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Learning to say no..


Outkaster
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Since things are opening back up people are starting to book. With that is the opportunity for gigs or projects. Recently a buddy from my old band asked me to be in a revue of classic type rock; green eyed lady, long train running and stuff like that. It would have required three rehearsals with work from decent musicians.I would have to learn 10 new songs for an hour and a half gig. I didn't say yes and my friend was really let down as I told him I was busy which is kind of the truth. The truth is I just didn't want to do it and it didn't seem worth the time. I also got asked to do a benefit with another band member for free and I turned that down also. I am getting older and one thing that I noticed is as you get to be a better player opportunities open up which is a good thing. Most of the time to me they aren't worth it. 80% of people don't know what to do with a keys player. I run my own group also which makes it hard to be in other projects as your always comparing. I don't want to trick myself into thinking everything works out with subbing or helping people out as some times it doesn't and the other band or project reaps the benefits while you have worked your ass off to sub. I guess I am not into it anymore as even 10 years ago I would jump at more opportunities. I know other guys that jump into everything and all kinds of gigs but it always comes with a price.

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

 

 

noblevibes.com

 

 

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Yeah, I really feel this.

 

For a while I was saying 'yes' to most offers. The upside is you become a constant on the scene, everyone knows you, and it gets you more invites to all sorts of opportunities. The cold truth is not all opportunities are created equal, and many of them end up to be meh when I consider the 3 possibles we all want:

 

1) great hang with great guys

2) musically challenging and growth

3) the cheddar

 

Time's precious. I was wasting too much of it on gigs that weren't worth it.

 

And the other truth is that life is long and it comes in seasons. It's quite possible in another season, you'll be inclined to make different decisions again, and that's cool too.

..
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I have been having this as an ongoing conversation with myself since the first gig offers started coming in. I don't feel good about the "commerce" gigs post-pandemic. I would like to draw a hard line in the sand where commerce is the "other" stuff I do (college and private teaching), and music is music. I'm just not certain I can be so strict about it after a year of losing a third of my already slim income. Plus it goes against every way I have been until now--the "every day I'm hustlin'" thing. But I have gone from coveting to slightly dreading those clock-puncher jobs that usually pay the bills, and I want to be sure I listen to the warning bells. Life is short and "Play That Funky Music" will be played plenty with or without this white boy.
"
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Jason you are right I have turned down several gigs just not worth my time for the money. Age is creeping up on all of us especially us old timers that been doing this for seems like forever.

 

Lost my Mother a few months ago trying to get things in order plus dealing with the pandemic has been a rough year for me.

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Opportunity cost.

 

For me, at 65, it comes down to this.

 

Also, at minimal pay, or no pay, I can't justify the time or the gas money to make it pleasurable.

 

For kicks, I'm on JamKazam. It's not perfect, but it can be a lot of fun. And I don't have to schlep equipment.

 

Yes. I"m kinda turning into an old fart. I don't care.

 

Is There Gas in the Car? :cool:

 

PS - Hi everybody. Yes, I've missed ya... well, some of ya. :laugh:

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent." - Victor Hugo
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Lost my Mother a few months ago trying to get things in order plus dealing with the pandemic has been a rough year for me.

 

I'm really sorry to hear that. Terrible thing, losing our parents. Stay strong and I hope you are finding encouragement from day to day as you move forward.

..
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Opportunity cost.

 

 

For kicks, I'm on JamKazam. It's not perfect, but it can be a lot of fun. And I don't have to schlep equipment.

 

 

Hey, I have never heard of that JamKazam site. It looks like it might be a lot of fun. I haven't taken the time to look closely, but what are the equipment requirements? I guess it requires you to have a video cam that streams you to the other band members?

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Kronos 88, Korg CX-3, Motion Sound KBR-3D

 

 

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I'm getting to that age where I no longer want to be out till 1AM in a bar, getting shxt pay and dealing with drunks. I'm at that x-road where I want to play music that I enjoy playing, with competent musicians who aren't playing on 11, and in a more upscale environment. I've latched up with a band that ticks those boxes; good musicians, no drunks/drugs, day jobs, similar music, yacht clubs, wineries, micro-breweries, home at a decent hour. i'm getting more calls now as many of the bands 'broke up' and now those bands are putting in the missing pieces; I'm being asked to step in to many situations. Bar gigs, late nights, long drives to practices to play with unprepared musicians isn't that much fun anymore (was it ever?).

57 Hammond B3; 69 Hammond L100P; 68 Leslie 122; Kurzweil PC3; M-Audio Code 61; Voce V5+; Neo Vent; EV ELX112P; GSI Gemini & Burn

Dyin Breed Band

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Jamkazam https://jamkazam.com/

 

 

You need a quick interface - wired to your computer. No WiFi, as jitter and latency need to be kept to a minimum. I use a Steinberg UR22, and it works well.

