Coping with the Senior Citizen blues...When is it "time"?

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by bobbymack, Sep 2, 2016.

  1. bobbymack

    bobbymack Supporting Member

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    Well, I'm now officially AARP eligible+, and looking at a possible relocation towards the beach one of these days...which has me wondering about a fresh start / continued gigging, with a good band, in a new area, at this stage of the game.

    I really have no desire to stop gigging -- but having run bands for the past 20 years or so I'm honestly questioning if I've got the gumption required. Not the playing part, it's the screening, auditions, marketing, booking, and the rest of the grunt work compounded by the "aging out" question...

    For you 55+ types, how have you managed to stay in viable (cover) bands? Is "aging out" a real or imagined issue? Is our generation's "street cred" sufficient to still be competitive in the gig market without being an "oldies band", or a straight cheese dance / wedding band? Blues band? Or just proud older dudes with classic rock era street cred continuing to do their thing while working hard to stay current at the same time...?

    For those who have retired from gigging, how did you know it was time? Was an "aging out" cloud hanging over your head? Other frustrations?? Just tired / bored??? And without a band / live performances, how have you satisfied your desire to keep playing in a meaningful way?

    For the past 10 years or so the successful formula for me has been a solid bunch of us older players fronted by a 30ish chick singer, playing quality rock from the '60s literally through today...and I'd continue with that. I'm just having thoughts I've never really had before, and am wondering how others deal / have dealt with it.

    All thoughts / experiences / perspectives are welcome.
     
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  2. GulfportBound

    GulfportBound Member

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    I'm two months shy of my 61st birthday. Since July, I've been working with and rehearsing
    a new blues group with jazz (modal jazz especially) and soul influences.

    All four of us are within the same age group. We're due to land our first gig in November, at a
    local venue friendly not just to blues but to groups who feature a) a lot of original material
    (I spent much of the past spring working on new material) and b) freewheeling improvisation.
    (The venue booker heard a recording of one of our rehearsals---it included a couple of our
    longer group improvs---and decided to put us in his place's rotation.)

    Nobody seems to mind our age much. Or that we're not nostalgists. ;)
     
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  3. Flyin' Brian

    Flyin' Brian Member

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    I'm rapidly approaching 70. I haven't played in any cover bands for quite a while. I guess the closest I've come to that is sitting in with The Doobie Brothers, some of whom are almost as old as me.

    But I have played in alt rock/pop sort of band in the last year, I play jazz jams and gigs now and then and actually play with two other guys at "seniors" places. I guess that's sort of a cover gig. Thing is that I'm older than some of the seniors, so the songs are usually '50s and up.

    They always request stuff like Rock Around The Clock and they actually get up and dance. Some of the music is pure cheese, but it's easy work. And the chance to play some standards and improvise over them fills the creative gap.

    The other plus is that all these gigs are during the day, sometimes even for Breakfast Clubs. Yesterday we had a gig from 8am to 9am. Short, sweet minimal gear, no drunks and $100 a piece. No 2am drives home, and even with the short sets they're not bars trying to use music to shore up profits so the money is very good.

    Aside from that I get calls to act as soloist for singer/songwriters showcases as well. So it's all good without any band drama. But you have to be conversant with a lot of different musical styles and a bit of reading chops helps.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2016
  4. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Member

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    get a condo on Pattaya beach

    [​IMG]
    This is the view from my buddy's condo.

    on the ground:
    [​IMG]

    low cost of living

    BTW, I know a retired bass player over there, but he doesn't have a beachfront condo.
    He still does gigs, but mostly just for laughs, as you need a work permit to get paid for it legally.
     
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  5. bobbymack

    bobbymack Supporting Member

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    Thanks so far fellas.

    Some good thoughts and comments re: the evolution, though at least for awhile my preference would be to stay viable in the summer festival / civic event / corporate function market if I'm going to do it. I guess I am still a bit of a "nostalgist" re: still wanting to rock some at volume with everything from Janis and Grace Slick to Susan Tedeschi and Grace Potter. Alabama Shakes, Journey, Black Keys? Sure...
     
  6. loudboy

    loudboy Member

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    You're not going to get any corporate gigs doing that stuff, but you could get festival and local gazebo shows. Once you get into that scene, it's pretty easy to get return bookings, as long as you sound OK and are really easy to work with. About a decade ago, there was a local act that played at every event in the 3 county area - they weren't great, but they must have made multiple thousands in the 3-4 years that they did it.

    As for the aging out issue, I'm 59 and I hit a wall about 2.5 years ago. Being in a less than very good cover band, and working my ass off on a nightmare of an original project for a year all sort of hit at the same time, and I realized that I'd done just about everything that my talent/commitment level had allowed. Much more, actually. <g> Stopped cold, haven't really picked up a guitar since then. My friends/family were all shocked, as I'd been playing in bands consistently for over 40 years, but frankly, I don't miss it at all.

    I still love music, just not into playing it anymore. I also understand that everyone is unique - if you enjoy doing it, then keep doing it.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2016
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  7. RLD

    RLD Member

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    Being good trumps age.
     
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  8. Brooks

    Brooks Member

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    hi bobs, what beach are you looking at?
     
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  9. bobbymack

    bobbymack Supporting Member

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    Interesting. Maybe I've been in CO too long,but my current band plays a wide variety including "that stuff", and we do fairly well with corporate stuff in addition to BBQ Festivals, civic yada yada, and regular old $500 bar gigs...

    Your second point re: not picking up a guitar since you quit gigging is something I just can't visualize myself doing. But, I am the kind of guy that needs a "reason" to play and right now the notion of playing by myself with no band or gigs is kinda scary.
     
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  10. hobbyplayer

    hobbyplayer Member

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    Sweet!

