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Update - Keys Mercenary


J. Dan

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Hope I'm not offending anybody by posting since I said 4 months ago I wouldn't.....but moving on.....

 

I ditched all my regular bands and am really glad I did. It got to the point where with all the projects and stuff I was practicing at most 3 days a week but no gigs. The gigs I had were all fill-in with no practices and paid great and were a lot of fun.

 

For the most part most of my fill-in's have been with one band and I've played with them enough to get my name around. They use fill-in's in every position....I've played with multiple singers, bass players, drummers, and guitar players. Every time we exchange numbers.

 

It's paying off - I just got another message for a big band in town wanting me to fill in on keys and guitar. So here's the funny thing....wait for it....it's a hair band and I'd have to bust out the old wig and outfit you guys convinced me to burn, lol!!!!

 

You know, at this point I'm really enjoying myself. I have NO commitment to anybody, no practices. People call me with gigs and I can take them or leave them. I had 6 gigs in July and really only typically want 3-4 per month. This is working out great. If I can keep getting my name around and expand the bands that use me, I can't imagine a better scenario!

 

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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Great to hear, Dan!

 

I'm still trying to figure out where I'll get the most musical satisfaction. I work - a lot - and am still feeling restless in terms of what I really want to play.

 

So it's good to hear you made the big change and your enjoying the results.

 

Tim

..
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I'll pile on here. I've been working in three vastly different projects this summer (my long-time band and two other bands) and having a ball playing more music than I have in years. Friends have asked me why I've been playing out so much and my answer has been, "the phone keeps ringing."

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing."

- George Bernard Shaw

 

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Keys Mercenary - that would make a good screen name. Enjoying, not wasting time, and making money all three - sounds like a winner to me.

Howard Grand|Hamm SK1-73|Kurz PC2|PC2X|PC3|PC3X|PC361; QSC K10's

HP DAW|Epi Les Paul & LP 5-str bass|iPad mini2

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

Jim

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Dan,

 

Glad to see you back round these parts. And glad you're happy with your situation. I don't see how a player of your caliber and multi instrumental talens can NOT stay busy.

 

Here's to keeping it on your own terms.

 

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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Hope I'm not offending anybody by posting since I said 4 months ago I wouldn't.....but moving on.....

 

I ditched all my regular bands and am really glad I did. It got to the point where with all the projects and stuff I was practicing at most 3 days a week but no gigs. The gigs I had were all fill-in with no practices and paid great and were a lot of fun.

 

For the most part most of my fill-in's have been with one band and I've played with them enough to get my name around. They use fill-in's in every position....I've played with multiple singers, bass players, drummers, and guitar players. Every time we exchange numbers.

 

It's paying off - I just got another message for a big band in town wanting me to fill in on keys and guitar. So here's the funny thing....wait for it....it's a hair band and I'd have to bust out the old wig and outfit you guys convinced me to burn, lol!!!!

 

You know, at this point I'm really enjoying myself. I have NO commitment to anybody, no practices. People call me with gigs and I can take them or leave them. I had 6 gigs in July and really only typically want 3-4 per month. This is working out great. If I can keep getting my name around and expand the bands that use me, I can't imagine a better scenario!

Hair bands are awesome, hair bands make people happy. And I would never tell you to burn your wig. You might wash that glorious stinking nest once every ten or so gigs though

 

Welcome back, cya in another 4 ...

The baiting I do is purely for entertainment value. Please feel free to ignore it.
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Awesome, Dan! :thu:

 

No rehearsals - that's living the dream, isn't it? ;)

"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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Also glad to see you are back.

 

I am also working with 3 very different bands.

1. Texas country

2. Smooth jazz

3. Variety

 

Having a blast......

Montage 7, Mojo 61, PC-3, XK-3c Pro, Kronos 88, Hammond SK-1, Motif XF- 7, Hammond SK-2, Roland FR-1, FR-18, Hammond B3 - Blond, Hammond BV -Cherry
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Okay I'm going to offer a little counterpoint here. While I am generally enjoying playing out more than I have in a long time, I would prefer to be in just one band and keep things growing with a single project. I prefer the tightness, creative synergy, convergence, etc., that develops in a hard-rehearsing band. However, unless the rehearsing is followed by activity that results in gigs (i.e., "hustling" the band) seems folks can stray into other projects that have actual jobs on the calendar, and then things start to fall apart in the source band (e.g., members have to be replaced, re-rehearsed, etc.)....and then the cycle repeats itself.