 

You'll want headphones, but a video setup is usually not something that anyone cares about.

 

You'll need a microphone to chat with other musos who might be taking a break to head to the kitchen to get everybody another beer. This is important.

 

I jam with folks in Europe with no problem (unless they're drummers, then the latency can make it sloppy).

 

Often I get really good results with folks up and down the east coast (I'm in Raleigh, NC) and Canada. The parties start on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings and go into the night, as folks on the West Coast are a little slow to catch up.

 

It's so much fun to hear the accents from folks in England, Ireland, Germany and New Jersey. ;)

 

There are LOTS of guitarists, but not so many keyboard players. And if a keyboard player is already participating in a session, he/she can play piano. I'll play organ. Not a problem!

 

I pay $10/month for unlimited time. It pays for itself when I get to jam with folks who are really, really good (and there are quite a few musos who know their stuff). I've learned a lot - and I've been playing music for a million years. I'm learning tunes I NEVER would have played otherwise. Charts are often submitted via the chat function. OTOH, sometimes folks launch into songs and you have to figure out the song, the key, and where you can fit in. It can be a challenge, but it's always a learning experience - even for an old fart like me.

 

All kidding aside, it's a helluva lot of fun!

 

Thanks for asking!

 

Tom

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent." - Victor Hugo
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Thanks for all the info Tom. I'm going to look into it. Is it possible to see the other players playing while the jam is going on? I watched the sample performances video on their website.

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Kronos 88, Korg CX-3, Motion Sound KBR-3D

 

 

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Totally agree that it only makes to do things that are worth your time. Before COVID hit I got asked to play keyboards for a one time Simon and Garfunkle show. Would have been fun but so much time to invest for a one time show. I could not justify it. For my four piece cover band we just recently brought on a bass player and drummer and it is perhaps the best line up we have ever had. Learned a few songs but much of the dance/party music we had in the set list holds up. Everyone has to decide what brings them joy, and given limited time try to focus on that!

Korg CX-3 (vintage), Casio Privia PX-5S, Lester K, Behringer Powerplay P2, Shure 215s

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As I mentioned in the "retirement" thread, being able to play on your own terms is liberating. It's like kicking a bad habit. :laugh:

 

I have musician buddies who pre-COVID were still on the gig grind and putting up with the BS that comes with it. Some of them are beginning to re-evaluate "why" they play music.

 

I've always felt and advocated that "playing" music should be "fun". When it becomes a bore or chore, it's time to hit the door.

 

There is a lot of power in the word "no". Do not be afraid or ashamed to use it. Better opportunities will arise especially if you've got the goods i.e. talent. :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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Lost my Mother a few months ago trying to get things in order plus dealing with the pandemic has been a rough year for me.

 

I'm really sorry to hear that. Terrible thing, losing our parents. Stay strong and I hope you are finding encouragement from day to day as you move forward.

 

Thanks TIM for the kind words.

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After five decades, four in LA, of taking every miserable and demeaning gig known to mankind, I'm simply done. Take the Coda to the Fine.

 

No more playing behind singers, if it even remotely smells of pop, rock or anything resembling commercial, or falls under the classification of "entertainment" -- at this point I think you know better then to ask.

 

If it's a burning blowing gig with good cats, hell I'll drive to Ventura for $50. If it's Fun stuff, the fire still burns, I'm there in a heartbeat.

 

Benny, I'm very sorry to hear about your mom. I know you cared for her as she was declining and it was a huge emotional strain on you. Wishing you continued strength and peace during this hard time.

 

And yes Hi Tom, hope all is good !

https://soundcloud.com/dave-ferris

 

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If it's a burning blowing gig with good cats, hell I'll drive to Ventura for $50.
Glendale to Ventura for $50 with good cats, about 75 miles in L.A., an hour and a half drive? Yeah, that's pretty much my limit. My main band was offered a couple of venues for $150 + (supposedly) good tips, an hour and a half away. I turned the booker down, said we needed $100/man for a 5 piece. He says venues won't pay that. I said I know, they will get a shitty band for that much and everybody will say live music sucks. I can't fix that. If I'm playing for less than $100, I'll stay local. Learning to say no ...
These are only my opinions, not supported by any actual knowledge, experience, or expertise.
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Re: JamKazam

 

Tom, looks like fun. As long as the latency isn't annoying. I went looking for how to take the output of a software instrument and connect it what JamKazam expects, and saw a few stubs on their website saying "coming soon". I guess their software currently expects to see an external audio interface and not much else. Not a deal killer.

 

I had a hehehe moment imagining dropping in on some rando online session with a three keyboard stack and a glittery cape :)

 

EDIT: mildly blown away by the distributed metronome feature. You can hear by listening to one of their "worst case" scenarios via the cluster test that it isn't all that bad. Genius.

