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OT: LA music scene


Cygnus64

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A friend of mine is moving to L.A., he's a guitarist. To those who live/gig out there, any advice on how he can break into the scene? He's a serious pro and does a lot of touring broadway shows like Lion King and Rent, has a huge resume etc. I imagine it's a tough place to just show up at, any advice?
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Stay home.

 

 

Mike T.

 

+1,000,000 !

 

Seriously, I'm on my way out to a vocal lesson and I'll try and post my 2 cents later on this afternoon if I have a minute. Basically though it's like anywhere else. Luck, timing and the connections. It's just on another level here.Work is at an all time (what's the worse case scenario for slow) SLOW level for myself and all my friends.

https://soundcloud.com/dave-ferris

 

2005 NY Steinway D

Yamaha AvantGrand N3X, P-515

 

 

 

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Thanks, Mike and Dave.

 

The guy is a go-getter and a monster player, he'll do ok. I wish I had his go-getter side, I don't.

 

Work is at an all time (what's the worse case scenario for slow) SLOW level for myself and all my friends.

 

Here too. It's been the worst summer I can recall.

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Stay home.

 

 

Mike T.

 

+1,000,000 !

 

 

This town this town. There are so many guitar players. And it skews young these days. Where in L.A. is he moving?

Kawai C-60 Grand Piano : Hammond A-100 : Hammond SK2 : Yamaha CP4 : Yamaha Montage 7 : Moog Sub 37

 

My latest album: Funky organ, huge horn section

https://bobbycressey.bandcamp.com/album/cali-native

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Cygnus64, your friend might want to have a look at this thread, where I posted the following:

 

Michael Jackson was my big break as well, but that came after almost five years of mostly playing the club & hotel circuits in LA. Back then of course, the record industry was flush with money and so was MJ. In fact, MJ was almost an industry in his own right! Now, MJ's gone, the record industry is a shell of its former self, film & television has been waiting for over a year to see if whether the actors are going to strike, and the world economy is in the middle of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.

 

Couple that with the high cost of living in LA, and this is possibly the worst time of our lifetimes to try your luck in the entertainment industry. Next year will probably be better. If you don't make it this time, you may want to try your luck again then.

 

Personally, I haven't been able to find enough work lately to sustain me -- despite a solid resume and having scored a film earlier this year -- and I've actually started applying for day jobs for the first time since John Lennon died almost thirty years ago.

 

YMMV. I hope it does.

 

Best,

 

Geoff

My Blue Someday appears on Apple Music | Spotify | YouTube | Amazon

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The guy is a go-getter and a monster player, he'll do ok.

 

He'll be one among many has far has great ability and talent.

 

He'll be one among 90-95% of people in the "biz" who make it their life's mission to hustle gigs. Most from this group will get further in their careers than the former.

 

I'm at 30 years and 8.5 months of being here in town coming from St. Louis in '79.

 

I've been fortunate to have come up in the "good years" for freelance players. Live, Studio and Road work was aplenty.Had some incredible years, made a lotta dough (sometimes), played with some of the finest musicians in the world. The freelance scene has I and many of my contemporaries have known it has all but disappeared.

 

If your friend "knows" someone in town that might get him on has a sub for one the shows, that would be an excellent start for meeting players at least from that scene. Seems a lot of guys who used to be very busy in the studio scene have gravitated towards the shows, at least the doubling woodwind players I know.

 

I wish him luck, he'll need it. It wasn't always like that. If you could play and read plus had any type of reasonable social skills relating to people, you could almost guarantee you'd be OK. Different time, different world....WAY different.

 

Personally my wife and I are trying to figure out how to get out of Dodge and move to somewhere like Ventura. After almost 31 years "the thrill is gone". We'd like to be out of town but close enough to come in if need be. I'm just worried how the Steinway would react to the ocean climate, also not has many good piano techs out there. Sure is nice running and biking weather though. Priorities ?.......

 

 

https://soundcloud.com/dave-ferris

 

2005 NY Steinway D

Yamaha AvantGrand N3X, P-515

 

 

 

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Just got back from visting my 2 brothers in LA. They both have good paying jobs but they still can't afford a half way desent house in LA. The state of California is in a real mess. Also as Dave points out the "good years" for players is long over.If I was looking for a fulltime career in music I'd go somewhere else.
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I'd have to agree with the previous posts. But if he's bent on coming, there are two places he should "check-in". One, of course, is the union, Local 47: http://www.promusic47.org/ The second is Musician's Institute http://www.mi.edu/, which is a huge guitar school (and other instruments; Russell Ferrante teaches there); he may be able to land a teaching job while he's looking for other work, and can network with "the industry" through the school and the union. Both are located in Hollywood (MI's right at the fabled Hollywood & Vine), and are just blocks from the Pantages Theater and other big stage venues. Also very accessible via the subway system.

