Cancelled tour this year - Jemsite
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post #1 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-29-2014, 12:48 PM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
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Cancelled tour this year, but finding out playing at all is harder each year :(

I was in a California based band with a drummer from 1995-1998 and all of us were either single or newly married and we put a lot of time into our four piece band. We recorded, even though awful, but played out a lot. Like a lot of bands with people in their 20s, we got to practice at least twice a week for three hours.

But after I left the band shortly after I got married, I only got together with drummer and did a few gigs over next few years (in the 2000s) but always longed for playing steadily like we did before. I never had a chance to play with the others (bassist, another drummer) as life basically happened when the other two got married and left music altogether. We all get along and can play almost any style comfortably which is rare for a group of individuals doing music.

So in 2012 we planned a tour of Japan for 2014 with myself guitar/vocals with drummer and any bassist we could find as a three piece. Bassists our age are too committed to non-musical things and younger players don't want to play with old men like us. As this year turned out busy for other things we never did tour and hardly found enough time to simply jam. A tour and going overseas would not make us money, and we don't expect any accolades but would only be a bucket list thing at this point. We are well into middle age now and finding almost impossible just to get any time to play.

Do any of you have this issue now that you are older with household/family/career, etc?

Last edited by 63Blazer; 07-29-2014 at 09:54 PM.
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post #2 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-30-2014, 12:15 PM
 
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Re: Cancelled tour this year

Eh, I'm probably a little younger than you (33) but for me the process was fairly voluntary. As a kid the idea of being in a touring rock band and playing in front of huge crowds in front of sold out venues was super exciting, of course, but really what happened is I decided that I liked my career, it paid me enough that I have a shot at retirement one day and in the meantime will buy me a nice place to live in Boston and a pretty nice guitar collection, and I'd rather put in time to getting better at that (I earned my CFA charter last fall, now I'm thinking about grad school) than to trying to chase the rock star dream, knowing full well that the odds of me ever getting to the point as a musician where I could support myself as comfortably as I can today as a financial professional are probably something like one in a million.

I'd still love to get a band off the ground locally, but my ambition at this point would just to be one of the best hard rock bands in town, and not to get signed, go on tour, get endorsed, etc. I even came pretty close once, but I had to take a couple months off to prep for one of the CFA exams, and in that time my drummer lost his job and moved. I still have a bassist lined up and I know a few drummers, so it's not impossible that it still won't happen, but it's very much a back-burner project now, third after my day job and then writing and recording my own instrumental stuff.

End of the day, I love playing music and practice as much as I'm able, but I like my day job too and would rather have the stability and financial flexibility it provides than try to make a living playing music, and risk killing that passion when it becomes something I have to slog through to pay rent. I don't really have any regrets.

One thing I've done that helps, if this is any use to you, is to make a point of trying to catch a good blues jam every now and then, so I still have the feeling of getting up on stage in front of a crowd every once in a while.
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post #3 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-30-2014, 12:32 PM
 
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Re: Cancelled tour this year

yep, used to play out alot.. haven't played out in almost a year now. Kid is starting college this Fall though and we are talking about starting fresh writing all new material staring soon so I hope that works out. I have been writing and recording my own stuff in the meantime.. whenever that is! Sorry to hear abou the tour!
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post #4 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-30-2014, 01:47 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Cancelled tour this year

Drew and GM,

Thanks for sharing. The cancelled tour thing was a bummer.

To tell the truth, while we were good for an amateur band, we still sucked compared to real musicians who do this full time for a living but it's hard to seem them struggle to pay rent and in the case of my extremely well respected guitar teacher who was pro, struggle to find money for even the most basic things.

We had two bands that shared a studio. Our band, the far lesser talent, were all college grads with steady jobs and no drug or drinking habits other than light drinking or occasional pot use by maybe one guy (we think?). Our steady jobs led to having better equipment and our attention to schedules (we worked) made us show up on time and finish early enough on non-gig nights.

