www.lifeonlarson.com

13 Things Musicians (and Creatives) Are Sick Of Hearing at the Holiday Dinner Table

November 22, 2017 128 Comments

It’s Thanksgiving week and the official holiday season is upon us. Tis the season of the Christmas-music-take-over of our favorite radio stations, lists upon lists upon lists (checked twice), meal planning for a crowd, and the inevitable hustle and bustle of holiday events.

For many musicians (and creatives in general) it also means entering into a barrage of holiday dinners surrounded by family and friends whom we may not see on a regular basis. There will be food and wall-to-wall bodies and excessive drinking and (hopefully) naps. And, inevitably (as any working creative or entrepreneur can relate) our mundane life and career choices will somehow make their way into the center of the conversation. Evoking the annual “head scratch and question” routine that we all know and love. You know, that sort of forced, Minnesota-nice smile that just barely veils the confusion underneath.

Though every lovingly asked and well-intentioned question may seem like a good idea, this year, I thought it might be appropriate to come up with a little list of 13 things that musicians are sick of hearing at the holiday dinner table. I’m sure I’ve missed some, but this is your PSA for the day, it’s meant to be funny/light-hearted….. if not a little serious. Take it how you will…

 

The List:

  1. So…. hows the music thing going? You still doing that?
  2. When are we ever going to hear you on the radio?
  3. Hey, my neighbor’s kid plays guitar, I think. No, seriously, he’s really good. You should have him play with you.
  4. Sing something.
  5. Did you hear that the Nelson’s daughter is getting married this summer? Maybe you could play at her wedding. I think they’re on a tight budget so that could probably just be your gift or something… BTW, do you think you’ll ever tie the knot? Or. Are you seeing anyone? Or. When are you going to start bringing a special someone along with you to Thanksgiving? (And on and on….)

  6. So, what else do you do for work? I mean, like, during the day.
  7. Have you tried out for The Voice yet?

  8. Did you hear that cousin Jason is going to be having a baby? When are you gonna get on that? Or. Do you think you’ll ever have kids? Or. Don’t you think that Jonah needs a sibling? (And on and on……)
  9. Well, we should probably put the family reunion on the calendar now because Jessica always has her “music stuff” on the weekends.
  10. Have you heard the new Taylor Swift album? You guys should do more Taylor Swift.
  11. Hey, when you open for someone big you should tell me and I’ll come see ya.
  12. Can you put me on the list?
  13. Your life always seems so interesting and fun. I wish I had fewer responsibilities.

 

This post was first published in 2014 and has been edited from its original version. Though it was written from a musicians perspective, different versions of these conversations can probably be heard around many a holiday dinner table – posed to every type of creative from musicians to writers to artists to actors and everything in between. If you’ve followed along with any of our other posts, you know that we are proud unconventionalists and vibrantly celebrate those who identify as “other.” Though, whoever you are, if you are reading this, I hope it will provide you with a chuckle this holiday season. At any rate, I wish you the happiest of holidays filled with gratitude, light, love, and pumpkin pie. Cheers!

lifeonlarson

128 Comments

  1. Reply

    Jane Yuooignerant-Slaht

    November 26, 2013

    So, *are* you still doing that music thing?

    • Reply

      kiersty

      November 27, 2013

      HAHAHAHA you have me dying inside, i think I’ve heard every single one of these way too many times! FUnny- I must share this!!

    • Reply

      Rialdo Minetti

      November 28, 2013

      Forgot a few…
      1.”So when the summer’s over, are you going back to school?”
      2. “You should get a job so you can have insurance.”
      3. “Yeah, my son, Bobby went through that phase, too.”
      4. “You should make sure you have something to fall back on.”
      5. “I don’t know many musicians who own a house.”
      6. “When you get serious, come see me I’ll get you a job.”
      7. “You spent all that money on a degree and you only make five hundred a week?”
      8. “My neighbor’s son is really great at Rock Band, maybe you could give him lessons to supplement your income.”
      9. “No self-respecting woman is going to marry a musician, they’re hiring down at the ________ plant.”

      • Reply

        Al

        November 29, 2013

        or “When are you gonna give up this nonsense and get a real job?”

      • Reply

        jack

        November 29, 2013

        seriously. i was going to say. Most of the comments I get at derisive and un-supportive and have to do with the misconception that I write music because I want money for it or something.

      • Reply

        Jeff S

        December 1, 2013

        And one more: Are you going to go back to school to finish your degree so that you have something to fall back on?

