The funniest way I ever got a gig


#1

Back in 2014, my girlfriend and I were living in Brooklyn for the summer. I was ostensibly deciding whether or not I might want to live there long term and try to get into the music scene, but really I was mostly sitting around practicing and making Youtube videos.

Well, it turns out you actually CAN get a gig just by sitting around practicing… as long as there’s a working bass player on the other side of your apartment walls!

This guy approached me in the shared kitchen of these two apartments, and said “Hey, I heard you practicing… do you want to sub on a gig for me tomorrow?” A couple phone calls later, I had a gig the next night at the Bitter End in the West Village with a singer/songwriter guy. One set. >>$500<<. First and possibly last NYC gig ever, no hustling required, barely left the house. :slight_smile:

And the real punch line - what this guy heard me practicing through the walls was a solo bass arrangement of Africa by Toto. (yet to be released into the wild) :lion:

Anybody else ever get an unexpected gig through strange channels?


#2

Life can be twisty.


#3

Dude.
That’s awesome. The doors that Toto can open for a musician are myriad.

I can’t remember a gig offer I’ve had that was out of the ordinary. I remember a gig offer I got to play bass in a young singer-gal’s band. The call was from the dad. It was a pitch like you would write into a bad/amazing 80’s style Karate-Kid-but-Bass-Playing movie, where the plucky, idealistic, promising youth (me) gets a call from the Nefarious Mr. Big (the dad). He had promises of money and fame and TV and movies and LA and all the rest.

I passed. I passed, because that’s what the movie kid would have / should have done. Also, the gig sounded horrible.

But - here’s a point/counterpoint for you all – most successful and working musicians I know go by the philosophy: Never say no to a gig. It’s an absolutely functional and self-proving philosophy. It works! So - if you want to be a movie character, fine. If you want to be a working musician - take the gig.


#4

I’m curious… did you have to learn new songs sharpish or do you have the ability to bust them out on the spot with sheet music or something?


#5

I think the bandleader/singer/songwriter guy sent me demos the morning of the gig, I believe I scribbled out my own charts. So a mix of the two, basically busted them out at the gig after just a few listens and some rough notes on chord structure and song form. The fun things you can do after learning scales, chord theory, and how to write charts!