Been feeling a bit down lately, maybe even sorry for myself and I hate when I do that. But I’m pretty sure I know the reason.
If you read My Journey you know that when I decided to get back into music after being away from it for almost 25 years I managed to find a band with relative easy. This had always been the case when I was living in my home town.
I usually arrived back in town and within a couple of weeks had phone calls about sitting in with a band or taking over as the drummer with a band.
The band that I joined when I got back into music broke up over one year ago. At least I got one year of gigs to ease me back into the scene.
But now I’ve been sitting over a year without playing a live gig. It makes me feel like I am stagnating a bit with my development.
I try to practice as much as I can but doing rudiments and playing to records really just keeps the rust from developing.
You may build some chops but the best way to really develop and improve is to play out live.
There is nothing like a three or four hour gig to get the juices flowing and chop muscles building.
So this situation really is a first for me.
I guess where I am located really doesn’t help the matter as well.
I’ve had a number of possibilities but most are just too far away.
I’m at least 90 minutes from Philadelphia or Washington D.C and that’s if you make the drive when there is no traffic on the roads. So it’s probably more like two hours.
There is somewhat of a music scene just north of me in Harrisburg but that can be close to an hour each way depending on which part of the area I’m going to.
Those kind of commutes make practicing on a regular basis costly in both time and gas. It’s also tough to put in that kind of time if you not real enthusiastic about the band.
The other problem is most all the bands that are located in close proximity are metal bands. At my age I’m just not interested in metal. My ears have already had enough damage and I’m not looking to completely ruin my hearing.
At lot of the bands that advertise for players are just jam bands. Very amateur players just looking to fool around and play rock star in their basement. I was done with that over 40 years ago.
I’ve answered a number of ads where the band seemed pretty enthused about getting together and then I drop the bomb on them, my age. Things tend to go silent after that and that’s the last that I’ll hear from them.
I’ve placed ads on Craigslist and the one local music magazine but get the same response as when I answer the ads placed by others.
I could start hitting the open mic nights again but in this area they are so cliquish. It’s like high school all over again. Sometimes I feel like I’m cutting in on someone’s private club.
Most of them you have to get there early (I mean like 6:00 PM) so you don’t have to sit around to 11:00 PM or later to go on for 15 minutes and then you’re stuck with marginal players at best. Players who are just banging away on their guitars and not listening. Most of them don’t even realize or understand the concept of playing together and feeding off the other players. And they sure don’t understand the groove.
So here I sit, practicing and practicing and feeling like I’m going nowhere real fast.
I’ve got to get out and hear more bands and start to network more, but the places for live music on a local basis are limited as well. But I’ll keep plugging away.
Some might say why don’t you pick up and move to a place where there is a decent music scene?
Well when you’re my age and been in one place as long as I have you don’t just pick up and move.
But maybe there is some hope with the new technology. I’ve been reading and looking up the online music collaboration sites.
Has anyone given them a try?
I sure would be interested in hearing about your experience.
© Otis P Smith and About the Groove, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Otis P Smith and About the Groove with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.