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Musical Career Regrets?

Deckman 02 Apr 02 - 11:30 PM
DonMeixner 02 Apr 02 - 11:36 PM
John P 02 Apr 02 - 11:59 PM
Sorcha 03 Apr 02 - 12:20 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 03 Apr 02 - 10:36 AM
Bobert 03 Apr 02 - 11:15 AM
Amos 03 Apr 02 - 01:00 PM
GUEST,vixen @ work 03 Apr 02 - 01:03 PM
Mooh 03 Apr 02 - 01:42 PM
Rick Fielding 03 Apr 02 - 01:43 PM
Catherine Jayne 03 Apr 02 - 01:55 PM
Bobert 03 Apr 02 - 02:12 PM
Steve-o 03 Apr 02 - 02:18 PM
GUEST,Hamshank 03 Apr 02 - 02:25 PM
Francy 03 Apr 02 - 02:27 PM
John Routledge 03 Apr 02 - 02:37 PM
GUEST,jonesey 03 Apr 02 - 02:38 PM
Cappuccino 03 Apr 02 - 03:02 PM
Diva 03 Apr 02 - 03:12 PM
Paul G. 03 Apr 02 - 03:43 PM
Mark Ross 03 Apr 02 - 05:55 PM
MMario 03 Apr 02 - 06:04 PM
Deckman 03 Apr 02 - 06:09 PM
Celtic Soul 03 Apr 02 - 06:13 PM
53 03 Apr 02 - 07:08 PM
Phil Cooper 03 Apr 02 - 07:45 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 03 Apr 02 - 07:48 PM
Deckman 03 Apr 02 - 08:05 PM
PeteBoom 03 Apr 02 - 08:34 PM
Paul G. 03 Apr 02 - 10:20 PM
Phil Cooper 03 Apr 02 - 11:29 PM
Art Thieme 04 Apr 02 - 01:29 AM
Deckman 04 Apr 02 - 01:42 AM
Deckman 04 Apr 02 - 02:20 AM
Cappuccino 04 Apr 02 - 02:50 AM
mooman 04 Apr 02 - 03:21 AM
Bert 04 Apr 02 - 03:38 AM
Joe in the'pool 04 Apr 02 - 04:35 AM
greg stephens 04 Apr 02 - 04:49 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 04 Apr 02 - 05:05 AM
Mooh 04 Apr 02 - 08:58 AM
Catherine Jayne 04 Apr 02 - 10:18 AM
GUEST,C.T. Thieme 05 Apr 02 - 03:53 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 05 Apr 02 - 04:14 AM
Deckman 05 Apr 02 - 05:02 AM
MMario 05 Apr 02 - 08:20 AM
Don Firth 05 Apr 02 - 07:22 PM
Deckman 05 Apr 02 - 10:10 PM
Paul G. 06 Apr 02 - 07:09 PM
Deckman 06 Apr 02 - 08:58 PM
Art Thieme 07 Apr 02 - 12:15 AM
Deckman 07 Apr 02 - 12:33 AM
Art Thieme 07 Apr 02 - 12:44 AM
Deckman 07 Apr 02 - 12:51 AM
GUEST,joe in the 'pool 07 Apr 02 - 05:06 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 07 Apr 02 - 07:49 AM
Jeri 07 Apr 02 - 09:51 AM
Art Thieme 07 Apr 02 - 12:10 PM
Peter T. 07 Apr 02 - 12:23 PM
JenEllen 07 Apr 02 - 01:55 PM
Art Thieme 07 Apr 02 - 02:27 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 07 Apr 02 - 02:51 PM
JenEllen 07 Apr 02 - 05:23 PM
Deckman 07 Apr 02 - 07:50 PM
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Subject: Musical Career Regrets?
From: Deckman
Date: 02 Apr 02 - 11:30 PM

Occasionally I regret not pursuing my music career longer. I have played guitar and pursued the wiley folk song since I was 12. I learned the art well in my teen age years and had a brief fling at 'fame' in my early twenties. I gave it up, professionally, when I married and settled down at 23. I've continued to love the art, and I continue to perform occasionally, but just occasionally. Am I the only one that wonders ... what might have been? Any regrets? Any comments. CHEERS, Bob(deckman)Nelson


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Subject: RE: Musical Career Regrets?
From: DonMeixner
Date: 02 Apr 02 - 11:36 PM

I wish I'd started younger, stayed at it when I got married, and recorded sooner. But then I'd probably never have built boats, the only job I ever loved.

But as far as regrets go, I wish I'd kept my hand out of the saw, Thats the only one.

Don


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Subject: RE: Musical Career Regrets?
From: John P
Date: 02 Apr 02 - 11:59 PM

I took a good shot at making my living playing music when the gigs got so numerous that I didn't have time to go to work anymore. I soon discovered that I don't like living on the road. When I'm on tour, two or three weeks is about all that I enjoy. After that I'm really ready to go home. Also, I don't care if I never play in another tavern. I now play one or two gigs a month and have a job I love that keeps me involved with folk music all the time. I've made four pretty good albums, I have a lot of music in my life, and I don't have to worry about taking crappy gigs in order to put food on the table. It seems like a good balance.

John Peekstok


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Subject: RE: Musical Career Regrets?
From: Sorcha
Date: 03 Apr 02 - 12:20 AM

I've always known that I didn't want to do it professionally (even if I was good enough). Play a gig, 9-midnight or worse, crawl on a bus, take a pill to go to sleep, go 600 miles, check into the hotel, sleep a few more hours. Take a pill to wake up, do sound check, play the same gig all over again, get on the bus.......no, not for me.


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Subject: RE: Musical Career Regrets?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 03 Apr 02 - 10:36 AM

Hi, Bob:

It will be interesting to see how people respond to this thread. I think the word "career" is a six letter word meaning "road." Many years ago, a larger record company expressed interest in releasing my Handful of Songs album. The first thing they wanted to see after listening to the tape was my schedule of upcoming performances. They were very clear about it. They'd be interested in releasing the album if I could produce a heavy schedule of bookings. I understand why. Most albums are sold at concerts. Or, because someone heard you perform and later decided to order albums. Considering the nearly non-existent distribution of folk albums in music stores across the country, a label has to rely on a heavy performance schedule to invest the money in releasing and/or promoting an album. I was told that they thought that I could have a successful, mid-level (not a folk-star) career if I was willing to dedicate my life to performing on the road. I wasn't. I had a job I loved, and loved my home life. Some of my friends who chose a career in folk music really enjoyed being on the road. My rare "tour" (In folk music, a tour is more than one booking in the same week...) made it clear to me that I didn't want to be sleeping on someone's pull out couch with their mangy old dog, or facing endless nights in cheap motels, drinking myself to sleep and waking up in the morning "with my tongue like a clapper and my head like a gong."

Being on the road can be fun when you're in your twenties or thirties... maybe even you forties. But, it's a young man's/woman's life. It wasn't one that suited me. My old friend Jerry Rau wrote a wonderful song, Minnesota Minstrel. It's one of many he's written about life on the road. As Jerry says, being on the road "kinda suits his style." He could never have enjoyed my way of life, any more than I could have enjoyed his.

