When you consider yourself as a “professional” musician—whatever that might mean to you—it can be easy to fall headfirst into all the annoying, ungracious habits that make human beings self-important lunkheads. You may start looking down your nose at weekend warriors, hobbyists, cover band musicians, and any other group that doesn’t uphold your definition of “serious pros.” You may stand in the back of a club watching the competition, and then describe each act’s guitar tones, songs, live performance, gear, and stage presence as “amateur crap,” or, simply, “awful.” Your unshakable belief in yourself—which is a good thing—may have the less-virtuous affect of preventing you from giving due respect to any musician who has committed the crime of not being you.
Slagging off others who are attempting to find joy and commercial success making music is an interesting cultural phenomenon—especially when the people who should be supportive (other musicians) are usually the ones who are the most brutal. It’s even more interesting—or, well, exasperating—when some of us fight so hard on such pointless battlefields.
Take the band in a crap club with a sketchy house system and even sketchier soundperson going over minute details during an over-long soundcheck that results in the other groups on the bill getting little more than a line check. Or the classic move of a band overplaying its set time, which serves to shorten the performances after it. And what about the self-entitled putzes who mistreat sound crews and club employees—throwing tantrums, leaving gear onstage, and so on—when, let’s face it, they’re playing a third- or fourth-tier venue where everyone should work together? Man, when you get started detailing all the bad behavior, it’s hard to stop. But I will. There’s no sense in filling your head with extraneous verbiage when you probably got the point six sentences ago. Or did you?
To me, professional musicians always manage to give the audience a great show. If there are no monitors, or an iffy sound system, or no dressing rooms, or a small stage, they rise above the limitations and rock the house. No excuses. No whining. They don’t strut attitudes that ultimately prevent themselves and all the other acts appearing onstage from making people happy by playing music for them. So if you want to be a “diva,” perhaps you should shift your calling from “professional musician” to “professional reality-television personality.” They seem to enjoy and reward boorish sh*t in that field. Have fun…
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