The Art Of Sticking Around
While sipping on some matcha tea and thinking back on some of the things that I've done thus far in my career recently, I was hit with the following little ‘thought bubble’, (which I proceeded to then think) might make for a decent topic to write about and share with you all. As I'm sure many of you reading this have - I have met (and gotten to know) countless musicians over my years as a working musician. Some have been moderately talented, some have been incredibly talented, and some have been, well, somewhere in-between the two. This itself is not mind blowing though because if you gig enough, for a long enough period of time, you eventually start to feel like maybe you’ve just - seen it all.
The part that does however blow my mind personally is the fact that a lot of the above-mentioned types of musicians (across all talent levels) seem to simply “disappear” without a trace sometimes and from what I've noticed, it is that they sadly (and usually) do so just as it seems like they were just about to really make their mark on this business.
Now, you may be wondering why this is (I know I was). Well, while we could certainly entertain and even mention some obvious scenarios as to why we see so many good musicians get out of this crazy line of work, it would simply be speculation and life is too short to worry about unknowns. The truth is, that there are probably about a million reasons as to why so many come and go, at such a quick rate. When describing the musical landscape, I personally believe that Hunter S Thompson said it best when he said, ‘The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side’.
Life can be tough sometimes and if you’re not paying attention, it can straight up slap you in the face (with a brick, or even ten bricks if you’re not paying attention), and piss in your cereal (Strawberry Pops are my favorite btw). We ALL get despondent and down, we ALL feel like giving up at different points along the way no matter what our work title may be, and by design we are ALL riddled with flaws that will pull us down into the depths of the Louisiana bayous if we let them - and if we’re honest, it’s probably fair to say that sometimes it's much easier to stay in bed all day than to get up, put our feet on the floor and just 'get on with it'. But... Let me share a little nugget of “old man wisdom” with you, that not one older musician ever shared with me. (Or maybe I just didn’t release the obvious)
Sometimes, just sticking around long enough can be a massive victory all on it's own. It can open up doors you didn’t realize were there and possibly even put you in positions you didn’t (or hadn’t) considered that you’d ever be in - purely because (and here’s the kicker) there was NO ONE else left to call. Now don’t sell yourself short because of that last paragraph. Yes, it’s important to be honest about your musical ability and you’d never get the above mentioned call if you weren’t ready. I’m just saying that sometimes being someone's last option can be an opportunity you might’ve never considered.
Patience is a brilliant characteristic in both music and life, and practicing patience can do wonders for you in this business. Put it in a gumbo pot with some perseverance and you will find yourself with more work than you maybe thought you’d ever have. Plus, longevity speaks volumes among your peers so just being “present” after many have disappeared over the years can really work in your favor, if you want it to. Hang in there - there’s an art to sticking around. @MusiciansMentorPics