One thing for sure, I don't have any regrets that I could have been a nationally known, successful musician. I write for my own pleasure, and there just aren't enough people who share my tastes to make me more than a local hero. Barely enough for that.

Now, regrets about things I've done in my life, not involving music? I could write a book...

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Musical Career Regrets?
From: Bobert
Date: 03 Apr 02 - 11:15 AM

As Jerry has pointed out, "career" is a term open to interpretation. My gig career ended in 1976 when I quit doing coffee house performances and my rock career ended in 1970 when I found myself in all night "Steak and Egg' joints at 2:00 in thew morning after an evening of noise, hassels, drunks and the like. Since then I only play at parties and for friends.

Since 1976, I have continued to write songs and record in my makeshift studio and share my tapes with friends. If this can be considered a "career" then my only regret is having waited so long to learn to play Delta style acoustic blues which I have only been playing now for two years. But even this regret comes with a silver lining in that at a point where a lot of folks are locked into a style, I have found an exciting new area of music to appreciate and learn. And the timing is good as my voice is older now, and a little rougher, and so it's better suited to singing the blues.

Other than that, no regrets.


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Subject: RE: Musical Career Regrets?
From: Amos
Date: 03 Apr 02 - 01:00 PM

Well, Bonert, send us a tape then!! :>)

For my part, I had a short flirtation with the gateway to fame and fortune back in the Sixties, but frankly, I wasn't enough of an acid-head to go one way, and not good enough as a musician to go the other. So I wandered into other paths and have always just loved the hell out of singing and playing for those wanting to hear it, which is quite enough for me.

A


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Subject: RE: Musical Career Regrets?
From: GUEST,vixen @ work
Date: 03 Apr 02 - 01:03 PM

Well, I'm not prone to regretting much (what a waste of time and energy better spent on other things...) but I *do* wish I'd spent less of my childhood being "bored with nothing to do" and more of it playing guitar, singing, and doing other musical things. If I could do it all over again, I'd definitely play more music as a kid--no matter what the music teacher/other kids told me!

V


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Subject: RE: Musical Career Regrets?
From: Mooh
Date: 03 Apr 02 - 01:42 PM

I just wish I had started teaching guitar lessons a few years sooner. I might have avoided a very stressful day job and subsequent burnout had I taken on serious students sooner. I regret quitting one or two bands I suppose, but there's always another to fill the void. I do wish I had more faith in myself at a younger age...but alas, sigh...it's the age I was, I became confident later.

Bob, have you done anything to reverse your history? Just wondering.

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Musical Career Regrets?
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 03 Apr 02 - 01:43 PM

Jerry...you could write a book..I've already written mine...and parts of it are positively SCARY!

In a heartbeat, I'd eliminate the close to twenty years I spent doing Hotels, bars, Conventions, lounges and Supermarket openings. I made it work because of technical skills, but emotionally I was so out of my depth it was rediculous. Got to be hostile, sarcastic and very 'anti-mainstream'.(all with a big smile)

Wish I'd started teaching music when I was twenty, and only played for folks who KNEW and LIKED folk music. Oh well, the last 15 years have been great, so better late than never.

Cheers

Rick


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Subject: RE: Musical Career Regrets?
From: Catherine Jayne
Date: 03 Apr 02 - 01:55 PM

I have studied at music college and played the violin professionally from the age of 15 in many top orchestra's. The high light of my career was playing for shows in London and travelling around Europe. Sadly to say I know longer do this. I was diagnosed with what was thought to be tendonitis only to find out 3 years later that I had a trapped ulner nerve which I has left me with permanent nerve damage to my right arm. My only regret is that I didnt have a second opinion and get it treated straight away. I still love to play but this time it is for the shear enjoyment for myself, which I believe is the way it should be. If you as a musician can not enjoy the music you make then you will not express the enornmous range of emotions to the listener that music can bring.

My darling housemate has just said she still gets stage fright/nervousness befor a performance. A good teacher of mine told me "the day you stop getting nervous is the day to give up." All musicians get nervous befor performing. I still do, but the buzz I get while performing is........well you all know!!!!!!

cat x


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Subject: RE: Musical Career Regrets?
From: Bobert
Date: 03 Apr 02 - 02:12 PM

Amos, et al: Yeah, be glad to send you a tape, and any other catfolk. But as any catter who has gotten one can better explain, I'm slow because I make each one individually with personal intros to songs and no two are alike. I have over 70 songs recorded to choose from and I like to match each tape to preferences. I'm not trad so if that is what you like, and nothing else, you probably won't like my style. So if you will send me a PM, ol Bobert will get a tape to you. Please include your address and maybe a list of your three of four favorite artists...............Bobert.


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Subject: RE: Musical Career Regrets?
From: Steve-o
Date: 03 Apr 02 - 02:18 PM

Great question, Deckman, and some wonderful answers. I had a brief fling as a semi-pro between the ages of 27 and 35, and it was tough but wonderful. I was lucky enough to hook up with a great folkie from the '60s east coast circuit, and he taught me virtually everything about performing and pleasing an audience...and all, I might add, without making me sing any of the awful "pop junk" that bar singers often get stuck doing (we sang popular stuff sometimes, just not the awful ones). I remember it all with great fondness, but I think I might be talking more like Rick F. if I had made it the full-time job. However, back to your question...one cannot help but wonder what might have been...


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Subject: RE: Musical Career Regrets?
From: GUEST,Hamshank
Date: 03 Apr 02 - 02:25 PM

I guess my regret is that I never pursued a music career in the first place. I've always had musical talent, but never had the right people behind me to encourage me. I'm too much of an old fart, now, and my chances are long gone. I envy and admire anyone who has made a success of themselves in the music industry. If not for music and the people who make it, I'd have gone crazy a long time ago.

Let the music play.


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Subject: RE: Musical Career Regrets?
From: Francy
Date: 03 Apr 02 - 02:27 PM

I loved every minute of my ""Career"". The 15 years of honky tonks and rodeos and state fares....playing the same songs night after night, and drowning my regrets and frustrations in the booze and such.....Had some up and downs, but the music kept me going.....Spent ten years in one town owning a restaurant, raising a family and playing music in the local "joints"...Five years of street music all across the country... and now in the twilight of my years....I play in the coffee houses, the churches, an occasional bar,....PalTalk.. And at 66 I still love it, can't live without it and after all those years, I'm still learning and loving what I'm learning...Made my very first CD at 65 and feel like a beginner....Wow.....Music is my life, and at infrequent times my livelihood.. Frank of Toledo I wake up and the fist thing I do is make coffe and play a song to get myself centered. And it's all uphill from there/


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Subject: RE: Musical Career Regrets?
From: John Routledge
Date: 03 Apr 02 - 02:37 PM

Lovely Frank.

In my case I can't for the life of me understand why I stopped singing for a full 25 yrs when it is now back to being such an important part of my life!!

