why did they make it big?

8raw

Member
Messages
1,146
I used to play in bands, but none of them were very good, and I never really liked playing out that much. So I'm mostly a jam and bedroom player.

Just curious from pros and guys in bands playing out consistently; what were the key elements to making it big, like reasonably well off with consistent work, or super super big? Right place right time, above average talent, more entertainer than musician, whatever you think. Whether it be guys you know personally, or guys you've heard of.

I love to hear the war stories and the inside thoughts of people that are in the middle of it. I thought it might be fun for people to write about.

Thanks.
 

RupertB

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,316
Big time: It's basically a lottery. A modicum of talent will buy you a ticket.

Consistent work/reasonably well off as a pro musician: Hard work & dedication to learning the craft (eg. reading, writing, technique, etc). Helps if you stop using the phrase "I don't play...."
 

Marc Roy

Member
Messages
13,141
Some guys I know just got signed with some label in the USA.

They're okay. Not amazing.
They advertise the CRAP out of everything they do and it's absolutely non-stop how focused they are on the whole marketing/advertising/getting the word out thing.

Seeing them succeed in this manner has me thinking this is probably how loads of bands do it. There's far more talented bands in my town than them, yet they have not signed any contracts and do not continuously spam everything they do all over the shop.

So I think to "make it big", you have to really be kinda of.. annoying.. a bit of talent yeah, but I really don't think talent is the key to success.
This would explain the emergence of bro-country.
 

cadduc

Member
Messages
5,377
learn how to play, yes that is important
look like you know how to play, yes, that is important
write, yes, very, very important
promote, yes, very important,

convince a covenant of people that you are it, and they should be part of it too, and they should go forth and spread the word, incessantly,

yeah, cult following and the dynamics of this, can help to create the necessary crucible for success, I mean, everything must click

but, even with talent and success, you can cause your cause to auger in
what is Sylvester stewart (sp) doing now and where is he
 

speakerjones

Member
Messages
2,299
I've always felt the key to long-term success is nothing but putting in the work. Tour, pay your dues. Do good business. Put out a good product. Oodles of talent isn't necessary, but certainly helps.

The key to shorter term success is definitely right place/right time, and knowing the right people. Very little talent necessary, but helps immensely to be young and good looking. In the not so distant past, it was a pretty sure bet to attach yourself to a Mouseketeer.
 

jayn

Member
Messages
980
Internationally/nationally - I saw one moderately talented band get big when they were signed by very aggressive management with deep pockets. I saw two very talented acts get big by management forcing them to work their asses off and tour constantly. I also saw one band that the A&R guy at a major label loved and signed, but then they didn't have the work ethic and got heavily into drugs and fell off the map.

Locally/regionally - most of the successful acts are decent, but not amazing technically, but they network like crazy and work really hard.

Lesson - hard work/persistence is probably the key.
 

Jaddy

Member
Messages
637
Good question. Wish I knew! I was in a rather large Canadian band that started up about 20 years ago. From the beginning things just happened for us without really trying. I remember that during our first sound check after being together for about a month we had a full dance floor. We were in the States on one tour and were listening to the radio and a singer for a major American band said that we were his favorite Canadian band. We'd never crossed paths with him. We really didn't 'try' beyond doing our best with writing & performing. Prior to this all of us had been at it for several years in different bands with next to no luck, so all I can say is that the stars were aligned. It got bigger and bigger until oddly enough we signed on with our second manager. Perhaps he saw a different path for us, but the tours we did with him at the helm got worse and worse, frustration and anger began to boil and so forth. Our last gig was one of the best shows we'd ever played and yet 2 days later the leader of the band said he'd had enough and quit. We soldiered on but I know I was growing tired of the travel and a couple of others wanted to or had started families and we parted ways. Looking back in my very late '40's I have to say it was a great experience and I wouldn't trade it for anything, however I can only imagine that luck had a fair amount to do with it.

Jaddy
 

sanrico

Member
Messages
12,241
Big time: It's basically a lottery. A modicum of talent will buy you a ticket.
I totally disagree. I think it's a rare chemistry of things that most people do not have. Some of it is internal (talent, hard work, etc) and some external (good marketing folks, born into a good scene, etc).

