What’s Your “Excuse” For Not Chasing That Music Career Goal?

The obstacles these people have overcome make them nothing short of remarkable

November 8, 2018

I’d been trying to get an interview with P-Nut from 311 for quite a while, and I’m happy to say that I finally got it, and published it this week on ForBassPlayersOnly.com. This (kinda long) video interview includes lots of great information on 311, bass gear, technique and more. You can watch the whole thing here.

The story of 311 is a powerful one. They continue to tour tirelessly, performing sold-out shows worldwide. With a string of multi-platinum albums, the band is currently at work on their 13th record. Who would of thought that five guys from Omaha, Nebraska could have attained this level of success? That’s not to say that other famous people haven’t come from Nebraska (Warren Buffett, Marlon Brando, Larry the Cable Guy…), but one just doesn’t typically think of Nebraska as the launching point for a career in show business.

It’s easy to come up with a list of all the reasons why achieving your dream just isn’t in the cards. But if you turn it around and look for all the ways you can reach your goals, the results might surprise you.

What’s holding you back from pulling out the stops and going after what you really want? Have you heard yourself uttering any of the following excuses?

  1. I’m too old. Are you? History is replete with so-called “late bloomers” who didn’t achieve their successes until they were well into their 30s, 40s, or even older. The list includes Sheryl Crow (she plays bass, by the way), Leonard Cohen, Bill Withers, Thelonius Monk and Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips.
  2. There’s no way to make music available to the outside world. Are you kidding me? First of all, if you’re reading this, you already have Internet access. If you think you’ve got something people will want, get good at using YouTube, iTunes and all the other platforms. (It’s just a shame that Brian Bromberg’s Bass on the Broadband isn’t still around.)
  3. I don’t have enough money to even think about a career in music. Maybe not, but you might find inspiration from these people who were dirt poor before attaining phenomenal success as bass players. Cases in point: Carol Kaye, Greg Lake, Blasko (Ozzy Osbourne) and Kai Eckhardt (John McLaughlin), to name but a few.
  4. I don’t live in the right part of the country, or even the right part of the world. Yes, that could make things more challenging. I mean, who knows what kinds of careers Robert Trujillo or Marcus Miller might have had if they weren’t born in LA and New York City, respectively? On the other hand, consider these other music success stories and note where they come from: David Ellefson (Jackson, Minnesota), Phil Chen (Kingston, Jamaica), Shavo Odadjian (Aremenia), and Gene Simmons (the tiny little town of Tirat Carmel, Israel). Oh, and did I mention that 311 comes from Omaha, Nebraska?
  5. My body can’t handle the lifestyle of a musician. There are all kinds of physical challenges that make it even harder to be a musician, many of which cannot be overcome. Did you know, though, that Charlie Haden was stricken with polio as a child? And just this summer, I did an interview with the very talented composer and performer Mandy Harvey, who is completely deaf.

There might still be genuine reasons why going after that music career just won’t work for you. Nonetheless, maybe you’ll find an unexplored avenue with the help of medical science, information technology, social media, or something you never even thought of. Whatever happens, I wish you the best!

Have a thought about overcoming obstacles and conquering challenges? Feel free to leave a comment.

In the meantime, check out my interview with P-Nut here.

2 comments to What’s Your “Excuse” For Not Chasing That Music Career Goal?

  • David S

    Apparently, the good Lord wants me to keep going, and just work harder. Every time I think about quitting, an article like this shows up on my facebook page, YouTube, or in my in-box.

  • William Young

    In my youth, two things became clear. One was that music was a passion that would only deepen with time for the rest of my days. The second was that a career in music was not a dream I wanted to chase. I made the right decision for me. I’m getting ready to go on Medicare, still playing everyday, still learning every day, never toured like a crazy person and got burned out. I’ve seen lots of great players that did chase the dream and got burned out. They won’t go near a note of music now. They’ll spend their golden years tuneless and I’ll be in the all night naked drum circle at the Burning Man assisted living facility.
    Seeking greater musical knowledge and making good moments happen with other musicians are my goals. Not fame and fortune, or even a living wage.
    To borrow from the classic Bo Diddley tune:
    “I don’t need to excuse me, I took a look at myself”.

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