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Well said Wim. Yes, unless you're charging a cover you're losing money in the start. Then what needs to happen is that the place will do well for the evening to cover the overall costs and make a profit. When that doesn't happen the owner gets left with a bitter taste in their mouth having paid for the band even if it's as little as possible. But that's another mistake I've seen bars and restaurants do, trying to salvage a slow Tuesday night by hiring a band. Which, unless the band has a dedicated following, is a lose-lose scenario.
It takes a serious commitment to foster a lifetime career as a performer.
I believe it’s an individual endeavor. Yes, bands become successful but life is long and it’s the individual who lasts. So as Thelonius Monk once said, “Don’t sound people for a gig, be on the scene.”
Hanging out all night and playing for no money is a young person’s game but it is a form of natural selection. It culls the talent and notoriety becomes the ticket to a sustaining vocation in music same as it applies to all other fields.
The most versatile capable musician in any town big or small is working and getting paid. How well they’re being paid is contingent on the town itself. The bigger the city, the better the bread, the more demanding the environment is. And the competition is fierce.
So although I too lament the dire state of live music in this era I remember coming up here in NYC and living on beans and rice for twenty years.
I am writing this from the orchestra pit of one of the most successful broadway shows of all time. I have been playing guitar here for 16 years, still practicing about three hours a day working on everything that interests me. It’s a lifetime choice. A restaurant gig rarely pays well and I do one for low bread and food and beer and I’m a union member. A life in music alone is a hard hustle. The reward is not money, it’s way deeper than that.
I wish you all success in the dream. It’s an honor to be a part of this community of Djangoists!
You're totally right Ric, it's all about the commitment. Which is what I'm attempting to do at this point of my life...