The other band, or if I can even call them that due to their absence at practice, did nothing but music (and drugs, but not always in that order) and were far more talented. They "borrowed" our gear and other stuff and we always fronted them cash they never paid back. I don't know if they had more raw talent per se, but they had financial struggles, drug issues, but when they clicked they were downright amazing. A couple of them were around music enough to get around the fringes of the professional hard rock and punk scenes and one guy had his guitarist stolen by Metallica so he was bitter and it appeared hard that he was so close yet so far.

Anyway, if I had to see a band from out of town, on tour, and choose to see a show, I would have opted to see the rough, drug addicted band than someone like us. Part of music and its artistic quality sometimes rewards just pure inspiration and that would hit every now and then. But with us, our weekly schedule and careers put music into a compartmentalized mode where we did it to release stress and have a "hobby". It was a lot of fun, and we put in but at the end of the day we were amateurs who had a solid back up of a regular life. These other guys had nothing but their rock and roll... and substances. One guitar guru who excelled at guitar, but nothing else, basically said of the genius moniker we all put on him, "Nobody is a real genius but we are all the same where God gives us all 100 points at birth and it's just how we decide to spend it". So I guess if you spend it all on rock and roll, you may come up with a good hand, but the consequences of having nothing else is too scary for many.

As the years passed by and two of the guys died from their excesses, one other got the methed out look and aged disproportionally, and the other guy ended up in wheelchair, I didn't envy them at all. They all paid a heavy price but were not unlike some more well known musicians in their circle who fell into a similar fate. But at the time when all the music was going on, I would sometimes sit in with other band and I always felt and wondered why my band wasn't as fun or dynamic. Since they lived the real life of an up and coming rock star as is typical in almost every rock star bio I have ever read, they got to sometimes be roadies, have fun with the girls, and usually had backstage passes to the big name bands. I wasn't jealous per se, but really in awe of how connected they got but it didn't hurt that we were in California and not Nebraska or Siberia.

I too don't regret having taken a safer path, in career, school, and life but had I entered this scene while as a teen, like the other band members did, I may have gone for the stardom thing and lived the rock and roll lifestyle. I am grateful for my parents who sent me away to college but not so much for the education which is still important to me, but the stability of the schedule of college and not getting burned out in the SF or LA rock and roll scene. The guys I know who got burned out had a few things in common like the drugs and talent, but they also started early enough that for some rock and roll was all they knew. I wouldn't say they had any other skills and most of them would not be able to hold a job at Starbucks for a week. I didn't start as early as them and didn't really get into a gigable state until my early 20s but by then my more stable life was well on its way and I established better habits.

But sometimes I do admit I wish I had the freedom to just become my music, get up and play for two days straight and put out a killer 4 song demo. Why worry about bathing, working, or eating and just immerse into the music universe. I know the musicians that ramped up the next level of musicianship all had stories like that but I never had the guts. My music teacher got to play on Hollywood films with his compositions and instead of doing homework in high school or going to college, he played out illegally young in bars with hardened pros. His trained music friends sometimes got jobs teaching in the schools but never excelled technically beyond that. He went that extra mile, but also tacked on years of being the starving musician to get there. Other really good musicians worked as roadies with established bands and got stranded in all types of cities and music scenes when tours were over. It was just I was never that brave or free with my inhibitions. Besides having some knack for music, I think for a recognized rock musician, there are usually really heavy dues to pay. It's not the deal with the devil thing, but pretty close.

Last edited by 63Blazer; 07-30-2014 at 02:15 PM.
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post #5 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-30-2014, 02:57 PM
 
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Re: Cancelled tour this year

It's all I wanted to do since I was a little kid... but I lacked the focus until I was in early teens to try to learn to play anything. In the military at 17... out at 19... got married and had first daughter at barely 20 and everything changed. Had two sets of twin daughters after that and life turned into survival and music was relegated to a distant dream. Now that I'm in my mid-40's and have the time to play again, my fingers are old and slow and sore! Oh well... I've still been enjoying getting back to playing the guitar. I guess it has been about a year since I picked up the guitar and started playing again.