Must have been a good career move :0)


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Subject: RE: Musical Career Regrets?
From: GUEST,jonesey
Date: 03 Apr 02 - 02:38 PM

Hello Deckman, Yes, I've got two regrets...1)Auditioning for and accepting a position with the Serendipity Singers...(ugh) 2)Upon receiving my first paycheck while on the road with the New Christy Minstrels I opened the envelope and found the amount substantially less than what I'd told the tour manager I wanted...I'd assumed I was getting what I'd asked for as no one got back to me telling me any different. I kept my mouth shut and completed the tour at the lesser amount as I was committed to the other performers more than to the man who owned the NCM at the time. I've been gnashing my teeth at myself for not cashing the check and taking the first bus home! lol

That's why my first question is always...How much?


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Subject: RE: Musical Career Regrets?
From: Cappuccino
Date: 03 Apr 02 - 03:02 PM

When I was much, much younger I decided that I just couldn't play six-string guitar to save my life, and turned to bass. I had a very interesting quarter-century on bass, and enjoyed it immensely... and now, back on 6-string, I don't find it half as hard as I'd thought.

I wish I'd discovered the art of faking lead guitar solos way back when they were in style!

- ian B


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Subject: RE: Musical Career Regrets?
From: Diva
Date: 03 Apr 02 - 03:12 PM

Cat, you should speak to my mate Karen..she had to give up her studies years ago..tendonitis. She is a superb pianist and flautist and can sight read better than our MD..the MD's own admission!!!!! Its her fault I joined the choir. As for nervousness...a very dear friend and mentor told me the very same...if you don't get nervous..you shouldn't be singing and he should know. My musical regret, at the moment I am unable to sing.

Diva


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Subject: RE: Musical Career Regrets?
From: Paul G.
Date: 03 Apr 02 - 03:43 PM

Every morning when I walk into my office in a suit and tie, and face all of the other "execu-clones" and the mountains of paperwork, the stresses of deadlines, and the nagging feeling that 70% of my day is pure B.S., I regret not pursuing my music on a more serious basis. That regret is amplified every night when I get home, slip on the denim, pick up the guitar and pick the stress away. But, I also understand that I have a daughter in college, a nice car, a good stereo and a thousand or so CDs,...all of which would not last for long as is were I to quit the suit for a full time denim life. I still perform 3 or 4 weekends each month, get to meet and hang out with some amazing folks, make CD's, occassionally hear myself on the radio, and try to explain the lure of the denim to the suits...it's schizophrenic, for sure. And I'll continue to live with the regrets, every day.

Paul


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Subject: RE: Musical Career Regrets?
From: Mark Ross
Date: 03 Apr 02 - 05:55 PM

It may be better to have a life than a career. After 35 years of doing this thing we call folk music(a profession that really didn't exist 100 years ago) I'd rather be hanging out with the people the music was for and about. Not that I don't love my folk family, they may be the only real family I have. But the trouble with being on the road is that you tend to get a very narrow view unless you are very, very careful.

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Musical Career Regrets?
From: MMario
Date: 03 Apr 02 - 06:04 PM

*gulp* I think I may regret putting in an application as a performer for the Vermont Renaissance Festival. They've accepted me. Now I need to get liability insurance, and finish memorizing those songs, and figure out some patter to link them, and....

oh god, why did I ever send in that form!

nervous does not begin to describe it!


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Subject: RE: Musical Career Regrets?
From: Deckman
Date: 03 Apr 02 - 06:09 PM

Mooh, I'll do some answering to your question a little later on tonight, after I've given it some more thought. For now, I do want to add something I've been thinking about today regarding this question. At a pretty early age, I was around the "big boys" ... the "professionals", if you will. Their names aren't important to my point. We all knew (know) several. These are the guys and gals that are always on the road, making their living by performing anywhere and everywhere. Concerts, clubs, taverns, coffee houses, festivals, records, CD'S, you name it. For some reason I always was a keen observer. And I'm discovering in my elder years, that I have a very good memory of events that happened. And I'm also fortunate that I keep my friends and my friendships a LONG time. So, I've known many of these 'professionals' a very long time. I've helped bury several, and I occasionally do a gig or two with some. So I am often still in contact with the 'scene.' And I don't miss it! I don't miss it a whole bunch! I recently read the biography on Bob Gibson, "I Come For To Sing." That brought back a flood of memories. I knew (know) several of the prominant players in that drama. And yet, what a sad story: the drugs, the booze, on and on and on. And yet, dispite all that, I still do wonder where I would have gone if I had pursued it harder. I can quickly define what the costs would have been: a solid 26 year marriage, three wonderful children, a stable life. But I still wonder ... what might have been. Any thoughts? CHEERS, Bob(deckman)Nelson


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Subject: RE: Musical Career Regrets?
From: Celtic Soul
Date: 03 Apr 02 - 06:13 PM

I have not one single regret. Not a one. My group is only semi-pro (in as much as we could not *possibly* live on what we make), and I am more than fine with that.

There are a few ways I look at it...

1.) It is never too late to start doing more. 2.) There are always choices to be made, and the word "regret" is one which will drain the happiness right out of the choices you have already made. 3.) There is comfort in knowing that you know where your next months rent/mortgage is coming from, and that you don't have to live in a small space in someone elses home just to be able to make ends meet, or drag your kids all over the country in order to have enough gigs to make it financially worthwhile.

If you settled down and raised some kids, good for you. That's one hell of an accomplishment, kudos! Take pride in it, but more, take joy in it. There's such a big reward there.

If you want to do more with your music, you have to figure out what (if anything) you will have to compromise in order to do it. If it is your kids (not knowing what ages they may be), then it's not worth it. If it's your relationship with your partner (if you have one), it's not worth it. But, otherwise, there is no time like the present to do something with your music.

Forget what could have been...concentrate on what is and what could be! :D


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Subject: RE: Musical Career Regrets?
From: 53
Date: 03 Apr 02 - 07:08 PM

I regret that I had to quit when I got sick, and that may sound stupid, cause the regret lies with me not trying to go on further. I will continue to play for my own enjoyment and to teach my granddaughter and my wife how to play. My career has spanded over 35 years, and just like most of you who made music your career, I have quit 50,000 times before.


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Subject: RE: Musical Career Regrets?
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 03 Apr 02 - 07:45 PM

I've had the privilege of playing for appreciative audiences (sometimes small, but appreciative) with people I really like. Margaret and I also figured that more than a couple weeks out of town was enough travelling. So I've juggled playing and day jobs for quite awhile and have no regrets about the path I/we chose. We've met friends through music that we wouldn't have met any other way.


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Subject: RE: Musical Career Regrets?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 03 Apr 02 - 07:48 PM

One thing I think we all can do is define "career" and "audience" too narrowly. If you define career as paying gigs, and audience as a large group of people who already know and admire your music (and you,) you're going to spend much of your time sitting around at home. If you define career as playing for people in any environment where people will listen and enjoy you, that opens up all sorts of other possibilities.... senior centers, churches, community events that have little or no budget, health care centers, homeless shelters, etc. If you're trying to make a living from folk music, you have to end up taking a lot of lousy bookings, playing to disappointingly small audiences, and driving half your life away. One of my favorite definitions of a folk singer is someone who drives all of their life, occasionally taking a break to sing. And, because you're dependent upon people who run concert series to promote your concert, there are those times when they advance work hasn't been done, and you play to next to no one. I thought that I'd set the record when I played to one person (who was twenty minutes late) one bitter winter's night in New York City. I didn't even tie it. A friend of mine who has lived on the road all of his life drew ZERO people. You get all kinds...

