By Scott Woodward
Like most of us, I am always chasing the next big gig. I was the guy combing through all the trade papers and magazines. I was always signing up for the services where you can look at gigs and advertise yourself.
Well, let me tell you from my experience, for the most part, this does not work for the really big gigs.
How does it work? Simple. You have to know someone. 99% of the time people hire somebody they know or that came recommended from someone they know and trust.
I have gotten most of my really great gigs by referral because I knew people in the band.
Sure, there are exceptions to the rule and you could be the next greatest musician in the world and land a gig with so and so and be on a world tour.
Chances are that’s not going to happen and you’re going to have to be like the rest of us and work your ass off meeting people, networking and playing with anyone and everyone.
For me, I have found it beneficial to make friends with the drummers of bands I want to play in.
If they like you — and you’re cool to hang out with — you have a better chance of getting an audition than the average guy on the street.
Usually I will also make friends with the bass player but this is tricky. Sometimes the guy you are making friends with gets nervous that you want to steal his gig.
So one of the things I do is I will give the bass player my card and tell him if he ever needs a sub to give me a call. I then ask for his and say if I hear of any gigs that I can’t do are you open to doing them? I have started many friendships this way and have gotten some really cool gigs because of it.
Integrity (and being a little humble) goes a long way in this business. Once you get a bad reputation in your town it’s going to be an uphill battle for you to get people to want to work with you.
Making friends and getting in the right circles are what this business is all about.
Is it hard? Yes! But not impossible. You need to be out meeting people and networking no matter what business you are in.
Getting to know the staff at one of the big local clubs can’t hurt either. They know all the bands and crew that come through the club and can be helpful in finding out what’s up with the bands that play there.
Now I am not the almighty king of knowledge but these things have worked for me in the past. I have been making a living in this business for a long time now and have not had to get a day job in 20 years.
Am I famous or rich? Hell No! But I make a good living and have music and myself to thank for it. Am I great or the next best bass player to happen to the world? Hardly, But I do know my instrument and I have a very strong work ethic which most times makes up for my lack of expertise.
I know a lot of musicians that are great players but never went anywhere because they refused to put themselves out there and mingle with people. Don’t be afraid. Step out and make yourself known. Meet people and make friends. Who knows you might make friends with someone who may turn out to be really cool to hang with.