    • Reply

      Dan

      December 1, 2013

      “Yes. I’m a ‘musician.’ It’s what we do. Are you still doing that whole ‘family’ thing?”

    • Reply

      vocalfons

      December 2, 2013

      at a gig, I heard this one a lot: “what do you do for a living?”
      me:”this”
      they:”no , I mean, what is your REAL job?”

  2. Reply

    jilly

    November 27, 2013

    Funny.
    P.S. #13 should be “fewer” responsibilities (and less money!). thx!

    • Reply

      msjess419

      November 27, 2013

      🙂 thanks! Sounds about right!

    • Reply

      Less is More

      November 28, 2013

      Only if you are a pedantic grammar teacher. Colloquially no one actually says ‘fewer’

      • Reply

        storytellerstudios

        November 28, 2013

        I say fewer. I’m neither pedantic nor a grammar teacher.

      • Reply

        chip

        November 29, 2013

        Pure nonsense. Any english speaker with even average ability in their own language uses “fewer” when it’s appropriate: i.e. countable individual items. Less water going through fewer kitchen sinks; “Fewer dollar bills” or “less money”, but definitely not “less dollar bills”. As storytellerstudios points out, using “fewer” does not mean one is either “pedantic or a grammar teacher”, it merely suggests that one is not completely inarticulate, which might seem pedantic to a numb-skull.

      • Reply

        Harry Potter

        November 29, 2013

        Then, colloquially, no one actually says colloquially. However, the pedantic grammar teacher would have drawn a red comma with a red circle around it immediately following your use of the word colloquially. Actually, I’d say there are no fewer than three grammatical errors in this comment. But, who cares? I’m just your pedantic neighborhood grammar smart a$$. What was this article about again? Oh yeah, back to looking for a job.

  3. Reply

    matt curney (@mattcurney)

    November 27, 2013

    Um, this I love. I love this.

    • Reply

      msjess419

      November 27, 2013

      Thank you!

  4. Reply

    Major

    November 27, 2013

    Too true – nice post!

  5. Reply

    junglegymjam

    November 27, 2013

    My grandma used to say at the holiday table, “You know, plenty of doctors make music as a hobby.” – She kept at it all her life – but she came to the gigs!

    • Reply

      msjess419

      November 27, 2013

      Aw grandma… At least she was a supporter at the shows 🙂

    • Reply

      Dominik

      December 2, 2013

      “That’s great! You know in my spare time I do surgery for fun … ”
      – Dominik, Musician –

  6. Reply

    Liz

    November 27, 2013

    “Why don’t you just do it as a hobby? And, you know, go to school for something practical?”
    (I’m 3/4 through a doctoral degree)

    • Reply

      msjess419

      November 27, 2013

      Ha! Yes! Totally heard that too.

      • Reply

        Burton Jamison

        November 29, 2013

        true these

  7. Reply

    Brandon

    November 27, 2013

    That’s pretty funny, I hear the same about being a tattoo artist, lmao

  8. Reply

    Paul

    November 27, 2013

    Worst: At least you’re having fun.

    • Reply

      UtahDutchie

      December 2, 2013

      thats the best dude! Some have fun and some have money. At least Im having fun in my life 🙂

  9. Reply

    Phucker

    November 27, 2013

    My retort: Too bad you slackers don’t work as hard as us.

  10. Reply

    Loïc

    November 27, 2013

    Awesome post, spot on for the examples and nicely put! I can totally relate to the stuff you wrote…
    Other ones I’ve heard
    “You know, it’s always good to be able to dream a bit”
    And, being a classical tenor, being asked countless times to sing Con te partiro, Nessun dorma (which is a legitimate tenor aria, even though I’m a 21 year-old light tenor :p) et al.
    “You were so lucky to be born with such a gift” (also more applicable to singers)

  11. Reply

    andrewtlocke

    November 27, 2013

    How bout this: “You know, if you ever want to get noticed, you can’t stay in Minnesota.”

    • Reply

      msjess419

      November 30, 2013

      Ha! Yes!

  12. Reply

    Johnny H

    November 28, 2013

    Should be called “13 things wannabe and/or sub par musicians are sick of hearing at the holiday dinner table”. This isn’t trolling, it’s honestly. If you were good enough, you would have made it happen already. Even shitty bands had enough drive or luck to make it to an album or radio. There are billions of people who wish they could be a rock star. Go ahead and defend your friends who you think are good, it won’t change anything. Stars shine on their own.

    • Reply

      msjess419

      November 28, 2013

      Lol! Well that was mean.

