In writing this blog I have had many conversations with people who agree with my sentiments and people who vehemently disagree with my sentiments. The argument usually revolves around an intangible integrity or an unwillingness to adapt or change their approach. These people typically lead with ” the music should do all the talking,” or “none of this matters if the band is good.”
The general idea is that as a musician with exceptional talent the rules don’t apply to them. They are somehow above the rules of engagement with getting gigs, preparing, etc….
I remember seeing these guys a lot playing in local original bands. I stopped seeing them as my band progressed and started touring. Now that I’m back in the clubs locally they have seemed to shown back up. Actually, some of them never left.
The idea that your talent makes up for what you lack in other arenas is false. That should be very obvious.
If it isn’t obvious to you look at pop music. The pop stars that these people complain about on the radio for being hacks got where they were because they worked harder than everybody else; not on their talent. Lots of layman musicians would argue that pop stars have very little talent. That doesn’t stop those pop stars from performing or touring at a level 99% of us will never reach. Or if we’re lucky, we may get to play in their band on a per diem while they reap huge financial rewards.
If you are competing in the marketplace based solely on your talent you are going to lose. You’re going to lose gigs, you’re going to lose money, and you’re going to burn relationships with venues and other musicians. There are hundreds of people with less ability who are willing to work harder than you to get what they want. Those people will invariably succeed where you may fail.
This is true to a logical conclusion. There is a barrier of entry in the music arena. But if you show up to gigs in street clothes, read your lyrics from a music stand and think you can wing your gigs because you can shred and improvise, you will hit a ceiling in your book-ability and other bands with less chops but better business acumen will leave you in the dust.
If any of this rings true or if there is someone in your band that thinks this way you may have a problem. And you either need to have a hard talk with them about humility or you need to look for someone else.
image courtesy of @rigsofdad on instagram
Adam and Dan play in bands. They're pretty good.