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Thinking of moving out to the US.....advice?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by kylef, Jul 7, 2014.

  1. kylef

    kylef Tele-Meister

    Feb 21, 2007
    Fife, Scotland
    Starting a new chapter in my life. I live in Scotland and have done all my days, am heading out to Vegas in September to get married, and am thinking of moving and the US appeals.

    On our September jaunt me and the future wife are heading to LA, Vegas and New York. I've been to Florida and LA in the past and have always loved the USA - the people, culture, lifestyle etc. I am at a crossroads in my life, where I'm 27 and bored with my job and town.

    Anyway, enough sob story. One of the few things I'd miss is my bands. I've played in cover bands win older gents since I was 21, and am fairly busy at times. I'm wondering if I can expect to get the same sort of thing over somewhere such as LA? I'd expect that there's so much tourism passing through a state like CA there could be scope for playing out most/every night? I get gigs playing lead guitar in one band, guitar and sing in another and also do 3hr acoustic shows. Am I likely to get much the same thing out there (eventually, I'm not expecting to jump straight in), or is this so,etching I'd miss?

    My County here isn't exactly music Central, but I do get enough work to play out a Friday and Saturday, and do a lot of weddings too.

    Any advice would be appreciated....about the gigs, not so much about the move :p

  2. Lucky Day

    Lucky Day Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 24, 2014
    Vancouver, WA
    Well to answer your question, I don't know about LA in particular, but in most places there's a pretty active cover band scene. The problem is there is a TON of competition so playing isn't as lucrative as it was 25 or 30 years ago. But if you're a hard working band with good material you can work several weekends a month if you want to.

  3. studio

    studio Poster Extraordinaire

    May 27, 2013
    It all depends on where you want to live.
    Are you thinking about Los Angeles because
    of all the sunshine and stories of stars and
    their wild nightlife activities?

    Or LA because of all the rampant drug use and
    gang affiliations? You totally fit the description,
    young, bored, adventurous. The cops will love
    to pull you over in Hollywood or anywhere else that
    will give you a gig unsigned and no following.
    Why? Because you don't fit in.

    i had a gun pulled on me in Hollywood by a cop
    sitting behind a Sunset nightclub. I was with my wife
    ready to unload my gear and in a crowded parking lot,
    this cop points his gun at my head. He thought I was
    dealing drugs out of my car or something.
    I didn't even flinch. Knowing LA like I do, I just let him talk
    his bs and move on. Anyone else from out of town
    would have gotten themselves killed by trying to
    plead their case to a rogue cop.

    Does this sound like you really wanna come to LA?
    Have at it then, welcome.

  4. KevinB

    KevinB Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 4, 2007
    New Jersey
    If you plan to make a living from playing you'll need a "P Visa".

    If not, then you'll need another type of temporary employment visa....or a wife who is a US Citizen and can sponsor you!

  5. benbd

    benbd Tele-Meister

    Dec 20, 2007
    For the gigs, there are plenty of gigs to be found :)

    For the move, I don't know what your background/professional skill level is or what your financial situation is, but my advice is to really make sure you really look into immigration rules and visas PRIOR to moving. Moving to the USA is not an easy process, not everybody can just move to the US because they want to. If you don't follow the rules, you can be kicked out of the country without the possibility of coming back for decades, even to visit… Just a friendly advice from a fellow European who lives in the US :)

    But, If you have the opportunity and If that's what you want to do, try your best to make it happen, it's better to at least try than to live with regrets ;) This is such a great country!!

  6. kylef

    kylef Tele-Meister

    Feb 21, 2007
    Fife, Scotland
    Thanks for the replies.

    No necessarily LA, no. Stories of stars and Hollywood doesn't entice me. I was merely using that as an example, that the impression I get is that being full of tourists which change all the time, would give more scope for playing there most nights since it's unlikely the same people would see you every night.