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Musical Career Regrets?
From: Deckman
Date: 03 Apr 02 - 08:05 PM

I well remember 1962. My wife of two years and I left Seattle and moved to CALIFORNIA ... the land of milk and honey! I'd already quit the performing business, I was in a huge career change ... construction to rehabilitation. My new Boss and I were still connected through folk music. So I still had these gigs coming in through an elite coffee house they owned in Santa Cruz. I wasn't making much money on my new job, so I was taking all the singing gigs I could get. I burned out in one year. I went through what so many other folks have posted on MUDCAT: the fatigue, the anger, the feeling of being used, etc. I felt like a prostitute. Then I hung up my guitar for two years. I never even took it out of the case. It was a real struggle ... trying to adjust to my new career, new land, new friends. I couldn't even feel the music. Bob(deckman)Nelson


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Subject: RE: Musical Career Regrets?
From: PeteBoom
Date: 03 Apr 02 - 08:34 PM

Regrets? Yup - One - That I did not get serious about it sooner instead of running in hobby mode for so long...


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Subject: RE: Musical Career Regrets?
From: Paul G.
Date: 03 Apr 02 - 10:20 PM

This is quite an interesting thread...I have tried to give it up as well, thinking it would be preferable not to perform at all than to split my time and attention between the day job and the music. After about 10 attempts I've quit trying and simply given in to he fact that performing is part of what makes me a whole person. I think it's what makes me a moral person.

Also, reflecting on some of recent comments, perhaps "regret" is not the best term for my situation. It's more of a "what if..." I had taken the plunge. Could I have been lucky enough to have been the one-in-a-thousand who made it big? Probably better to speculate than to know that truth!

Paul


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Subject: RE: Musical Career Regrets?
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 03 Apr 02 - 11:29 PM

Andrew Calhoun wrote a guest column in Sing Out a few years back saying success in the folk field should be re-defined. He was speaking of measuing success by having opportunities to get your music to appreciative ears, audience size and financial considerations aside. As Paul G said in the previous post, I also measure my identity as someone who performs. So we perform where it looks like our efforts will be appreciated and take a pass on places where it looks like we'll be taken for granted. We always thank whoever came out to see us (whether the teaming throngs, or a couple people) for deciding to spend their evening listening to us. Blessings to anyone who can make a full time living at music (whatever style).


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Subject: RE: Musical Career Regrets?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 04 Apr 02 - 01:29 AM

Yeah, I too have few gregrets.

There were many moments I marvelled at the fact that Carol went along with me on the adventure. It was a less than lucrative path but she stayed the course---as did I. There was the music---the songs---my mission to find them and put 'em into a setting that showed how much I loved the tales they told. The luck to happen upon them was almost an accident except for me simply knowing what I liked---knowing what I thought real folk music was and is---and then going after that brass ring. The road life was perfect when in my 20s (in the 60s) and well into the 80s. In '67 Carol and I took off and "retired first" on a small inheritance---for 3 years---singing all the way---but what the hell, gasoline was .30 a gallon then. We started a little FOLK ART SHOP in Depoe Bay, Oregon--on the coast. Went broke and returned to Chicago and Chris was born in '70. By then I'd been playing at the No Exit coffeehouse ten years off and on. (Five sets a night for $10.00) Did the mesmerizing Chicago night life folkie scene---festivals--schools in the winter and, in the 80s, Larry Rand and I hosted a weekly live national radio show for NPR 'cause the producing station, mistakenly, thought Garrison Keilor's show was a FOLK show and we were gonna help them make a million bucks. We rode that tornado until it ran out of hot air. Then, because of John Hartford and another accident or luck or whatever, I got gigs on steamboats on the Mississippi River that lasted another ten years. The Urban Gatways agency school gigs dovetailed beautifully with the 5 months a year I was on the river. Off days I did festivals, house concerts, bigger concerts and whatever---all trying to stay fairly close to Peru, Illinois where we lived then mainly because the Chicago schools were absolutely the pits and, also, 'cause Carol was ill by then. By the 80s I was going down hill physically myself and had a bunch or spinal surgeries to CURE the problems. (Those didn't help.) I got pretty depressed about then as picking was getting real hard to do -- and finally Mayo Clinic told me I'd had MS for 15 years (which I talked about too much in 50 other threads already. Our son is 31 now, has a college degree, and working with computers and trying to find time to write while married to the lovely Shannon. Those two have given Carol and I the most fantastic granddaughter ever produced --- Chloe Moon.

Sure, I'm disabled now and Carol is too. My making music is a past endeavor. We are gladder than ever that we "retired first"--when we both had the energy to climb the mountains. We're broke but there's music and books and Mudcat and FRIENDS and a glorious panorama parading before our eyes every moment of every day we are lucky enough to awaken and open those.

There was a King Of The Beatniks 40 years ago in Chicago. Bill Smith was his name and he defined "BEATNIK as being anyone who was satisfied with the cheap seats at the concert. You got to hear alll the music without all the hassle of conforming to all the monkey business and B.S. The practice we got "making a living from folk music" makes us truly thankful for the strange and rather beat life we lead these days. Carol and I have never had less or enjoyed it more. These days I try to live by the adage, "MAKE THE MOST OF ALL THAT COMES, AND THE LEAST OF ALL THAT GOES !!"

So, what's to regret???

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Musical Career Regrets?
From: Deckman
Date: 04 Apr 02 - 01:42 AM

Well said Art! My hat's off to you ... and most of my hair too. CHEERS, Bob


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Subject: RE: Musical Career Regrets?
From: Deckman
Date: 04 Apr 02 - 02:20 AM

Mooh ... I'm not sure if you were addressing the question to me, but I'll attempt to answer it. Am I doing anything to change it? You bet! I'm still very active in my business life, as a deck builder. This consumes most of my waking/working hours. But the last few years, I'm finding that I'm enjoying my music more and more. I'm VERY selective on where and when I choose to play. By far, the most enjoyable for me, and bride Judy, are the occasional home hoots we have. I do venture out occasionally for a gig or two. But lately, with the encouragement of a very close friend who makes his living on stage as a folk performer, I'm thinking of making a CD. This will be strictly for family and friends, but I want to do it. I already have the title ready ... "SONGS I SING AFTER DARK." As I'm starting to think about slowing down my business life, I'm also finding that I'm occasionally preoccupied by the songs I've almost forgotten, or never learned, or always wanted to perfect. So, I hope that adds to the conversation. CHEERS, Bob


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Subject: RE: Musical Career Regrets?
From: Cappuccino
Date: 04 Apr 02 - 02:50 AM

"It's never too late to start doing more".

Celtic Soul, I do rather like that.

- Ian B


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Subject: RE: Musical Career Regrets?
From: mooman
Date: 04 Apr 02 - 03:21 AM

My greatest musical career regret was that my first real love ran off with one of the guitarists out of Genesis...I should have practised a lot more in my teens I guess!

Other than that, no regrets, although I still haven't got round to cutting that CD I've been planning. Have to do that before the end of this year (I have witnesses now so you must hold me to it!).

