Time For a Hiatus From Performing In Clubs

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by SvenHock, Apr 21, 2015.

  1. SvenHock

    SvenHock Member

    Mar 10, 2003
    I've come to the conclusion that it is time for me to take a break from music. The last few gigs I've played have been more like work than playing for fun and the love of music. It's been quite some time since I've taken a break from performing and hope time away will be refreshing. I'm sure many of you have been in this position. I'd love to hear your reasons for taking a step back and what eventually drew you back to performing live.
  2. prsflame

    prsflame Member

    Jan 13, 2002
    I took a "break" and never went back. In 2008, I was driving home from a gig on memorial day weekend in the pouring rain. I remember thinking to myself: "I'm 35. All my friends and family are away this weekend, having a good time. What is left for me to really "get" from the experience of gigging"? So i helped my band find a replacement, and I left. During my break, I started taking violin lessons, and really diving into classical music. I also resumed taking guitar lessons. I have not returned to gigging, but I do play violin in a community orchestra, as well as with the orchestra at a local university. I don't really miss packing up my car, hauling equipment around, and driving at night to and from a gig. I jam with people from time to time, and play guitar daily, but once gigging felt like a chore, I knew for me it was time to leave. I have no regrets. As always, YMMV. Good luck with wherever your decision leads you.
  3. loudboy

    loudboy Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Sedona, AZ
    It's been 18 months since I've gigged, or even played.

    1. Focus is being removed from live entertainment, even at places that have live enertainment. Excessive volume constraints made enjoyment of playing virtually impossible.

    2. After 40 years of almost continuous gigging, recording and rehearsing, I've accomplished way more and had more great gigs than my pretty limited ability deserves.

    3. There is virtually no market around here for the type of stuff I'd like to play. Attracting players who are fun to play with needs to have an end game (gigs) no matter how great it sounds in the basement.
  4. Amplifier Owner

    Amplifier Owner Member

    Feb 28, 2014
    Dealing with PA was the thing that made me walk away from my last band. The other guys helped to carry it, but it was me setting everything up, mixing, troubleshooting, and transporting all of it. I still get calls to sit in or fill in, and I enjoy those opportunities. Knowing that I'm not dragging all those boxes out to my SUV, and then later upstairs or to the garage has made all the difference.
  5. SammyTickler

    SammyTickler Active Member

    Apr 19, 2015
    I like playing music, but decided I didn't need to entertain people, nor pay the price of that lifestyle to do it.
  6. ChrisVereb

    ChrisVereb Member

    Sep 23, 2014
    I took a break when my oldest was born. Then, I joined another band about 4 years (and one more kid) later. It didnt' work out and I ended up leaving before the 3rd gig. With two young ones at home I rarely get time to go see live music let a lone perform it. It's just not in the cards for me for a few years. I've got a lot of doubts I'll ever get back into it too. I'll go weeks without playing guitar sometimes now, and months without playing keys. I'd need to seriously put some work back into it to get my chops back, and life will have to change a whole lot for me to get that type of me time again. If and when it does, I'll have to make the call on getting myself gig-worthy again at that time.
  7. lpaul626

    lpaul626 Silver Supporting Member

    May 12, 2005
    All of the above for me (young kids at home, demanding career, band drama, diminishing market for live music, more and more empty rooms, etc.). After 14 years straight in various cover bands with no break, I was burned out. It's been 9 months, and while I miss certain aspects, I have no regrets. Jam from time to time with former band mates. Don't see myself going back, at least not on a regular basis.
  8. derekd

    derekd Supporting Member

    Sep 10, 2007
    In a van down by the river
    I walked away from playing in clubs several years back. I switched to playing solo/duet in restaurants, coffee shops, and private parties. Play the occasional wedding/funeral, all instrumental.

    Been playing in churches steady for decades, and the occasional theater or festival gig. These seem to scratch my musical itch, for the most part. The days of playing 10 pm-2 am with setup and tear down are in my rearview.

    I totally understand about wanting to step away from the club scene.
  9. Motterpaul

    Motterpaul Tone is in the Ears

    Dec 16, 2010
    Encinitas, SoCal
    I quit my cover band where we had a full night of music, and I joined more of a "personality" band that specialized in doing festivals (etc) where you only do one set.

    The "set up and go" mentality with no sound check, and the rush to set up, play and tear down had all my equipment left here & there. It isn't an aspect you think about when you go from being more of a "houseband" (if even for just one night) to doing "shows" where you to be on & off - but the stress is much higher.

    I have never been a "grab & go" gearhead, either, so that also matters - I like my head/cabinet/pedal board.

