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Woody Brubaker: Blog

What Do I Do Now?

Posted on September 20, 2015 with 2 comments

This month, I am, for all intensive purposes, unemployed.  This is because of the atmosphere of the club business in this area of the country at this time of year.  It has been this off time that I have had the opportunity to reflect on my 55 years in the music business.  It occurs to me that this whole experience has been a waste of time.  As I gained more experience, knowledge and proficiency (from my teens) in my performances and writing, I seemed to become more distant from my fellow musicians.  I have had to change my approach to my business, as the years passed, to accommodate my responsibilities for that moment.   From a time that I had only intimate interaction with other musicians, I have had to be on my own and rely on myself to work and develop my own entertaining techniques.  Of course, this came about from necessity due to the fact that I had alimony and child support payments to make.  Opportunities working with other musicians were not working out.  Change was necessary.  But now, in the last several years, I have had the chance to work with other musicians that, I believe, are equal, if not more so, to my ability.  It has been an absolute joy.  However, the employment opportunities have dwindled to almost next to nothing.  Well, we’re not playing rock ‘n’ roll or funk or hip-hop or country.  We try to educate, in our own way, what music is all about with all its intricacies.  Not every musician can get into the structure of the music that we play.  It takes a little bit of education to accomplish this.  That’s right, it’s the older stuff.  You may think you like what you hear, but doesn’t it have to do with what your friends really like?  With the aloofness of club owners and less educated musician employers, the atmosphere of the music business has lost its luster and class.  It’s an insult to those of us who are hanging in there to hear other musicians who are just skating through their jobs and think that’s OK.  It’s unbelievable.  But we persevere.  Why?  It’s because we love what we do and we hope people appreciate it.  Yes!  There are those out there who do appreciate our performance and ability and they are all age groups.  There are those who actually listen.  The point is:  there is a moment when you realize that this is probably the end of the line because it just gets worse every year.  An intelligent person will realize that not much more can be done and you’re fighting a losing cause.  The problem becomes, what do you do at an older age if you have to change careers?  A lot of musicians have a little experience in other types of work but it’s hard to convince a future employer that you are serious about a change.  The old adage “You can take the boy out of the country but you can’t take the country out of the boy” applies here.  We will always be musicians no matter what else we do with our lives.  It’s part of our DNA.  My dilemma is: Do I forsake all the years I have invested in music just to eke out a living or hang in there in hopes that a golden opportunity presents itself.  Time is a-wastin’ and the door is closing.  Thanks for reading and I hope this strikes a chord with some of you.

Kathryn Taubert

September 21, 2015

Selfishly, I'd hate to see you leave music behind. You are one of those who managed to MAKE It work, in spite of the hardships, because you are at the top of the "heap." However, I know the difficulties of the business, which is one of the reasons I chose NOT to make it a career, but merely a short-term avocation. I'm glad I did it (on both counts). But, knowing such find musicians as yourself struggle so in a cold business that doesn't appreciate what it takes to do what you do, I don't blame you for feeling the way you do. Whatever you decide, do what's best, in the long run, for YOU Maestro. Kathryn

Keith

September 20, 2015

Woody, Sorry to hear your prospects are nil, even in Florida ! The biz is mostly guitar bands, musicians are scarce here, my life long buddy in music is leaving soon, but she wants me to continue preforming , Don't know what we can do after all these years trying to better ourselves on a given instrument or style. A change of employ is tough at any age. I do mostly gratis ,opera ,Little theatre
Hope you can find your answer . Thanks for being just woody for the brief 2 years we had together, Keith