On learning that one is not the next big thing

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/02/12/on-learning-that-one-is-not-th.html


Man, I dream of having the talent and nerve to appear onstage at a Mexican restaurant in Saskatoon on some godforsaken tour across Western Canada; even if it was only Karaoke Night. More power to those people who even only make it that far.


Right in the feels, but so accurate.

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being a professional rock star in your 40s is hell.

I don’t believe you!


I think age doesn’t necessarily matter as long as whatever dream you’re pursuing is in earnest, you have talent, and you got something worth saying. Plenty of artists, actors, etc broke through and gained recognition they deserved later in their life. Granted not everyone will get fame but to say age means they are no longer relevant is something i firmly disagree with.


Sub Pop Records makes up so much of my playlist, I’m surprised I hadn’t heard of his band until now.

Mike Pace, if you’re following this thread, simply existing in this social media era provides so much more opportunity to connect with like-minded (or even unlike-minded) people than ever before.

As an oil painter who is also a complete unknown, I’m still blown away by the fact that showing my work on social media has caught the attention of artists I’ve been a fan of for years, and I still hold out hope that my situation will someday improve.

In this age of social media, I look to sensations who have found success without needing to constantly tour to find recognition (Garfunkel & Oates), and many who fly high enough to sustain themselves without instant “brand recognition”.
I’m hopeful that you have reached out through various platforms (no, not LinkedIn) to share yourself and your ideas on a personal level to try and connect with others who have a more tempered view of what “a band” means these days. My mind moves to The Postal Service, with Jimmy Tamborello sending musical tracks through the mail to Ben Gibbard to edit at a time convenient to him.

I hope that your future finds the success or connections you require to keep the dream alive.


Does one want to be a “rock star” or a working musician? (The latter is a subset of the former.) I have a number of friends and acquaintances in the latter category. Some of them are locally prominent enough to mount sellout shows in two of our biggest venues–you might call them local stars, but I suspect nobody has heard of them outside our region. Others are working the (sadly diminished) bar-band market. Most have day jobs. Most are now middle-aged. All are pretty happy to be playing for live audiences. The audiences are happy as well.


Hey, Saskatoon, that’s bigtime.

One of the McGarrigle Sisters said something like “If i had known when I was 20 that I would be doing small town bar gigs at age 50, I would have chosen another career”.


I think the problem with being a gigging rock musician over 40 isn’t so much one’s diminished “relevance” (though marketing being what it is, a musician’s relevance tends to track with how good they look in spandex); I think the real problem is that the way music markets are currently configured, a band can’t make money selling albums, can’t make money from streaming, and can really only make money from a constant, grueling schedule of touring. And that becomes a lot harder once you have a family or your back gives out.

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It’s presented like it’s some major failure, but he’s actually talking about Amigo’s Cantina, which is a great Mexican restaurant, but is also a bar with a very storied and long history here in Saskatoon, and which has had quite a number of impressive performers over the years. It’s sort of the local version of the eclectic, dive-y (but not really) hangout bar for all types of people that has somehow managed to continuously attract a fantastic lineup of bands. If he was trying to imply that road band life is hard, that’s fine, but Amigos isn’t really a “look how shitty things are” place to pick.

Just my 2 cents.


I was a big fan of the Oxford Collapse back in the day, so they reached at least one person?

My friend is a great guitarist. After college he had to choose between music or a regular job. He went to grad school and now has a great career.

He has continued to practice every week with the same trio for the past 15 years. He also performs here and there with a couple different bands. He loves playing more now than had he chosen to go pro because for him it’s just about the music and not about paying bills or maintaining an image.

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