Now my dream is to: 1) Continue learning about the recording process and make some of my own music someday - just for fun... and 2) eventually find some friends to jam with and maybe play for a party or get-together once or twice a year.
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post #6 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-30-2014, 05:02 PM
 
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Re: Cancelled tour this year

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Originally Posted by FireEagle View Post
It's all I wanted to do since I was a little kid... but I lacked the focus until I was in early teens to try to learn to play anything. In the military at 17... out at 19... got married and had first daughter at barely 20 and everything changed. Had two sets of twin daughters after that and life turned into survival and music was relegated to a distant dream. Now that I'm in my mid-40's and have the time to play again, my fingers are old and slow and sore! Oh well... I've still been enjoying getting back to playing the guitar. I guess it has been about a year since I picked up the guitar and started playing again.

Now my dream is to: 1) Continue learning about the recording process and make some of my own music someday - just for fun... and 2) eventually find some friends to jam with and maybe play for a party or get-together once or twice a year.
too bad we all don't live closer!!
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post #7 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-30-2014, 05:19 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Cancelled tour this year

I give all of you credit for seeing the light of the practical things in life long before I did.

I am ashamed to say I was 33 and our band was still on some dream and getting married put an abrupt end on me trying to make it. I think for us as a band losing 4 or more years in college during years which are the prime years for the hard life of rock and roll made it that much more urgent to make something happen.

I had just left a band a few years previously where we were also "responsible" career guys (not brave enough for music only) in where the bassist had spent six years at an Ivy school and quit a lucrative defense industry job as an engineer to make one last shot of it. He gave up a ton to become a musician, and then toward the later prime years in his late 20s, but he didn't make it. At least he tried, gave up his cushy job and then half a million dollar house, and went for it. That took balls, but he saw a young brother die in a freak motorcycle accident and another fail in a small retail store and their lofty educations didn't help them much, so what was there to lose?

Before he left, we watched a bio about Aerosmith and how a couple of guys in that band gave up cushy futures and sure things in order to make it in the unsure business of music. Either they were stupid or it was destiny. With all the odds against them they still made it. I think my friend who gave it all up to pursue music saw this as the last straw. At 28 or 29, this was his last realistic shot at making things happen but he went for it and moved to a large city and got away from the quiet burbs where he stood no chance with music. Of all the people in the band, I think he had the least talent but he still stood the best chance because he was brave enough to commit it all to music and move to a big city where he could get better exposure.

I know the odds of making it big is very small, and especially diminished each year after one's mid-20s so that's why a lot of very serious musicians often give themselves until age 30 to go for broke. Inside my head, when I was 18 and waiting to get out of high school and put the time towards guitar I looked at those over 30 who were still into it and thought how pathetic it looked and people like me were the record buying demographic. With people growing up later and starting families later in this day and age, I would still be going for it into my late-30s before calling it a day.

I don't think the odds are going to get much better, even with the internet, but as long as there are people who haven't spent the time figuring out just how hard it is to make it, there will always be a supply of wanna be musicians from where the stars will be chosen. You never hear about somebody who was halfway committed and then making it big. That's the big catch 22 because you have to give it your all with no time to focus on anything else just to be in a long line of thousands of balls to the wall guitar players/musicians vying for one spot every blue moon.
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post #8 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-30-2014, 05:29 PM
 
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Re: Cancelled tour this year

I think part of it is defining what "success" means to you. These days, I don't want like Nickelback level success (maybe not the greatest example, haha), Satriani level success, or even, oh, Rusty Cooley level success, where you'll never hear him on the radio but we all know who he is. If I sell a couple hundred copies of my album when I release it (soon!) and then sell a couple hundred more when I do the next one, and every once in a while see my name kicked around on a message board by people I don't know in a context other than "oh, he sucks," and maybe every once in a while get to play my stuff live locally, even if it's just opening for another instrumental artist I know from out of town or so, I'll consider that being pretty successful. I don't really want more than that - frankly, I don't think I'd like the "rockstar" lifestyle much. I like walking down a street without people recognizing me, and if I was in this hugely successful band touring internationally I'd be giving that up.
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post #9 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-30-2014, 05:43 PM
 
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Re: Cancelled tour this year

Sorry to hear about the tour, but it's never too late. Great stories guys. My story is a little like a cross between both yours (63) and fires. Got into playing in my teens, loved playing, but had so many different interests that I loved, went to university, got into my first career while in uni and dropped out. Found myself living in all sorts of places with no time to play, eventually got sense and looked for job/life stability in my late 20s, didn't find the right person and get married until my late 30s.