Legend '70s Compact, Jupiter-Xm, Studiologic Numa X 73

 

 

 

 

 

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Boy, this thread is a real pick-me-up. Not. :(

 

 

Noah

 

Haha..sounds like my wife referring to my conversations with other musicians- "And how is Mr. Sunshine today" ?

 

I was at MI from '80 to I think it was '03 when the new owner finally decided to get rid of any class that had the word Jazz attached to it.

 

If he can get in, he'll meet other players that can't gig has much has in the past and are forced to teach. Everyone I know now hustles teaching gigs has opposed to playing gigs.

https://soundcloud.com/dave-ferris

 

2005 NY Steinway D

Yamaha AvantGrand N3X, P-515

 

 

 

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It is hard to find work in LA, yet, musos stay because of the "industry", contacts, etc. Catch 22.

 

I guess it really depends. The DC musos I know that are staying out in LA seem to be doing OK.

 

Well, at least they haven't moved back to the east coast yet. :laugh::cool:

PD

 

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return."--E. Ahbez "Nature Boy"

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Boy, this thread is a real pick-me-up. Not. :(

Heh. If it's a downer to read about, imagine living it!

 

That said, regardless of current hard times, I know I've been one of the lucky ones.

 

 

Same here.

 

I sometimes wish my wife and I would have pointed our '75 Chevy Impala wagon East to NYC from St. Louis that frozen morning of Jan. 1 1979. But all things considered life has been very good to both of us here.

https://soundcloud.com/dave-ferris

 

2005 NY Steinway D

Yamaha AvantGrand N3X, P-515

 

 

 

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Yea Geoff, it hasn't been any better here either. I know a lot of great players who aren't working nearly enough and then when they do the universe is still throwing $100 - 150 at 'em. It's tough out there. Gigs are so scarce here that good players are playing for say $75 at times. Sad. My work has slowed down since 06/08, but in the past few months I've seen it pick up a little and I feel like it's starting to get better. Hang in there,bro.
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Thanks for all the responses. He's moving Saturday I think. :laugh:

 

Personally, I think he's making the right choice. Yup, music is a hard biz and he knows it, he's late 30s and has done it his whole life. Cleveland is not a big music town. It has a pretty good classical scene but it's a dying city and a poor one. I gig all over the map, I'm one of the fortunate ones too but I've had gigs drying up like everyone else.

 

He's in the AFM here and will surely join local 47, as well as keep his membership here to come back for extended runs.

 

To be honest, I'm kinda thinking about it too, except I would move more toward the East Coast. I've lived in 11 states so far. :laugh: It's tough when the town is dying like Cleveland. Shows arent coming in for lots of reasons, one being the rent at the arenas and venues. 6 years ago, I was getting 50 Michael Bolton/Rod Stewart/Anne Murray backing gigs a year, I'm lucky if I get 10 any more. Nearby towns like Pittsburgh and Columbus are bringing in shows that just won't come to this hellhole. I don't think it helped when the "Chorus Line" came last year and 3 cast members had guns pointed at their heads while being robbed outside the stage door. :rolleyes:

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Yea Geoff, it hasn't been any better here either. I know a lot of great players who aren't working nearly enough and then when they do the universe is still throwing $100 - 150 at 'em. It's tough out there. Gigs are so scarce here that good players are playing for say $75 at times. Sad. My work has slowed down since 06/08, but in the past few months I've seen it pick up a little and I feel like it's starting to get better. Hang in there,bro.

Thanks, Linwood. You too. I'm glad at least that you feel like it's starting to get better.

 

I hope prosperity returns soon for us all.

 

Best,

 

Geoff

My Blue Someday appears on Apple Music | Spotify | YouTube | Amazon

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LA has the largest concentration of yankee slickers, scavengers, and quick buck artists who are incapable of seeing true talent past the pretty face. You can have a resume the size of Manhattan and the talent of Bach, and the only thing that impresses them are the first musician(s) with pretty faces who are young & gullible enough to sign themselves into endentured slavery. Even the lucky few who get a contract find themselves cheated out of royalties through manipulative "hollywood accounting" and their contract forbids auditing of the books by anyone but their corporate accountant.

 

No music of any value has emerged from the "city of (devil's) angels" in the last twenty years because the smart ones refused to buy into the system of greed and arrogance and have moved on to friendlier territory. The promotion machine in Hollywood is incapable of producing anything artistic and original, and the system is so out of touch with the rest of the world.

 

But there is a dark side...

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LA has the largest concentration of yankee slickers, scavengers, and quick buck artists who are incapable of seeing true talent past the pretty face. You can have a resume the size of Manhattan and the talent of Bach, and the only thing that impresses them are the first musician(s) with pretty faces who are young & gullible enough to sign themselves into endentured slavery.

