of them he just held onto his guitar without playing it. My friend told me this is the trend – more solo gigs with tracks. To top it off this was next to the casino floor with tobacco smoke wafting through. I can't think of a more depressing gig than a solo in a casino bar.

Re: Cities to make a living as a player, 2019 edition [Re: Dave Ferris] #3005342 08/27/19 06:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave Ferris


I love NoCal ! If we had the dough, I'd have a place in Mill Valley, Larkspur, Kentfield , somewhere within 5 minutes of the Mt. Tam trails. They could bury me on one of those beautiful trails !

Again, I'd really look at San Diego personally.


I lived in Larkspur for 6 years until 6 months ago. We were deep in a canyon up against Mt. Tam. We loved it, but the fire risk just got too scary for us, so we got out while the gettin' was good. Insurance rates in spots like that are escalating quickly.

We are climate change believers (a very weird term, but I'll use it anyway), so we moved just a few miles away to Tiburon where the climate is cooler. But the problem with NorCal increasingly is just the amount of smoke from fires. It's been really bad the last two years, and if it keeps getting worse, we'll probably leave. Also, the Bay Area is so unaffordable. We pay out the wazoo just to be within commuting distance of our jobs.

But a musician has different "commuting" hours, which would allow you to live a little farther out in a more affordable locale. The music scene is strong, but whether it's strong enough to keep up with rents, I don't know.

If we do leave the Bay Area, we may move to San Diego, where I have roots. Traffic in San Diego is very bad and getting worse, but it's still just a rush hour thing.

The Great Lakes are not going to rise as sea level rises. The question no one can answer is whether some of these cold places are actually going to get any warmer. My wife is from Buffalo, which was identified as one of two optimal places to go to minimize risk from climate change (the other was a small city in Minnesota). Finally, Buffalo has something to crow about.


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Re: Cities to make a living as a player, 2019 edition [Re: Adan] #3005349 08/27/19 06:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Adan

I lived in Larkspur for 6 years until 6 months ago. We were deep in a canyon up against Mt. Tam. We loved it, but the fire risk just got too scary for us, so we got out while the gettin' was good. Insurance rates in spots like that are escalating quickly.

We are climate change believers (a very weird term, but I'll use it anyway), so we moved just a few miles away to Tiburon where the climate is cooler. But the problem with NorCal increasingly is just the amount of smoke from fires. It's been really bad the last two years, and if it keeps getting worse, we'll probably leave. Also, the Bay Area is so unaffordable.
The Great Lakes are not going to rise as sea level rises. The question no one can answer is whether some of these cold places are actually going to get any warmer. My wife is from Buffalo, which was identified as one of two optimal places to go to minimize risk from climate change (the other was a small city in Minnesota). Finally, Buffalo has something to crow about.


Wow the Tiburon/Belvedere area looks incredible ! And incredibly expensive too. I didn't know that area of Marin was that prone to the fires, makes sense though with all the vegetation and canyon areas.

My wife couldn't take upper state NY or Minnesota cold. I really think she'd be house bound with the heat all the way up till May. And we'd pay a fortune in heating bills. Me, I'd just get a big house with a treadmill and probably go out even less then I do now.

Re: Cities to make a living as a player, 2019 edition [Re: jeffinpghpa] #3005350 08/27/19 06:47 PM
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Jeff pretty much covered it all when it comes to Pittsburgh. You won't make a living by gigs alone here. My friends (husband/wife duo) that are full time musicians supplement their main acoustic gigs with teaching lessons at some local music stores. He also teaches an elementary music class at a local private school one or two days a week and she does some supplemental teaching work with the art education degree that she has. They just bought a house in city limits that's a 10 minute drive from the downtown cultural district. It's not that they're raking it in, it's more that Pittsburgh is a really affordable place to live.

Winters are far from mild here, though. Also, it's typically overcast and we get a fair amount of rain. However, the summer heat here is far more tolerable than in the south IMO.

Re: Cities to make a living as a player, 2019 edition [Re: Dave Ferris] #3005352 08/27/19 07:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave Ferris
Just like to add-- if I were you and had your particular skill set that you do very well, I'd seriously look at San Diego. Of course Bobby and the other Josh would be way more in tune with the local scene then me. My remembrances of it were, again, from a different time.