Life is too short to be playing bad music.

 

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I also tend to get fussier with gigs as I get older, and I haven't played nearly as many as most of you. For me it's also the sound - I'm just not interested in a gig where some PA has been cobbled together by band members, with no engineer. It sounds entitled but I'm now used to working with a good sound guy and it's hard to go back from that.

 

Also condolences to you bennyray - I think we all underestimate what a huge impact a loss like that is. And Tom it's always great to see you on here - I feel like we have been ships in the night in that I had a hiatus from the forum (kids / family etc) and so it feels like an eon since the SSS / KC days where I interacted with you.

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At this point I say no more often than yes. I"m no longer an accompanist for singers or available for entertainment gigs. No more dicky band leaders. No more Top 40 or dance music. No more band commitments that get in the way of the wonderful things life has to offer. No more stressful gear schleping in Manhattan. There are so many opportunities to say no. I feel fortunate that I can afford to say no at 62 as this certainly wasn"t the case in my younger days.

 

Over the past year or so I"ve come to realize that I much prefer playing outdoors. I"ll continue taking gigs with skilled players who play with passion and are good people. No more crazy travel or sound checks hours before the gig that chew up the entire day. Three, maybe four gigs a month max seems to be right amount for me.

 

I had my first gig of the year last night. It met all of my criteria: outdoors, on the water which is always a nice plus, early hours (6-9pm), skilled players who listen and play with passion, lots of creative interplay, plenty of room to stretch out and be creative, fun tunes (a mix of electric blues, R&B, jazz, and classic rock), super nice guys, appreciative venue and audience.

www.alquinn.com
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I'm very selective now.... I have-not gigged out in a long long time (4 years) and still working a day gig but will retire very soon (year or so).... I am going to be very selective about music projects involving other folks moving forward I have decided .. also in regard to gigging out or just session/projects... and no more consistent late late nights for this old war horse.. would have to be something very special. See what happens in the next year or so...musically I cannot play in less than ideal projects that are in the end really not good for me on a number levels..I have really enjoyed working and recording at home over the past year I must say....w/o the need to drive to work. For lunch break now I often play/practice/check out music during the work day as relief my systems analysis/ lead developer duties for Voxx/Klipsch.... a harbinger of full retirement... and if I do play out... no more big rigs... though I do love them..OA in my left knee has limited my ability to haul large amounts of gear...like my road-ready Leslie 145 for large gigs or even a moderate single or double tier rig w/amplification w/o possibly the need for some assistance ...

 

I find one of the main pluses of all this is that I select the music I want to work on ....I'm really enjoying that aspect .... on the down side is the jones to play with a real rhythm section, it does help a certain chop and fulfills something .... but my solo playing is better... everything in life is really a trade off in terms of where you put your energy... .

 

I left the last 3 projects I was in.. for a number of reasons and have settled into my new position on things and am pretty comfortable with it ... as long as I keep working at home... I'm fine!

SP6, CP-50, FP-80, PX5-S, NE-5d61, XK-3, CX-3, Yamaha YUX Upright, '66 B3/Leslie 145/122
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I had a minor heart attack a couple years ago. I took it as a warning shot across the bow. I was in 6 bands, gigging a lot, coupled with my MD role at church and day gig. So I let go of 3 of the bands and got rid of late bar gigs across town and music I'm not a fan of. Life is short. No need to try to make it shorter. It'll be interesting to take my own temperature toward the end of festival season. Truth be told, I kinda enjoyed the time away from gigging and getting to hang at home with the Mrs and friends. Gigging is starting to kick into high gear now. We'll see what happens.

 

Final thought... One reality when you start saying no... Band leaders, MDs, agents, etc call competent people that respond quickly and usually say yes. As soon as you start saying no, ya gotta be ok with the reality that you're going to quickly move down everyone's list.

Custom Music, Audio Post Production, Location Audio

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Great point but competent players don't worry about that nonsense.

What nonsense? Working?

 

I should have said competent players don't stress gigs most can pick and choose the gigs that they feel comfortable doing. JMO I don't think most players worry about being at the back of a list.

 

When I first started playing I would worry about all that but now that I am older not so much. Hope I didn't offend you was not my intentions.

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When I was younger, I played every and any gig that came by. It resulted in me getting burned out and not liking playing music for a while. Only take gigs (or none) that make you happy. Life is short. Playing sucky gigs with sucky musicians or people does not lead to anything good.
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I should have said competent players don't stress gigs most can pick and choose the gigs that they feel comfortable doing. JMO I don't think most players worry about being at the back of a list.

 

That depends on way too many factors to generalize.

____________________________________
Rod

victoria bc

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