A few months ago I ran a poll on what kind of blogs you wanted me write, and I was surprised that one of the top categories was personal stories from inside the music business.
This is tricky task for a guy that is currently earning his stripes and doesn’t want to tick people off, but I’ll do my best to include more in the future. Here’s 3 very brief stories and what I learned:
Last Minute Key Change
A little while ago I was stepping onstage with an artist. As we’re about to walk onstage, he turns to me and asks “Is it too late to drop this a half step to Db?” I could see the fear in his eyes- he was battling a head cold. I smiled and said yes. We pulled it off without a hitch!
What I learned: flexibility is really important, and practicing those boring scales actually do pay off in the end.
Just Say No (Sometimes)
Last year I got a call to sub in for a cover band. I took the gig, and a day later got a call from an artist that was playing the legendary country music venue the Grand Ole Opry. I tried to get out of it, but the MD for the cover band wouldn’t budge. I ended up playing to 10 drunk people in a bar in Kentucky.
What I learned: don’t be too quick to say yes to a gig unless it’s something you really want to do. Also, money isn’t everything. Taking a few less gigs for less money can help your career more than working all the time on the wrong gigs.
The Everything Man
There’s a musician friend that I know who is one of the most all around talented guys I’ve ever met. He’s a great guitarist, bassist, singer, videographer, keyboardist, audio engineer, and more. And he’s never been called for a gig. Three years after moving to Nashville, he’s yet to get a gig that matches his talents.
What I learned: if you work in a major music market, it’s vital to specialize in one or two things that people can remember. No one thinks “I need someone that can do everything” when they’re looking for a guitar player. They look for the best guitar player they can afford and is available.