All the best,

mooman


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Subject: RE: Musical Career Regrets?
From: Bert
Date: 04 Apr 02 - 03:38 AM

In the words of two songs "Je ne regrette rien"

And that Fifties number "I wish I was a little bit younger and a doin' what I'm doin' now"


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Subject: RE: Musical Career Regrets?
From: Joe in the'pool
Date: 04 Apr 02 - 04:35 AM

In my life I've had a few regrets, who has'nt, like most of you I 'often wish' but then nah! no thanks. I enjoy listerning to all the musicians who make my choices in life seem so worthwhile..

NO REGRETS

Why close your ears oh muted souls ascend those concrete stairs to the homeliness in solitude with your mind without regrets the fragments of my heart feed on the honey and wine smootherd by the soft moonlight hunting within its own game reserve like a leopard in its lair where predators come calling to share in my own prey and feed off my sorrow and anger

Keeping secrets becomes a habit but is it not yours also?

Joe


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Subject: RE: Musical Career Regrets?
From: greg stephens
Date: 04 Apr 02 - 04:49 AM

Career,eh? I played my first gig almost exactly forty years ago and the intervening years have been spent chasing the next gig, and the next, and the next.....Never made a penny but I'm still alive, touch wood. So "career" might be pitching it a bit strong.regrets? Well, as my dear old uncle used to say, never turn down a hot meal, a hot bth, or a hot woman, you don't know when the next one's coming. I've regretted a few things I didn't do, but not a lot that I did.In the words of Brownie Mcghee "We may be fighting a losing battle, but having a lot of fun while trying to win". And always remember, if in any doubt about taking up fulltime music, DON'T!


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Subject: RE: Musical Career Regrets?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 04 Apr 02 - 05:05 AM

It's good to see that folks who took up the life of a traveling musician have no regrets, despite the hardships at times. It's good to see that folks who kept a day job and played weekends or with friends have no regrets, even if at times they wonder whether they might have been able to make a career out of it. Its good to see that folks have no regrets. No one wants to look back on life and think they took the wrong road.

Good for all of us. I think we did what was good for all of us.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Musical Career Regrets?
From: Mooh
Date: 04 Apr 02 - 08:58 AM

Deckman Bob...Thanks, that question was for you.

I too have made changes. I work only part-time for someone/something else, in order to get a benefit and pension plan. This takes 20 hours every week. The rest of the time I've devoted to my own interests by teaching private music lessons, gigging, and otherwise drowning myself in music. A few years ago I crashed and burned from a high stress job and spent nearly a year on a stress leave, completely creatively numb. My life today is much better, and the surprising thing is I'm making alot more money in music than I ever did, and more than my day job! But the real benefit is the return of my sanity (for what it's worth) and contentment.

Some regrets create bitterness, others create opportunities. Flush the first, exploit the second.

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Musical Career Regrets?
From: Catherine Jayne
Date: 04 Apr 02 - 10:18 AM

I would love to talk to your friend Diva. My sight reading is good but not that good!!! I used to sing in an abbey choir for a number of years. One more regret would be that I smoke too much now and so my voice has suffered somewhat.........maybe I should quit.......I know I should quit!!! I love to sing regardless of what I sound like!!!!

cat x

Hello, Jez here. I have only one regret, well maybe two. I used to play trumpet in an orchestra and several bands and i now regret not taking it further. I loved playing so much and have just started playing again. Me and CatsPHiddle used to play in several youth orchestras before she left for the big smoke and we used to travel round the country with them and it was such a buzz. The other thing I regret is not getting into the folk scene earlier and so does cat, as now I'm am beginning to get the recognition for my bodhran playing that i have wanted for quite a while. It sounds silly, but I sit at home and practice the thing!! That's bad!! But i love playing it and get such a thrill from it. Cat want's me to teach her, so I'm going to. I went away at the weekend and was asked to join a band, so I played all weekend with The Notorious Knick Knack Bogie Band!! They're great, they combine traditional folk with some really cool lively stuff and modern instruments like sax and keyboards etc.... I have to say I have honestly never had so much fun in my life. It was supposed to be a holiday but I ended up playing all weekend........tiring, but the perfick holiday in my opinion!!

Jez xxx


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Subject: RE: Musical Career Regrets?
From: GUEST,C.T. Thieme
Date: 05 Apr 02 - 03:53 AM

The hands rounded past midnight on the clock hanging above the stage at the No Exit Cafe in Rodgers Park. The odd clock had a strange carved ear on the front of the housing with little else in explanation. That ear had caught decades of sound ranging from the soft warmth of a nine-string guitar to strident piano cords delivered by a one-armed remnant of the Lincoln Brigade. Songs and stories of youth and devotion set against the motion of those ever rotating hands. Emotions and memories that took another bow despite the indifference of time. That's where I learned my love of ghosts, humor and a good story. I was just a sleepy-eyed child in the back booth as Dad (Art Thieme) tuned the double peg set on that nine-string claiming that "it was more treble than it was worth," but I knew different. Outside the Chicago tension was palpable. The Howard Street L-Train screamed in steel cacophonies mixing in with the high cry of the espresso steam. Drug deals could be seen through the high glass windows of the Exit, and Dad was always watching his back when returning to the car. However, right there, in that place, for that time, a pocket of protection seemed to envelope us and keep out the lesser atrocities of city life. I had my own inner movie for every song and story of Dad's. The characters breathed and lived. Some lived short and tragic like lovesick shanty boys who's long forgotten graves I could visualize in a Wisconsin field of hops. Some just got up and ate the rest of the cottage cheese. These stories and songs taught me how to see with other eyes; hundreds of them still coming up on a daily basis and finding respite in my own tales and scribblings. Now Dad only wrote two of his own songs as I recall. A good portion of the songs he sang came from research and friends. The song which holds the most succinct explanation of his legacy to me is Jerry's "Handful of Songs." There's no need for a will as that's all he need leave me. I'll still never forget the last time I saw him perform. He played that song, and I remember thinking, though I've never said so aloud, "This may be the last time...remember."

I'm just an heir with a lot less years and a lot less miles under the belt than most of you folks. And I sincerely apologize for taking up such a large amount of space for a thread I've got little right to except by relation. As Dad mentioned, I provide for myself and my family doing something I could frankly care less about. But all that's fine as long as for a few hours a night I can write and let the words hold reign and tap back into that spirit I felt long before the No Exit was white washed into a Starbuck's replica. A dozen other places I remember as well like The Green Dragon Inn and Charlotte's Web. Now these are not much more than a dusty memory from a pre-occupied child who didn't follow in his father's footsteps. But there is a thread. I don't know how far back it stretches and there's no assurance as to how far it'll go on. But somewhere it started. A soul made music and words that touched another. This next soul took the thread, maybe changed the color, maybe changed the weave and even the fiber, but the thread went on, going though each soul in it's journey. It's hard to pay the rent with thread, and I doubt few of the folks in this long lineage ever did. You could all write songs for Britney Spears, and I could follow a formula like Danielle Steele, and we could all attain spectacular heights of a type of success. And for those that do, as Dad always said, "more power to them." There's a skill and reward just the same. But for all you musicians who made the quiet vinyl LP that played for a decade and maybe made it to CD you have my sincerest and most appreciative admiration and thanks. It's hard to sing strong when surrounded by silence and indifference. Please remember, it is the silence between diamonds that regulates their worth.