What hasn't changed is, the quality of life would be better in San Diego then LA. Don't know about rents but housing has basically caught up with LA so that I'd say they are both on par with each other.

I'd think if you could find some places to do your solo thing, find a singer to come in and work with you when it would be apropos , supplement that scene with some freelance band things around town - man I think you'd be groovin'. I can't see you ever wanting to leave. It's really nice down there ! The weather is heavenly. Down a notch or two in intensity from LA. Less jive ass Hollywood types too.


Dave isn't lying when he says "the quality of life would be better in San Diego then LA". Take it from one who has lived and worked in both cities for most of his (short) life. The traffic is getting much worse down here and people love to complain about it, but compared to L.A. it is like a sprained ankle vs a torn ACL. This is mainly because of a) distances being much shorter than in LA and b) the fact that it's not always bad all the time like LA. If you live where Dave lives in LA and have an evening hit in Long Beach, it could be a couple aggravating hours in the car easy.

Also, our scene is a welcoming and nice one. And there are a decent amount of $100 a night jazz gigs. There are also casino gigs for Top 40 and variety acts. Those are more like $200 a night. The problem is, man doesn't live on $100 a night gigs alone, not in this town. Dave is right in that housing around here is just as expensive as Los Angeles. Musicians around here make it work in different ways. Some teach in college, others in High School. Some are just gig hoes and live a meager life. I explained in the thread a few months ago where we were talking about how much $$ people made how I personally make it work. Basically because 1) am part of one of the most working Top 40 bands in town, 2) have had the weird luck to become the sports organist in town, 3) like to teach, 4) hold down a church gig, 5) 1) I'm versatile and can play/read in most styles so get called for misc sessions and odds and ends kinds of filler gigs, 6) still have L.A. connections from my time there so get to work up there from time to time 8) Get a rad deal in that we rent our house from my father in law at 25% under market price and most importantly 7) have a wonderful wife who is a speech therapist and will always have a solid school district gig with benefits.

For a husband and wife musician duo, I just don't know if it would be the easiest place to move. In fact, probably far from it. Would be good to hear MathofInsects' take.



Quote
I love NoCal ! If we had the dough, I'd have a place in Mill Valley, Larkspur, Kentfield , somewhere within 5 minutes of the Mt. Tam trails. They could bury me on one of those beautiful trails ! SF is so over the top expensive, even compared to LA, and the traffic is beyond insane now. Actually worse then LA in that you have less options to get somewhere. Again with your Nola solo piano style, I can picture you being very popular on the club scene in SF , Berkeley, Oakland and outlying areas.


My uncle who lived in Kentfield passed away 2 months ago. I spent a few days up there and played his memorial. I agree Dave, it's one of the nicest places in the world. $$ and traffic up there though.......



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Re: Cities to make a living as a player, 2019 edition [Re: Josh Paxton] #3005353 08/27/19 07:06 PM
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In the greater Orlando and Central Florida area, you've got a lot of opportunity as a working musician:

- Disney and Universal tourist areas
- corporate convention work
- The Villages retirement community
- Local bars, restaurants and occasional festivals

The area leans more blue and diverse closer to the attractions, and more red as you venture further away. Southern rock is still alive, but so is Top 40.

There is a thriving original scene, and a fair amount of cover band gigs as well. You can also do some side work on cruise ships if you and your wife want to try something different.

Traffic along Interstate 4 can be bad at times, but not so bad at other non-rush hour times. Cost of living is decent. Worth considering.

Re: Cities to make a living as a player, 2019 edition [Re: Josh Paxton] #3005355 08/27/19 07:07 PM
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I wish I could sell you on Houston. I just looked at some schedules of gigging piano players around town and I don't think they gig nearly as much as you do. Like others have said, a lot of players do a lot of teaching and many also do studio work. Frankly, I can't imagine any city that has the gigging opportunities that New Orleans does for a piano player. This is why I love visiting so much.

I guess the question is, what kinds of gigs would you be willing to do in your new hometown? Obviously some cities are different than others as far as their mix of bands and what they play (originals, covers, tributes…), what sort of jazz scene there might be, etc.