    Any idea what a condo like that would cost?
     
  11. rippingrudy

    rippingrudy Member

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  12. John Vasco

    John Vasco Member

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    I'm 66 this month. Drummer is older than me. Bass is around the 60 mark. Singer (rhythm/slide/harp player) is late-50s. We've been together over 4 years now. 7 gigs this month - crazy.

    But we love what we do. No egos. No big-heads. Just four who love playing together. It MUST end some day, but I don't see it being anytime soon...

    [​IMG]

    First few seconds is what the guy who owns the studio put on without our knowledge, but we kept it on. We all kick in at the 20 second mark. I sing this one; singer plays slide and harp; we both play rhythm, and my solo at the end is on my Les Paul Junior through a Boss acoustic sim pedal into my Mesa F-50.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2016
  13. bob-i

    bob-i Member

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    I'm 65 and I expected that the calls for gigs would stop a few years ago. Not only are they still coming in, the quality of the gigs is getting better. This summer I've played several gigs at a NJ beach town where we had an audience of perhaps 100-150, a few big jazz clubs in NY, plus several patio restaurant happy hour gigs. I have also played some of the usual bar gigs but I would not be upset if they go away, I've had enough.
     
  14. DrumBob

    DrumBob Gold Supporting Member

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    I'm 65, still playing most weekends and some weeknights in one of NJ's busiest cover bands. I have also just joined a Clapton tribute band, and will be reforming the band in which I play guitar after October 1 with new people, new material and a new name. I'm busier than ever, and feel that I'm playing at my best right now, even though I'm not as fast as I used to be behind a drumset. What's important is that my timekeeping is rock solid. I'm more muscial as a musician if that makes sense.

    I have no intention of slowing down anytime soon. This is partly due to my better health and renewed energy these days after turning around the diabetes that hit me last year. I feel energized and ready to keep rockin.'
     
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  15. trisonic

    trisonic Member

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    I’m 64. I think giving up smoking and then changing my diet to a much healthier one (I had to lose my sweet tooth) very recently helps more than I thought possible. I’m losing weight at only 1lb a week but I have a target of 185lbs which is what I was in my thirties, it seems achievable now....

    Best, Pete.
     
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  16. stevel

    stevel Member

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    Well, it seems like being named Bob certainly helps!

    I'm only 48, but this is something that has crossed my mind more frequently the older I get.

    It hasn't helped that I've now seen a few high school friends pass away, or develop cancer, etc. and some of their parents I knew then have passed or aged or developed age-related issues, etc.

    I've also lost a few work colleagues who were only 8 or 10 years my senior, and a few students who were only in their early 20s :-(

    So let's just say that I've encountered situations where you start to think about what's important to you in life, etc.

    But I feel like I'm at my "prime" in many ways, and I too don't intend on stopping anytime soon (barring any unforeseen circumstances, or loss of hearing).

    It seems like almost every band I've been in lately, I'm the "baby" of the group! I'm often 5 to 10 years younger than everyone else - and these are the gigs with experienced players who actually get good jobs - highest paying gigs I've been in

    I think it just takes "adults" to understand how the business works, instead of the "dreamers" who are still trying to "make it" but have no clue.

    I just joined a band with a bass player who's 68 IIRC! Again, the other players are probably 5-10+ on me.

    So it seems - from my perspective at least - it's the "seasoned" players who've made it to their 50s who are actually getting the paying gigs and running things professionally.

    What's also interesting is some of the older players I've met actually didn't pick up an instrument until they were 40 or 50! They've had a professional life and understand being an adult and workplace duties and ethics and so on, and they're retired from that career and take up music - and actually approach it with the same kind of "career attitude" and they become solid players because they approach it like "I need to do what's important in order to play" and not all the other BS. They've done their office politics and don't care to repeat it with band drama!

    So I've had a lot of good luck playing with slightly older cats - of course, pretty soon I'll be the slightly older cat - but I'm not sure if I'll be able to tolerate playing with youngsters who are "green" - it has to be at a level of professionalism that I agree with - and the older guys now all tend to have that.

    One band was a 60s band.

    The other was a70s and 80s Prog Rock deal (super good).

    The other is a 60s and 70s "rock standards" type of band (though we're about to do a 50s gig!) - private parties for the 60+ crowd primarily - no clubs.

    The other is a Blues Band which will do clubs but work towards larger things.

    So I'm certainly not playing metal or modern top 40 (but did that maybe 10 years ago and would again if the right project came up). But there's definitely less of a market for that here anyways.
     
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  17. trisonic

    trisonic Member

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    I have a son nearly as old as you!

    Best, Pete.
     
  18. Papanate

    Papanate Member

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    It's time when you have nothing to contribute anymore.

    Your formula is exactly how the pros keep playing into their
    70s - get the eye candy up front and let the players lay
    it down.

    I am never retiring from anything - I see no reason to - as
    I enjoy mostly everything I do.
     
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  19. Radspin

    Radspin Member

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    I'm 61 and it's starting to get physically harder, and there are times when I'm driving to gigs and say to myself, why am I doing this, but as Eric Bloom of Blue Oyster Cult said in a recent interview, the alternative is NOT doing it, and I don't want to stop and simply never play another gig again. And once I get going I realize that it's so much fun, and rewarding, and that I love playing.

    Our band plays a lot of off the wall '60s stuff, covers, country and originals so we're not your average bar band. So we're not working every weekend but we don't want to either. And we clearly look our age but in a way that works for us...when we play in a bar where there are mostly people in their 20s and 30s, they take one look at us and don't expect us to play the current pop music of the day...we "look" like an oldies band and it puts the audience into a mindset where that's what they expect us to play.
     
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  20. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Member

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    Ask Steve...

     
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