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Posted By: rogerzell possible new disussion points - 09/08/20 03:24 PM
Hi folks--I wonder if there would be any interest in these subjects:

1: Ego as a main strength/weakness/driver of performers--that is, would any performer BE a performer without an powerful or even excessive ego driving the impulse?

connected to that are:

2: When ego is bigger than ability

2A: when love of performing/being center of attention is the driving factor in pursuing a music career (especially a big famous career)--not quite the same as #1.

3: the role of personal politics/salesmanship in music careers/getting gigs.

and unconnected:

4: the magic aura of being onstage/the center of attention--how does that work?

5: the freak show aspect of performing.

why I'm curious-- I have performed alot, and loved it, but only rarely did the work to get the gigs. I can't sell myself and can't learn how. I'm pretty much a loner and curmudgeon. And I noticed, both as performer and audience, that being the performer, ESPECIALLY on a stage, whether a full one or just a little riser, seems to add a magnetism to you, which is an ego feeder (and babe magnet).

SO--any thoughts?
Posted By: Farmerjones Re: possible new disussion points - 09/09/20 02:05 PM
Good subject.
First, ima a fiddler by trade. My love of piano came much later. I've only got paid once for playing piano. I just haven't pursued paying gigs with a piano.

Anyway, fiddle players are sort of rare around here. If i just play anything, people think it's great/unbelievable. The other side of this is, a fiddle by itself is in my opinion, an awful sounding thing. So i will always be a sideman. I'm good with this. I love the band. I love the jam. Pianists can essentially do it all themselves. That's good too.

I play alot for free. But i also understand how to hustle and get gigs. This is what lot's of musos don't understand, a gig is usually a secondary thing to a primary thing. In other words, even a bar gig is to sell beer. A winery gig is to sell wine. Know this. Know who hired you.

Then i think about Garth or some stadium filling artist. It's fun to dream. A ten truck crew, and still make 7 tons of money every night. Could i walk out there in front of 30, 000 people? I keep thinking, if you are given that oportunity, somebody must think your good enough to do it, so it would be rude not to ablidge.
Posted By: rogerzell Re: possible new disussion points - 09/09/20 05:26 PM
Hiya Jonesie--re "who hired you"--that's a main reason I hated looking for gigs--trying to sell myself to people who didn't care. I once found myself talking to a "food and beverage" manager (the usual hirer) who wanted me for 5 hours a night (which is alot for a solo). He informed that he "wasn't a musician, but had a musician's soul", which was one of the stupider things I ever heard.

But you're in a different situation from me--I play solo, so I'm selling only me. You're in a band, so you're selling a bigger spectacle.

Re Garth and others like him--he, and all others, started by begging some schmoe for a job. Then begging an agent or manager to take him on--unless he was "discovered" by said agent. I have no idea how that works. I've played for hours in many places, and nobody ever offered me a gig during those hours. Then again, they were not high profile places.

But there's another interesting (and seamy) side to this--the pretty girl who gets a record contract solely from her looks---Marianne Faithfull--look her up. I'm sure there are others.

re playing for 30K people--be careful what you wish for--it's what made the Beatles quit touring. But then again, they ended up being more concerned with their art than the popularity.

And, the somebody who thinks you're good enough to do it may not either be smart, or have your best interests at heart. OTOH, they may be angels. Crap shoot. (of course, I speak from no experience whatsoever, so easy for me to say).
Posted By: Farmerjones Re: possible new disussion points - 09/10/20 01:37 PM
Well, i come in different packages:
I sell as solo acoustic guitar player/singer.
A duo with me on the fiddle with a guitarist.
Then there's the band (6 piece)

I used to have a group of folks i could draw from where i could get a three or four piece acoustic group together.

