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OT: LA music scene


Cygnus64

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The problem is there are literally dozens of GREAT guitarists per square mile in this city.

 

This is why God invented practice rooms. :thu:

 

This is turning into a good thread. :thu: For the young-uns, it shows the reality of what is involved. You don't have to be good, you have to be amazing. Even that isnt enough, you have to be a fighter as well.

 

 

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Yeah, if there was no work, there would be 100 percent unemployment; and we're far from that. Even in my bad current situation, I'm getting some work -- just not enough to cover my cost of living.

 

A bad economic climate is actually a money making opportunity for some industries; and even within the entertainment industry, there are probably a few people who are actually doing better than ever right now.

 

That said, this is still the worst possible time to move to LA and break into the scene here. It won't be impossible for your friend, just considerably more difficult.

 

Best,

 

Geoff

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

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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:

Granted, I've worked consistently up until now because of three things -- a widely developed skill set, a good work ethic, and an easy to work with disposition. I never before had to build my networking skills beyond an average ability, but I'm definitely taking a crash course now!

 

Best,

 

Geoff

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

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I'm about the last one who should talk about promotion and networking since I apparently was born devoid of this gene...but I do want to add that a lot of the people I've seen who ARE good at networking and promotion have not been ass-kissers. Some have been, don't get me wrong, but more have not been. They've had great people skills, were dynamic and engaging, remembered people's faces and details, were great about keeping in touch, were outgoing, and quick-witted.
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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........ Our L.A. pessimism comes from experience and seeing work dry up for those of us who already have connections. But anything is possible!

 

+1

 

I think with a lot of us older guys, the phrase, "been there, done that" applies. Yeah there are still a LOT of gigs floating around (still nothing like before), but will I take a $75 gig on a Thursday night from 7-11 in deep Orange County, Costa Mesa, Newport Beach?

Sit in rush hour traffic for a minimum of 2 hours just to get there and probably end up being wallpaper in addition to being treated like sh..t.? Been there, done that...BUT.... plenty of 20 -30 yr. old kids will be on that. Will I play a 6 hour wedding gig--2 hour pretime with ceremony and cocktails + 4 hr. band hit for $300? Hell no, but you won't have to go far down that list to find some youngster to do it. Will I go out on the road with some knucklehead "star" for $1000 a week? Heck, I was making $1500 back in '85. Will I go sit in a studio at $50 an hour for music I hate just to say..."yeah man, I did a session today, it was cool". Sorry.

 

The work is there, just paying the same or less than 25 years ago with additional strings attached.

https://soundcloud.com/dave-ferris

2005 NY Steinway D

Yamaha AvantGrand N3X, P-515

 

 

 

 

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I do want to add that a lot of the people I've seen who ARE good at networking and promotion have not been ass-kissers. Some have been, don't get me wrong, but more have not been. They've had great people skills, were dynamic and engaging, remembered people's faces and details, were great about keeping in touch, were outgoing, and quick-witted.

+1

 

Yeah, networking is not about kissing ass. And yes, some people do kiss ass while networking.

 

Best,

 

Geoff

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

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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........ Our L.A. pessimism comes from experience and seeing work dry up for those of us who already have connections. But anything is possible!

 

I think with a lot of us older guys, the phrase, "been there, done that" applies. Yeah there are still a LOT of gigs floating around (still nothing like before), but will I take a $75 gig on a Thursday night from 7-11 in deep Orange County, Costa Mesa, Newport Beach?

Sit in rush hour traffic for a minimum of 2 hours just to get there and probably end up being wallpaper in addition to being treated like sh..t.? Been there, done that...BUT.... plenty of 20 -30 yr. old kids will be on that. Will I play a 6 hour wedding gig--2 hour pretime with ceremony and cocktails + 4 hr. band hit for $300? Hell no, but you won't have to go far down that list to find some youngster to do it. Will I go out on the road with some knucklehead "star" for $1000 a week? Heck, I was making $1500 back in '85. Will I go sit in a studio at $50 an hour for music I hate just to say..."yeah man, I did a session today, it was cool". Sorry.

Furthermore, older guys usually have a wife, kids, and more possessions that you can't just cram into a studio apartment like the single, younger guys live in. The younger crowd can get by on that income, the older ones can't.

