Friday, August 30, 2013

Six Hours for Twenty Bucks

Being an independent musician is difficult for myriad reasons. High on that list is the fact that money is scarce. The title of this blog entry refers to a show I did years ago as a solo artist. I drove six hours, set up, played, and made twenty bucks, which didn't come close to covering my gas expenses. That sounds bad, right? Unfortunately, that wasn't really a bad gig. That particular show was close to where my folks live, so I at least was able to crash at home and see them. A bad gig is more like the one where a band I was in drove almost 8 hours and made less than $5 per person. After that gig, we had the choice to sleep in our van or drive on home. We drove, which was a terrible idea that we often had, and looking back I am just glad we managed to not kill ourselves on I-95 somewhere. Some of the blame for that one falls on us for booking the show. Sometimes, though, that's just how it goes in the music business. There's an interesting dichotomy that happens wherein most actively touring musicians are either wealthy or pretty much broke. There aren't very many of us who manage to simply make a decent living. Maybe I'm wrong about that, but that's what I've been exposed to. You're either doing really well or you're broke. Actually, I have seen the third category, which is really where I'd like to be. Some bands and individual artists have toured so much and put out so many good records that they are able to make a living doing so. These folks tend to tour A LOT, but that's their job, that's what they do, and, for the vast majority of those folks whom I've had the chance to talk to, that's what they love. Oh yeah, they also tend to put out their own records or work with very small indie labels. Without fail, though, those folks, a lot of whom I have written about or will write about in the music you should be listening to series, started out by being willing to tour their asses off whether or not they were able to eat and pay their bills by doing so. It turns out that the truly gifted and talented among us have to go through immense struggle sometimes in order to reach the point where they can live somewhat comfortably. It takes a big set of balls (or ovaries I guess?) to just hit the road and do your thing with the belief that it will work out even when you can't be sure that it will. Struggle might last a long time, you might fail repeatedly, but the people that make it through that ignore the fact that most everyone else thinks they are insane or irresponsible because they believe in their purpose and they believe in their destiny. Thinking about this reminds me of a somewhat unfortunate, but most often true statement that I have kept in my mind over the years. Well adjusted people don't make great art. You have to be a little bit crazy. So me, I know I am little crazy, and I know I am not all that well adjusted. It's ok. If you are the same, just realize that we are what and who we are for reasons far beyond what we can comprehend. I don't care if I go six hours for twenty bucks if I get to play and someone else enjoys it. If someone enjoys it, a lot more then twenty bucks will end up coming my way. I hope this makes sense, but if it doesn't I will simply blame the fact that I am sleep deprived. New songs will be out soon, and I can't wait for you guys to hear them. In the interim, I've got some philosophical thoughts I want to share, and I have a new guitar to show off. Keep checking back for updates as I should have at least a couple more over this long weekend. Love you guys, take it easy.

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