Ima cup half-full type when it comes to our music scene. Have to be. It's nearly non-existent. It does bring out the types that spend more on their looks than their skills. I don't need the gig bad enough to hook up with that stuff. Amazing but they can get work too. It just goes to show
Posted By: dpvjazz Re: possible new disussion points - 09/10/20 02:31 PM
I posted this around 15 years ago and it still what I believe

When I was 14 I saw Jimi Hendrix play in Phoenix in the late 60 and then knew I would include music in my life. It wasn't till I was 18 or 19 that I actually took my first lessons and of course everyone said it was to late to have a career in music and to just enjoy what ever I could learn. I also wanted to have my own restaurant and of course by this time everyone said no way you can't do both. I am glad that to believed what was in my heart and mind was place there for a purpose, and that if I had listen to all the naysayers out there today would have turn out much different. We play first and foremost because it is in our soul to do so and if we choose to share with others it is because that has been place there also. I know of players who play for themselves and are great players but thats where the drive stops and I know players who are driven to only play in front of people for the reaction they get. In 30 plus years at this I have miss many phone calls, specials on TV, and I have learn to be selfish for my piano time, not gone to many dinners with friends or socialized with others but I can, with all of my heart tell you when I have one of those ALPHA nights and everything lays as it should with players and the audience connecting it is worth it a million times over. dpvjazz

T MONK quotes
{ I say, play your own way. Don't play what the public want - you play what you want and let the public pick up on what you doing - even if it does take them fifteen, twenty years.}
{Jazz is freedom. You think about that}
{The only cats worth anything are the cats that take chances.}
Sometimes it's to your advantage for people to think you're crazy
Thelonious Monk

We played this 20 years ago at my restaurant 12 18 1999

Posted By: Farmerjones Re: possible new disussion points - 09/12/20 03:18 AM
Great link!

Interesting to hear about the different business models, for musicians. I been retired a few years, but most of my gigging was back when i was working. This year doesn't count. If this is a new normal, i haven't decided what to do yet. Punt?
Posted By: dpvjazz Re: possible new disussion points - 09/13/20 03:47 PM
rogerzell here are two interesting articles concerning the topics you wanted to dicuss

But with so much emphasis now on record sales and youtube views and a whole gauntlet of other means of measuring “success” have artists and fans alike lost touch with the soul of music.
Is being considered a great musician more important than actually making great music?
These two things are not the same. One may have all the technical skill and marketability that is now required almost, yet they may only be concerned with record sales as apposed to the quality of the record.


t is impossible to deny the instinct to be proud of our accomplishments within our medium. We experience these feelings of pride perhaps as a result of artistic ingenuity, professional accomplishments, or even accolades from those involved in the press industry. I say this because I, along with countless colleagues, have spent the majority of our lives in private practice—trying to hone a craft that is not perfectible.


Jason Tiemann is a New York City based jazz drummer, where he maintains a busy schedule as a freelance performer and educator. Admittedly drawing influence from the great(s) Philly Joe Jones, Tony Williams, Elvin Jones and Billy Higgins, Tiemann is quickly forging his musical voice on the New York scene by fusing his depth of historical foundation with crisp technique and propulsive, intuitive swing.

Hiya Jonesie--re "who hired you"--that's a main reason I hated looking for gigs--trying to sell myself to people who didn't care. I once found myself talking to a "food and beverage" manager (the usual hirer) who wanted me for 5 hours a night (which is alot for a solo). He informed that he "wasn't a musician, but had a musician's soul", which was one of the stupider things I ever heard.

That is why I decided to get in the restaurant business. I think I met that food and beverage guy so many times I decided to control my own destiny did it take a big ego to accomplish this well yes but not as big as the food and beverage guy.

ESPECIALLY on a stage, whether a full one or just a little riser, seems to add a magnetism to you, which is an ego feeder (and babe magnet).
YES this has a ring of truth to it but it a bad road to go down. Most of the longest married couples that I know are musicians.
Posted By: rogerzell Re: possible new disussion points - 09/13/20 05:29 PM
hi DPVjazz, thanks for your comments, and nice job on the youtube.

