"They call me the working man, I guess that's what I am."  Really simple lyrics from the song "Working Man" by Rush off of their self titled first album released 4 decades ago, which ring true for many a person to this day.  At this point you may be asking, "Where are you going with this and what does this have to do with your life as a songwriter?"  Well.... 

Fact is, being a part time or full time musician is work - alot of very hard work, often for little money after all is said and done, often traveling many miles and sometimes playing to uncertain numbers in the audience, yet often very rewarding in many other ways.  In the people you meet, the places you get to see and that time that you actually get to do what you came to do - play your music and make a connection with the audience.  That in and of itself is very hard work, to often have to hit a stage within an hour after driving for 4 or 5.  There is also an administrative side to all of this as well.  So, it's just not just, you know, "money for nothing", not just "playing" your guitar and having Peter Pan syndrome.  From my perspective, doing this at any level where you're getting paid to do this and people may being paying to see you requires a high level of responsibility, integrity and professionalism.  Often at times when you just crawled out of your car and would much rather take a nap!  As some wise person once said, "the show must go on....."

Speaking solely from my own experience, I work a 40 hour a week full time job.  After dinner, my evenings are often spent doing one or more of the following activities - writing or demoing new songs, rehearsing new songs, sending out booking emails, researching venues online, managing my website/facebook/reverbnation/electronic press kit, writing and emailing press releases for upcoming shows, booking hotels for upcoming tour dates and getting promo materials ready to be mailed out to venues.  This takes up several hours of any given evening, especially the business side of things.  But this is not a complaint - these are things that are necessary to having success at doing this and the things that keep me working from a full calendar.  I signed up for this when I decided that this is what I wanted to do with a big chunk of my life and something that I wanted to put my energies towards succeeding at.  At this point, even with the success of my new CD "Testing For Rust", I am, for the most part, a one man operation - I have no manager, no booking agent, no team of people working behind the scenes on the Davey O. public relations machine.  What I achieve or don't achieve falls squarely on how hard I want to work and how much time I want to put into this and I didn't even touch on the time that goes into recording a CD.

Over the past 5 weeks I have been participating in a 6 week tele conference seminar presented by my good friends at Trespass Music.  Each week has covered an aspect of being a do-it-yourself touring songwriter and topics have ranged from building your website, using social media, to booking live shows and touring effectively.  I have already learned so much from this course and it has really put me in tune with the reality that I am a small business and it has helped me in discovering ways in which I can streamline the things I do in my day to day operations and become more effective in the business side of being a musician.  Regarding booking and touring, they touched on using gigs at bars and restaurants as an effective way to not only fill a routing date on a tour, but also as very good way to earn anywhere from $100 and up to defray the costs associated with touring - gas, lodging, food.  To this day, I fill my calendar with local dates at these types of venues as a way to earn extra money to cover those very expenses.  I kind of look at it as "tour support".  Now, truth be told, I wish that I could get paid this way more often to play my own material, because these types of gigs involve playing covers.  However, in touching on this subject in the tele conference, a light bulb went off that at the very least, I'm working as a musician on those nights.  There's nothing bad about getting paid to do something I absolutely love to do - play music. And with the bigger picture in mind - that of using the pay from those gigs to go on the road and play my material in listening rooms, it makes it a much more rewarding experience and I can go into it with a positive mindset.  Don't get me wrong - I would ultimately love to do nothing else but always play my music at listening rooms for a guarantee.  That's a personal goal of finding a way to turn my art into commerce.  Fact is, other than my early years as a bassist and my brushes with playing in a couple of signed bands, I've never wanted to be famous or a rock star.  I just wanted to play music and to have steady work as a musician.  And any night I can get work doing that is a good night.  And on those nights, call me the working man, cause that is what I am.....

Comments

2013-03-15 19:12:38 - Greg
Davey, Just seen you at ACTS in Alden on Saturday. Loved your music- really poured a lot of soul into the songs. Jeffery is a great accompanist on the Mandolin and that beautiful Gibson ES 140. Plays just the right amount at the right time. Just listened to Testing for Rust..."The Absence of Madalaine" is a #1 hit for me in the Americana genre. Can't wait to see you again and would love to back you up on leads only, of course, behind Jeffery!! Greg
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