Well, that's more than long enough I suppose, and I promise not to clutter like this again. I hear the baby on the monitor, and it sounds like she might start to fuss. So I'll say goodnight. I'll pop in one of her Grandpa's CD's and let him sing her to sleep. And who knows "what dreams may come."

C.T. Thieme (a.k.a. Art's son)


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Subject: RE: Musical Career Regrets?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 05 Apr 02 - 04:14 AM

Hi, Chris:

Here it is, a little before 4 in the morning, and I'm reading your beautiful remembrance of your Dad. Thank you so much for sharing it with us. I have beautiful memories of the Green Dragon, too. I remember being home one summer when Art was singing at the Green Dragon, when he didn't know that I was there. I went to hear him at the Dragon and sat in a dark corner in the back where he didn't even notice me. At the break, I sat at the bar and as he came walking by, I said, "Hi, Art," and he just about tripped over his feet. He thought that I was out here in Connecticut. It's little times like that, that stick in your mind. I remember playing at the Green Dragon when it had moved to downtown Madison. The old Dragon out on the island in Fort Atkinson had been a mosquito factory, so hot in the summer that even with the windows all open, I'd sweat so hard that my glasses would slide down my nose, and I'd pray that they wouldn't slide right off onto the floor before I finished the song. The Dragon in downtown Madison was very respetable with bookcases lining the walls. And it was air-conditioned. But it never could touch the old Dragon. You, Art and Carol came to hear me when I played there. You were just getting started on being a teenager. You all had been on a trip into upper Wisconsin, from what I remember. It was special to me to have you there, along with most of my family... the only time I met you.

The Green Dragon morphed into the Cafe Carpe in Fort Atkinson, and for many years, Art and I split an evening when I'd come home. Wonderful nights, filled with friends warmed by our friendship. I remember the very last concert that Art ever did. He was booked at the Carpe, and by then was having such trouble driving that he decided he couldn't make the drive. I told Bill Camplin that I'd fill in for him if he wanted me to, because I happened to be in Wisconsin, if Bill would let me use his guitar. At the last minute, Art decided to try it, and managed to get up there. I met him before the concert and have some wonderful photos of him standing outside the Carpe, looking jaunty as Hell with his cane. If you'd like a copy, I'd be glad to send you one. As it turned out, it was the last concert that Art did. I felt in my heart that it might be the end of Art's performing, but I knew that it would not be the end of Art. Like the Dragon, Art was morphing into something new, and just as treasured.

I'm glad that you enjoy Handful of Songs. One of the verses is about Art. It's not hard to figure out which one.

"Some may leave stories well-tuned in the telling
Some may leave jokes that can still make you laugh."

Art is a fine man.

Love,

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Musical Career Regrets?
From: Deckman
Date: 05 Apr 02 - 05:02 AM

I'm SURE glad I started this thread. CHEERS and Thanks, Bob


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Subject: RE: Musical Career Regrets?
From: MMario
Date: 05 Apr 02 - 08:20 AM

Chris and Jerry - thank you both for those stroll down memory lane - very moving remembrences.

Chris - as far as I am concerned - you can "clutter" the forum with stuff like that anytime!


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Subject: RE: Musical Career Regrets?
From: Don Firth
Date: 05 Apr 02 - 07:22 PM

What a great thread! I've just been lurking and reading for the last few days and doing a lot of thinking about whether I have any "Musical Career Regrets." And if so, what are they? Actually, Chris and Jerry's posts just above are so beautifully said that I felt that that was a good note for the thread to end on. But, characteristically, I can't resist sticking in my two bits worth. And I originally intended it to be just two-bits worth, but since the subject is really thought-provoking, I fell into a fit of nostalgia and got on a roll. Sorry for the length of this, and for the self-indulgence, but here it comes.

I don't think I have any regrets, actually. But there are a few things I would have done a lot differently.

Beginning around 1953, I sang at parties and "hoots" in private homes, and a couple of times at house concerts when Walt Robertson took me along and got me to spell him by singing from my repertoire of a dozen or so songs. This was a real learning experience. Then in 1955-56, I spent a chunk of time in a hospital in Denver undergoing physical therapy for the after-effects of polio at the age of two. During my spare time at the hospital there was little for me to do but practice on the guitar and learn songs, and I sang a lot for the other patients, sometimes for groups of 200 or more. By the time I got back to Seattle, I had a fair grasp of the guitar, a good repertoire of songs, and some actual performing experience gained there in the hospital. I had also decided that I wanted to make a career for myself as a singer of folk songs like Burl Ives or Richard Dyer-Bennet. Not too nutty an idea at the time, because this was still pre-Kingston Trio, the folk scare hadn't really started, folk singers were not that common yet, and "professional folk singers" like the aforementioned were considered interesting and unusual and if they were good enough, they could do concerts and make records.

Other than the occasional Rotary Club luncheon or retired (i.e., married) stewardesses reunion, there was no outlet for a singer of folk songs in the Seattle area. No coffeehouses—yet. But since I was back in school, studying music, I felt that the future was still ahead of me. Then in 1959, a friend whose job it was to plan television shows for KCTS Channel 9, the local educational channel, shanghaied me (nervously, but not too reluctantly) into doing a television series called "Ballads and Books." As an aftermath of the television series, I got plenty gigs. At about the same time, the first few coffeehouses began opening in the Seattle area and I was suddenly in demand! And they paid. Not much, but between singing in coffeehouses and giving a few guitar lessons, I was actually making a living at it!

Bob (Deckman) Nelson and I joined forces, formed a duo, and sang three nights a week at "The Place Next Door," one of the nicer coffeehouses. We went over well enough that we were asked to do a number of concerts together. We figured it was a good time for us to make our bid for fame and fortune. So we two barefoot pilgrims, totally clueless, packed up our guitars and headed for the Bay Area where, we had heard, things were really happening. We soon learned that we were too "commercial" for Berkeley (we just sang the best we could; we didn't try to imitate Woody Guthrie) and we were too "ethnic" for San Francisco (we took our music seriously, but what club owners wanted there were "acts," preferably funny—the Limeliters and the Smothers Brothers were just starting at the time, and since they were going over well, all the other clubs wanted clones of those acts). We did sing in a few of the places we'd heard about, but discovered that they were holes compared to Seattle's coffeehouses. And more often than not we got stung—we sang, and when it was time to get paid, the guy who'd hired us couldn't be found. So we spent most of our time in Sausalito where the people were really nice and other singers didn't care about "ethnic" or "commercial" as long as you sang good songs. And we met a wonderful lady, a semi-retired Mexican folk singer named Juanita, who sang beautiful songs at a local pub a couple evenings a week. Seeing we were strangers in a strange land, she advised us, mothered us, and fed us lots of delicious food. When we ran out of money, we bid farewell to some wonderful new friends, turned our backs on the rest, and came home to Seattle. 'Twas a great adventure.

