Another "Should I stay or should I go" thread

Discussion in 'Band Wagon' started by Rob J, Jun 19, 2019.

  1. Rob J

    Rob J Tele-Meister

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    I am looking for some insight. What would you do in my situation?

    Some background. I’m no young dude. At the age of 72 I find myself agonizing over making a decision regarding staying with, or leaving my band. I have made countless lists of the pros and cons, looked at it from all angles and still, one minute the answer is obvious and the next I swing back the other way.

    We are a successful, popular band and have been playing for 10 and a half years, gigging 12 to 15 times a year on average. Our audiences give us positive, enthusiastic feedback and we easily get gigs just from word of mouth.

    My bandmates are great guys and while there might be some occasional points of friction, for the most part we get along well and I can’t think of a better group of guys to make music with.

    So, what’s the problem? First, there is the physical pain. I have a progressive disease in my hands and fingers that is painful, not just when I play but pretty much all of the time. It’s getting a little harder to deal with all the time. I have arthritis in my upper spine that flares up when standing for long periods and is not helped all that much by sitting. Any gig longer than an hour is difficult and there aren’t many than are under 2 to 4 hours. I’m physically beat after every gig.

    Then there is the fact that I’m no longer feeling the joy that I did in the early years of playing. The praise from our audiences feels good at the time but it wears off quickly. We play the same stuff over and over (comes with the territory of being in a band) and I find that I often dread a coming gig and wish that it was over before it even gets here. The time onstage doing the actual playing is usually fun (not always though) but the other B.S. that goes along with setting up, tearing down, travel to and from, rehearsals etc. sucks most of the fun out of it and much of the time I feel like I’m just going through the motions waiting for it to be over so that I can go home.

    Some might say, take some time off and come back to it but at my age, there is no time to spare and there would be no coming back after leaving. Many would kill to be in a gigging band and I sometimes feel that it’s crazy to not want it but that’s how I’m feeling about it most of the time.

    Giving it up and just playing at home is not a new thought. I honestly think I'd be okay with doing that..

    I can’t even count the number of times I’ve made the decision to pull the plug and then we get one of those gigs where the feedback makes you proud of what you do and you think “ I can do this for awhile longer”. Unfortunately, that feeling usually doesn’t last for very long.

    I have to make a decision soon, the sooner the better. Right now we have no gigs on the calendar and I don’t plan to commit to any before I figure this out so there is no better time than now. It’s just really hard to give something up that you know that you can’t get back but at the same time it doesn’t make much sense to hang on to something that just for the sake of having it.

    Is it time to move on to other things that I’m running out of time to do or is it better to tough it out and appreciate what I’ve got for as long as I can? It shouldn't be this hard to decide but I'm really struggling with it. I’ve been struggling with this decision for the last several years and if I’m honest with myself, deep down I know what is probably right for me.

    Who among you have been down this road and where did you end up?
     
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  2. getbent

    getbent Telefied Ad Free Member

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    reinvent! if you are grinding over the decision, you've made the decision... you just haven't acknowledged it yet.

    I stopped gigging 2 years ago and I'm just kind of figuring out what I want to do next... while I do a MILLION other things that make me happier... go figure.

    either way, you'll make the right choice.
     
  3. maxvintage

    maxvintage Friend of Leo's

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    I was doing around 50 gigs a year for a couple years. Eventually it just got to be no fun. As you say--hauling gear, driving to and from. I'm not as old as you but it got more tiring as well. I stopped the rock and roll gigging for the most part and went with an acoustic jazz band. We do roughly one a month and it's simple--no PA, no amp for me (I'm playing upright bass in this band), lots of room for improv, audience digs it. But I also joined a neighborhood band, kind of alt country/soul, who are all nice guys and good players. We do a gig every couple months. Some of them want to do more. I don't. We'll see how it plays out.

    I started learning a new instrument, the "irish flute," and enjoy the challenge of making a different kind of music on a radically different instrument, for now, that's enough
     
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  4. kookaburra

    kookaburra Tele-Afflicted

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    +1 to both replies. The reinvent part is important, which is behind reply #2 talking of learning an new instrument. Best wishes!
     