    • Reply

      Kris Sambero

      November 28, 2013

      You’re probably aiming your comment at those just focusing on trying to ‘make it big’, doing nothing else and asking others to support them while trying to do it. But – making a living as a musician doesn’t just mean getting in the national chart top 40. There are loads of paths you can make a decent living out of without having to get a platinum record hanging on your wall. Teaching, entertaining in care homes, busking, playing in a regularly gigging function band/duo/solo acts to name a few. All of these are mostly great fun (but can also be, very occasionally, soul destroying) and have a higher than average hourly rate (including busking on a decent day) which is why I do all of the above and still leaves me time for family and myself which after all is the most valuable thing of all in this life – don’t you think?

      “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
      Confucius

      Funny and true article though!

      • Reply

        msjess419

        November 28, 2013

        Yes! Well said. I have to ask as a dumb American, what is busking? 🙂

      • Reply

        Allan Bird

        November 30, 2013

        The Confucius quote is made-up garbage. He never said it. If Confucius said anything about musicians and their careers it was probably, “Stop whining!”

        • Reply

          msjess419

          November 30, 2013

          I would assume that the Confucius quote wasn’t directed at musicians in the fist place, but to all people in general. Regardless of whether it is historically accurate or not is beside the point. The quote is a good reminder for everyone to live this ONE LIFE we have to the very fullest and be happy while doing so. There are no “do overs”.

          As far as whining about your job goes…everybody does it. Some of us just have a little better sense of humor about it.

          -Peace

      • Reply

        cabMANiac

        November 30, 2013

        Great quote direct from Confucius quote book. allan brd do not judge and try to be the expert. Read and enjoy, readn and hate, but do nto try to discredit by being a FAKE expert on Confucius.

    • Reply

      Alex

      November 28, 2013

      Johnny H clearly knows zero things about being a musician

      • Reply

        L Keating

        November 28, 2013

        ‘Busking’ is street performance. 😉

        • Reply

          msjess419

          November 28, 2013

          Ahh. Thank you!

    • Reply

      Rania

      November 28, 2013

      “If you were good enough, you would have made it happen already”. I think this, too, is part of the misconceptions about musicians- the idea of “making it”, and what “making it” means. As long as you haven’t “made it” (to the radio or to an album), then you’re not good enough. You’re a wannabe. That’s how other non-musicians define success. You’re absolutely right- even shitty bands had enough drive or luck to make it to an album or radio. But that only reflects that this popular, simplistic definition of success is not the most faithful measure of being “good” (and many really good musicians/ bands had to compromise their artistic standard to “get signed”; I will not give specific examples so fans won’t yell at me). And this is not what all musicians are after. I’m a classical musician and making it for me is a very different idea. It’s about getting paid to do what I do and do it well, to collaborate with wonderful musicians, to share music with other people. Without having to starve. People make it happen in many different ways, and a lot of luck is involved, but the one thing good musicians have in common is that they work so hard. SO hard, my god. Others have no idea. It’s a lifestyle that asks you to give up so much- and nobody in their right mind would choose it if they were after money or “going big”.

      • Reply

        Darlene

        November 29, 2013

        I live in Nashville. Hundreds come here every day to “make it big”. Some are very good and some are not. Some are found and some are not. Just because you are good does not mean you will be heard by the right people and get your big break. And if you don’t live in a place like Nashville, it takes money to get heard. You have to have money to make your own demo CD and get it out there to be heard. My son does live here and his band has had to make their CD (studio time, engineer, etc.). They have gotten their CD on a local radio station. Our fingers are crossed it will go further. They do a lot of free gigs and some of them are out of town. And they live in Nashville. And they are GOOD. Give a plug if you ask, but that is not what we are doing here.

    • Reply

      A.

      November 28, 2013

      Wow you don’t get out much do you? There are thousands upon thousands of talented musicians, actors, artists,etc out there who never make it any further than singing in church or teaching other people’s children to love the arts. You, ignorant one are the exact reason people like me stop trying to “Make it” and move on to something more stable and completely boring.

      • Reply

        Ally

        November 29, 2013

        Many times I stopped writing to “move on to something more stable and completely boring.” Couldn’t handle it and always returned to writing. Rather be happy doing what I enjoy than miserable in a job I hated. I believe any artistic person truly feels this way.