  7. Jakedog

    Jakedog Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Mar 26, 2003
    The North Coast
    LA is a really heavy scene. Like Nashville, or Austin, there's far, far more bands than gigs for them to play. It's hard to make money in those markets. Not saying it can't be done, lots of people are doing it. But man, it's tough. Those places are however, all great places to be from. They are great cities to tour out of. Don't think there's much of a scene for touring cover bands though, except the big tribute bands...

    You can make a living in some smaller markets a lot easier believe it or not. Most folks around my neck of the woods would tell you that it's not possible to play music for a living in Cleveland, but I've been doing it here for many years, and I'm far from the only one. There are quite a few of us. There are markets like that all over the country.

    Being versatile will go a LONG way toward keeping you busy. Being able to sing is great. Learn how to play bass as well. Honestly, the only people I've ever encountered any place I've ever lived in this country that couldn't find a ton of work playing music were crappy musicians, crappy people, or both. Great folks who can actually play well will always have work in my experience. I know some people who can't find gigs to save their lives. They are the ones always complaining about how bad the scene here sucks. They don't wanna hear that the scene is not the problem, but it's the truth.

  8. studio

    studio Poster Extraordinaire

    May 27, 2013
    Nashville. Orlando then.

    I hope you do come and find a place for yourself and your family.

    I hear Colorado is green this time of year!

  9. BryMelvin

    BryMelvin Tele-Afflicted

    Jan 4, 2014
    Arivaca AZ
    Employment isn't the best right now. If you have another way to make a living than music it might work. FWIW most of my royalties for my music come from OUTSIDE the US. My "day job" (self employed) and my son's depend 95% on a CANADIAN company. Might look at this seriously before making a permanent decision.

  10. kylef

    kylef Tele-Meister

    Feb 21, 2007
    Fife, Scotland
    I'd always be looking for a day job aswell. I work as a courier just now, but it's long hours and I've been doing it for years when it wasn't my intention, but I'm grateful I even have a job at the moment when you see the economy on its arse.

    The gigs would be something on the side, unless it got to the stage I could be busy enough. That's what worries me - I am in a position where I get a call from bands to stand in for people (whether it be vocals, guitars or bass) and I'd miss that...unless I could myself into the same position elsewhere.

  11. muchxs

    muchxs Doctor of Teleocity

    Aug 14, 2004
    New England
    I have a neighbor who moved from Scotland.

    They don't call it "New England" for nuthin'. A good many Scots re- settled here over the centuries.

    The bad news: The climate is a bit harsh.

    The good news: The harsh climate sorts out the punters.

    I can't say enough about southern New Hampshire or Maine.

    The New Hampshire license plates say "Live Free or Die!" We mean it.

    Maine doesn't have cool license plates. They have lobsters... like 95% of all the lobster consumed on Planet Earth comes from Maine

    If you move within a half hour of the Atlantic coast you probably won't miss Scotland.

    If you miss Scotland you need to move to Gouldsboro, Maine. Not much to do for work up there but it sure is pretty! A lot of people live in trailers up there with lobster boats on cribbing in the front yards. :D


  12. Flakey

    Flakey Friend of Leo's

    You could always work the oil fields in North Dakota and truly relive the wild west....just kidding DON"T DO THAT !

  13. getbent

    getbent Telefied Ad Free Member

    he's not planning to live at your house man!

    To your actual questions....

    there is great advice from several guys about the proper visa etc (my daughter is about to move to the UK and we've been doing all the paperwork for school and work etc and for the duration she wants to stay... do it right! doing it wrong makes things complicated and awful.)

    Some towns and cities have really great music scenes and some, not so much. Making a living as a musician only in a place like the Bay Area would be very tough... I have lots of friend musicians but don't know a single person making it on their music income. your accent is going to totally help you get gigs and jobs... it really will.. americans love that accent.. (according to research they love australian accents the most, but scotland is way up there.)

    Plan to work a 'straight job'.

  14. pondcaster

    pondcaster Poster Extraordinaire

    Nov 29, 2010
    Tryon, NC
    C'mon over!