  5. Frank'n'censed

    Frank'n'censed Doctor of Teleocity

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    This is where an evil twin comes in...kidding aside, I don’t envy your quandary
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2019
  6. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Poster Extraordinaire

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    Sorry for your dilemma.....but I think you answered your own question (in my mind) when you said, "....I'm no longer feeling the joy." When the pain and/or hassles are compensated for by the joy of playing, I say keep on.....but if not, it just may be time to "change direction". While I haven't reached your stage yet, I have to acknowledge that it may not be far in the future, and I don't look forward to that day. I admire your dedication to the music, and the struggle you're experiencing, and wish you all the best.
     
  7. Luthier Vandros

    Luthier Vandros Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    I'm in my early 40's and in the same boat. I'm slowly letting go of my band for the last 15 years. It's been my identity and my path in life, but now other things are becoming more important and I'm seeing that only 25% of us took it seriously, despite making huge personal sacrifices over the years.

    Best to get out while you can and find what makes you happy. Get on youtube and look for an occupational/physical therapist and sort out your joints, bub. Enjoy the time you have left.
     
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  8. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

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    It sounds like you know what you're going to do and it just hurts to make the decision and tell your friends / bandmates. They'll understand. Maybe you can help them find & "onboard" your replacement?
     
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  9. beyer160

    beyer160 Friend of Leo's

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    I didn't need to read your post- if you're even asking the question, you want to leave.

    To expand, I've always adhered to the maxim that there are only three reasons to be in a band- making money, having fun, and learning something. If you're not getting at least one of these things out of a band, quit.
     
  10. thunderbyrd

    thunderbyrd Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    you tell us the disease is progressive. at some point, it won't up to your choice anymore. maybe it would be better to go on and end it a little bit more on your own terms.
     
  11. Marc Morfei

    Marc Morfei Tele-Holic

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    Sounds like it’s time to leave that behind. One other thought: you leaving might provide an opportunity for someone else, who would really relish it.
     
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  12. dannyh

    dannyh Tele-Afflicted

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    I’ve been there...not with physical problems but with burnout. I was playing music full time, playing in a pretty successful private party/corporate/wedding band. We worked 3-5 gigs a week pretty consistently, traveled quite a bit, money was good, and I had quite a bit of freelance work outside of that band when they weren’t working, but after about 10 years of it I was beyond burnt out. I’d wake up the day of a gig and be in a bad mood all day. My playing suffered; I was just going through the motions and couldn’t wait for a gig to be over so I could load up (a separate problem I had). I got out, got a day job and left the full time thing for about 5 years. I’d still do a handful of pickup gigs a year, maybe 5 or so a year, but I took a good long break. After a few years I got sober, got back into it (with a new outlook and a new passion) and i feel like I’m more in love with guitar than I was when I was 18 or so (52 now). I’m still working a day job, though I work gigs regularly on nights and weekends, but even if I just played at home I don’t think that would dampen my present enthusiasm. The break really made me realize how much the guitar and music meant to me, and I appreciate it all so much more, not just the gigs but all of it; learning new material, different styles, other players, Internet forums ....

    Sometimes it’s just what you need. Best of luck to you.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2019
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  13. viking

    viking Friend of Leo's

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    I have no pains when gigging , but I feel the same , almost.
    I love to play and just practise with the band. Once in a while we do a gig , and I just don't have the desire to do it , or get any pleasure from it.

    It's wayy too many hours invested , even though I have never done it for money. We generally get payed much more than in the US , but it's still not worth it to me , and never have been because of money..........I could make a lot more doing extra time at work

    So , if it's not about the money , and the desire to be up on stage is not there , why do it ?
     
  14. JL_LI

    JL_LI Friend of Leo's

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    It's impossible to give advice in a situation like this, but as in posts above, I'll offer some personal insight and make a suggestion or two. At 72, I'm 69 and feeling it too, extra pain, stress, and drama is rarely worth it. You enjoy gigging but not lugging equipment, rehearsing, and playing the same material over and over. Have you ever thought of open mic? Three songs and you're done. You probably won't need anything but a guitar and your voice. See if you can help your bandmates find a replacement and if you're still friends after the breakup, maybe you can sit in occasionally for a song or two. I'm looking to retire from engineering next year. I'm getting too close to the end of (my) days to continue with workplace madness until they end. I plan on slowing down and taking longer more relaxing vacations. Stop working nights. Chase the sun. Enjoy the time you have left.
     