      • Reply

        Jan

        November 30, 2013

        Speaking of ignorant???? your reply is out of line, you have not a clue the ability these musicians have to make the remark you just made. It is not about the money for most of them, they make enough to meet their needs therefore it is no ones business what they choose as their profession. Speaking from experience with two sons as muscians doing nicely in their field…both have degrees. Happiness is the key when you can find it! My boys have found their happy place! Proud mom of two talented young men.

    • Reply

      Jeremy

      November 28, 2013

      Spoken like a true non-musician!

    • Reply

      Steve Solo

      November 28, 2013

      is that what happened to you?

    • Reply

      Josh Dunlap

      November 28, 2013

      Enjoy your Nickelback… Sorry you’ll never get it, Jackass.

    • Reply

      Mim

      November 28, 2013

      Haha, Johnny, what utter crap you spout. There are plenty of other ways to be a musician than to become a rock star. It doesn’t matter how successful you are as a musician, you’ll still have some relative asking you when you’re going to be on The Voice.

    • Reply

      lukeswami

      November 29, 2013

      Believe me, this definitely doesn’t stop if you’ve released 4 albums and had a tonne of radio play. It also doesn’t not happen if you’re a record producer with a fully-fledged recording studio and a steady income.

    • Reply

      immortal_soloist

      November 29, 2013

      The fact that you called those who don’t want to come in the top 40 billboards or something and just want to make it big,wannabe and sub par musicians shows your absolute ignorance. It’s easy to say this stuff because you’re not in other people’s shoes,I went to a real music college and there was immense talent there. Virtuosos,song writers,and phenomenal musicians that could play circles around most of the artists of today but they are struggling. If you want to make “Real” music it’s not that easy,yea exactly crappy bands get record deals because that’s their aim,the music industry standards are sub par which is why awesome artists in general aren’t “Making it”,like how you describe. But there are other ways,just because they aren’t on MTV or Channel V doesn’t mean they aren’t successful. They are great sessions/studio guys,great sound engineers,great teachers and independent artists who are boosting their career via social networking and having real fan base without a support of a label. It’s not easy my friend but everyone doesn’t have “ONE” definition of making it,so next time think before you speak.

    • Reply

      musikgirla (@musikgirla)

      November 29, 2013

      Unfortunately, great talent is not enough anymore. A great deal of marketing goes with it. That’s why more and more we see talent-less people get to be world famous, while great musicians and singers go unnoticed. But surely, they have all heard that one too…

      • Reply

        John McKay

        November 29, 2013

        There’s a large degree of ‘unknowability’ to the music business. If it were possible to predict with any degree of accuracy what would sell, record companies wouldn’t put huge amounts of money behind ‘sure thing’ projects only to see them flop. The odds of ‘rock star’ success are extremely low, even with great talent and huge amounts of promotion. Without the big money, the odds get even longer. But there’s always luck, and a few people do get lucky. The rest of us, we play small gigs, make a few bucks here and there (I record bands, after having been a musician most of my life,) and are thankful to have music, and musicians, in our lives.

    • Reply

      whitewolf

      November 30, 2013

      Stars shine on their own? I’ve worked with a label and truthfully stars are made. Image, songs, productivity, style, all created by an image team. I’d rather be an artist than “making it” from being created into something by
      a label. I realize this is not true in every case but it is in a large percentage. I’ve been in music for 44 years and have personally seen it. Been on radio, tv,etc. and never was know on a star level and I’m fine with it. I’ve had great experiences and am not bitter I’ve met a lot of people and proud to have them as friends. I still play and still enjoy making people’s lives enjoyable.

    • Reply

      Bill Green

      November 30, 2013

      Have you ever noticed that when someone says “I’m not trolling” they are trolling? There are lots of ways to “make it” in the biz.

    • Reply

      Art Sheppard

      November 30, 2013

      I don’t know about that. Remember Emily Dickenson didn’t achieve fame as a poet in her lifetime; only after she died. What Jess is saying, and apparently you didn’t understand it, is Creative people create, not for money but simply for the love of creating.

    • Reply

      delmar

      December 1, 2013

      Being “good enough” gets you about $5 in tips at a local coffee shop lol….its all luck and who you know…unfortunately

    • Reply

      John Mason

      December 3, 2013

      Yeah all those “stars” were an overnight success!

  13. Reply

    tamaki28

    November 28, 2013

    so are you thinking about getting a job?
    – I have a job.
    no, you know what I mean, a *real* job.

