This is a great, but grim, article on the economic state of being an artist: http://www.salon.com/2012/04/22/no_sympathy_for_the_creative_class/
My friend Jeremy Walker is also wrestling with some big questions regarding his path:
It got me thinking about what my freelancing life can be like sometimes. The last two months have possibly been the busiest and most musically diverse of my life combined with the highest risks in artistry I’ve taken. I thought I might offer my own insights and perspective on how this all works for me.
After the frenzied pace of everything leading up to the release of my debut album New Hope in the middle of Sept I went on the road for 12 days with Todd Clouser and A Love Electric (A.L. E.). You can read about that here: http://www.chrisbatesmusic.net/?p=160
I got home and after playing electric bass exclusively for 12 days and I knew I would need to get back in shape for the upcoming month of gigging on upright. http://www.chrisbatesmusic.net/?p=170
I knew I was busy playing the first half of October with Bill Simenson Big Band, Chris Thomson trio, Babatunde Lea quartet, Red Planet, Zacc Harris Group, Atlantis Quartet and the Ari Hoenig / Bill Carrothers trio. I was originally going to have some down time this month but things got really interesting as I looked at my schedule starting on Oct 16th and realized I had 11 gigs in 9 days along with 3 days off from school for my daughter and two days for my son! So I thought to myself the only way to keep it organized was to see what those days included and arrange my schedule so I could better see what I needed to do to stay on top of life in the Bates house and these diverse and challenging performances. http://www.chrisbatesmusic.net/?p=174
Here’s the breakdown:
Prep day 1 Oct 15th – Drop daughter at bus. Good Vibes review. Noon Atlantis rehearsal. Errands, business. Pick up daughter. 7pm teach bass lesson.
Day 1 Oct 16th – Drop off daughter at bus stop. Practice music for Atlantis, Jezebel Jones and Dave Olson plus review Good Vibes trio music. Pick up daughter at bus stop. Organize babysitter for evening gig. 9pm gig with Good Vibes trio @ AQ.
Day 2 Oct 17th – Day with daughter for MEA. Try to squeeze practicing in for Atlantis, Jezebel Jones and Dave Olson. Pick up my son from school at 3:50. Teach a 5pm lesson. 7pm gig with Babatunde and Zacc @ Cafe Maude.
Day 3 Oct 18th – Day with daughter and son running errands and entertaining. Arrange babysitter for 4pm departure to MN Zoo gig w/ Atlantis. Gig from 7-10.
Day 4 Oct 19th – Doubleheader. Morning with daughter and son. Drop off son at his mom’s drop daughter at grandma’s. 11:15 arrival at McNally Smith for a noon performance with Atlantis. Lunch w Z&P. Pick up daughter. Icehouse dinner music with Bryan Nichols from 7-10. Then hang at Icehouse for Frankie Lee and Alpha Consumer.
Day 5 Oct 20th – 10 am teach a lesson. Noon rehearsal with Jezebel Jones. Family time, nap. 8:30 arrival at Amsterdam for Jezebel set. Listen to other bands. After set get to AQ for Dave King w Carrothers and Billy Peterson.
Day 6 Oct 21st – Doubleheader. 11-2 Brunch gig at Icehouse with Willie and the Spectres. Family in attendance to celebrate my wife’s birthday. 3pm Family gathering at sister in laws. 7pm Dave Olson song review. 8:30 arrival for 9pm gig at Red Stag w Dave Olson.
Day 7 Oct 22nd – Drop off daughter at bus. 10am Todd Clouser rehearsal for Elliot Smith music. Housework, business. Pick up daughter. Teach bass lessons at 6 and 7pm. 9pm gig with Clouser. Icehouse afterwards for JT, Nichols, Lewis and Cox.
Day 8 Oct 23rd – drop off daughter. Nirvana review. Noon rehearsal w Clouser for InUtero. Arrange babysitter for daughter. Pick up daughter. Dinner. Wife off to her rehearsal. Babysitter arrives. Bass lesson at 7pm. 9pm arrival at Amsterdam for Clouser InUtero show.
Day 9 Oct 24th – drop off daughter. Sleep. Business. Warm up. Pick up daughter. 7pm Atlantis gig at the Dakota.
In general I get 4-6 hours of sleep a night. Striking a balance with family time, house husbandry, meal prep, household duties and errands and carving out slivers of time with my wife all pose significant challenges. Sometimes after gigs I practice on electric bass with headphones in order to keep the music I’m playing next fresh in my mind. Working on memorizing certain bands repertoire and writing new music is a constant struggle. Somehow I keep it all together in a loose but organized way that still allows me to love what I do. I wouldn’t trade it for the world, but maybe for the next big Powerball ticket!