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  •  The EvO:R-Pedia Musicians Tips Section


    Welcome to the EvO:R Tips Section. We call this section EvO:R-Pedia because it is like a complete reference library for Indie musicians...Just about every tip has been used so you won't find false promises and a series of books to buy after reading each tip. This section was put here by musicians so that people that followed can take this knowledge and use it's power.



    Tips on earning a living as a musican
    with Martin Paul

    Let me start with a sort of disclaimer - it might be more accurate to descibe my little corner here in the Evor "tips" section as "reasons you should change your mind about being a musician" rather than "tips on earning a living as a musican" because a major part of my puropose in being a contributor here is to expose some of the myths commanly held about being a professional musician - and by professional musician, I mean someone who earns a living playing music - period!

    So, if you're looking for "tips on being a rock star" or "tips on getting famous" or even "tips on earning a living playing only your own original songs" or "tips on making a living by playing only songs I like", don't bother reading any further. I won't pretend to have any knowledge on any of those things.

    I'd like to start off with a an edited passage on "the vulgar trades" - From Cicero's "De Officiis" , a treastie on moral duites, contained in a letter to his son, written around 60 BCE -

    "First, those . . . which incur people's ill-will, as those of tax collecters or money lenders . . .all hired workmen whom we pay for mere manual labor . . .and all mechanics are engaged in vulgar trades. . . Least respectable of all are those trades that cater to sensual pleasures: Fishmongers, butchers, cooks, and poulterers, and fishermen. Add to these if you please, the perfumers, dancers, and the whole corps de ballet" ("corps de ballet" also roughly translates into vaudvile performers)
    So . . the "vulgar trades", in descending order, are tax-gatherers, money-loaners, manual laborers, retailers, mechanics, food sellers & preparers - and at the bottom of the list - entertainers. If you think this attitude has changed much in the intevening 2000 years, go ask 10 fathers at random which they'd prefer to have dating their daugter - a banker, a mechanic, a store owner, a cook, a fisherman, or a musician. . . .okay, I'm guessing more than a few readers are saying "so what's the point" right about now. . . .

    The point is - being a musican is not a very highly respected trade in "the real world" - somewhere below fast-food worker, auto mechanic, & fisherman. To most folks in the industrialized west, it's a hobby, not a profession for adults (take my word on this, music stores don't stay in business selling igear to working musicians - Fender sells well over a million guitars a year in the U.S. - how many of those do you think were sold to someone who earns their living playing guitar?) So, if you're looking to be a musician, be prepared to have a real hard time: getting credit, getting a landlord to lease you an apartment, getting insurance on your car - not many folks go "whoopie - now there's a good credit risk/tennant/whatever" when they see "Musician" written beside "Occupation".

    Okay . . .for those of you still reading, here's a tip to hold you over until next installment - I think it's one of the single most useful things a "bar band" can do:

    Learn how to play "Happy Birthday" - several different ways. You're going to have to play it many, many, many hundreds, if not thousands, of times - get used to it. Audiences have heard bored bands do lackluster versions of "Happy Birthday" on many occasions - you & your band will REALLY stand out if you work up a version thats somehow "different" and play it as if you care.

    Remember - when you're playing this song, it's a special day for someone in the audience, and everyone there would like to "share the love" - help them out. The audience will remember you for it, the folks in the "birthday party" will remember you for it - & the folks who work the bar will very likely make note of it & pass along word to the owner/manager (who's likely not there) that "this band really got 'em going - w/ Happy Birthday!!!!".

    I've gotten gigs as "house band" using a high-energy "two-step into a regaee" version of Happy Birthday as an audition song - I almost always include it at auditions - on one occasion, we knew the other bands auditioning had us beat hands-down as far as "playing it like the record", some had a stunning girl up front & all the guys had "perfect hair" & "the look" - just like a hundred other Top 40 Cover bands - but they had no real "personality" - we did just the one song, "Happy Birthday", & got the gig - the booker stopped us after the one song & said "I don't need to hear any more". . . . so never underestimate the power of a good version of "Happy Birthday"

    Martin Paul
    He is road tested and industry updated. He believes that you always send the biggest guy in to collect the money! You will love his information because he has lived it. Martin has been a seasoned gigger for more years then he will admit, so if he tells you it can and will happen, you can believe it!
    Other Martin Paul (Texas CowPunk) tips for real working musicians can be located at Tips by Martin Paul 2.



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