 

Best,

 

Geoff

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

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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........ Our L.A. pessimism comes from experience and seeing work dry up for those of us who already have connections. But anything is possible!

 

+1

 

I think with a lot of us older guys, the phrase, "been there, done that" applies. Yeah there are still a LOT of gigs floating around (still nothing like before), but will I take a $75 gig on a Thursday night from 7-11 in deep Orange County, Costa Mesa, Newport Beach?

Sit in rush hour traffic for a minimum of 2 hours just to get there and probably end up being wallpaper in addition to being treated like sh..t.? Been there, done that...BUT.... plenty of 20 -30 yr. old kids will be on that. Will I play a 6 hour wedding gig--2 hour pretime with ceremony and cocktails + 4 hr. band hit for $300? Hell no, but you won't have to go far down that list to find some youngster to do it. Will I go out on the road with some knucklehead "star" for $1000 a week? Heck, I was making $1500 back in '85. Will I go sit in a studio at $50 an hour for music I hate just to say..."yeah man, I did a session today, it was cool". Sorry.

 

The work is there, just paying the same or less than 25 years ago with additional strings attached.

 

And that's your perogative. As a 'youngster' myself, I am making this transition, accepting fewer and fewer of these kinds of gigs because my time is too valuable. But when the going gets rough, or I'm having a slow month, I'll do that kind of work.

 

The sad reality is I know a lot of guys your age Dave, that still do take horrible gigs just for the $75 for 3 hours at the HT grill in Redondo Beach or some steakhouse in Pomona. It's seeing those types of musicians that motivates me to practice and network and push my composing chops and aspire to something greater.

 

IMO $300 for a wedding gig ain't bad though. Although probably not for 6 hours!

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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That said, this is still the worst possible time to move to LA and break into the scene here.

 

That could work in his favor. :laugh:

 

I would say that two years ago, I had a "sure thing". The phone rang, I got work. The same is true for him, he did lots of gigs. None of us has that any more, in any field. I look at it as "What have you got to lose".

 

but I do want to add that a lot of the people I've seen who ARE good at networking and promotion have not been ass-kissers. Some have been, don't get me wrong, but more have not been. They've had great people skills, were dynamic and engaging, remembered people's faces and details, were great about keeping in touch, were outgoing, and quick-witted.

 

Absolutely. The first step is to play well, be reliable and have the right costume on. The good players have to ass-kiss a lot less, they have the skillz to pay the billz. Nonetheless, they have to compete against the ass-kissers. Sometimes, you can't win. Once you accept that, it makes it easier.

 

Since I am a string player first and a keyboardist second, there's an interesting aspect to my string scene: it's almost ALL female. :D This makes for one hell of a political situation. From the flirters to the "Girls club", it can be very frustrating, especially when many contractors are older men. Females are WAY more cut-throat and competitive than males. They play hardball, they will spread outright lies, usually about the other females. It's frustrating yet highly amusing to watch. :laugh:

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DF is actually articulating the 'reality' facing all seasoned musos everywhere.

 

When I'm checking out live performances by older artists, their band usually consists of younger musos.

 

At some point, it does get 'old'. Especially when the reward doesn't quite make it worthwhile.

 

Yet, $300 for a 6 hour wedding gig is $50 per hour. In the corporate world, that is a decent hourly wage.

 

News flash....the music business has been a younger person's game for a long time.

 

Back when the money was decent, we were younger too. :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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News flash....the music business has been a younger person's game for a long time.

 

Back when the money was decent, we were younger too. :cool:

 

After reading that...

 

I need a drink. :sick:

 

ProfD - you're ten years younger than I am. Therefore...

 

The first drink's on YOU. :cool:

 

 

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent." - Victor Hugo
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Yet, $300 for a 6 hour wedding gig is $50 per hour. In the corporate world, that is a decent hourly wage.

If you can work 40 hours per week at that wage, you'll be okay, even in expensive LA -- although after taxes, you'll probably just scrape by here, especially if you have to cover insurance costs that corporate workers get gratis.

 

Best,

 

Geoff

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

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The sad reality is I know a lot of guys your age Dave, that still do take horrible gigs just for the $75 for 3 hours at the HT grill in Redondo Beach or some steakhouse in Pomona. It's seeing those types of musicians that motivates me to practice and network and push my composing chops and aspire to something greater.