Eventually a few months ago at 40 I started making time to play again and more importantly realised the secret to why my playing never advanced between my late teens and early 20s, I practiced, but I didn't practice new things, I didn't have goals. Now my goal is to become good, learn and get a grasp of something new every few weeks and as a result I feel my playing is continuously improving. I'm also old with slow and sore fingers, but I feel that this old dog is starting to learn some tricks.

Like you 69 I knew guys who were great players and most loved their drink a little too much and also liked their non legal substances. There was one guy who could play anything but was a total zombie at 20, the only way you knew he was standing straight was if the drool came out from both sides of his mouth, but if you handed him anything with strings he came alive, he was dead by 25. I think it's the same with the guys you spoke about, they dedicated themselves totally to the music, but were under the misconception that you had to throw yourself equally into the drugs to be a rocker, in the end the drugs usually burn everything else that once made up the person. They become this thing that's constantly trying to bum cash, cigarettes, gear and is a total nightmare to be around. I think a lot of the younger generation have caught on to the fact that you don't have to be ****ed up to be great, the 99% perspiration 1% inspiration formula. This is great to see, look at some of the younger guys on this site who are great players, but have common sense and know that you need an education/job/profession even if the education is in music, it's required because the formality of a regular life and keeping to routines and deadlines will create a more skilled musician and a more balanced individual.

I always saw success as defined by playing stadiums and having groupies line up to try your "special toothbrush" as akin to winning the lottery, even if you're amazing it will take quite a bit of luck, the right contacts etc,. Many of the guys I knew thought all you needed was the skills and the lifestyle. If you look at most of the most talented players they didn't really follow the Ozzy/Keith Richards example, even Richards and Ozzy are remarkably lucky to not be taking harp lessons right now.

For me success is to be able to do anything the players I love can do, but to do it in my own style, just for me, to constantly evolve and improve, if someone likes something I do feel validated and comforted by the fact that I have shared something and the music in my head is not some strange psychosis or manifestations of a lunatic, but most importantly I want to be able to play the music in my head.

Japan will still be there in 2015/2016, do a little planning and get there. There's no greater motivator than already having invested a couple of K on air tickets.

Last edited by Laobi; 07-30-2014 at 06:01 PM.
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post #10 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-30-2014, 05:54 PM
 
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Re: Cancelled tour this year

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I think part of it is defining what "success" means to you. These days, I don't want like Nickelback level success (maybe not the greatest example, haha), Satriani level success, or even, oh, Rusty Cooley level success, where you'll never hear him on the radio but we all know who he is. If I sell a couple hundred copies of my album when I release it (soon!) and then sell a couple hundred more when I do the next one, and every once in a while see my name kicked around on a message board by people I don't know in a context other than "oh, he sucks," and maybe every once in a while get to play my stuff live locally, even if it's just opening for another instrumental artist I know from out of town or so, I'll consider that being pretty successful. I don't really want more than that - frankly, I don't think I'd like the "rockstar" lifestyle much. I like walking down a street without people recognizing me, and if I was in this hugely successful band touring internationally I'd be giving that up.

If that did happen the above is the only level of success I would be comfortable with. I think if by some weird accident I became famous I would don a disguise like Buckethead, perhaps a male version of the niqab (oh wait, that's a ninja outfit available from any MA store). Maybe a suit or armour or something. I would hate to be recognised everywhere. What about the groupies though? I think in today's safety conscious world even the groupie fantasy would be tempered by the fact that you'd have to employ a crew member to dispense knee pads and Listerine.
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post #11 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-30-2014, 06:33 PM
 
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Re: Cancelled tour this year

Im almost 35 and I've been playing live with my band for 3 years now. Got two small children at home. We play around town, and that's good fun.