The other thing I want to point out is that I've started to notice that everywhere is changing. I seriously think the population increases everywhere have made some things difficult, if not challenging. Here in Texas we hear about many Californians leaving, but Dave says traffic there is worse. Traffic here is worse, too. Houston is getting larger and expected to pass Chicago (I've heard it for years, is Chicago still growing too?). The Houston I moved to in 1993 doesn't exist anymore. Some of the change has been good, but much of the weird, funky stuff that I loved is gone, replaced by chain stores or townhouses. Heck, even my neighborhood has changed from small, single-family bungalows that had a high percentage of gay couples to large two and three story homes with families. It's definitely not the neighborhood we fell in love with 20 years ago and we are, at this moment, considering moving. It hasn't become bad, but one of the factors is that it's not us anymore.

I think it's happening everywhere.


The great thing about music is that there's always something to learn. The frustrating thing about music is that there's always something to learn!
Re: Cities to make a living as a player, 2019 edition [Re: Josh Paxton] #3005361 08/27/19 07:18 PM
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hello there NOLA. should be heading there for my yearly visit shortly. my family moved from Buffalo to Baton Rouge. over 25 years ago I bought a house in Violet, just south of Chalmette. at that time I was playing Bourbon street at the old your father's moustache(next to the club where the legs were swinging out) 5 nights a week. I was making $125.00 a night. at the end of the gig, I loaded up my equipment on a wagon and went across the river to Algiers at a club named the cellar club, owned by Charlie Koviak. was making $165.00 a night for four nights a week. the cellar club gig started at three thirty in the morning and went for at least four to five hours. place was ridiculously packed. bartenders and bar maids with pockets full of tip money, club owner's and sober patrons made that the most unbelievable gig I ever did. the 4-piece band was named Rock Island. after a while I moved to south Florida about 15 years ago. the music scene back then was incredible. bar after bar, some walking distance from each other having full 5-6 piece bands every night of the week. right now basically no bands some duos and mostly singers with I-pads. basically a Karaoke act. someone wrote about Buffalo, N.Y., I don't know where the gigs are there. been there a few years back. two years ago went to Vegas, stayed at the Bellagio. the only live music there was a piano player a few nights a week. planet Hollywood a band there and old downtown Vegas a band playing outside there. nothing else. as far as NOLA is concerned Bourbon and Frenchman's have some good acts, but I doubt if the pay is anywhere decent. back in the day when I was there Sally Townes(the queen of Bourbon) and Randy Hebert were making well over a thousand a week. I don't know about Randy, but I know Sally moved to Florida then to New Mexico. this December will be three years that I retired from playing gigs. I was very lucky playing out all my life from playing Canada for four years, to NOLA to south Florida. the last year playing out, I was clearing just over $85,000.00 a year. today I doubt anyone can make a living in music. the $100.00 a night was the pay scale back in the seventies. with the set-up time and tear down time for a gig, the gig itself, and travel time, what are you making an hour. let alone the cost of the gear. I really feel sorry for the young kids thinking they want to do music for a living. It's over. I spoke to people in England and even there it's bad. the DJ's are making good money for weddings, etc. and taking the jobs from the bands. sometimes the bands are at fault, not playing what the crowd wants to hear. I remember playing a gig in the panhandle of Florida where there were four clubs under one roof with live entertainment. top forty club, place was jammed. dueling pianos club, jammed packed. classic rock club, jammed pack. the last club where I talked to the musicians that said they don't play Brown Eyed Girl, My Girl, Funky Music, the club was empty. How I stayed working and making decent money was my ability to read a crowd and play the songs they wanted. it works all the time. and finally when you get to retirement age, what about social security, health insurance, etc. right now, I have my Hammond, bunch of keyboards, new DAW, my Bose system to keep my chops up. good luck to everyone...……..Larry

Re: Cities to make a living as a player, 2019 edition [Re: Josh Paxton] #3005385 08/27/19 09:05 PM
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Al Quinn Offline
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While on vacation in Montreal I attended a random jazz jam session, signed up to play, and was blown away by the caliber of musicians I played with. I left with the impression that it’s a great music town. Perhaps someone who lives there can take it from here because that’s all I know.