 

IMO $300 for a wedding gig ain't bad though. Although probably not for 6 hours!

 

Don't get me wrong Bobby, if there's good music to be made with good musicians, I'll drive to friggin' San Diego on a Friday night for a $100. I will still play door gigs in coffee houses(see my post in the Pittsburgh Steeler thread a few days ago) if the music and musicians are at an inspiring level. I'll try and make music in a parking lot for the opening of a new supermarket if the players are good and the dough is reasonable.

 

I'm referring to basic GB gigs that all of us do just to make a living. Regarding the wedding stuff. One year in the '90s I made close to 70 K on just weddings (I'm not bragging and feel a bit embarrassed in admitting this). If someone called me right now for a 4 hour $300 wedding this Sat. around town, believe me I'd be on it. Mostly just referring to how these agents that control that scene take advantage of out of work and desperate musicians.

 

The call: "Hi Dave, this is .... how have you been? Long time. Say listen, I got this thing Sat. night and. ....got double booked and has to bail. Could you cover it, it pays $300"?

 

Me- "Sure, could you tell me a little bit about it"?

 

Them-"Well, the gig starts at 6 with the ceremony. You have to be there at 5 though to rehearse with the Bride's sister, I hear she's good, she used to sing in her church. She'll be doing 3 or 4 songs during the ceremony. If she has any problems, I know you're a pro and will cover her. Then after that, you'll move your gear up a few flights of steps to the porch overlooking the patio to do an hour of cocktail music with the sax player. Oh and do me a favor Dave, try and keep the music upbeat and steady so there are no lulls".

"After you guys are done there, if you could pack real quick and hustle downstairs to setup with the band. If you could get set up real quick so we can open the doors right at 8. You guys will be playing continuous but I'll see if I can throw you a few extra bucks for that". "So that's basically it, pretty cut and and dry, oh one more thing, at the end of the evening could you not go out the front door with your dolly and equipment? I know it's almost 1 in the morning, almost everyone has gone home and the loading dock makes your trip a almost a quarter mile longer, but we're trying to keep up a good image at this hotel for future work". " I also know we haven't called you for any work for this year so far but things have been slow but I'll call you now because it's picking up. One other thing I might mention,....might be leaving so if you would want to get on the first call list you'd have to make the Wednesday night rehearsals at my place down in the Marina. We basically learn some new stuff for the kids plus try and stay on top of the harmonies for the Beach Boys Medley we do."

 

Me..."I really appreciate the call ....but you know, that's a lotta hours and a lotta work schlepping and all. I really feel like it should be paying around $500 or at least $450 for a 6-7 hour call. That seems to be the normal rate around town for keyboard players. And thanks for the offer of the first chair but you know Wednesday night is my night I set aside for re-arranging my sock drawer".

 

Them--"Thanks anyway, click".

 

 

https://soundcloud.com/dave-ferris

2005 NY Steinway D

Yamaha AvantGrand N3X, P-515

 

 

 

 

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News flash....the music business has been a younger person's game for a long time.

Yes and no. Generally, but far from absolutely.

 

John Williams didn't achieve the widespread fame he enjoys today until his mid-forties and Dave Brubeck is still going strong at 88.

 

Best,

 

Geoff

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

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News flash....the music business has been a younger person's game for a long time.

Yes and no. Generally, but far from absolutely.

 

John Williams didn't achieve the widespread fame he enjoys today until his mid-forties and Dave Brubeck is still going strong at 88.

 

Best,

 

Geoff

 

Verdi wrote his best stuff at 80.

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News flash....the music business has been a younger person's game for a long time.

Yes and no. Generally, but far from absolutely.

 

John Williams didn't achieve the widespread fame he enjoys today until his mid-forties and Dave Brubeck is still going strong at 88.

 

Best,

 

Geoff

 

Verdi wrote his best stuff at 80.

 

It's all true and I'm not being Ageist or anything. But if I'm not mistaken we're not talking about composing ability, or even musical ability. We're talking about a gigging guitarist trying to make a name for himself around town and break in to some higher level gigs. I guess I shouldn't assume that I know what he's after because we never talked about it. If he wants to be in a pit orchestra then age doesn't matter - in fact it probably helps to have a seasoned look and vibe. But if you want to move in Hollywood circles in and among the gigging musicians who tour internationally, you have to have a look. When I held down my HOB gig on Sunset earlier this year and last year, we had all kinds of touring musicians coming through that play with Prince, Jessica Simpson, and Madonna. They all looked young, or if they weren't young, they looked ageless. I brought in a killing guitar player friend of mine who is about 50. Although he played great, he looked like a fish out of water in that crowd.

