I have written on a number of occasions about my struggles in finding a working band. Not a full time, make a living working band, just a decent local band that plays a couple a times a month or once or twice a week.
Lately I have not let this bother me as much as it has in the past.
My friend who I am looking to work with again has semi retired and moved to Florida. He left his production company, downsized his life and is getting back into music.
I am looking forward to working with him again and we have started doing so. I have setup my home recording studio, he has his and we send files back and forth.
This long distance writing, recording and collaborating has helped to offset the frustration I have with the local music scene.
This morning as I was getting dressed for my day job, once again the thought crossed my mind that maybe I’m just too old for this. It’s not the first time I thought about it or have written about it.
I don’t consider myself too old to play. My wrists aren’t as flexible as they use to be nor are the rest of my joints but they are getting close to where I was when I walked away from drumming. I’m not as technically sound as I use to be but with practice a lot of the rust is starting to come off.
I feel that losing some of that technical expertise has helped my playing more than it has hindered it.
The hindrance is hearing rhythms and riffs in my head and not being able to execute them.
The help is it forces me to do more with less, to be simple yet artistic, to feel more and to think less. All of that has made me a better drummer, musician and in some ways a better person.
I know musicians in their thirties and forties find me too old. They assume my only point of reference is old hippy music from the sixties and seventies. Maybe they think I won’t be able to stay up past 11:00 PM. I know it’s not my playing because most times we don’t even get to that point.
I say I’m 57 (now I have to say 58) and they say thanks but we’ve decided to go in a different direction.
And to that I say too bad for you, your loss. You could have had a very experienced and professional drummer. You could have had a drummer who is always on time for every gig, rehearsal or meeting. You could have had a drummer who shows up prepared and knows his parts. You could have had a drummer willing to work with everyone, a drummer willing to bend, a drummer who listens and knows that he is always learning.
I can still make it past midnight. OK I might yawn a couple of times and I might be useless the next morning but from the first note to the last note you’re going to get the best I have to offer.
Sometimes I think my only route is working with my counterparts from the past, the people I enjoyed working with the most.
Am I too old for this business? No.
Am I too old for the younger too cool for school players stuck in this local music scene? Maybe I am.
Am I too old to create and contribute to a great product? No.
Am I too old to go on some six month tour living in a van or staying at flea bag motels and suffer for my art? You bet I am.
But if the opportunity every presents itself to travel in style and make a comfortable living I am there.
For now I’ll keep plugging away writing, recording and collaborating.
It’s funny how I use to always be the youngest one in the band. I was let go from the first band I was ever with because the 16 and 17 year olds didn’t like the idea of hanging with a 12 year old kid.
Now no one wants to hang with a 58 year old.
I won’t shit my pants, not yet.
© 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.