    Soi - I'm quitting all bands for awhile - just to focus on pedal building and not being in bars late at night.
  10. SteveO

    SteveO Member

    Dec 27, 2009
    The last working band I was in broke up in 1998, and I quit playing altogether for quite a while. It had indeed become more of a job than anything else (that band was doing over 150 nights a year). Once I got the itch again I turned my focus to home recording, which is a whole different kind of GAS...
  11. gtrdave

    gtrdave Member

    Jan 18, 2012
    The Small Wonder
    I took a break from club gigs back in 2001 and only returned to it on a very limited basis just about a year ago.
    Granted, I still played a lot in those 13 years: church, live concerts, studio gigs...but the few recent club gigs I've had reminded me of how much I do not miss that scene.
    I've got a gig at a club this Friday and the only reason I'm willing to do it is because it's a fundraiser for a friend's son's little league team.
  12. gmann

    gmann Member

    Dec 2, 2010
    Okinawa, Japan
    It is a lot of work. When it becomes no fun you need to walk away, even if it's temporary. You don't want to end up hating something you once loved.
  13. gtrplyr1

    gtrplyr1 Member

    Aug 22, 2008
    Marengo, Illinois
    I quit playing out 20 years ago.

    I do teach full time for a living so having a guitar in hand is still the focus of my life.

    I don't miss all the bull that went along with gigging but I do miss the interaction of playing regularly with other musicians of similar caliber.
  14. bayAreaDude

    bayAreaDude Member

    Aug 4, 2014
    The general publoc isn't interested in good music so yeah, performing can suck.
  15. macula56

    macula56 Member

    Dec 8, 2004
    Just Passin' Thru
    I stopped playing in bars a couple of years ago. while I do miss the playing part I do not miss the ******** that comes with the bar scene. I still go out and sit in once in a while but mostly I am concentrating on writing and recording.
  16. 2HBStrat

    2HBStrat Member

    Apr 3, 2009
    East of the Rockies...
    I took a 2 year break once....I was burnt out from several years of playing in a house band 6 nights a week and just needed a break. After that 2 year period I was ready to play again and started going out and listening to bands and got a gig, another house band gig, pretty quickly. The music had changed, tho. When I quit everybody was playing rock music....when I came back it was country, the urban cowboy era.....I just rolled with it and made it work.
  17. gennation

    gennation Member

    Feb 25, 2006
    Grand Rapids, MI
    A break is good. For the first time in two years I have a whole month off with no gigs! I work a full time (plus) job, teach two nights a week, rehearse, and gig constantly with at least 3-4 different bands a month. So May is going to be relaxing.

    I'm looking forward to the month off, but you know what...I'm going to be practicing my butt off on all the stuff I've been wanting to concentrate on, and the bands I'm in will be rehearsing too. And by the time May is over, I am going to itching to play out again.

    In the end, the music will never leave you but if you get back into it again it's going to be a learning curve. I went from playing for a living for 14 years, went back to school got a great job, and hadn't played music with anyone for about 10 years. The only music I did was writing and recording by myself for over 15 years. Then I decided to play with others again and even do some gigs...

    I'll tell you, just playing with other musician again was a huge task/chore/learning experience!

    The guys I would jam with were playing all the time still and I felt like a baby. It sure busted my chops. I felt like an amateur with these seasoned players.

    It took me a couple of years before I felt like I was back in the saddle.

    Just remember, a band can practice in the basement for years and the first time they set foot on stage will be like the first time they really HAVE TO play together. Then more times they are on stage the better they will get at playing live...regargless of how much more they practice in the basement.

    Nothing stays the same...and...

    Don't lose that edge and refinement that you have today....because you will.
  18. dirk_benedict

    dirk_benedict Supporting Member

    May 29, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    I still really enjoy playing live (and rehearsing for that matter)...but I've had it with all the other crap that goes along with it.
  19. 27sauce

    27sauce Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2010
    San Antonio
    I burned out(for the first time) at pretty young age. I was doing originals and covers, sideman gigs, solo gigs, school gigs. Probably around 200 a year from age 17 to 25.

    I decided to take a break, and go to college. Right then, my phone started ringing. Gigs left and right. My hiatus was only about a year long, then I went back in harder than before. BUT, I figured out how to do it right. Play with the right people, at the right places, for the right money. I finished school, and am on 10 years of "doing it right". Always looking for a better gig.
  20. Lephty

    Lephty Member

    Nov 17, 2012
    Boulder, CO
    For me, keeping a good balance has been largely about choosing my battles. Avoiding ****** venues with ****** management. Avoiding those musicians who seem to create drama everywhere they go. Rarely (if ever) doing more than 2-3 gigs in a week, especially if they are late gigs. Rarely (if ever) driving more than 3-4 hours for a gig. Not drinking so much on gigs that I end up with a 2-day hangover.

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