This string has been an interesting thing to ride. I posted the same thing on the classical section, and some folks got pretty huffy about the ego factor--nothing flaming, but many assumed I meant "ego" as a bad thing--I may have stated my questions badly? Anyway, that is the only point anyone addressed.

And thanks for the 2 links, good reading.

I also find it interesting that you are the only one so far to comment on any of my other questions. I think I was wrong to include "babe magnet". Anyway, I was wondering how that onstage aura worked, and whether others had felt it, I was not advocating for it, or gloating. As to whether its a bad road--only if it leads to bad behavior, I think. Otherwise, it's part of the pleasure of performing, assuming you acquit yourself well.

I'd like to hear thoughts on my other points, but no one seems to want to commit.
Posted By: Farmerjones Re: possible new disussion points - 09/15/20 02:07 AM
Could you point out by number what you like us to elaborate upon?
Haven't read the links yet but count on it.
This is the kinda stuff i like.
Posted By: rogerzell Re: possible new disussion points - 09/15/20 04:00 AM
Farmerjones---dude--thank you--I thought they were interesting too, thats why I posted them.

actually, I think all the points are worthy of discussion--but we've covered ego.

2: When ego is bigger than ability---actually, I think this one's fraught with danger on an open forum---very touchy. And yet I think we all have opinions about who's blowing smoke and who's for real.

I'll start a small limb to go out on--performance artists, which is outside the subject of this forum. I've known a few, and they all without exception had no serious ability in any of the regular fields of art but still wanted to be onstage. Their efforts were never as effective as a really good piece of music, or a painting, or a dance, or a play. Dare I say it, think of--no, no--no names.

3: the role of personal politics/salesmanship in music careers/getting gigs.--this is my biggest failure, I think. Although in the past I know I've been confidant to the point of arrogance. But I have been specializing in my field for decades, and I know no one else has, so maybe that could be excusable. I never wanted to be in a general business band, or a rock band, or any band for that matter. Too much competition. Again, a sample of what I do: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOHnDuvzjj8

As to exactly why I think I'm unique--I'll tell you if you ask, but it gets long-winded.

4: the magic aura of being onstage/the center of attention--how does that work? I find this a very interesting thing to ponder. Because it happens, for sure. One of the Beatles' main reasons for playing music at the start was to get girls. And they did, lord knows. Enough said. I'm not sure if this works the same way for female performers?? but anyway, how does it work?

and finally--

5: the freak show aspect of performing. I think this offends alot of people, especially over in the classical forum. But in a real sense, people who can play well ARE freaks. In pop, this gets blended into a general haze of how cool it is. But in classical, where everyone seems to want to ascribe everything to Art, getting up and playing is a high wire, high tension act. Slip and fall and it's very bad karma. And, the freak aspect is even more pronounced, because those folks are technically even more freakish than pop players.

In classical, if you screw up badly, it's VERY bad. Some performers with bright futures have quit because of a screwup--I've met one In pop improvisation, either A: most people won't notice, and/or B: you can resolve your wrong bit cleverly and make it sound right.

So, freak show.

and here's another one, not exclusive to musicians--cultlike fans, for whom their heroes can do no wrong. I'm a huge Beatles fan, but I know that some of their songs are not that great. Their success ratio is astounding tho, so the soso-bad ones stick out. And, Art Tatum is usually worshipped, but I don't know why. Astounding fingers for sure, best ever, but so often just fingers without ideas. He was also known for playing over bandmates. I think there was some autism to him. Over in the classical forum there's hero worship (and they can be very picky), but that is often overshadowed by a religious reverence for ART, which is really cloying.

Actually, I have a lot more to say on this, but face to face conversation is much better for this. Not that we're ever likely to meet.

