When do realise it time to stop playing in public?

Discussion in 'THE Gretsch Discussion Forum' started by pilgrim, Jun 27, 2021.

  1. pilgrim

    pilgrim Country Gent

    Jun 15, 2010
    Most of you weren't born when I stared playing gig over 60 years ago and I never thought I was too young to play (when I was), but now I'm looking at the other end. I'm not talking about church gigs, being a Minister i know they rarely tell you not to play. I was 177 when my group opened for the First Edition ans Kenny was talking about quitting then. I don't want to die a musician who never quit.
    I just realized that most of the people I played with in Nashville have passed and I'll soon be 74. I can still sing and play and practice several times a week, but do any of you ever go, Nope it's time to say no when asked to play ?
    maloburro, EarleG, Paulie26 and 3 others like this.
  2. Jelly Roll Horton

    Jelly Roll Horton Country Gent

    Nov 10, 2017
    Portland, OR
    If you can stay in key and still have the skills, play as long as you like. The audience might be different than back when, but find one that will still appreciate it. One member of our band (which formed in 1965, and still gets together, though we’ve lost two members) has joined an informal duo that plays at a Veterans Home in his town every week. Many of the vets are his age and really dig it, and he keeps his chops up and has a great time. Don’t stop until it isn’t fun any more. It may be hard to get paying gigs, but really, so what?
  3. sgarnett

    sgarnett Synchromatic

    Apr 14, 2020
    I think many reach an age at which hauling a bunch of heavy gear loses its appeal. Luckily, there are some great options now for lightweight rigs. Beyond that though, why stop? I actually think it’s good for the mind to keep playing and learning.

    The last time I saw BB King perform, he walked out on stage and greeted the audience, then someone brought him a folding chair. He explained that he was old, and figured he’d earned the right to sit down instead of standing all night. Still sounded great.

    My father died at 66. He had been in congestive heart failure for several years, had problems with his feet from diabetes, and his playing had suffered from a couple of strokes. He still enjoyed performing with a stripped-down rig. Like BB King, he just stopped trying to stand through a set.
  4. Tony65x55

    Tony65x55 Gretschified

    Sep 23, 2011
    The 'Shwa, Ontario, Canada
    Robert, when it stops being enjoyable, when you don't want to do it any more, then it's time to ask yourself if it's still what you want to do. There's nothing in the rule book that says you have to hang up your gloves when you hit a certain age - ask Willy. If you still have the gift of music inside you, you would crush your soul if you stopped.

    Many have. When I got off the road I didn't touch my guitars for four years. When I finally picked up my old blue Strat, changed the rusted strings, and plugged it in, I felt pure panic because I couldn't play the things that had been effortless a few short years earlier. Of course, the chops came back but I realized the music is inside you. It's part of what you are, not part of what you do. It is perfectly OK - no, fitting and proper - to be a musician who never quit. Make music for the joy it gives you. Give it to others because there is joy in giving. Die happy, not regretful.

    I hope this makes sense to you.
    loudnlousy, Merc, pilgrim and 6 others like this.
  5. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Admin Post
    I don’t think that there’s a specific time. I have a friend who is in his mid 80s and still playing gigs and writing arrangements. I can definitely see the appeal of less gear to schlep, but in these days of equipment choices, you can use a solid state amp and reduce your load-in dramatically. Where that’s concerned, you might be able to leave your amp at church and feel safe about it. I would never leave gear in a nightclub, but I would imagine that church members are probably unlikely to steal from their pastor.
    SAguitar, pilgrim and Mr Swisher like this.
  6. dlew919

    dlew919 Country Gent

    Jul 18, 2016
    Sydney, Australia
    Most of become musicians because we have to. There's no other choice. I've had other jobs, but none completes me like playing to unappreciative audiences for inadequate money. After a gig, I realise, no matter how awful it may have been, (and there aren't many of those, thankfully), that I wouldn't do anything else. Even if I think I want to change, I know I don't. This creates all kinds of problems, but knowing you're on the path you should be on (even if it means I'm cash poor always) helps.

    If you don't feel like this, it's ok to quit. But Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Victor Borges, Bill Monroe, and on and on proved again and again there is no too old.
  7. Randy99CL

    Randy99CL Country Gent

    Feb 17, 2020
    Is Buddy Guy still playing? He's 84 and his show was great a few years ago (but I noticed that he couldn't play the tough licks anymore, the unnamed guy on stage did those). Not being critical, he is one of the greats.

