Re: Difference in playing versus gigging
Great topic. I used to think that way too. When I was in my late teens I was in local bands, one band in particular was liked and had no trouble getting gigs doing original material. However, I wasn't the player I wanted to be (still not, but I'm learning all the time and enjoying the achieving the small goals I continuously set for myself), but what we played was basic metal and I got by with pentatonic stuff. When we played and got compliments I always felt like an imposter, I was listening to Vai, Malmsteen, Becker, Satriani etc., knew what good players should sound like and it disillusioned me to no end. So, I'm much happier playing for myself than when I was gigging because I know things now and can do things now that the younger me couldn't have even dreamed of - I am by no means content with my playing, but now when I play it feeds my appetite to play and learn more, the younger me sat in a rut and couldn't see a way to any real improvement.
More on topic, I know a guy who's a great drummer. About 10 years ago when he was 20 he found himself in what I would call a great local band. They had a good guitar player, singer, bass player etc., They played original material and became quite popular locally. Within a year they were signed up by a large international record company. They were given studio time in London, Berlin and Copenhagen. They played support on some high profile gigs in Europe, were driven or flown everywhere and could be completely forgiven for thinking they had arrived. About 6 months into this when they had just finished recording their 1st album with only the mixing left to be done they received a 5 minute call along the lines of "sorry guys, we're pulling the plug, we thought that rock was on the rise again, but trends over the last few months completely contradict that assumption, so this isn't going to be what we had hoped!".
You would think that was the end of the story, 5 disappointed musicians who had their dreams torn apart and the record company parting ways. Unfortunately for them it was far from over. Within weeks the record company began the process of recouping their losses, the deal they signed covered the company. The studio time, engineers fees, cars, flights, instruments etc., were all advances. They were sued for about 2 million and had to declare bankruptcy. Almost overnight they went from the guys who were living the dream to the nightmare of extreme disappointment and debt. They were all between 19 and 22. It had quite an effect on each of them, the drummer whom I know, had put off university because his career was taking off, now he works at whatever he can find to make ends meet. He doesn't play and has too many financial committments at the moment to think about going back into education, so he's kind of trapped for the time being and quite understandably wants nothing to do with music or the music industry.