Even though I make mostly all of my money playing music, every week I go to Heimies and sew bags. Thursday’s and Friday’s I shine shoes. Playing music for money has it’s ups and downs. Yes, you do get to actually do what you love but like any other job there are those times when man, sometimes you just don’t wanna go into work. Your co-workers are buggin’ ya, there’s a really really great show in town you’d rather go see (more on that later) or geez, I just played most of these songs yesterday.
Here in Minnesota musicians don’t have the luxury of a 9-10 month “playing season” like an L.A. or a Florida or a Texas. Yes, half the year here it gets down right cold and all the outside weddings/venues/gigs/festivals are gone…. Not to mention that the cold is just murder to guitars, tubes, cars, case handles and pretty much anything heavy. Loading gear is never fun and when it happens four times a day (once to the truck, out at the venue, after the show back to the truck and back in the house) but loading gear when its 25 degrees or even better yet negative 25 degrees (yes that’s what I said) well it’s down right brutal. What I’m trying to say is, here in the winter in Minnesota 1/3 if not half of the gigs dry up. Patio happy hour gigs are gone with the wind, literally. So whats a player to do to make up the income?
I was once told once by a friend who is a west coast musician “Man, I totally respect you mid-west musicians, y’all ain’t afraid to work a day job. You guys work hard all day then play hard all night.”
Tis true. A lot of musicians here that I know, and I mean professional musicians, not like guys who got a couple gigs this month. ALL keep some sorta day job even if it’s one day a week. Installing sprinklers, roofing, maintenance, pizza delivery… somethin’. Even this one guy I know who travels all around the country playing to thousands, sells out two nights at First Ave. 3-4 times a year, on the radio contsantly… yup, shovels snow in the winter a bit and roofs a bit in the summer.
I for one like my day job. I shine shoes, which to me is very Zen and healing, I mean how many other things in life do you get such the instant satisfaction? A mess comes to me, I make it look awesome, and it goes away. The other reason I like having a day job is because if you ARE giggin’ like 3-4 nights a week you tend to forget that the rest of the world is out there. It helps me maintain just a bit of normalcy. “I see drunk people.” Yes, they are everywhere and they are every night. The names and faces might be different, but they are mostly the same. You start thinking the whole world is just that way and acts like that. The drama, the fights, the jealousy, the lying and all the egos. I’m sorry but after 11pm most folks in the bars I play are up to no good. So just to sit at my little shine stand and talk with a few people who aren’t completely wasted and asking me to play “Brown Eyed Girl” is quite honestly a breath of fresh air.
Anyone that knows me know I have a bit of a shoe fetish. Also, I really enjoy dressing up for my shows (remind me of this and I think it’ll be a whole new post someday soon). There is nothing and I mean nothing like the feeling of having you shoes shine. You could have on the worst outfit ever but if those shoes shine… boy?!? Well, you just feel good. So for myself I couldn’t think of the more perfect job.
It’s a great extra little side cash for me and a nice little cushion in the wallet. I don’t have to touch any of my gig money, which is going to pay for, posters, PA, Lights, and new album I’m going into record next week. Yeah, that’s what I said. Let’s see who reads this.