  14. Reply

    Alex

    November 28, 2013

    “Your life always seems so fun and interesting. I wish I had fewer responsibilities”

    Oh yes, the grass is always greener. When you’re a musician and things are good, its great. The other 25 days of the month you’re praying that you can bring in enough work to make ends meet! Should have gone to law school. -_- lol

  15. Reply

    pinkzaza

    November 28, 2013

    so true! nice post:)

  16. Reply

    Oscar Fernandez

    November 28, 2013

    This list should be 13 things ‘STRUGGLING’ musicians are sick of hearing. The ones who find work don’t really mind the questions.

    • Reply

      msjess419

      November 28, 2013

      Hey, I’m just a simple girl from MN. I play music I love with friends whom I love even more because I can’t not do it. And I get to make money at it and that’s good enough for me. Whether or not that makes me a “struggling” musician I guess is in the eye of the beholder.

      Again, the post is meant as a satire that some musicians might be able to relate to. And even have a chuckle at.

      No need for snarky assumptions about complete strangers’ workload or talent level. We come in all shapes and sizes.

      Cheers!

    • Reply

      Charlie

      November 29, 2013

      Most of these questions are lacking in respect for the life chosen. During a family get together, it does not matter how much money you make. Having your family respecting your choices is far more meaningful. Financial success does not always translate into respect.

    • Reply

      C.Lee

      November 29, 2013

      I make a decent living working in audio production and post-production, fixing musical equipment, live sound, and performing. I work in a studio with a steady supply of artists and projects constantly occupying my time.
      I still get told to “go into technology” or “get a degree” i I come home for the holidays. It doesn’t matter if you’re struggling or not, people just think “music” and “career” are incompatible words.

  17. Reply

    eugene ruffolo

    November 28, 2013

    Great post….but not all that funny when its happening..Im long past all of this nonsense..but I rememeber it well…and it caused me a lot of genuine angst…But,,,as good as your points are..i think I still have all of you beat…I remember (vividly) my grandmother looking at me once..with compassion ..a touch of sadness..and maybe a dollop of pity….shaking her head and simply saying “its a shame…you’re such a nice boy…..” :)))

    • Reply

      msjess419

      November 28, 2013

      Lol! Wow… Aw grandma.

  18. Reply

    Sonam

    November 28, 2013

    I don’t really understand this attack thing. online but plenty of people fall into it. Kind of sad way to spend time. Success is a funny word. I have to say that I’m grateful to have heard and seen all the things I’ve experienced in the music world, whether touring with a rock band, playing with people like Cecil Taylor and Jack DeJohnette in the jazz world, playing with other beautiful musicians who are practically unknown, and now having the freedom to explore whatever I wish to. I have learned a lot from the painful parts too. I had to work at it but in the last analysis it is all due to the Creator and the people that were put in my path. It worth stopping to give thanks for. Peace to you all.

  19. Reply

    Eve

    November 28, 2013

    I get all that, but if you musician people shared more with your families on a regular basis, people wouldn’t have to ask. Be grateful that people are interested in you!

    • Reply

      musikgirla (@musikgirla)

      November 29, 2013

      Should be very interesting to tell THAT to a physician…

  20. Reply

    GD

    November 28, 2013

    You guys all know this was meant to be funny right? And it’s funny because it’s true… I think its equally as sad and hilarious that there are some that have commented on this post feel the need to criticize, and even go after the authors and other’s comments on what was meant to put a smile on people’s faces. Lighten up y’all! As a struggling musician with a “day job” I found this hilarious. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and putting a smile on a complete strangers face… similar to what a musician strives to do with thier music. I took this post as it was delvered – with the true spirit of a musician behind it. Cheers!

    • Reply

      msjess419

      November 28, 2013

      🙂 Thanks! Cheers to you!

  21. Reply

    Jamsire

    November 28, 2013

    Well, I’m a musician who works in the music industry that deals with the manufacturing on products musicians use and software development. My “other” full-time job is teaching audio engineering and recording production at a City University in NYC. I feel like I’ve “made it” because I get to do nothing music everyday of my life, and maintain a comfortable income. But I still get the “married-baby-lifestyle-must-be-fun” questions, the “talent next door” suggestions, and of course “play for free.” People will say whatever they want to whomever they want no matters who it hurts or who it helps. Too bad. Because success in music is not always who you see, it’s the behind the scenes people who crank out the cash. Like the guy/ gal who owns the company that makes the steel for guitar strings. Yup.