Don't make it such a large thing. Get together with some people and play some shows around town from time to time and just enjoy it. We've been asked to play interstate now. I can't get out to do that just yet due to home stuff, and things that need to be sorted out. But it might happen maybe late this year or early next year. Id better finish mixing my bands first ep, it'll be two years since we started recording this Halloween!
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post #12 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-30-2014, 06:51 PM
 
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Re: Cancelled tour this year

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Eventually a few months ago at 40 I started making time to play again and more importantly realised the secret to why my playing never advanced between my late teens and early 20s, I practiced, but I didn't practice new things, I didn't have goals. Now my goal is to become good, learn and get a grasp of something new every few weeks and as a result I feel my playing is continuously improving. I'm also old with slow and sore fingers, but I feel that this old dog is starting to learn some tricks.
That says it all... I got stuck years ago in a rut of playing the few songs that I knew and never really expanding my musical knowledge. I can honestly say that I am a better player than I have ever been... even if just because I can play any major or minor scale on the guitar with a moment's thought. Even with my now old and slow fingers I have gained enough knowledge to get around the fretboard with a bit more than power chords and pentatonic minor scales. A small victory for me!

My other goal that I forgot to mention was to actually be able to call myself a "guitar player". The criteria being that I could sit down with just about any band or group of musicians and at least strum along and add something to the music, even if just something very basic.

63 Blazer - Don't forget that with a little age also comes the knowledge of how to actually DO SOMETHING! You seem like a very smart guy and I'll bet you know exactly what it would take to realize your dream. You never know, you might still be able to do it after all.
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post #13 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-30-2014, 11:06 PM
 
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Re: Cancelled tour this year

That sucks blazer, I was hoping to meet up with you and hang out in Ochanomizu and help you find some Japanese market Ibanez to take home with you

I've only been playing consistently for 2 and a half years but my definition of success would be to play a few live houses and MAYBE jsut get some minor recognition in the metal scene. I dont even need to be on a major label, just to be able to create some of my own music and play it for people, even if it's like 20 people and some dump of a live house (plenty of those here in Nagoya ).
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post #14 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-31-2014, 11:11 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Cancelled tour this year

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That sucks blazer, I was hoping to meet up with you and hang out in Ochanomizu and help you find some Japanese market Ibanez to take home with you

I've only been playing consistently for 2 and a half years but my definition of success would be to play a few live houses and MAYBE jsut get some minor recognition in the metal scene. I dont even need to be on a major label, just to be able to create some of my own music and play it for people, even if it's like 20 people and some dump of a live house (plenty of those here in Nagoya ).
I told my drummer about you so we wanted to possibly use you and then all we would need is a bassist. My original role was that of singer only even though I played guitar but if we could tour with drummer, bassist, one guitar, and me doing only singing that would be perfect. Low key dives are fun types of gigs and you can connect. I remember Guitar Wolf coming from Japan and doing dives over here and they were on shoestring budget but it was the best rock and roll show I have ever seen. Our stuff are similar easy songs and all and in the cross metal/punk style of the Offspring or even Billy Idol. It's guitar driven but virtually no lead guitar work even though drummer and I love stuff like Joe Satriani.

All the previous bands I didn't sing and just did lead guitar but I got bored of that after too many years.

We planned to buy gear in Japan, but simple stuff and not the kit we have in the USA, and ditch it and give it to high school kids or something. We envisioned something like a 4 piece starter Tama for drummer, and GIO Ibanezes for bassist and myself. Small 20 watt solid state Fender or Vox amps would do the work turned up high and maybe a 100 watt PA. It's just too pricey to get cases for stuff and ship across the ocean, so budget end Hoshino stuff would do us well.

