Too Old To Rock?

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Too Old To Rock?

Postby ernstinen » Fri Jan 06, 2017 4:28 pm

Hey All,

I've been a performing musician since I was 14. I made my living for 30 years playing guitar, keyboards, sax, and singing at every gig you can imagine.

I did the "original" thang, and it was quite rewarding. I moved to L.A., and my band almost got signed to Atlantic Records. We had a great live show, and A&R people came out of the woodwork to see us! But in the end, it boiled down to one thing: Marketing. The A&R weasels didn't know how to market us. A typical conversation --- A&R: "We love your music, your show, your musicianship, but we don't know how to market you." Me: "Why is that?" A&R: "Because you're too original." Me: "Isn't that good?" A&R: "NO."

So, 20 years later, I'm playing guitar and singing better than I did back then. But reality has set in; I'm well aware that I'm too old to be "signed" as an original act, or even as a singer/songwriter. That's for younger people. It's always been like that... And age also brings up another reality: How the hell are my wife and I going to retire financially? I grew up in the era where "everything's gonna work out --- follow your bliss!" And I did. But it DIDN'T work out the way I thought it would. I put my whole life into my art, and what do I have to show for it? A few bucks in a savings account. Bills. Mortgage payment. You know the drill of being an "adult."

But still, I love playing electric rock guitar. It's a passion of mine, and I believe I'm pretty damn good at it. But the way I roll is giving everything that I do 110%. I've always been like that, and it's just part of who I am... So I'm marketing all my creative skills, and feel optimistic about that part of it. Yet, there's still a nagging voice in my head that says "You REALLY need to get out and gig, make that guitar talk like you do. People will love it!" Yeah, maybe. But this is L.A. There are thousands upon thousands of musicians who will play for NOTHING. And promoters know that... So is spending my time, maybe 1/3 of my waking hours doing something that I KNOW won't bring me in any cash --- Is that worth it? My heart says yes, but my brain says no.

What d'ya think? Thanks for listening,

Ern :?
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Re: Too Old To Rock?

Postby mojobone » Mon Apr 03, 2017 3:21 am

The blessing that comes from learning/knowing the craft? It's never been about the money; money is imaginary, the value is in moving the people, and where we move them hopefully counts for something; it's a heavy responsibility to be a cultural signifier. Sheesh, at Goldman Sachs, all you gotta do is earn; where's the fun in that?

If all you ever did in your life was to make the peoples wiggle their booties, you've done something, after your time on Earth is done. All those poor bastards that did nothing but move numbers around on paper? Maybe they can take credit for raising some kids to do better, but that's about it, imo.

Maybe you remember Aesop's parable about the ants and the grasshopper; me, I always felt sorry for those ants, who knew nothing but work. I hope they at least got to hear that badass grasshopper play the shit outta his fiddle and took some time to dance.
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