Updated: Jan 3
On Friday evening, my band and I played our 14th show for 2019. It was a great evening and it has been an exciting year for our band. This show marked our last performance for the summer, as we have decided to take a couple of months pause, to rest a bit and use this time to learn some new songs and work on a new show for the fall and winter.
It has now been just over 4 years that I have been with my band and I am proud of the musical growth I have seen with all the members of the band (we often say we are all a group of the towns “okayest” musicians). This weekend, I began to reflect on all the great times we have had with our little musical family and the vast number of people we have met during this time.
Recently we played for quite a large festival in town. This was by far the largest audience our band had played for during our years together. It is estimated that there were at least 3000 people in attendance on the evening we played.
This event caused me to think about my band from some 20 years ago. With this band, we typically only played auditoriums or festivals. Before coming to Bavaria, I never had played at a bar. The festivals we played those many years ago, were all over the Midwest of the United States and there were only a few times we played at a large event that was actually in our hometown.
In the days and weeks that have followed this recent festival, I have been amazed at the number of people that have stopped me in the street or in a café or at a store to say “Du bist die amerikanische Sänger?”, “Ich habe deine Band gesehen, es war fantastisch” or “Super-Band, wow, wow” (English = “you are the American singer?”, “I saw your band it was awesome” or great band – super!) I cannot tell you how warming these kind words made me feel. As a result of receiving these warm compliments from so many people recently, I was given pause to think once again about what and why I and my band of brothers do what we do.
I have previously written about the music scene in this Bavarian town, earlier this year in my blog. I am continually amazed at the quality and quantity of musicians in or nearby this city. As an example, every November there is an event in town in which nearly every restaurant, bar, and café will simultaneously host a band for one night. On this night 30 bands or solo acts will perform in town. Most all the musicians who participate are from the local area. (side note: my band has played this event for 3 years and interestingly enough we will not perform at this year’s event, in that the venue we had agreed to play at took another band).
Previously I wrote about how I found it interesting, that for the most part when a musician or a band performs at these local establishments it is at no cost to the restaurant or bar. The form of payment to the musicians comes from “passing the hat” = collecting tips (German = Trinkgeld). As you might imagine this is not a very lucrative business. Let’s put it this way, if we were doing it for the money, we would be bankrupt (German = insolvency). (I am pretty sure that one of Stephan’s guitars (the lead guitar player for our band) probably cost more than all the money the band took in last year………..shhhh – don’t tell his wife)
So, I do what I do (and I think I can speak for the rest of my band), for (4) primary reasons.
For the fun, excitement, and enjoyment of performing “live”
For having the chance to explore and expand my musical abilities (at my old age)
For the friendships, I have formed with my band
For having the opportunity to make people happy and getting to see them enjoying what we do
Over the past several years and moreover in recent weeks, I and my bands mates have received what I call a lot of positive recognition. Positive recognition is a term that is often used in the workplace when an employee receives positive communication from their bosses or colleagues and are recognized for their efforts or successes. For a musician or band, I would define positive recognition as receiving kind words (positive communication) and being recognized for your hard work in creating the music that you share with the audience.
Now in all reality, you or I will not love every musician we hear or like every musical genre out there. Musicians come with varying degrees of talents, some good, some bad and some that their friends should have an honest word with them : ) However keep in mind that even something simple like “thank you for your performance” means a lot.
Perhaps you have heard the sayings “a kind word goes a long way” or “a kind word costs you nothing, but it can change a person’s day”. Whether it is in your home, with your children or families, at work, at school or with a musician or an artist, never underestimate the power of a smile, a kind word or a sincere compliment. Trust me, this small act of kindness has the potential to make someone really happy, provide them encouragement to go on to greater things or simply brighten their day.
I want to say thank you to all of you have shared a kind word with me or my band over the years. It truly means a lot to me and it keeps me motivated to keep on doing what we do!