A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

Expectations and Some Band Realities

As a fan of music and then as a musician, my attachment to music is 100% completely and purely emotional. Any money I made from music all went back into my music. I knew early on that if I wanted to buy a house, a car and to have a family I had to get a real job that paid me a weekly or monthly wage. Expectations of making money in music never really played on my mind.

So when I started to deal with people (either musicians or not) who had a completely financial attachment to music, I was shocked to say the least. It was an eye opener. It was like when I was doing my law degree and realising that the laws don’t really matter, because if you are a person that can put up a good argument and sow that seed of doubt, then you have a chance of winning a case even though that person you are representing has broken so many laws.

And of course, then there is the justice that is dished out to the wealthy compared to the poor.

So imagine being in a band, when the drummer just talks about making millions but does nothing to contribute except complain that he doesn’t like a section in the new song because it is too technical to play and people don’t need to hear crap like that. Then thirty minutes later when you tell him to play a stock beat, he refuses to do so because it is not technical enough.

Growing up my dad was a musician.

He had weekly gigs and got paid well for them. On top of that he also worked his 35 hour week at the local steel mill and he took all the overtime they offered.

So for my dad, it was always “When are you going to get a real job?” because the weekly musical gigs that I was getting were not paying nowhere near as much as what my dad was getting. Of course my dad played the wedding scene and there was plenty of money in that, however when I started to gravitate towards metal and rock music my dad thought I was up to no good, doing drugs and being irresponsible.

But I never really had any expectations that my music career would come together. In my head I always knew it would be a lifetime struggle, like the Anvil story. And to be honest every musician needs to be thinking the same. Sociologists have shown how a focus on short-term profit can become a strategy of long-term decline.