Re: Serious question for the pros (from an 18-year vet of the club scene) -


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Posted by Bob 'Skippy' Blechinger on January 22, 2002 at 08:06:34:

In Reply to: Serious question for the pros (from an 18-year vet of the club scene) - posted by Frustrated on January 16, 2002 at 23:17:16:

: I've been gigging and/or touring with cover bands for about 18 years now (10 years solid of that being full-time). I've made a lot of money playing music over the years and I am so thankful for that. Now that I'm "30-something" and I'm not getting any younger, I've set a new goal for myself: to play in one of these "dinosaur bands" - you know, the bands that I grew up listening to with only one or two original members, using the original "name" (i.e., BTO, ELO, etc., etc.), doing the small and medium venues, state fairs, etc. I know you're probably laughing, but this_is_my_goal.

: We all know that *pro attitude* and *knowing the right people* is the BIG thing, but the problem is I don't know who to wine and dine, or who's really "in the clique"! I've played with some people you've probably heard of and many more you haven't. Of the ones you you may have heard of, most of them have "fallen from grace" with the industry clique, so no "connection" there. I've joined the union. I've spammed talent agencies (of whom I have no idea at all if they have any "pull" at all anyway), and I never get replies back from them.

: PLEASE HELP! How do I get an audition with a "BTO", a "Motley Crue", a "Foghat", a "Cream" - you get the idea(?). Are there any agents out there who you'd recommend? Joining the local union here (in my little town) isn't getting me anywhere. Is there some referral service perhaps, that really *does* help to get one into this sort of clique? I'm easy to work with, I've got pro gear, a pro attitude, I'm a "big fish" in my tiny little pond already, and although I know I'm not God's gift to the art of bass playing, I also know I can get along with just about anybody and have already realized that the guys and gals who play with the "names" are often just better networkers than they are musicians.

: WHERE DO I START NETWORKING? Please reply to me either in this forum, or via email - rockbassplayer@hotmail.com - Thanks in advance, Y'all, and God Bless!

Frustrated,
Ooooooooh, that's a toughie!

Unfortunately, there's not really a *good* answer to the question.

You're right when you say that people who play with the "names" are often just better networkers than they are musicians; not that musical talent and skill *aren't* important, though...

Just curious, where do you live? Accessability *is* important; if you live in a big city, you'll have more of an opportunity to hook up with a band than if you're in East Podunk.

The *big* problem here, though, is that there are a *lot* of people who have the *same* goal as you do; how many of us *dream* of playing with our idols? Unfortunately, there are *very* few spots available in that kind of gig; when those *do* open up, they're usually filled by someone who's been in other bands. Take Foghat, for example (since you mentioned them); they appeared at a local club here in Sioux Falls, SD, several years ago (I opened for them), and if memory serves, one of the guys in the band had been with someone like Molly Hatchet, and there were some veterans of other well-known bands, as well.

There are 2 *different* Foghats, by the way; there was Foghat, and "Lonesome Dave's Foghat" (not sure what happened to them since Dave Peverett passed away).

I have a good friend named Bob LaRoy, who was a member of the Castaways ("Liar, Liar") back in the mid-60's; he lives here in Sioux Falls now, and does a solo act where he sings, plays guitar, harmonica, some keyboards, and has a drum machine behind him (it's cool to see him do it). I got in with him quite a few years back at a little neighborhood bar on Sunday nights. He's *very* demanding when it comes to his music (he's done his solo act for a good 25 years), and I'm one of the *very* few musicians that he'll let play with him on his solo stuff. If someone came up to him and said they needed a bass player, he'd recommend me without hesitation.

A lot of the time, when you deal with old 60's acts, you'll have the band, and then a backup band behind them; being in a band like that is probably your best bet. I know the guys from a local band who have done a *lot* of that kind of work, and it's fairly demanding; usually, the act will have all the different parts written out (reading ability is a *must*), and you *will* do it the way the *star* wants it done, *no* question.

Which brings me to another drawback of working with "dinosaur bands": Aging Rocker Syndrome.

Some (not all) people who were in bands back in the 60's and 70's have a tendency to be in denial of the fact that they're no longer the force in popular music that they once were; this results in them being *major* assholes (yes, I *have* had to deal with this on occasion, and no, it's *not* fun having to kiss their asses), and *major* diplomacy is called for.

Sometimes, it's not good to be *too* close to those you admire... ;-)

Ultimately, though, there's not any *one* easy answer to your question; sometimes, it's just a matter of being in the right place at the right time.

Hope that helps!

-Bob



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