Well, I know that I haven’t been posting for very long, but apparently I was lucky enough to come across a topic that piqued the interest of quite a few musos in the local community. I admit that I was a little bit surprised by the number of people that gave an enthusiastic “yes” when I asked if they would write up a post for regarding this topic, but it just tells me that the problem faced is much more widespread than even I thought it was.
We’ve all heard the term “working musician” before. Generally the image that comes to mind is that of the guy/gal/group that is living out of their van, struggling to make it against all odds through the maze of poverty, rejection, scammery and general sleaze that the working music business can be – all the while trying to remain true to their artistic integrity and creative vision. That’s probably a valid image to a large extent – my hat comes off and my heart goes out to those folks… they’re a brave lot and I wish them well. There’s even a little jealousy there, I have to admit. There’s times (generally at 2AM after a bar room gig that I come home to a steaming mad wife that thought that I would be home before the next day – more on that somewhere in the series I’m sure) that road life in a van and scratching for gigs and pay has its appeal. HOWEVER, there is another, completely different group of “working musicians” that fall into a much more common – albeit possibly less “cool” – category. These are the people that have to deal with significant extra baggage while still trying to make their way through the scene. The ones with wives, kids, full-time day gigs – basically the everyday responsibilities that life likes to hand a person – while also having the misfortune to be slave to a passion that by its very nature demands an enormous amount of time, energy, and dedication. They don’t stay on the road full-time, they don’t always worry about where the next paycheck, meal, or work is coming from, but they do have their own particular brand of struggle. THESE are the working musicians that this series will be talking about.
I know that the prevailing view of these folks within the stereotypical “working musician” community can vary – some full-timers think it’s impossible to get there from here. After all, how can you “make the scene” when you live a “work and play” lifestyle and divide your attention between your passion and your duties? There are those that think that we’re not “real musicians”, that we’re not passionate enough about the Craft to get anywhere with it when we’d prioritize other things above it occasionally. There could be nothing further from the truth, and my mission here is to prove that to you.
So – to quote my old chef hero Justin Wilson – what I done DID is go out and find a few musicians within my PERSONAL circle… people that are within arm’s reach, people that I know and respect, that are doing a fantastic job of balancing work, home, life, AND music… and are doing it with panache! These are my hometown heroes. They are model mothers, fathers, husbands, employees, and then when the day is done they put on the muso mask at night and on weekends, get out of the house and rock the casbah hard!
These folks don’t all have the same approach to making this delicate balance work – I’d be disappointed if they did – but each and every one of them has valuable approaches and insights that the we can take home with us and put in our toolkit, and that will hopefully make us better equipped at the end of the day to deal with the unique, and many times conflicting, challenges and decisions that come with trying to pack two whole life’s worth of experiences into one person.
I hope you all enjoy the reading as much as I have enjoyed talking with these awesome people. We’ll start next week with a bang – I have a musical COUPLE that agreed to write something up for me!
Stay tuned and be blessed!