So, talk to me.
Posted By: Farmerjones Re: possible new disussion points - 09/15/20 06:06 PM
Aw shucks, you could've refered me back to the original post, but ideas do seem to jell a bit when reviewed.
So here's another two cents. Don't value it above that. Music, is a galaxy of many planets, or a road with many lanes. Classical types? I understand and respect. But even in piano it's like a different planet. Same way with violin or fiddle. Composers. Writers. I've walked amoungst them. But it's not my ilk. Even them that record and seek to make money by selling said recordings. No, not my lane. I know a piano man can run solo, but personally, i need to collaborate. Mostly, because when the magic happens, we both have a wittness. My start was in jams. I still seek out high level jams. Such a not-for-public-consumption thing, i naturally lean toward the music more than the show. I.E., stage-garb runs contrary to me. I've slowly learned to play guitar, mandolin, banjar, bass, of course piano and fiddle, well enough to replace a band member. But the learning wasn't for that, but to better understand orchestration, by standing in the shoes of the player. Theorhetically, this could make me more musically valuable, more bankable, but i don't market myself thus. The phone rings enough, it ain't much, but it's enough.

Didja ever get propositioned to play a gig just for exposure? I tell them people die of exposure. That's not to say i don't play for free. I often do, but on my terms. I learned to smell sketchy deals. Heck, sometimes i walk head-long into sketchy deals. I don't expect much on those nights.

Ego? Been married 40 years. No ego left. I know what i can and cannot do. I don't write a check my ability can't cash. But the secret, i think, is it doesn't take a musical genius. Just be honest and kind. We play crazy solos to entertain each other. An audience doesn't know nor care what we just pulled off. Folks just want to have fun, or be taken on a trip. They want to connect if they can.

Gotta work tonight. Gotta get ready. Later FJ
Posted By: rogerzell Re: possible new disussion points - 09/16/20 04:55 AM
Hi Farmerjones--I have played for free plenty--nobody ever said it was for exposure, and I never got a gig from it.

You never said what kind of stuff you play, but I'm guessing oldtimey fiddle/bluegrass/country sorta stuff. Cool to play a lot of instruments, I can't do that.

In what I do, there are NO jams open to the public. I would not feel comfortable doing that anyway. Only rock, blues, jazz and some of the oldtimey fiddle/bluegrass.

In my case, I would say that about 1/2 the players I have met have been friendly and open. The others seem the opposite--closed, wary, dismissive--some without ever hearing me. I can't explain it. But I can't worry about it, and I'm thru with playing with others. I'm way too picky to play what I consider dull tunes.

anyway, if you have more thoughts about the above subjects, I'd be interested.

Or if anyone else does, clock in.
Posted By: dpvjazz Re: possible new disussion points - 10/16/20 03:54 PM
Farmerjones quote[ If this is a new normal, i haven't decided what to do yet. Punt] I ask around and most musicians that I know are up and running on line lessons,posting old and new performances,fundraising for musicians that have been affected by covid 19 like go fund me or union sponsor drives. The live playing market is a snapshot of what going on out there Jazz venues will be the last because of the aging musicians and clientele. But if you play casinos, rock , country, hip hop, bluegrass you probably can find a job. Just do not let them take advantage of you.

Rogerzell I really like your YOU TUBE PAGE and I appreciate what you are doing. I started out with strong left hand on the boogies I tried to play and I understand the problem of playing with other people but I just blended the swing with the boogie and this is what I came up with. Hope you like it

Posted By: rogerzell Re: possible new disussion points - 10/17/20 12:11 AM
Hi dpvjazz--thanks very much. I do what I do because nobody else is doing it and I think it needs to be done.

I checked out your vid--some left hand! BIG crunchy boogie. I can't do that, it tires me out very quickly.

I wonder if you saw BOTH my pages--Youtube got weird on me and wouldn't let me back in my 1st page, so i started a second one. Same kind of stuff tho.

I'm surprised to see this string again.

And frankly surprised that really nobody is addressing most of my points, about which I am really curious.
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