  22. Reply

    Christian Friis Jensen

    November 28, 2013

    Oh man, a lot of this rings true. Although my political convictions, views on gender politics and so on will definitely be lambasted a good deal more by my… Erhm… “Somewhat Rural” family, the complete ignorance about what this “Musician” thing really entails will probably always stick out. You can also safely say that a lot of this will get amplified in certain ways, if you play non-commercially oriented or “Niche” genres, like I do: I may have made it abundantly clear all along that I worked an honest full-time job the whole time and that my current Uni studies are for a decent middle-class job, but some remarks still fall. Granted, my mom was apparently kinda proud and allegedly bragged to co-workers when I went on a European tour with my old band (both times!). I also once overheard my dad talking to another (distant) family member about how his son also played guitar, and my dad said “my son plays a seven-stringed guitar”, as if that was somehow impressive compared to normal guitar. Nevertheless, some less culturally enlightened family members have still pulled the whole “why does it have to be noisy stuff like that!? Why don’t you play something nice? Don’t you want to be famous?” At least they’re not so naive they think one can make actual money off the stuff I do; they question the motivation for it primarily. I’d say the satisfaction and adrenaline rush of getting a roomful of stinky punx to go absolutely apeshit for twenty minutes is more than enough for me!

  23. Reply

    Robert

    November 28, 2013

    You nailed it. I think in most situations, it’s the people asking that have a narrow, undeveloped definition of “success” (like that moron up there, Johnny H). And that’s OK and perfectly forgivable. It’s a small price to pay for living a life that’s full of doing what you passionately love with people you treasure and cherish. Not too many 9-to-5ers get to say that about themselves.

  24. Reply

    Cromack

    November 28, 2013

    Great post! Made me laugh.

  25. Reply

    Warner Brown

    November 28, 2013

    So, when are you going to be a rockstar?

  26. Reply

    Mim

    November 28, 2013

    Jess, you might enjoy this video from a couple of years ago, little interview snippets of several very successful Australian musicians. An old favourite of mine.

    http://digitalpill.tv/Content/2011/05/so-what-do-you-do-for-a-crust/

    • Reply

      msjess419

      November 30, 2013

      Ha! That is awesome. I must share that. Thanks Mim!

  27. Reply

    Jean Synodinos

    November 29, 2013

    (From my nieces…) “So how can you make a living? I mean, I’ve never paid for a download… so how do you get paid?”

  28. Reply

    Robert

    November 29, 2013

    I get the same thing as a film maker. I always love the wedding thing. For me it’s “could you film our wedding for free? I think it would look great on your reel!”

    I always reply with “Sure! As long as I can call cut and make you redo your vows over and over until I’m happy with the take, you’ve got a deal.” So far, no takers.

  29. Reply

    Mark Adam

    November 29, 2013

    The worst is when the follow up question to “how’s the music thing going?” is “So what do you do for a living?”

  30. Reply

    Steph

    November 29, 2013

    I think this was supposed to be a light hearted blog about gigging musicians. I will say that I have met “national” artists on tours in major arenas who were $100,000 in debt to their record company and making no profit and local musicians who make a living performing. How is success to be measured? The writer of this blog will be going to the middle east over New Years Eve to perform for the troops – bringing joy to troops and making very good money. Not everyone gets to do that. That is success to me.

    • Reply

      msjess419

      November 29, 2013

      🙂

  31. Reply

    Jason

    November 29, 2013

    And the most degrading comment of all, “What are you going to do when you grow up?”.

  32. Reply

    Reema

    November 29, 2013

    Reblogged this on Reemixed and commented:
    I’ve heard these things being said to artists ad nauseum (esp #13!)

  33. Reply

    skrulewi

    November 29, 2013

    I wasn’t even able to convince myself to make any attempt at making money as a musician so I started becoming a music teacher. I toured with some other bands… it’s pretty scary to go from city to city seeing all the amazing people that will never, ever make it. Although I did open for the one guy from FUN – We Are Young. So maybe… one out of 2000. After I got over the voice in my head that said ‘those who can, do, and those who can’t, teach,’ I discovered that I loved teaching almost as much as I loved playing. That said, I’d love to make 500 a week. That would be a nice raise. And when they ask for me to play something, I play something, and usually try to blow their minds.

    And JohnnyH, ‘This isn’t trolling, honestly’, if it’s something you wouldn’t feel comfortable saying to my face but ‘honestly’ feel fine tossing out in a web forum with a bunch of musicians, then it’s trolling. I understand your feeling. People hate complainers. I get it. But ‘making it’ as a performing musician is a gutsy, difficult thing to do with absolutely no guarantee that it will work out, no matter how much work you put in. And that’s just making a living. Becoming semi-famous requires, as you put it, luck. You can’t bank on luck. It’s a tough racket. Like I said before, I had no idea how many ‘almost famous’ bands there were out there until I went on tour. It was like city after city after city of nearly broken dreams. Amazing people, great music, amazing stories, slightly depressing in the long run.