Bob got married shortly thereafter and had to set about making a living. I returned to teaching and coffeehouse singing. For the next five years I sang somewhere almost every Friday and Saturday, sometimes Thursdays and Sundays as well. Mostly coffeehouses, but fairly often concerts. I did about forty concerts altogether, most of them at colleges and universities in and around the Pacific Northwest. I was particularly busy during the Seattle World's Fair in 1962, singing every weekend at the United Nations Pavilion along with many others including Bob, off and on in one of the clubs on "Show Street" at the fair, and a couple of evenings a week in a coffeehouse in the University District. A gal with a big voice, Judy Flenniken, and I did a series of concerts together during the spring of 1963, including one at the Seattle Center Playhouse, sponsored by the UN. I participated in the Seattle Center Hootenannies in the summer of 1963 and traveled a bit with the Seattle Center Hootenanny Tour Group. Bit of a mob-scene, but it gave me an opportunity to sing for some pretty large audiences—6000 or more. No major national breakthroughs, but I was very busy and I was making at least a marginal living at it.

In the mid-Sixties, the character of the whole thing changed. Singer/songwriters were suddenly the "in" thing. If you didn't write your own songs, you were not "socially relevant." And drugs inundated the scene. The back rooms in some of coffeehouses were fog-thick with pot smoke, and a couple of really talented musicians—friends—killed themselves. ODed. My new guitar students no longer wanted to play like Peter Yarrow, they wanted to play like John Lennon. It just wasn't fun anymore. I packed it in and went to work for Boeing.

After reading the book about Bob Gibson that Bob mentioned and a couple of other books (Positively 4th Street by David Hajdu and Baby, Let Me Follow You Down by Eric Von Schmidt and Jim Rooney), I'm not so sure I would have wantedto "make it big." Could be that, all in all, I was just damned lucky. But—I did have a helluva good run.

I've worked at a number of jobs since then—draftsman, telephone operator, radio announcer, technical writer…… In the late Seventies and early Eighties I sang a fair amount: at several of the Northwest Folklife Festivals, the Moss Bay Sail and Shantey Festival, several festivals and concerts with John Dwyer and John and Sally Ashford. And a couple of gigs with Bob. Felt good.

In 1990 I fell and broke my "good" leg and that put me in a wheelchair, no longer able to walk with crutches. Then, graceful fellow that I am, in 2000 I did another little fandango and broke the same damned leg again. Now, in addition to being in a wheelchair, my left leg has to stick out in front of me like a bowsprit. Hard to get in and out of a car, so it really limits my mobility—and makes dramatic entrances and exits a bit iffy. Also, it's hard to play anything but a small travel guitar when you're sitting in a wheelchair. The lower bout of a full size guitar and the right wheel of the chair interfere with each other. So if I have any major regrets right now, it's that I'd like to perform at an occasional open mike, festival, or house concert, but it's a real hassle getting anywhere, getting set up, and, as I say, the problem with a full size guitar. No permanent solution yet. But come hell or high water, I'll work out something.

I really enjoy the get-togethers at Bob and Judy's home in Everett. They keep the music flowing and that helps keep me inspired. Thanks, guys! I'm game nigh most anytime.

Regrets about back then? I wish I hadn't been so trusting of self-appointed agent-managers. One almost got me a record contract with a good folk label, but like Jerry, the record company wanted to know my performance itinerary. Since all I had lined up at the time was a steady, long-term job singing in a local coffeehouse, that wasn't good enough, so they dropped it. The self-appointed agent-manager lost interest in me when I balked at learning a bunch of newly written Jimmie Rodgers ("uh-oh-wella-wella-wella") type songs. Another SAAM started out real well and got Judy Flenniken and me, along with Alice Stuart and a couple of other people, some pretty good gigs. But for some unfathomable reason he started screwing up, wound up losing us a bunch of jobs because he didn't followed up, and managed to get Judy and me into a situation that cost us a very good gig that we wanted to do and, at the same time, almost cost us some good friends. Judy, Alice, and I found the right clause and broke our contract with the guy (actually, he'd written the contract and had broken it himself) and sent him packing.

One definite regret comes to mind. I have no records or CDs out. Just to have done one and had it out and available (not necessarily with the idea of making a wad of money) seems to my mind to be a point of—what?—validation? Something in the way of a "record" or archive that says, "This is what I do. This is what I've done."

The voice is still solid. The fingers still work. Perhaps yet.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Musical Career Regrets?
From: Deckman
Date: 05 Apr 02 - 10:10 PM

WOW! What a thread this has turned out to be. I thought of this question for a few days before I posted it, not knowing what kind of response it would receive. All your postings have hit a responsive and thoughtful note with me. Thank you all. Look at the depth of experiences and feeling in notes from Jerry, Art, Art's son, Francy, Jonesey, Paul G., Celtic Soul, Don, on and on. It's times like this that make me appreciate of, not just MUDCAT (thanks again MAX) but all of you wonderful people who care to post and nurture this chat line. CHEERS, Bob(deckman)Nelson


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Subject: RE: Musical Career Regrets?
From: Paul G.
Date: 06 Apr 02 - 07:09 PM

Right on the money Bob - I don't post often, but in my one-singer's opinion this has become the finest, most illustrative (?) thread I've seen in my years lurking around here. Thanks to CT for the beautiful prose, to Don for that great history lesson, and Bob for getting it started. I think I'll go sing a song with my grandson now...

Paul


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Subject: RE: Musical Career Regrets?
From: Deckman
Date: 06 Apr 02 - 08:58 PM

Paul ... that might be a great Album title ... "Songs I sing with my Grandson!" CHEERS, Bob


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Subject: RE: Musical Career Regrets?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 07 Apr 02 - 12:15 AM

You guys are pretty amazing. I'm blown away by Chris' and Jerry's posts. Don Firth, what a vivid picture you paint! This is an "incandescent" discourse --- as Gamble Rogers used to say. I'm gonna save it on a floppy and the hard drive for sure. No pun intended, but these posts are all variations on a th-i-eme. ;-) For me, the fascinating part is in the details of how we all did it---managed, somehow, to actually pull it off!!. As Joseph Campbell said when discussing his criteria for the authentic grail quest:

"We could be influenced by mentors who, roughly showed us the basics, but each adventure had to be on a totally new path, one where there were no other footprints or hoof marks to follow."

And the grail, itself, was never actually viewed by the knights. It was vague and paraded before them covered by red or white samite. So they each had their own idea of what it was (maybe)and where they might find it. Just look at Mudcat and how we argue (probably stupidly) about "what is folk music". What better illustration that we've all done it the right way-----and that there is no RIGHT way to do it !!

I VOW as of this moment, I'll never argue about what folk music is again !!!!

Love,

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Musical Career Regrets?
From: Deckman
Date: 07 Apr 02 - 12:33 AM

Art ... I love your analogy to the Holy Grail! The never ending, never possible ... search. Quite poetic ... but why should I be surprised! I would suggest one gentle change. Perhaps it's not how we all "DID" it, but how all "DO" it. LOVE and CHEERS, Bob(deckman)Nelson


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Subject: RE: Musical Career Regrets?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 07 Apr 02 - 12:44 AM

Bob,

I stand corrected. Much better.