Re: Cities to make a living as a player, 2019 edition [Re: Josh Paxton] #3005404 08/27/19 10:08 PM
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MAJUSCULE Offline
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I saw Benny Bloom just moved to Denver.

As far as north of the border, Vancouver Island would be your only real option if it's a year-round situation. Rod might have some insights as to regular gigging in Victoria. Of course, it's not great as far as long-term flood security.

I wonder about the Pacific NW as well. Seems cool.


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Re: Cities to make a living as a player, 2019 edition [Re: lsj] #3005415 08/27/19 11:15 PM
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Originally Posted by lsj
the last year playing out, I was clearing just over $85,000.00 a year.


Gross or as a sole proprietor, net (after write offs)?
Also: before or after taxes?


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My latest album: Funky organ, huge horn section
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Re: Cities to make a living as a player, 2019 edition [Re: Josh Paxton] #3005420 08/28/19 12:11 AM
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GRollins Offline
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I can save you some time by negating all of South Carolina.
1) There's absolutely no music scene in the center, where I live. None. It's a friggin' wasteland. Charleston, at the coast...is a dim maybe, but bear in mind that it would be heavily seasonal. Even moreso for Myrtle Beach (the north end of the coast) and Hilton Head (the southern end).
2) SC would definitely, absolutely fail your red state test. I absolutely detest it here but, like you, I will desist, lest the conversation turn ugly.

North Carolina trends red, but is not as homogeneous. You'd have three possibilities:
1) The Triangle...that being Chapel Hill, Durham, and Raleigh. (Not to be confused with the Triad, which is Greensboro, Winston Salem, and what...High Point? I forget.)
2) Charlotte.
3) Asheville.
All would fit the mild winter category, with the caveat that it does snow in Asheville, being up in the mountains. It don't hardly snow no mo' in Charlotte or the Triangle and when it does it's like down here...gone in an hour or two, next day at the most. The last "real" snow I remember from when I was living in Chapel Hill was in '74, I think. After that, the snow simply stopped, like turning off a switch. The more the climate skews, the less likely it is to even dust the ground. I remember two or three 6-8" snowfalls every winter when I was a kid living in Spartanburg (NW corner of SC, about an hour from Asheville). Now? Nuthin'. So it's possible that even Asheville will be too warm for snow in the near future.
Of the three, Asheville is the most...uh...non-red, shall we say. Chapel Hill used to be, but it's changed a lot since I lived there in the '70s through early '80s.
Me? I'd love to move to Asheville. Do so in a skinny minute, except that my wife is working two jobs here and we're not portable yet. That hasn't stopped us from looking at real estate up there.
You? It might be worth taking an exploratory trip--a weekend?--to Asheville. If nothing else, it's totally gorgeous (one man's opinion--I happen to love the mountains) and there's a lot of stuff to do. The Triangle and Charlotte might be worth it, or might not. Forget the rest of NC. It's like SC.
Oh, and don't forget that Moog is based in Asheville, if your preferences lean that way. And Make Noise, too, I think.

Grey

Last edited by GRollins; 08/28/19 12:14 AM.

I'm not interested in someone's ability to program. I'm interested in their ability to compose and play.
Re: Cities to make a living as a player, 2019 edition [Re: GRollins] #3005454 08/28/19 03:46 AM
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Hey Josh, seems to me you could make anyplace your home and people would love what you do. Perhaps in your research you could contact agencies in the various markets, get a sense of what gigs are available, at what frequency and $$$$. That may or may not be perfect info, but might be useful in addition to what you glean here.

As for what I know, another Californian here, spent all my life in SoCal, moved up to the Bay Area about 5 years ago. Wish I had moved up here 20 years ago, it's fantastic on many levels, the culture, food & wine, music, nature, and oh yeah... one of the great cities of the world! I'm totally into fishing and the salmon are running right now off the Marin coast. I live in Sausalito, a small town that's full of tourists in the daytime and pretty much shuts down after that, I think the average age of the locals is about 72 :-)

As for the live music scene, a possible and perhaps intriguing opportunity are the wineries, there must be 1,000+ wineries within an hour of San Francisco, mostly in Napa and Sonoma counties. Not all of them have live music, but methinks quite a few, whether for nightly stuff or various events. Not sure how much it costs to live up there, but probably less than SF. And the location is amazing. Your NOLA stuff might be a good match? Some of the other KC bay area locals would be a much better source of info on this and the live music scene in general. I spend more time fishing than I do playing music, sacrilege!