    Contrary to some's belief, country's fine. Just because others' dreams haven't turned out doesn't mean yours won't! Only live once, go for it.

    And as usual, listen to jakedog. And getbent.

  15. benbd

    benbd Tele-Meister

    Dec 20, 2007
    Again, since you are from another country, you won't be able to move to the US unless you either have:
    - A solid job offer in the US (before moving), most of the time requiring a H1B visa sponsored by a company. You usually need a bachelor or Master degree to get a H1B, since the employer needs to justify that he's hiring you because of a special skill set that you have and that americans do not. There is a quota of h1B visas granted by the government per year, and the window to apply starts in April.
    - Family based: you have family with green cards or citizenship already in the US, then they can apply for you.
    - Lottery: the government grants green cards through a lottery process for several countries. (This is free and there is a link somewhere on the US immigration site, so don't pay another website to send your application. I remember seeing ads in the subway in Paris but most of the sites asking for money to send your application are scams).
    - Refugee status
    - Artist visas (usually for famous people)

    You can stay in the US legally for 3 months without a visa. Want to stay longer than 3 months, legally? You need a visa. Check here for more info on green cards:

    Is your wife american? If not, she'll have to apply for a visa too.

    Figure out how to get here legally first, and don't worry too much about the gigs. You'll be able to get gigs. It's the US, there is live music pretty much everywhere.

    Good luck!


  16. Boyd

    Boyd Tele-Afflicted

    One of my best friends just got one of these. She has dreamed of moving to the US for the past 9 years, but has gotten rather disillusioned because it's hard to find good jobs here in the arts (even for Americans). So she may not even use the visa. You need to do your research, consider your budget and be realistic in your expectations.

    Aside from that - follow your dream. There are plenty of great places to live here, it's a big country and there is always room for one (or two) more. :)

  17. nomadh

    nomadh Tele-Holic

    May 2, 2008
    san diego
    Or maybe do. It is very modern wild west. Good pay but finding a room to rent is also expensive. Lots of jobs as drivers , welders and anything that supports boom town growth. Truth is immigration is a joke. Most of the agency is swamped and with how they are dealing with it its just the beginning. You could get in and probably never be thought of again. At least you'd have a fun different accent. Probably help you land a job and gigs.
    At the very least you could try and visit for a few months try and get some gigs. Jump in with you here at least our diversity will be a little ........diverse :)

  18. Big John

    Big John RIP

    Feb 1, 2006
    Austin Tx.
    It ALL comes down to the paperwork !!, you must do your research, don't try and short circuit the system, with the advent of ESTA and digital ticketing its much harder to disappear and you'll just be sent straight back.
    The USCIS web site can be a little daunting so if you have the time call the embassy in London and they will spell it out for you.
    Sorry to be a misery but I can't stress enough about paperwork, the immigration folk here aren't daft but yeah, itis possible.

  19. Big John Studd

    Big John Studd Friend of Leo's

    Sep 18, 2010
    Congratulations on the upcoming wedding! My cousin got married in Vegas, and those of us who attended had a great time there. I don't know anything about the immigration process (my great grandparents went through that for my family), but I suspect you will be welcomed when you get here. There are certainly opportunities for cover band gigs in the cities I've lived in here. Good luck!

  20. franchelB

    franchelB Friend of Leo's

    Sep 25, 2005
    Irving, United States of Texas!
    "Never mind the Bollocks". If you think you can survive here, then take a leap of faith. My brother had a good job in the Philippines when he decided to start over fresh in Chicago with his bride, back in 1969. Then he started bring us over, one by one, after he became an American citizen.
    As for jobs, I still believe that Texas has the best economy going at the moment. As for gigs, any decent sized city will have a "music scene". I do have a few musician friends who are gigging just about every day. But there's a LOT of "pounding the pavement" involved with it.
    BUT, you have to be 100% sure that you want to do this (gig wise or emigrate). If you're the least bit uncertain of what you might have to do, then it might be best to stay where you're at.

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