  34. Reply

    Arikah

    November 29, 2013

    hahahah!! yes! so true!! Also, “hey we should go karaoking sometime!”

  35. Reply

    Arikah

    November 29, 2013

    bwahahahaha, @ Johnny H and Rania #noidea #fantasyminded!!! Thank you for your definition of what it means to be a musician!!! whooo!

  36. Reply

    Arikah

    November 29, 2013

    Also, “You have a child now… If I were you, I’d focus just on that gift!” (Which, OF COURSE, it is…does mean I no longer exist?)..

  37. Reply

    Ally

    November 29, 2013

    As a freelance writer, I used to hear similar offenses by family members. Now that I’m retired, I get asked if I’m looking for a writing job. Sometimes you just can’t win. SMH.

  38. Reply

    Mat Bastardson

    November 29, 2013

    Q: Why don’t you get a real job?” A: “If I got a real job it would throw twelve a-holes like you out of work.”

  39. Reply

    Birdie Mae

    November 29, 2013

    I’ve heard this one two: “You make HOW much?… Wow I’m really impressed!”

  40. Reply

    Birdie Mae

    November 29, 2013

    *too

  41. Reply

    matt

    November 29, 2013

    Yep. Numerous albums, world tours, a documentary and an HBO show theme song and I still get “hey, there’s an open mic at the coffee house downtown. You should go play something.” The neighbor’s kid one’s a classic too because he inevitably plays black metal or christian contemporary or hippie reggae jam band stuff or something equally distant from what I do. It’s like people don’t understand that there are genres in music. It’s like suggesting a quarterback and a point guard “do some sports” together.

    • Reply

      msjess419

      November 30, 2013

      Haha! Yes. Right on!

  42. Reply

    anon

    November 29, 2013

    @ Matt “do some sports” together!!! Amazing!

  43. Reply

    Jonathon Lee Cortez

    November 30, 2013

    my dad is a pianist/piano tuner. he doesn’t make money all the time but we were talking about mixing and mastering and he offered to give me an upright for my house because he has another two (baby grand pianos) and he is also going to give me an alesis drum machine to play with and make beats on the go. i hear “are you still playing” all the time. however, my family is almost all musicians except for the two uncles who do accounting and computer programing. everyone has a second income. we are all making mortgage payments (on time)… to us music is a way of life. however, they ask me to play but I cant play fluidly with both hands as much as I can use theory to write music. My adventures have mostly been with martial arts but, i can’t help but mess around with rhythm and melody in my spare time. it helps me think.

  44. Reply

    ollielulu

    November 30, 2013

    substitute artist for musician and you’d get twice the criticism! my boyfriend is a jazz musician and i’m an artist. it’s a double whammy, in spite of my day job. i have to say i’ve been lucky, born into a family of artists and musicians, everyone is supportive, we don’t know what else to do 😉
    good luck and keep creating, the world needs us.

  45. Reply

    ollielulu

    November 30, 2013

    Reblogged this on patty eljaiek.

  46. Reply

    john

    November 30, 2013

    This is great. Ive heard all of these at some point. Ive been performing for 14 yrs. Just signed a publishing deal with reba in nashville and still making pennies. I hear when they gonna stick your stuff on radio ? Everyday! Ha. Yeah doesnt work likethat!

  47. Reply

    Karen Davis

    November 30, 2013

    So true. Used to hear this all the time. Got a job with a great arts agency, give piano lessons and got a booking agent. Don’t make a lot of $$ by any means, but make more than my social worker brothers and my part-time employed nephews; also don’t put the arm on the parents for cash – ever. Plus, been in the same apt for 20 years., Stability, baby! Work my butt off, but it’s all music all the time. Whenever anyone in the fam. gives me any lip, I remind them of these facts, and they shut right up. Life is beautiful

  48. Reply

    John

    December 1, 2013

    Play them a song! I usually go with “I think it’s so groovy now, that people are finally getting together. . .”
    But seriously. Redirect those comments. Be honest. Be humble. Sometimes the questions are simply an awkward attempt to engage. Tell a story about something crazy that happened onstage.
    At one Christmas diner I talked about Van Gogh and cutting off part of his ear and how I had recently started cutting my fingernails. That confused it all. Or you could lie. That’s kind of fun. Paul McCartney came to my gig at the animal shelter last week.

