There comes a point in every musician’s life when playing in a live band becomes a grind. Things start to lose their newness after awhile and the band just doesn’t seem like much fun anymore. You start to notice that learning new songs isn’t much fun anymore and the practices become a drag and a burden. Even having to pack all your equipment up and head to the gig seems like more work than it’s worth. It’s at that point that you may ask yourself “should I quit this band?”.
As I’ve said before, playing in a live band is work more often than playing. Sometimes the constant work that goes into making your live band be the best it can be gets to be a real drag. It’s easy to get caught up in hating the non-playing aspect of being in a live band. But, you keep working and grinding it out because of the the feeling of stepping out in front of a live audience which is giving you a lot of love for your great effort.
That’s really the reward. The feedback from the audience. If you’ve still got the love of playing in front of a crowd then it’s possible to deal with the work involved in playing in a band. But what if you start to lose the love of being onstage with your current band? This is where the term “forcing it” comes from. It’s when you get onstage and hate it yet you force yourself to play. The audience may love it but you personally are getting no joy. That’s the time to seriously consider quitting your current band.
There will always be times when you “force it” onstage by playing a song that you hate here and there. You may have to “force it” when playing Happy Birthday for the millionth time. But the good times should always outweigh the bad when you’re onstage. If they aren’t, then you have a real problem on your hands.
It’s my opinion that if you’re “forcing it” when you’re onstage, and playing gigs that you hate, then you should probably quit the band you’re in. There’s no point hating the experience of playing in front of a live audience. The whole point of playing in a live band is to play in front of people and if you’re not getting any joy from that, it’s time to call it quits.
That doesn’t mean you have to quit playing in a band. You could retire to the studio like The Beatles did and be perfectly happy writing and recording your own music. You could also join another live band that plays a different kind of music that will appeal to a whole new audience. That could be the key to finding that joy in playing live once again.
The bottom line is there’s no need to stay in a band situation where you’re “forcing it” more often than not. Playing live music should be fun. That’s why us live musician’s do what we do. We like to have a good time playing so if that means quitting your current band and finding something else. Then do it! Just make sure you keep playing music because there’s no need to let a bad experience ruin your love of playing music.