Let me start by saying you’re welcome. Like many teenagers I willingly squandered my chance at secondary education or a focused career path of some sort because I was under the frankly hilarious illusion that I would be a professional musician. Let me share my story….
A minimal level of success, signing autographs and touring the country a few times a year, always ended with a crashing reality check as I returned to real life. Getting up at 6am to work at one of the several gas stations or call centers that would tolerate me being a borderline transient and realizing that 99.99999% of the population will never give a single shit about a single note I ever play. The worst part of this idiotic exercise is that it’s common enough to be a cliché. Hundreds and thousands of teenagers go through the same stupid experience, to the horror of hard working parents everywhere. Sadly, society has decided we should support our children in their fruitless journeys and not slap them upside the head with the heating bill.
I have distilled the knowledge I have gained on the fool’s errand known as “trying to make it” in music and will do you a huge favor by encouraging you to quit your shitty band to do something with your life that can provide sustenance and a place to sleep that isn’t technically ‘outside’.
If I can’t convince you to quit then I pray to the lord jeebus above that I can at least convince you to re-prioritize things and realize you should slot music at the same time-consumption level that other people put hobbies like gardening or stamp collecting.
Let’s make one thing clear: I’m not bitter at all. I’m just disappointed in myself for being a giant dummy. I have seen these things play out for everyone I know in the biz again and again, and again… and again. I just want to make sure I can laugh at you and tell you “I told you so” when you have your 2nd kid and have to sell your dusty, unused guitar rig for diaper money.
Out of the hundreds of musician friends I’ve made in my journey, possibly 3 are involved in a project you might have maybe heard of (if you really have your ear to the ground) and although I don’t ask about their finances they seem to exhibit a lot of the classic signs of brokeness.
You can dismiss this as the jaded musings of a failed musician but you can also go fuck yourself.
I made my choice to give up and frankly it’s the correct one. You could learn a thing or two. You literally have more chance of winning the lottery than making a living as a musician. That’s not sarcasm either dumb dumb. There’s actually at least one lottery winner every week. Compare that to how few Canadian musicians that hail from the prairies are blowing up the international charts right now.
Not to sound like a downer here, but you’re probably terrible and everyone is going to laugh at you.
Most likely behind your back.
Your band is awful and never going to make it.
Why not, you ask?
1. No one in your band can write a song.
Do you know what impresses absolutely no one in this day and age?
Being able to play guitar, bass or drums.
Even being a whiz on the banjo or mandolin or other marginally more interesting instruments is of little to no concern to absolutely everyone.
At the risk of sounding rude…
You don’t have a talent you stupid dipshit. You can just play an instrument.
Have you ever seen those YouTube videos of home-schooled Christian families w/ 12 kids who can all rip on their respective instruments? Or 11 year olds who learned every note of a Dragonforce tune on the violin?
They’re way better at music than you. Lots and lots and lots of people are. So all you’re left with is your failing attempts at writing decent songs that are worth hearing and I guarantee you probably aren’t writing good songs, or passable songs. Your songs are more than likely embarrassing and trite.
Your songs are most likely the product of one or two of the more artistic people in your band. These people are usually the ones who most desperately need to prove how artistic they are. They likely have lyrics about one of several boring subjects that have been done to death.
Girls? The little things that make life interesting.
Societal oppression? Boring. It’s been done and done better. Like in the 50s and 60s. You’re way late.
Writing songs about evil shit because you’re in a cool metal band? The 70s call and they want their hackneyed paperback fiction back.
Maybe you’ve gone a different path and are irreverent and write goofy songs that will make us laugh? That shit might play if it was still the mid-90s and you might actually have had a shot back then if your guitar player wore a poncho and your singer rocked a Dr Seuss hat. If there was ever a chance this sort of thing were to make a comeback Jian Gomeshi ruined it for everyone, sorry.
If you’re in the rock end of the spectrum, you probably base your bands awesomeness quotient on how HUGE you sound and how cool you look on stage. That does not reflect how solid your tunes are. Like financing gear from Guitar Center somehow made you worth a $10 cover charge and someone spending a Friday night watching you.
Rolling into your sad little gig with stacks on stacks on stacks of gear instead of writing decent songs is the musical equivalent of buying a sportscar to hope no one notices your tiny dong. You’re not fooling anyone, and you probably have a tiny dong, and your band is still shitty.
If you’re on the flavor of the month, ackhem… Mumford and Sons, tip you most likely spend too much time at the thrift store buying brown vests and taking old timey band photos. There’s no room in the band schedule left for anyone to have enough down time to practice the new tune you wrote about some obscure cultural event or landmark no one has ever been to. We all know you Googled that shit in a misguided attempt to look smart and worldly enough to impress the female accordion player you guys just asked to join the band.
Come back next week for another thousand words on why you’re best to learn word processing. In the meantime, share your thoughts in the comments below.
Here’s a good way to know if you’re gonna make it: tour 200 days out of a year. If you haven’t lost your mind, life savings, and band/only friends. Then go ahead and do it again for another 30 years…