As a member of a cover band, I was given the opportunity to add something to my personal profile on the band web site.  I added a statement that went something like this; “we will play anywhere for free…..we just charge to move the equipment in and out”!

If you think about it, you would have to pay an awful lot of money to have ‘professionals’ move that much equipment.  Then they have to pack it all up and take it back at the end of the gig.  I have played keyboards, guitar, percussion and back up vocals in most of the bands I performed with.  Sometimes I also ran sound at the same time!  I was carrying so much gear for myself that I probably had more than the sound guy!  Once you haul equipment out of your house (I did not have duplicates, so what I used in the studio I had to tear down and take to the gig, set it up, tear it down, take it home and set it up in the studio again) and set up the gear you are all hot and sweaty and exhausted and now get to play for 4 plus hours, pack it all up and take it home.  Ahhhh, the glamourous rock and roll life.   Knowing all that, I think most people would be amazed at how little the local band playing the bar scene gets paid for all that work.   Maybe it is confusing because we call it ‘play’.  If I figured out an hourly rate I would probably get really depressed!

We also had to practice, individually and as a band.  No weekends free….  you get home at 3 or 4 in the morning and have to recover most of the day, then you play that night and do it all over again.  I always worked at a day job and still do, so this was about all the free time I had.  Now time for family, writing and recording projects and hopefully a little time in the sun.

Is it fun?  Absolutely.  I am an introvert and very shy in public, but it is a thrill to perform with great musicians and have the audience appreciate what you are doing.  I would not give it up, and if I were a bit younger I would still be out there.  At one point I told the band members that I would quit gigging out when I turned 50  – or my van broke down, whichever came first.  My van did break down first, but our light guy fixed it himself for free.  So I kept playing out.  Way past 50.  I recently stopped because tinnitus (a ringing in the ears from long exposure to loud sounds) got pretty bad in the last few years.  I only play out for special occasions these days, but it is still a blast.

  1. I hear you! Lugging equipment is the worst and very little pay if any, as I always played originals, but somehow, getting up in front of the crowd makes it all worth it.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. othermary says:

    Yeah, sounds pretty glam. :o) Hope the tinnitusisn’t too awful.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is something the general public should be aware of. It is hard to be a musician. Great read!

    Liked by 1 person

    • midimike says:

      I agree. Most people think it is all glamour and fund times. It is difficult to see the hard work needed behind the ‘fun’! Thanks for the comment! It is hard being a musician and this does not even mention the strain on the body and the relationship stress for family/friends.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. unironedman says:

    I hear you on the tinnitus (if that isn’t too awful a pun!). Many years standing in front of a 4×12 Marshall cab, and then a Fender Twin (my favourite amp) were fun but not kind on the eardrums. And as for moving gear… don’t talk to me about the vocalists… wandering in after we had set up all the gear and asking where their mic was!

    Liked by 1 person

    • midimike says:

      That is actually pretty funny! LOL Ahhh, comrade, you have been through it too! Boy, do I know that feeling. And as a keyboard player – usually back by the drums in the corner with the bass amp….. Living in a speaker cabinet! The ears take one heck of a beating.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Tom says:

    btch btch btch — what did you expect?


  6. Tom Robinson says:

    aside from that, I would commend you for your fortitude. being loyal to a group takes spirit.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I have said the same things many times in my musical life. I’m still doing the cover band stuff and original stuff. I’m 42, and I don’t have tinnitus yet, but I appreciate you saying something about tinnitus, because I’ve been thinking about getting a fitted personal monitor and keeping my volume low.


  8. 😀 thank you for visiting my blog! I am truly honored. Cheers to you and your making of music!

    Liked by 1 person

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