 

Honestly:

 

I don't think any market is much different from any other one in the grand scheme of life. I've lived and gigged in NYC, Chicago, New Orleans, Dallas/Ft Worth, etc and everywhere has politics, nepotism, cronyism, cliques, you name it. Most musicians, especially older ones, know all about it and are used to it.

 

I go into gigs all the time where some pretty face with no experience is taking the chair of someone who can blow them out of the water. I see lots and lots of asskissers who cant play "Come to Jesus" in whole notes getting hired ahead of monsters. I see union board folk illegally contracting and taking every gig they can, I see the same crap that everyone else has to deal with in every other market.

 

It doesnt really matter. You just have to realize that it exists, and snag the other available gigs. :thu:

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I don't think any market is much different from any other one in the grand scheme of life.

 

It doesnt really matter. You just have to realize that it exists, and snag the other available gigs. :thu:

Exactly.

 

Apparently, there was some point in time that gigs just fell out of the sky like rain. They were everywhere and nobody had to lift a finger. Just show up and play.

 

Well, the market has been saturated with music and other forms of entertainment. All of this stuff is competing in the same space.

 

Regardless of talent, musos have to learn how to hustle in LA and every other location. :cool:

PD

 

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return."--E. Ahbez "Nature Boy"

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Nice post, Cygnus. I've recently learned that the world each of us lives in is largely of our own making. There may be particular challenges in one place or another, but it's up to us to rise above them. What would be the point if there weren't any? :)

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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Nice post, Cygnus. I've recently learned that the world each of us lives in is largely of our own making.

 

That's something I could be better at. I'm an excellent musician, and that's just not enough. You gotta hustle. I see players 1/100th as good as me getting more gigs, and I think "it's a damn conspiracy". :laugh: The reality: it IS a conspiracy, and you hafta be a conspirator. :rawk:

 

 

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I def have to agree with Dave n Montunoman..I have many friends there...Ive had a few offers to work there but they were from production co's...there simply arent any gigs for a freelancer...could try Vegas...but in LA, most of the guys living there go out w/shows, tours etc..they dont gig there..

 

I wonder how things are in Miami...hey they got great beach down there...

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Thanks for responding Adino. :thu:

there simply arent any gigs for a freelancer...

 

I don't accept this. :rawk:

 

LA has a metro population of 17.5 million. Cleveland has a metro of 3 mil. The disparity is enormous. SOMEBODY is getting the gigs. It just takes someone who thinks outta the box.

 

There's a girl here (on violin) who gets every gig. Every. Gig. She's an average player at best, but a virtuoso schmoozer/ass-kisser/networker/go-getter. She's world-class at it, she literally buys people presents and gets them tickets, she's the consumate flirt as well. I gotta admit, I hire her quite often over far better players, because she returns the gigs.

 

The rest of us? We mainly bitch about how there is no work. :laugh: While we're sitting around bitching, she's lining up her next gig. It's an artform for her, and she loves it. Frankly, I think ass-kissing is despicable, yet I'm on a forum bitching and she's probably out doing a gig I should have got. :laugh:

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You're right, there are plenty of gigs. Casuals happen all over this town every day and night. People go on tour all the time and take guitarists with them. The problem is there are literally dozens of GREAT guitarists per square mile in this city. And it skews young. And it's like Polar bears clinging onto a melting iceburg. But if you find a way to climb over those polar bears somehow, you can find work. You said he's talented at hustling his ass off, so you never know. Our L.A. pessimism comes from experience and seeing work dry up for those of us who already have connections. But anything is possible!

Kawai C-60 Grand Piano : Hammond A-100 : Hammond SK2 : Yamaha CP4 : Yamaha Montage 7 : Moog Sub 37

 

My latest album: Funky organ, huge horn section

https://bobbycressey.bandcamp.com/album/cali-native

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LA has a metro population of 17.5 million. Cleveland has a metro of 3 mil. The disparity is enormous. SOMEBODY is getting the gigs. It just takes someone who thinks outta the box.

 

There's a girl here (on violin) who gets every gig. Every. Gig. She's an average player at best, but a virtuoso schmoozer/ass-kisser/networker/go-getter.

 

The rest of us? We mainly bitch about how there is no work. :laugh: While we're sitting around bitching, she's lining up her next gig. It's an artform for her, and she loves it. Frankly, I think ass-kissing is despicable, yet I'm on a forum bitching and she's probably out doing a gig I should have got. :laugh:

Bingo. :thu:

 

There is work everywhere. The choices are to put in the leg-work or hire someone like the aforementioned violinist.

 

Nowadays, folks need a reason to get off the couch and check out live music. Be prepared to pucker up. :laugh::cool:

PD

 

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return."--E. Ahbez "Nature Boy"

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