 

What has happened in my situation is that we have all learned the "catalog" of songs in each band so we only have to rehearse once or twice in advance of a gig. But musically this largely gets things "just tight enough" IMO. So among the three critical factors that tend to keep bands together (i.e., the music, the money, the hang) it seems the predominantly weighted factor, and least around here and among the population to which I belong (i.e., semi-professional/weekend warriors), is the money. The shadow side to all of this is compromised musical expression at the collective level.

 

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing."

- George Bernard Shaw

 

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This is maybe going a bit off topic. I got well known around here doing "that 80s band" which was full of wigs, outfits, and all kinds of cheesiness, but have spend the last several years doing some pretty well respected, challenging work that has really helped me network - sort of the "Name" along with actually displaying my chops first hand.

 

However, since I got my name out doing the theme band thing, it seems I'm the first choice of every theme band. I wasted a bunch of time with one that never got off the ground, and had another contacting me wanting me. Funny first time the last one contacted me for a "yacht rock" band, I was mildly interested thinking as a keyboard player it would be cool doing Michael McDonald and such but at the same time wondering how it could ever be successful. Well after a long time of me thinking it was dead, they just contacted me again....red flag. I said no. I AM going to do an 80s duo though. I have a guitar player and I pretty much badgered him into making damn well sure he's 100% committed and won't f-ck me like the last 3 guitar players.

 

SO this was actually from the advice of forumites Tonysounds, Joe Muscara, Timwat, and possibly others through FB messanger. They all agreed I need to run my own project so I have control and pick the right people - I can't imagine anything better than only having to pick ONE person.

 

 

So between the other bands having me fill in, which I love, being able to just fill in what else I want with duo gigs, totally under my control, I think will be a good thing.

 

I guess the lesson is to not get shoe-horned into one thing like I sort of did with the whole "theme band" thing. Let them know what you can do and network.

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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This is an interesting thread and I can relate to it, but in a slightly different way. I have played the "mercenary" role and it worked well for me in certain settings, but I've settled into something a bit easier for this stage of my musical journey.

 

I won't bore with all of the history, but I did the original touring band scene for a decade and then settled down as a family man. At which point I joined a great wedding/general biz band and had a stellar decade of highbrow gigs with a tight band. Then our singer passed away and we ultimately disbanded that group.

 

Afterwards, the drummer and bass player joined up with other similar bands in my area and I was HEAVILY recruited by them and others. The word was out that I was available and loads of options landed in my lap. It was a bit overwhelming, as I'd decided that 10 years in an original band and 10 years in a wedding band - I did not want to be in another wedding band (which is where most of the gigs/money occur in my area).

 

I did a bit of freelance/mercenary stuff, but each band was pressuring me big time to make a commitment and I was just not feeling it. I could not keep up with being a mercenary as it was difficult to plan and I did not really enjoy flying by the seat of my pants on a monthly basis.

 

The lead guitar player from my wedding band had a sidebar, low-key bar band that I'd sat in with from time-to-time, but they had three guitar players and adding a keyboard was kind of overkill. But the guys in this band were all close friends of mine (some since childhood) and I really enjoyed the brotherhood. It was meant to be that one of the guitar players quit and they invited me to join.

 

It's a fairly basic, but very tight and popular bar band. That's where I have hung my hat into the foreseeable future. We rehearse once a week and rotate new material very frequently, we gig about 3-5x per month (works well for all of our family and work commitments), we value our friendship and there is zero drama.

 

It's really the most fun I've had playing in a band. I still get mercenary calls from time to time and I'll help out a few keyboard players when they have a desperate situation. I have learned that keyboard players are scarce and I could work a lot more - if I wanted to do that. I am very happy with my current gig and feel lucky to have a set of musicians that gel together well.

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I am in an entirely different field, but the most fun I ever had was doing a 6-month stint of locum tenens, and around the same time my journalist wife was making quite a living freelancing. I hear ya!
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So slight update and maybe put some names to faces. The band I've been talking about for so long that I most like filling in with is this one:

 

http://clubcontagious.com/

 

Lots of videos out there on YouTube if you care to search. The thing I like about them is they are all great musicians, they go all out on production every show - they have a full time production manager and crew - and I get to play a mix of classic rock, 80s, and modern crowd pleasers, and the crowd always goes nuts. Who would've thought I could play a long EP solo in Peter Frampton - Do You Feel and get a bunch of applause from a huge crowd in a party setting....sort of surreal.