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Re: Cities to make a living as a player, 2019 edition [Re: Bobadohshe] #3005475 08/28/19 11:19 AM
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after tax but before equipment purchases.

Re: Cities to make a living as a player, 2019 edition [Re: Josh Paxton] #3005476 08/28/19 11:43 AM
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No direct experience, but I've met a number of musos who make a living in Orlando, largely thanks to the theme parks. One person described it as a "cruise ship gig without the water". Downsides would be that you're usually seen as an entertainer vs. a performer. There's an organic music scene for the locals as well, but it's no Nashville, Austin, etc. Politically, the state runs 50/50 with pockets throughout.


Life is too short to be playing bad music.

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Re: Cities to make a living as a player, 2019 edition [Re: waygetter] #3005501 08/28/19 04:16 PM
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Adan Online Content
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Originally Posted by waygetter


As for the live music scene, a possible and perhaps intriguing opportunity are the wineries, there must be 1,000+ wineries within an hour of San Francisco, mostly in Napa and Sonoma counties. Not all of them have live music, but methinks quite a few, whether for nightly stuff or various events. Not sure how much it costs to live up there, but probably less than SF. And the location is amazing. Your NOLA stuff might be a good match? Some of the other KC bay area locals would be a much better source of info on this and the live music scene in general. I spend more time fishing than I do playing music, sacrilege!


The wineries thought is a good one. I've never played them, myself, but I've considered it because I've so often seen bands or just solo musicians at them. For someone like Josh (not that there are tons of people "like Josh"), I could see living in Novato which is about 30 minutes north of SF and just 20 minutes from Napa. Play weekend afternoon gigs at wineries and still be able to gig in the City same evening. Novato much more affordable than SF.

Back to Waygetter's post, before I had kids I played the best Bay Area clubs. Now I play places like the Sausalito Cruising Club, Sam's in Tiburon, and Peri's in Fairfax. Small pay and lots of grey hair in the audience. But it's a nice change of pace from putting the kids to bed.


Crumar Seven, Crumar Mojo 61, Korg Vox Continental, Yamaha CP73.

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Re: Cities to make a living as a player, 2019 edition [Re: Josh Paxton] #3005515 08/28/19 05:39 PM
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I left L.A. about six-seven years ago the traffic and gentrification was kill what little soul was left in the city. I go back to visit now and then and the traffic alone makes be glad I'm gone. The musicians I grew up with most have left L.A. for the SF Valley which traffic is as bad but a tiny bit cheaper to live. Others are moving further out and only coming into town for work as necessary. The old friends still there are because they still get enough recording work and do pro-level tours.

I would like to move again but most decent size cities the cost of rent is crazy. I hear Nashville housing is rising, but hasn't go as bad as other places. I'd love to go to NYC but gentrification is driving cost of everything up, up, up. They called L.A. the new Brooklyn now because so many NYC'er have move to L.A.. I used to live in the Santa Cruz CA area and Oakland CA and would like to go there but prices are up. Checked Oregon and Washington and same thing. Seems like living near a good city and accepting an hour or so drive when necessary is the most reasonable way to go cost wise. Someone mention places with wineries and some old L.A. buddies was doing good in Central California just outside San Luis Obispo. There is the university and a handful of wineries and they work all the time doing small jazz gigs duo and larger. Weather wise that would fit your needs.

Re: Cities to make a living as a player, 2019 edition [Re: Josh Paxton] #3005520 08/28/19 06:26 PM
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I was just talking about this to a realtor I work with who flips houses part time. So many places in CA, NYC are expensive. I didn't realize people from here were moving to CA? I hadn't been to Houston in 20 years but I believe what Joe is saying. Seems like Nashville and Austin are saturated now.


"Danny, ci manchi a tutti. La E-Street Band non e' la stessa senza di te. Riposa in pace, fratello"


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