Right off the top, one of the first things I learned about being a Musician is that making money is hard. Really hard.
But more about that later.
I started playing guitar when I was 15-years-old. I took a few lessons, but found the structure of learning pentatonic scales, and reading music to be similar to my math classes, so quickly moved on to teaching myself how to play by learning some of my favourite songs. I quickly found some friends who were keen to start a band and soon we were playing songs – badly – in my friend’s garage.
His poor neighbours.
As Junior High turned into High School, and friends moved to different schools our band changed from it’s first iteration – Liquid Shadow – to it’s much more high school friendly name Rhymes With Enis.
This is where I really learned some do’s and don’ts of being a musician and being in a band.
After High School, as band mates again moved on, I joined a number of different bands and played with a number of different people. It wasn’t until 2008 however that I would meet the right people to really get serious about music.
My friend James and I had been playing music together for awhile and, along with drummers we found through auditions, had been calling ourselves the Bravado Brothers. In 2008, through a friend I worked with, I was introduced to Pat – a guitar player with some insane chops – and soon there after we formed a group called Crooked Temple.
I took on rhythm guitar and singing duties. Having never had any singing lessons, most of what I learned to do was through trial and error and well… you be the judge if it worked or not.
Crooked Temple was some of the most fun I’ve ever had being a musician. We practiced in an old slaughterhouse, and Pat and I worked hard to learn everything we needed to know to try and make ourselves successful.
If success is measured in dollars and cents, then we weren’t particularly successful. But if success is measured in the relationships you forge and the experience you gain then we were one of the most successful bands in Calgary.
After years of playing together, Crooked Temple was moving apart. Our drummer and his wife had a daughter, our bassist got married and we all started to move on.
It was at this time that I joined some friends of mine and their metal band Train Bigger Monkey’s (TBM) as their bass player.
It was while playing with TBM that I learned the value of a structured practice schedule, and had my first real recording experience (along with at least one or two beers). My first show with TBM was a tribute show to famed metal band Death. With a former member of the band in the audience, we rocked out to one of the largest audiences I have ever played in front of.
I would eventually leave TBM to start a family of my own, but the fun times I had with them taught me some valuable lessons about the music industry.
Tune in next week to PART 2 of What I learned That Time I Was a … Musician, to find out how you can get started as a musician, and what steps to take to help insure your success.