*...Played my ass off last night, played as if I were about to die. Gave it everything I had, and then some….
Had some heavy guitar tone going on, played original music and some cool covers with my friends who also happen to be really, really good. Wasn't one dimensional, kept the music flowing and just diverse enough. Dressed up nice, and made sure the stage looked cool. While I was (and am) grateful for the show, only got to play for 45 minutes and made $50 bucks...Tonight, no shows...
There is something really wrong with music right now. Spotify is bleeding artists dry, anyone can get shows and they don't need to have enough songs or know how to do sound, so many bands don't learn any covers and don't learn the language of music. Most venues just have an open mic night. I came in at the tail end of when, if you were a musician, you played 5 nights a week. You really learn your craft that way and how to trouble shoot quickly when things go wrong (and they will), you learn to read a crowd, you learn the language. And you could make a living from it, so you could afford to fix your gear and etc. You can be a great musician with a day job, but you'd be an even better musician without it. People need to be able to work on their art and the more you put into it the more you get out of it.
Touring: venues are now taking huge cuts of merch. Gas and hotels are stupidly expensive. No one has any money. There's also a billion more people in the world, and lots of them have bands and songs dropping. Watch most of the musicians playing on Reels and it's just solos and flashy technique, but where's the rhythm, where's the groove? You can be the best player, but unless you're a classical player or write good songs, in the words of Dylan "You ain't going nowhere".
You don't need a f**king performance coach or a workshop either, the best performance coach, the best workshop, is just being out in the world doing it. Go play live, go live your life. Get your heart broken, get ripped off, go do encores to strangers in some place far away from your home town. Write every day. Be you. Be more you...Don't let someone fit you into their mold or what they want everyone to do or say. Don't be afraid to fail. Don't be perfect, life ain't perfect. Perfection is boring. Be original.
Learn to play live, in time, and with a groove. If you go on stage lip syncing, you're taking up space from real musicians. You can pretend on your own time in your basement, but there are plenty of bands and musicians who can play and sing live, they put in the work. On stage, play to the venue. If it's a small venue don't crank your amps. You'll get more fans if you sound good. Have gear that works. You don't need as much as you think, most of your tone is inside you, be it your own voice or fingers/touch.
Always thank the people who hired you, and the people who made you sound good and lit you up. Be one of the good people. Be nice to every other artist, but when you go on stage be fearless and take no prisoners. Be number one and be the best, then go home and practice and come back even better. When you step on stage be the biggest, baddest motherf***er on earth. Believe in yourself one million percent. But then when you get off stage, leave all that s**t behind and be cool and be humble.
Always remember the older musicians that have been around. They were once young like you. Maybe they can't play like you, or don't go out much, but they have a lot of years and miles under their belts, they've seen and done it and you can learn a lot from them. Always treat them with respect and take care of your musical elders.
Point of this? I feel bad for the kids I know who are really good. Like I wish they would have an easier road. There's some mind blowingly good musicians and songwriters out there but it's only gonna get harder for them. But I still wanna believe that the right song, at the right time, will somehow find it's way through.
Be kind, be you, be real, practice, groove, f**k the cliques, think outside your home town, grow, evolve, feel, take it all in, and most importantly enjoy it! When you get on stage, look as far to the left as you can, then look as far to the right as you can, slowly, be grateful you get a place to play. Take a mental screenshot. Tell your bandmates and crew how much they mean to you. Don't take the easy road, take the hard road, grind and hustle. It's worth it in the end. Answer only to God or your conscience. Only play what you feel and feel everything you play...*