I read that the prices of shipping gear in flight cases has become so repulsive that John Bonamassa simply bought a redundant gear setup with amps and effects for his overseas tours and keeps it on that continent. When you go over the ocean that's when shipping stuff in flight cases becomes as expensive as the gear itself over time. The drummer seems well heeled with cash from family business but still needs to be practical. Knowing him he would get a J Custom (or six) in Japan and ship it back to the states just for kicks. He has the role of drummer in band but loves all things Ibanez. While others have played with us and asked why we didn't primarily play guitar, it was just that he wanted to put his best foot forward which is as a drummer and myself as a frontman/singer. I am no singer but luckily this type of music isn't Placido Domingo stuff.

The good thing is at small outdoor Tokyo gigs I don't think powerchord pop punk really needs perfect fret ends and and original Ibanez Edge to make it happen and we could get same sound if we bought cheaper Ibby gear there and then ditched it. Maybe we would have had to rent a slightly bigger PA and then we can mic stuff and get better sound control but hopefully that wouldn't be too expensive.

The good thing about being 45-58 is that none of us are trying to start a business anymore (others also have businesses) and are in the winding down stage of life. None of us have mortgages anymore or car payments. And none of us are in that 7 day a week mode that you can put in when you are teens through mid-30s without breaking a sweat so it's easier in that sense to take time off for a tour. The harder part is we are all married and honestly, don't have the physical energy it takes to play like we once did. Wives may or may not want to come but it may not be a real vacation worrying about carting around gear and having to be at a few places for gigs. A real vacation ideally is when you can show up at a new country with no specific plans or commitments and can go where you please. So in a sense it would be like a work vacation and those are often work and no vacation. Yes, the three of us flying over from the states would enjoy it but wives not so much.

So there, that's our excuses of us being old and not having true vactation level freedom for wives. Add to this the youngest member of band, the drummer is mid-40s but with small child so there would have to be something for him to do and rock gigs isn't in the mix.

We really did squander earlier chances when drummer was routinely going overseas for his family business and we could have all traveled then on the cheap and gigged since it was only me who was married and nobody had kids. Being young and thinking that music would always be around, plus that physical energy, we all thought we could catch the next flight and do a gig. We could have flown out of San Jose and do one of gigs on east coast several times a year, Carribean, Asia, Europe, etc and piggy back on drummer's trips when he was a lowly traveling sales rep for his dad's business. The only thing I heard from drummer was about how awful airplane travel was and the often mentioned less than stellar accomodations and then think of doing that carting around at least a guitar. No thanks, man but now years later I would have jumped on a chance. Air travel for a small business is a great write off and we could have traveled free back then.

Maybe if you could find a bassist over there and you do guitar, and you both have travelling amps (not too big) then drummer and I can show up and rent PA for me and buy small Tama for drummer and just do smallish gigs. We could make it short tour and leave wives at home and sleep on floors with sleeping bags. It's been a pain trying to get a bassist to go with us because they don't know us, and share no history, and they don't know Japan so it's a hard sell.

I don't care if all the drummer and I experience are open mics and high schools, it's the experience of traveling and playing which we seek. Hopefully, the draw of Americans and a slightly different take on rock music will be a draw enough in Japan. Neither of us travelled far from home and drummer once played 125 miles away in SF and I once went 500 miles away to San Diego but that's it. Both of us have been to Japan more than once but playing didn't occur to us.

At the very least I hope some young Jemsite members read this thread and get the bright idea of bringing their guitar on family vacation next time. Bring small amp, soft case, and hit open mic jams. It may not seem all that interesting but when you are older and look back on life, I guarantee it will be one of those things you will always remember. Though I only did the outside the area gig in San Diego when I was 18 but got to play a large venue, I literally think about that time every single time I strap on a guitar and play with others. Who knows if I played well or not, but there was a certain high that playing far from home carried with it and it stayed with me and could be the only reason why I still play 30 years later.

Last edited by 63Blazer; 07-31-2014 at 11:23 AM.
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post #15 of 27 (permalink) Old 07-31-2014, 07:47 PM
 
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Re: Cancelled tour this year

I'd have the best gear out of all of us I'm really flattered that you would even think to have me play with you guys. I'm not that good yet

I dont know a lot of bassists (maybe like 1? ) but he's a retard. He wanted to get a band together and I tried to push myself harder to be able to play a song or two with him but he kept bailing on me. Screw him
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