Why You Will Never Make it as a Musician
Sunglasses – “If you wear your sunglasses inside at all times – you might be a musician!”
What is it with musicians and sunglasses? You don’t look cool, and you just look like a douche-bag! If you’re playing at a small pub/club/venue with next to no lighting, your “image” is laughable, cliche, and dated. Even the professionals look stupid so why do you want to imitate that? I have a lot of respect for those people who are happy to be themselves on and off stage and who no doubt would wipe the floor with a lot of the sunglasses crowd.
Still living the dream?
A lot of musicians are still “living the dream” well into their 40’s, 50’s and beyond. This is a pretty scary thought. Sadly, I see this all too often especially at jam nights where people have their “gig uniform” which could include jeans that are way too tight, a cliche “blues hat”, or a leather/pleather vest that enforces the fact you probably have a lot of insecurities, not only about your music but in life. What I find funny is these particular type of people are trying to live up to the social expectations of how a musician should look.. maybe back in the early 1980’s. It’s time to be yourself and stop trying to win points by dressing like someone from another culture and country. Anyone who wears those Stevie Ray Vaughan style hats and shirts are the worst of the worst.. Instant dismissal. Be yourself. I know guys who are regarded as the best players in certain cities but they all still live at home with their parents in their late 30’s and early 40’s…
Smokes and drinks because it’s cool.
I have a lot of admiration for guys and gals who are all for the music and for their performance, not to see how many free beers or spirits they can get before, during, and while they play. Drinking is a trap that can only lead downhill. The typical unshaven, beard toting cliche musicians who gets hammered drunk before a gig is doing themselves no favors – you’ll end up losing the gig pretty quickly as venues don’t want to deal with dickheads. I am not saying you can’t enjoy a drink from time to time or at a gig, but there’s some people that still have the “lets get hammered because we’re playing a gig” mentality, which doesn’t fly anymore.
You haven’t made it in the scene because they are against you!!
If you’re a guitarist/singer and you’re jaded as to why you didn’t make it, read this and read it well. The reason you didn’t or won’t make it has nothing to do with where you live or what you look like in context to blues music – it has to do with the fact you are most likely:
- Highly disorganized – Unable to really follow through on a lot of things.
- Half ass the majority of what you do – ie. poor quality recordings, lack of original material recorded, don’t contact radio stations, don’t contact web streams, oblivious to YouTube, iTunes, Twitter and Facebook.
- If you’re imitating your favorite artist, you’ll never get anywhere – Fact!
- Playing in a cover band/solo cover act forever – You never bothered to put emphasis on your own music.
- You don’t understand anything to do with technology and how it can help you, and you have more free time in the world than people who work a day job.
- You don’t seem to realize how hard you not only have to want something, but you must make time to do it, follow a plan and contact the right people.
- Talent alone is not enough, and never will be.
- You think you’re above everyone else because you play an instrument or sing.
- You are so focused on yourself that you make little time for anyone/anything else.
- You feel you are owed something because you sing, play guitar, or an instrument. Fact is, this sort of jaded attitude comes off on stage.
- You have business sense at all. You probably couldn’t organize a tour of 10 venues in a month if you tried…actually it’s probably tough work.. just let it go. Odds are because you’ve never actually had a day job you’ve never developed any other skills. While you might be a good musician, I bet you have no idea how to use Microsoft Excel or Design a industry standard website?
- You dress like a slob, you act like a slob, and you have no sense of anyone but yourself. There are so many musicians who can’t see the bigger picture and I believe a lot of what you put out there is what you get back in life.
- Good quality musicians won’t work with you for more than 1-3 gigs before they quit. This has nothing to do with the musicianship, it has to do with all of the above. If you’re jaded, whinge a lot, have no money, no aspirations, or can’t book shows, no one will stick around, they’ll find you too irritating to be around.
- You tend to have a negative attitude towards other musicians and are quick to point out their weaknesses before finding something positive and constructive to say.
Over the last 15 years I’ve seen all of these traits in a lot of musicians who take it very seriously. They all blame others for their misfortunes and take no personal account for their decisions and lack of productivity, learning, or development in other areas which are required to succeed in the business – because that’s what it is.
Sure, everyone’s ideas of success is different. Some people such as myself, only enjoy the occasional gig and am happy to be playing live when I can with like minded and intelligent band mates who understand that personality comes before anything, even the music. I have found other ways to make what I do successful online, more so than I ever thought I would. I am not saying I have all the answers, know all the “ins and outs” but I vowed never to end up like the majority of these jaded musicians who had no concept of the real world.