Since the dawn of time, musicians have been putting successful musicians down for being successful, yet not having "chops." But I think that just shows a narrow vision.

It's very easy for a guitarist who has 30 years of experience to put down a Britney Spears or Justin Bieber. After all, we've all known someone from our bar band days who could sing circles around either of them, but she never "got discovered."

I don't believe in "being discovered." Yes, there is that moment that someone first takes notice of a Michael Jackson or Aretha Franklin. But the talent, drive, focus, and uniqueness of them was going to get noticed eventually. Nearly every successful artist has a list of record companies that turned them down first.

Justin Bieber is the latest punching bag of older musicians. Fair enough..he's annoying. But you know what? He's TALENTED. He may not sing like that ol' gal you know in the bar days, but he's not supposed to. His voice and style speak to MILLIONS of fans his age. Yes, once you get the right people around you (as in Usher for Bieber), it makes the ride go faster, but for the right person, that ride will get there.

Notes of exception: Those who were lucky enough to be on the ride with someone who made it big, and were stable enough to ride the wave into their own comfortable existence. This is the Ringo Starr clause.
 

lp_bruce

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
17,842
I don't buy the notion you can make it in music without a lot of talent, at least in the vast majority of cases. On top of that, I think you need good songs (hooks), a drive to make it, and absolutely a good dose of luck (right place, right time).

Peace,
 

Ubersooner

Member
Messages
2,167
With drive, talent and mobility, you can make a living as a single guy. You can do that for a pretty long time but as soon as girlfriend becomes mom to your kids, rides pretty much over as a bill paying pursuit. As for Stardom, if you have to ask how, it ain't never gonna happen.
 

Z_Zoquis

Member
Messages
3,673
Good question. Wish I knew! I was in a rather large Canadian band that started up about 20 years ago. From the beginning things just happened for us without really trying. I remember that during our first sound check after being together for about a month we had a full dance floor. We were in the States on one tour and were listening to the radio and a singer for a major American band said that we were his favorite Canadian band. We'd never crossed paths with him. We really didn't 'try' beyond doing our best with writing & performing. Prior to this all of us had been at it for several years in different bands with next to no luck, so all I can say is that the stars were aligned. It got bigger and bigger until oddly enough we signed on with our second manager. Perhaps he saw a different path for us, but the tours we did with him at the helm got worse and worse, frustration and anger began to boil and so forth. Our last gig was one of the best shows we'd ever played and yet 2 days later the leader of the band said he'd had enough and quit. We soldiered on but I know I was growing tired of the travel and a couple of others wanted to or had started families and we parted ways. Looking back in my very late '40's I have to say it was a great experience and I wouldn't trade it for anything, however I can only imagine that luck had a fair amount to do with it.

Jaddy

Mind if I ask the name of the band? I'm Canadian and just curious... :)
 

custom53

Member
Messages
4,747
Above all, Have confidence in your self.. Take the band "Autograph" for example.. They were a good band but they had to make up a "history" or basically bull **** David Lee Roth into letting them open for Van Halen.. 48 times...! And they didn't have a record out, in fact they were unsigned.. But they had the confidence in knowing they could pull it off.. And they did.. Then got signed..
 

iamdavea

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
8,695
I'm 52, grew up/live in the Bay Area, and have thought--since I was 17--that if Eddie Money can make it, virtually anyone has a chance.
 

tdarian

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
5,038
Having the right stuff in the right place with the right people at the right time.
 

bayAreaDude

Member
Messages
3,221
Set clear goals and come up with a plan for achieving them. And that's only part of it - guys like Tony Rice can be excellent musicians, but still end up financially hard up.
 

drewl

Member
Messages
8,579
I think it can be all of above.
Some happened to be at the right place at the right time while others worked their ass off to get there.
 

iamdavea

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
8,695
The Archies were playing a dance at their own high school, an A&R guy happened to be the father of some random kid, and BINGO!, they're all over the radio. True story.
 




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