 

Anyway, the other band I have NOT yet subbed with but inquired If I'd be willing is:

 

http://www.metalstudz.com/

 

So, hair band version of the 80s band thing I used to do except instead of just wigs, add eyeliner. LOL. A lot more guitar, too, which is kinda cool. I like playing guitar - chicks dig it. That would be probably my only chance in this lifetime to actually seriously, outside of a spoof youtube video or something, ACTUALLY play the final countdown, LOL!!!! No gigs as of yet, but the stage is set and contrary to my old avatar, I actually did NOT burn the wig - it's in a plastic bag in the attic with the parachute pants and swatch watches.

 

Which brings me to my final update (I mean final today). Tuesday night I'm meeting for the first time with the guitar player that with me will be resurrecting Atari Twins, which never got off the ground because after 30 some odd songs, the old guitar player decided he didn't have time. This guy (unlike the other who was a friend from high school and great guy, but not really IN the scene) is well known, talented, connected, etc. He does a bunch of projects - a Styx tribute, a duo, an original band, etc. He wants to fill as many dates as possible (collectively). I'm doing the merc thing and just want to supplement - I kinda think this will work out well since I'm running it, it's in my wheelhouse, he's desperate for gigs, and he's well known and talented. This was the first bass with the old guitar player:

 

http://www.ataritwins.com/

 

On a final note, I dumped the girl I was seeing. We could only see each other a couple days a month anyway and now we'll need to practice, so I don't see any time for her. Music is more important, I'm pretty sure I made the right choice. ....Yes, some of you will hear me complain about being lonely, yada, yada, that's why I share this....PLEASE remind me that I gain music!!!!!!!!!

 

(plus have a better chance of being able to buy that new Behringer synth)

 

 

 

 

 

 

EDIT: One thing to add....so my target is really 3-4 days a month. With Contagious I went 3 months with no gigs, then a few gigs a month, then July was 6 gigs, now I only have one gig booked and it's in Aug. SO it's just hit and miss...it's not my band, after all. Other fill-in gigs would help, but I really think the duo thing will give me flexibility to book as much or little as I want. Also - Contagious I do keys, guitar, and backups. Theoretically in Metal Studz I would do guitar, keys, and backups. The duo would be my outlet for lead vocals, Bass, and Sax! Less satisfying songs, but collectively, I'd get to cover pretty much everything musically, instrumentally, and vocally.

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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Good on you Dan for making the change. Until recently, I was actually in the same camp.. committed to several bands without much to show for it. Since I was getting more fill-in gigs(and better paying, I might add), I had decided it was time to clean house.. and it has worked out well ever since.. no longer having to travel 2 hrs(to rehearsal and back) each week for rehearsals and I get to play with killer musicians. The one band that I'm committed to does a lot of weddings and parties during the summer, and we get paid top dollar.

Kronos 88 Platinum, Yamaha YC88, Subsequent 37, Korg CX3, Hydrasynth 49-key, Nord Electro 5D 73, QSC K8.2, Lester K

 

Me & The Boyz

Chris Beard Band

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Maybe this will lead to Crowdsourcing a gig...someone finds a gig and just texts musicians to show up and play? :laugh:

 

It happens quite often with me :)

Kronos 88 Platinum, Yamaha YC88, Subsequent 37, Korg CX3, Hydrasynth 49-key, Nord Electro 5D 73, QSC K8.2, Lester K

 

Me & The Boyz

Chris Beard Band

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Maybe this will lead to Crowdsourcing a gig...someone finds a gig and just texts musicians to show up and play? :laugh:

 

You say that but that's basically what I'm doing on Saturday. All the members of a Doors band I used to work with (and their deps) are on holiday bar the singer so he's called up a bunch of musicians to do it as a one off. It's going to be fun!

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I couldn't do it. Just reading this thread caused me to have a nightmare about showing up for a gig with a new band, never having practiced, and without even seeing a song list. The band kept saying "Don't worry about it. We get on stage and play. That's it." I didn't even know what keyboards I should bring. Tried getting advice from the bartender but he was too busy making crab cakes to be of any help. Finally woke up from the dream around 4:00 AM and never could go back to sleep.

This post edited for speling.

My Sweetwater Gear Exchange Page

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Meeting went well tonight. We picked 36 songs to start with each of us singing lead on half. Between the 2 of us, I only need sequences for about 4 of them, we already have the rest. We're both busy and probably won't be able to get together until mid Sept, but at least we have our marching orders. Hoping to have it off the ground by the holidays.

 

Best part was really the long conversation we had after taking care of business. We both know and have played with all the same people and have similar experience and goals. That is the most important part by far. Biggest challenge for me is that I need to get my voice back in shape for all the Outfield, Journey, Loverboy, etc....haven't sang lead in a while.

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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