And this thread is most certainly the overriding and all encompassing reason to fund the Mudcat and ignore the posts to that other negativity.

Art


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Subject: RE: Musical Career Regrets?
From: Deckman
Date: 07 Apr 02 - 12:51 AM

If someone will post Max's address again, I'll mail a check tonight. Bob


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Subject: RE: Musical Career Regrets?
From: GUEST,joe in the 'pool
Date: 07 Apr 02 - 05:06 AM

If there was ever a reason for a group of people to get together and publish a book of real musicians lives, THIS IS IT, just how it's been told.

I loved every minute, best read since..errr! come-on Mudcat 'sort it out' get the ball rolling.. special thanks to Bob the creator..

Joe


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Subject: RE: Musical Career Regrets?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 07 Apr 02 - 07:49 AM

Hi, Art:

Every singer's life is a story waiting to be told.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Musical Career Regrets?
From: Jeri
Date: 07 Apr 02 - 09:51 AM

The Mudcat Café
PO Box 3006
West Chester, PA 19381
(610) 738 9050

Jerry, maybe every life.
I just want to say thanks to Deckman for starting this and for all of your contributions. This thread is one of those rare gems we have around here occasionally when folks share the real substance of who they are and how they got that way.


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Subject: RE: Musical Career Regrets?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 07 Apr 02 - 12:10 PM

People tell me I should write a memoir of my doings in music and in life. I tell them that I already have written it. It is HERE AT MUDCAT. Being the kind of writer that is seldom, if ever, self motivated, I needed to "know" there was someone out there who might be looking for something I might've picked up over the years. (Please, no jokes about V.D.) The threads here provided that stimulus. I've learned to enjoy, even while not loving, the B.S. threads---not only the music threads. I'm not exactly glad that few heeded my protests---but, as Dr. Strangelove was subtitled ("How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb")-----sometimes it's worth it to lighten up a bit.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Musical Career Regrets?
From: Peter T.
Date: 07 Apr 02 - 12:23 PM

I'm with Jeri -- this is one of those threads that make you shake your head when people start beating up on Mudcat. What a mixture of dreams, disappointments, moments of perfection, lives lived. Hats off to all: dispatches from the trenches of time.

yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Musical Career Regrets?
From: JenEllen
Date: 07 Apr 02 - 01:55 PM

Whew. Some really heavy stuff, folks.

I can say with almost absolute certainty that I am very nearly regretless. *g* It was just a life that I couldn't handle. If I would have stayed, I think I'd have become a poster child for Prozac or something. It isn't a bad life, but it is very different, and I'm not sure I had enough emotional walls to deal with it. I mean, you are taught in every movie from Ghostbusters to Un Coeur in Hiver that serious musical life takes a certain amount of possession, right? I couldn't hack it.

Once, the lot of us were in break from practice. A girlfriend of mine was telling how she was going with her family to Nashville over the holiday to visit family. Just goofing around, I sawed a little Turkey in the Straw. Our maestro stormed in and nearly took my head off. We don't DO that sort of thing, what if someone were to HEAR? When we returned to practice and I made the typical nervous mistake that usually follows a near-decapitation, he said something to the guy in the chair next to me: "Edward. Would you please tell 'ze hillbilleee' that this is supposed to be Debussy and not a barn dance..." I went home after practice and cried for an entire weekend. Our maestro didn't make eye contact with me for three months. Truly hideous.

I had to make a serious choice, and I think I did okay by myself on this one. I know I can't handle the bad side of true passion, I need for it to be sunshiney all the time. You really can't do that and make a living at it at the same time. I have a job that I love and that I am good at, that makes for a decent enough life. I can save my mistress for when I really need and want her.


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Subject: RE: Musical Career Regrets?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 07 Apr 02 - 02:27 PM

There are real sharks in those big "ponds". Here, in this folk puddle, I could ignore competition and even be un-American if I chose to be that. Best of all, I could, as Joseph Campbell (again) said, "follow my bliss".
And Prozac is cool as hell if one needs to partake of it. *BG*

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Musical Career Regrets?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 07 Apr 02 - 02:51 PM

And you're right, Jeri. I originally typed "every person's life is a story worth telling." In all the years that I've written songs, I tried to create a musical scrapbook of family and friends, their stories, successes and mistakes that I thought were worth sharing and remembering. I've always encouraged people to treasure family stories. And when the spirit moved me, I've written songs about things that have happened in someone else's family. After all, isn't that the truest definition of folk music (no, let's not get in to that..) songs about every day life? We've all got enough stories to fill a hundred books or CDs.

Jerry

nice name...


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Subject: RE: Musical Career Regrets?
From: JenEllen
Date: 07 Apr 02 - 05:23 PM

Oh sure, Art. My pharmacology prof. used to have a saying... "Better Living Through Chemistry". I love that.

I also agree about the "Folk Puddle". Finding that was the biggest blessing of my life. It was a complete change of attitude, and I am forever grateful. Music, to me at least, is supposed to be fun... a gift... something to explain and enhance life. It wasn't supposed to BE life.

Truth be told, I loved the puzzle. Getting a new piece and working the hell out of it, then performing it spot on. There is a real satisfaction there. What I didn't enjoy was the 'blinders-on' attitude that this exhistence was the only one appropriate enough to appreciate music. The real switch came during a brief tour when I visited some friends who lived in the area we were playing and we sat out in the yard playing music (oh no, ze hillbilleeee strikes again!) and I laughed. It was one of those "Holy Shit" moments. I realized that I hadn't had a good laugh about ANYTHING on the entire tour. When we got back home, I informed the maestro from hell that I knew the music by rote, and I wouldn't be at one of the next week's practices because the Giants were in the Series (sunshine, ballgame, and a chance to lean over the dugout and watch Will Clark in tight pants....hullo?...). You'd have thought I kneed Mozart right in his Magic Flute.

Long slow road to hell, my friends. Sure, the professional career was shot to shit, but I can honestly say that I have learned much more about music (and people too) being out of that environment. I haven't totally given it up--we had the Hungarian Youth Orchestra in last week and it was a trip getting to sit in with those kids--but I met it on my own terms. Thanks to the Mudcat masses (especially Rick, JustaPicker and Marion's musical knowledge and questions, and Bert's "I'll learn a song a week if it kills me" diet....) I think I am a more competent and HAPPY musician than I ever was before.


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Subject: RE: Musical Career Regrets?
From: Deckman
Date: 07 Apr 02 - 07:50 PM

JenEllen ... I appreciate and relate well to your postings. I was pretty much raised in two camps: the 'formal classical music' career and the folk career. By the time I was 20, I knew that the lifetime commitment necessary for a serious classical music career was not for me. At the same time, I kept a very close friendship with a childhood friend who DID have a very successful career in classical music: concert violin soloist, orchestra conductor, etc. In keeping up with friend Lauren Jakey, I attended many social and weekend events, as his friend. I also spent many hours in the rehearsal halls, and I did some of the behind the scene stuff: traveling, bags, checking in and out, etc. For my money, and from my experience, you can take most symphony orchestra conductors and set them outside on a cold night and hope they die from the weather. The ones I've seen, with ONE exception, are a bunch of little dictators that don't have the manners of a wart hog ... just my opinion.


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