There was a time when preparing for a career, we set an early course. Would it be construction, a government job or the life of a musician? For many of us the choice would be fairly easy. Why would we not choose to play music, meet hot chicks and get paid for it? As time has gone by, the chicks got older (as we have), the money dried up and the music we loved to play got moved over to some strange format called “classic rock”. Sure there are some of our influences found in today’s music but for most of us, it’s like we’ve woken up to a new world that we barely recognize. If we would have just chosen that government job back then, we’d now be “set for life”.
Recently a group of teachers lined the streets of downtown Los Angeles demanding more of our tax money. Could you just imagine if a group of musicians would have done the same thing? We would have been laughed off the streets and there would have been some things thrown at us that we just could not imagine. At least teachers have good solid healthcare, a steady paycheck & a “pension for life”. They have a strong union fighting for every crumb even when there are few crumbs left for this most taxed state in the union. Our local musicians union #47 has always been a bit of a joke. You only have to deal with them if you have a union session and with many producers now making records out of their homes, you can imagine just how many of those union sessions actually exist anymore. There was also a time when you could get a weekly pay check from a local club playing music, even if it was somebody else’s material, mixed with a few of your own originals. Now here in Los Angeles it’s the musician/artist has to pay the club for playing. In order to showcase your music these days you need to pay additional musicians, rent gear and in many cases you get charged for the use of a clubs PA system.
Why would anybody in their right mind do this? Let’s just say that they do it for the art and the privilege of playing music. There is even a waiting list of bands and artists willing to fork over large sums of cash just to play club venues. Our radio friends know more than anyone else about the big money to be made in the music business. Many have to take multiple jobs to make ends meet and the retirement fund for them will not make them rich anytime soon. Many have to do tons of production and “live” events to add extra income to the picture. Programming music is just one of the many things they have on their plate and for many radio people they are doing two or three peoples jobs each and every week. Most of them still work in radio because they love the business and still like playing and programming music. Let’s just say for most of our radio friends that it’s a “labor of love”. Many of the artists that achieved success in the early years are still out there playing. You see the likes of Chicago, Fleetwood Mac, Crosby, Stills and Nash among others out “on the road” almost half of the year playing shows. One has to wonder is it’s just for the love of the music and their fans or do they still have to keep working? Many experts say it’s the later and that if goes back to that old non existing pension fund for musicians. I guess you could say that we really don’t do this all for the money and for the hot chicks. Music is an addiction that for many we just can’t shake. There is no solid rehab for this ongoing condition. Most importantly we really still do this all…”for the music”.