    There’s a wonderful song about “Dreamers and Believers”. I heard it perfromed by the whole shebang. Check it out.
    Or try this. Send out an email to your friends and family asking for help picking a new band name because you’ve been invited to try out for a spot on “America’s Got Morons” which is a show about people who try to shoot for the stars but get lost in space.

    Whatever it takes. Remember that the Holiday Season has its roots in love.
    John

    • Reply

      msjess419

      December 2, 2013

      Ha! Yes! Love this!

  49. Reply

    Candice Bester

    December 2, 2013

    I love this post! It’s funny because it’s so true and sad at the same time. I have heard all 13 of those questions!

  50. Reply

    brian

    December 2, 2013

    Uncle: So what are you doing nowadays?

    Me: Still playing music.

    Uncle: But where do you work?

    Me: All over the world.

    Uncle: All over the world? But how do you get off work?

  51. Reply

    Michael Bear Arlt

    December 2, 2013

    My Son Cody is getting really good with his guitar, when can he join your band?

    • Reply

      Joe

      December 18, 2013

      asap, the sooner the better. it will help him become even better

  52. Reply

    Kosi

    December 2, 2013

    “do you need a manager? why don’t you let your uncle manage you?”

    • Reply

      J. Vryheid

      December 3, 2013

      THIS RIGHT HERE! YES!

  53. Reply

    BP

    December 2, 2013

    them; “But you you’re doing something you love”. me “no, I’m trying to pay the bills teaching people to do something I love and I don’t have health insurance.” If i could have another go at it i would have chosen to do something more lucrative that didn’t ruin the things I love.

    • Reply

      CY

      December 5, 2013

      Amen

  54. Reply

    Nadira

    December 3, 2013

    When I was in high school my father said to one of my dates (who I met in Youth Symphony): ‘Music is okay for a girl, because she can always get married.’

    • Reply

      Fed-Up

      December 16, 2013

      My G-d, are people still saying that sort of crap? My Dad, may he rest in peace, talked about me that way (not about music, but about being able to get married, so what I did didn’t matter!) THIRTY YEARS AGO!

  55. Reply

    Steve Hamende

    December 3, 2013

    As a 18 plus year musician that held a “day gig” first then went full time “deadbeat”, this is spot on! Very well said!!

  56. Reply

    Tibbs

    December 3, 2013

    * In regards of talking about Jazz concerts* Why don’t you play more pop tunes in your set? You know tunes people will recognize

  57. Reply

    PianoGirl

    December 3, 2013

    Haha yeah, my college piano teacher once told me that I should just marry rich. Little did he know that I’m now on my Doctoral degree in music and my husband and I together make pretty good money for 20’s.

  58. Reply

    Gary Gallier

    December 4, 2013

    “I wish I had musical talent”. Yeah, I said the exact same thing 30 years ago as I was setting of on a life long dedicated, determined, and daily regimen of hard work and PRACTICE !

  59. Reply

    Lirpa

    December 8, 2013

    When are you getting adult and stop with that children stuff?
    When will you start to work? I mean in a serious job which brings money?
    My uncle has a cafe. Will you play there? He can’t pay you for playing, but isn’t it a good possibility to make you band known?
    You must have won in the lottery, or where do you get all this time for this hobby and all the expensive stuff?

  60. Reply

    Matt

    December 14, 2013

    “My son’s really good at guitar, can he join your band?”

    No, I produce EDM and they rarely use guitars. Plus, I’m not part of a band, I’m just one person.

    “Then start a band and have my song as your guitarist.”

    STFU

    • Reply

      Matt

      December 14, 2013

      Son*

  61. Reply

    Bob Pegritz

    December 15, 2013

    When are you going to make a Christmas CD?

  62. Reply

    gabe126

    November 29, 2016

    I was in the psych hospital and twice a week we had music therapy with a bunch of percussion instruments and the music therapist had a guitar, and there was a piano in the common area. I was actually embarrassed to admit I’m a professional musician, because as soon as I said something (I think the guy asked if anybody played any instruments) all I heard was “OMG PLAY SOMETHING! SING SOMETHING!” First of all, your piano hasn’t been tuned in about 20 years, and secondly I don’t see no trombone in here, and third of all, none of ya’ll can keep a beat for more than 5 seconds and I’m about to walk out of here.

  63. Reply

    Goofy Stupid

    November 29, 2016

    (any song on the radio)
    “Can you play this?”

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