 

If that's not what he aspires to then so be it. Hell I'm kind of over that scene myself.

 

I also wish your friend the very best in this move. If he's a hustler, he could do well.

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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I'm on board with Dave Ferris. I won't play a gig unless its worth moving all my gear and getting "decent" pay. Not everyone can afford to pay what I'm asking, I try to be diplomatic but pass. I'm not a professional player like a lot of you guys, I did a 3 year solo road gig back in the eighties and hardly broke out even. It was fun, but I had to quit to get a real job. Now that real jobs suck too, I wish I could be on the road playing the hotel circuit again. But it doesn't exist anymore. Everything changes, except the low pay people offer.

 

Mike T.

Yamaha Motif ES8, Alesis Ion, Prophet 5 Rev 3.2, 1979 Rhodes Mark 1 Suitcase 73 Piano, Arp Odyssey Md III, Roland R-70 Drum Machine, Digitech Vocalist Live Pro. Roland Boss Chorus Ensemble CE-1.

 

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Don't get me wrong Bobby, if there's good music to be made with good musicians, I'll drive to friggin' San Diego on a Friday night for a $100. I will still play door gigs in coffee houses(see my post in the Pittsburgh Steeler thread a few days ago) if the music and musicians are at an inspiring level. I'll try and make music in a parking lot for the opening of a new supermarket if the players are good and the dough is reasonable.

 

I'm referring to basic GB gigs that all of us do just to make a living. Regarding the wedding stuff. One year in the '90s I made close to 70 K on just weddings (I'm not bragging and feel a bit embarrassed in admitting this). If someone called me right now for a 4 hour $300 wedding this Sat. around town, believe me I'd be on it. Mostly just referring to how these agents that control that scene take advantage of out of work and desperate musicians.

 

The call: "Hi Dave, this is .... how have you been? Long time. Say listen, I got this thing Sat. night and. ....got double booked and has to bail. Could you cover it, it pays $300"?

 

Me- "Sure, could you tell me a little bit about it"?

 

Them-"Well, the gig starts at 6 with the ceremony. You have to be there at 5 though to rehearse with the Bride's sister, I hear she's good, she used to sing in her church. She'll be doing 3 or 4 songs during the ceremony. If she has any problems, I know you're a pro and will cover her. Then after that, you'll move your gear up a few flights of steps to the porch overlooking the patio to do an hour of cocktail music with the sax player. Oh and do me a favor Dave, try and keep the music upbeat and steady so there are no lulls".

"After you guys are done there, if you could pack real quick and hustle downstairs to setup with the band. If you could get set up real quick so we can open the doors right at 8. You guys will be playing continuous but I'll see if I can throw you a few extra bucks for that". "So that's basically it, pretty cut and and dry, oh one more thing, at the end of the evening could you not go out the front door with your dolly and equipment? I know it's almost 1 in the morning, almost everyone has gone home and the loading dock makes your trip a almost a quarter mile longer, but we're trying to keep up a good image at this hotel for future work". " I also know we haven't called you for any work for this year so far but things have been slow but I'll call you now because it's picking up. One other thing I might mention,....might be leaving so if you would want to get on the first call list you'd have to make the Wednesday night rehearsals at my place down in the Marina. We basically learn some new stuff for the kids plus try and stay on top of the harmonies for the Beach Boys Medley we do."

 

Me..."I really appreciate the call ....but you know, that's a lotta hours and a lotta work schlepping and all. I really feel like it should be paying around $500 or at least $450 for a 6-7 hour call. That seems to be the normal rate around town for keyboard players. And thanks for the offer of the first chair but you know Wednesday night is my night I set aside for re-arranging my sock drawer".

 

Them--"Thanks anyway, click".

 

 

I love it.

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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To cygnus64...