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  15. mrmousey

    mrmousey Tele-Meister

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    Get out while you can !
     
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  16. Lonn

    Lonn Friend of Leo's

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    Find something else that you're passionate about. Seems like you've "done the band thing".
     
  17. getbent

    getbent Telefied Ad Free Member

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    for me, the load in and out was never a hassle. the weirdness when you come to a new bar, no biggie and the gig itself, win lose or draw was always fine... it was the last 3-4 miles to the gig in the car by myself just before I got there where I was filled with dread 'why am I doing this?' kind of thing...

    I keep thinking I want to start a cowboy rock kind of thing some cowboy tunes somewhat electrified with some 70's songs I like... it would sound cool and I think I could find the right people (maybe) or even do backing track kind of a thing... but, then, how long til I take a request for achy breaky heart or some sh&&&tty pop country tune.... do I wanna do 'tequila sunrise' (great song but I played it A LOT in the 1980's and 90's) and audiences now... good god... the most distracted people ever... the last five years I got to where I liked being musical wallpaper... but wouldn't it be fun to be HEARD again and in a setting where the people want to listen rather than cohost?

    thanks for this thread... I'm just gonna finish my record and NOT release it.
     
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  18. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

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    firsts off, so sorry to hear of your health issue, it can't be ignored. nobody can know what physical pains you are going thru but the emotional pain of giving up playing music is equal if not greater. I'm close to your age, a bit behind, I know that at some point I may have to make a similar decision. Right now I don't play faster, I think and hope I play smarter. My hands hurt, I have slight numbness that passes and now and then after playing too long my left wrist gets stiff for a moment. My knees hurt and my back has always hurt.

    But I still gig. I play Pedal Steel and Tele, I sit on a stool when playing Tele, nobody minds. This helps with the knees and lower back. I don't noodle on gigs, I play well and try not to overplay. Interestingly enough, my bandmates think I'm playing great , better than ever ! Go figure .

    I don't take gigs that are late or more than an hour from home anymore. This has really helped over the last couple of years. Almost all of the gigs are early, none later than 11 . Many end by 8 or 8:30 ! Welcome to the new era !

    I am down to playing 35 +/- GIGS a year but could easily drop it back to 24 or so.

    I use carts all the time, I have gear near the garage and cars so I don't deal with stairs. The amps are now mostly lightweight , under 40 pounds. I am well aware of my physical limits and everything I do fits below the "pain" or discomfort window.

    The Steel, well thats another issue. One down ready to go and one up in the music studio. I can deal with it today.

    I say, find a way, at least for now to be comfortable on a gig and easy to travel with gear. Don't give up the music until you are really at the point where it shows, as that's when it will not be fun. Whether you are physically fit or not, emotionally it will bother you for some time when you opt out. You will miss your buddies and the music, they will miss you.

    I hate it for you but say give it all the time it takes to come to the decision , which will come automatically, when its time. You won't have to ponder it, you will know.

    Wishing you the best

    t
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2019
  19. Rob J

    Rob J Tele-Meister

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    One thing making it especially hard to let go is that I am one of the two founding members of the band. We've both put our hearts and souls into this band since the beginning but I'm finding that I'm at the point of feeling "been there, done that" and wanting something to change for the better. For quite some time now I've been hanging on for the sake of the other guys. I guess I'm feeling some guilt about letting the other guys down but I know that doing what's right for others shouldn't take priority over what's right for me.
     
  20. Beachbum

    Beachbum Friend of Leo's

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    I'm your age and I know from where you are coming. I gave up doing gigs a few years back because I live in Vegas and if you're going to gig in Vegas it's going to be in bars and if I gig in bars I'm going to drink in bars which I don't want to do anymore because it reeks havoc with my type II diabetes and I end up feeling like crap for a couple of days. The thrill of the night life just ain't what it used to be. :(

     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2019
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