Guest--Not a derisive laugh at you, more of an approving chuckle for Dave. I've been listening to musicians over here say exactly what you are saying, and they've been saying it for years. Then I see guys like Dave, (and a lot of other people like him) who still have figured out how to make a career playing music. You've gotta love people like that.
When you say, "The work is simply no longer there", I am sure that you're right (though I kind of doubt there was ever a lot of work). Dave's played in bar bands, until he suffered an injury and couldn't physically do the work. He found something that he could do, as a performer, and looked for places that would pay him to do it. It isn't about finding grant funded arts employment.