Heck, I dont accept it either..Im not there so Im going by what Im being told by cats out there...n let me tell you, these cats are monsters..the list of their gigs looks like billboard top 100..they are transplants too...but I bet If I went there, Id hustle my ass off...theres always a way, a group of people that u will get in contact with..that will in turn get u in contact w/another group of people etc...theres always going to be creepy agents, mgr's producers etc...but dont let that deter anyone from packing up n going out...you only live once...as far as I know...so if thats what u want to do...do it...whats not so good for some people doesnt nec apply to your situation..your gigs and so forth...

 

I write for libraries out there, I dont live there, been there many times, I really dont want to live there...I like it, great beach's, but I like the beach's in Miami better...n I dont worry about finding gigs wherever I go, whenever I go..

I found lottsa gigs where Im at now, n when I go to Miami or wherever, I'll find gigs there too....

HEY DUDE< Just GO FOR IT!!!

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[When I held down my HOB gig on Sunset earlier this year and last year, we had all kinds of touring musicians coming through that play with Prince, Jessica Simpson, and Madonna. They all looked young, or if they weren't young, they looked ageless.

 

This is a microscopic part of the music biz, if it even is the music biz. Yeah, my 38-year old buddy is probably not going to be backing Milie Cyrus or the Jonas Brothers. :D Even so, Jessica Simpson isnt what I think about when I think of the music biz.

 

 

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So what does he want to do exactly?

 

I don't know, besides work. What he does here is play touring shows like Lion King, he plays when someone comes and picks up a band like Clay Aiken or Michael Bolton, teaches part-time at a college, plays clubs, makes a few recordings etc. He plays at a gospel church sunday mornings, does restaurants, weddings, the usual stuff.

 

 

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There's many other reasons to come to L.A.

 

I'm coming back because I met many great musicians, some of whom have freely given their time and effort to help make my music a reality. I've met good musicians elsewhere, but I think the concentration in L.A. is higher than anywhere else (save NYC, perhaps).

 

Also, being in such an environment forces me to step up my game, and be more serious about music. When in Kenya I sort of tend to relax after a while and take things for granted. But you can't half-step when Kenneth Crouch is in the house band!

 

Last but not least, no matter what everybody else says: the weather is great, the natural surroundings are breathtakingly beautiful and you can go and hear some pretty good music somewhere just about every night of the week!

 

 

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I've met good musicians elsewhere, but I think the concentration in L.A. is higher than anywhere else (save NYC, perhaps).

I don't know about all of the NYC boroughs, but a lot of musicians and recording studios were driven out of Manhattan earlier this decade because of the sky-high rent there.

 

Best,

 

Geoff

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

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Speak of the devil, I just received an email tonight from a Guitarist/Vocalist I used to work with all through the 80's, 90' and early 00's. This guy led casuals for EVERY major office in town. In the prime years he was SO busy he made me look like a Monk..and I'm not talking the Thelonius type.

 

His wife got laid off from her gig, they're part time side business went into the toilet, the aforementioned freelance casual scene is all but over except for a few major A...kisser type guys. I could never bring myself to brown nose to play "Brown Eyed Girl" at a wedding. I digress...his home up in Valencia was being foreclosed because they got too far behind. So he's moving back to Chicago where he's from. His wife is a hairdresser and already has a job in a salon lined up.He said he knows some people that can get him some steady Country Club type gigs and I guess there's a small neighborhood Music Store an old childhood friend owns that's looking for a Guitar teacher and salesman....sad. This guy could play anything...very well. Knew a billion tunes, could read plus sang his ass off.

 

I'm afraid in 10 years live music skills has I know them will be in has much demand has Viking Ship Builders.

https://soundcloud.com/dave-ferris

2005 NY Steinway D

Yamaha AvantGrand N3X, P-515

 

 

 

 

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I'm afraid in 10 years live music skills has I know them will be in has much demand has Viking Ship Builders.
I think some of this has to do with how you position yourself as a musician. Corporate/Wedding type groups are hurting everywhere, and it's not just the economy - the clients /buyers are generally young, and DJs are more their cup of tea. Smaller, more economical groups often get the call ahead of larger bands when a band is hired. Most of the guys I know who made that their livelihood are dying on the vine. Sure, there are still gigs to be had, but not enough to go around, not for the bread they used to command, etc.... You gotta keep irons in a ton of different fires these days to keep the income coming in. Relying on one type of income source is dangerous for a musician to begin with, and as the years go by it will likely become more and more difficult.
A ROMpler is just a polyphonic turntable.
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