I have long harboured a desire – sometimes secret, sometimes not, to be a musician. Undaunted by my own prodigious lack of musical talent, I have flirted with music on and off (more off than on) since my teens.
The first high point of my musical career was the short lived sensation of Alans Imaginary Army, the so called band which was actually a vehicle I used to avoid having to focus too closely on A levels, and which became the place where I honed my ability to sing punk versions of various songs in a slightly shouty rather flat voice. I still have the recordings!
I also banged a drum for a while, which I optimistically described as ‘playing percussion’ – having now been married for ELEVEN YEARS to someone who is actually a proper drummer, my drum banging days are now somewhat over.
I actually played guitar for a little while, I have photos to prove it, again only covers as far as I recall. Can’t play a flipping note now.
Latterly I began to experiment with electronic music and sampling, and made some reasonably listenable tunes, which may yet see the light of day, if I can ever get over the fact that I nicked samples from all kinds of people. I mean, can I get done for that? I really don’t know!! LOL.
But I have always had friends who are proper musicians, in fact for most of my life my close friends have mainly been musicians. I dont know so many here, but most places I have lived I’ve known a few.
I recently realised my old school mate Ian Thompson is the singer of the band ‘Roys Iron Dna’ or ‘Ordinary Son’ – I got their CD, it’s good! Other musical types I knew at school seem to have snuck off to musical obscurity land, which is a shame.
But here’s the main point of the post (wow a point at last!) it’s incredibly hard to be in a band these days, a support band on a Indie tour would have to shell out to go on tour, they’d only make from CD sales – how rubbish is that!?
And then there’s the recording – wow that can cost a lot, thousands for an album in a proper studio!
But another musician friend, someone else I know from a long time ago in fact, the bass maestro Steve Lawson, has written a really good post about how this is the best time ever for musicians – the proliferation of social media, and the democratisation of the industry has meant that if you want to be a musician, and you’re willing to put the work in, it neednt cost you a fortune after all.
Read it, it’s a great post! For jobbing musicians, or those like me who are mere wannabes – (in all honesty I havent the time anyway, so it’s not going to happen for me – big sigh of relief all around) – this kind of advice is like gold-dust.
I’ve always been very inspired by Punk and the DIY ethic, and I’ve taken that with me into all that I do, it seems to me that the days of punk are back in a way: the fanzine culture is alive and better than ever on the net, the ability to make music cheaply via computer programs, and the option to tour and play (thinking house concerts now) without the huge infrastructure the industry has built up over the last few years are all there again.
Any musicians, DJ’s, bands out there willing to put in the graft, assuming you’re good – you can do it WITHOUT the man and the machine behind you. Go on, do it!