    I'm almost 70 and most of my friends are musicians. Many of them have physical problems that forced them to quit so if you love to play and still can...do it!
    pilgrim, NJDevil and dlew919 like this.
  8. new6659

    new6659 Country Gent

    This is an excellent question with no single right answer for everyone.
    Merc, pilgrim, dlew919 and 1 other person like this.
  9. G5422T

    G5422T Country Gent

    May 24, 2012
    When you don't want to do something, then it's time to stop.

    Best to you and just keep having fun playing out, or in, or whatever you want.

    Just keep playing.
    EarleG, Merc, pilgrim and 4 others like this.
  10. wabash slim

    wabash slim I Bleed Orange

    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    It's not because I don't want to, but because I physically can't any more. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak---and old, and arthritic. Can't afford roadies, either. I still play at home to keep myself occupied. I live in a Big 10 university town that can't keep a dance floor open. Bands cut into the table space and profits apparently. Go figure. The only places left to gig aren't the kind of places I'd go into. Covid closed most everything up.
    I worked BB King a couple of tears before he passed. Still had his chops, and was a gentleman thru and thru. His guys wheeled him up in a wheelchair to the edge of the stage. I held the curtain, he ambled out and did 2-1/2 hours nonstop, from a chair. As he went onto the stage, I mentioned to one of his guys how much I hated to see someone in a wheelchair as my MIL was stuck in one. The guy responded, "Oh, he ain't sick, just lazy." After the show he spent two hours in his bus signing autographs for his fans.
    Wavey, SAguitar, Merc and 2 others like this.
  11. Archtops

    Archtops Country Gent

    Mar 4, 2021
    When you can’t remember where you are.
    pilgrim and JeffreyLeePierre like this.
  12. G5422T

    G5422T Country Gent

    May 24, 2012
    Shoot, I've been like that most of my life! Lol
  13. NowEarThis

    NowEarThis Gretschie

    Jun 23, 2021
    Northern Rivers NSW Australia
    If the desire is there, don't hold back!
    As Ry Cooder once said, "Bop 'till you drop" ;)
    SAguitar and pilgrim like this.
  14. stiv

    stiv Country Gent

    Sep 12, 2014
    Firenze, Italy
    I've asked myself the same question a lot in the last two years.
    I'm 54 but it seems that everything around me has changed, and not for the better.
    I think I still have some fire left but I would probably belong to a music scene that doesn't exist anymore and will never come back.
    I've never been one that could be satisfied just by "playing" for the sake of it, I don't consider myself a guitar player. I'm a songwriter, a producer, " a dedicate follower of the (music) fashion " (like someone else wrote a while ago). I don't think I'll ever be the one who will end up playing gigs in my local bar (although I played many of them around the world...:) ).

    I say if you think you still love to play and you still belong to that (the music biz, the music scene or how you want to call it) just keep on going man.
    There's no reason to quit a thing you love and you're good at. ;)
    pilgrim likes this.
  15. Robbie

    Robbie Friend of Fred

    Jun 17, 2013
    Sarnia Ontario Canada
    Personally I believe the right time to retire from the Stage is when you find no joy in live performances any longer. Personally I stopped live performances a couple of years ago but it only lasted a couple of months, it didn’t feel right not preparing for a gig. I suspect you will know when it’s time and have no doubts. Don’t rush it.
    pilgrim and DaddyDog like this.
  16. BFTmarshall

    BFTmarshall Synchromatic

    Jan 12, 2020
    Only 56 but got in a band real quick recently to get them playing out real quick...added up the hours... 13 hours a week missing from my life per week i do not have to spare anymore. Going to concentrate on our originals band & do the outreach & benefit shows & just keep banging out music, Very comfy in the home studio... On stage ! love it..have lived for it...but this is my most important legacy now to put my energy in 3 of 6 GK's
    GK 6 21.jpg
    MTurner, Wavey, star-caster and 8 others like this.
  17. Back in Black

    Back in Black Country Gent

    Jun 22, 2020
    Ontario Canada


    When you can't sit up straight, you start showing signs of drooling, your diaper is full, and Frankenstein resembles your much fitter younger brother.

    P.S. your math is a little off.

    If you were 177 over sixty years ago, you'd be at least 237 by now, wow, that's staying power, God bless sex, drugs and rock and roll!


    Genesis.jpg frankenstein smoking.png keif.jpg
    gtttrrr and Archtops like this.
  18. Highroller

    Highroller Country Gent

    Jun 11, 2015
    Portland, OR
    Oh, I dunno. That's kind of exactly how I'd like to go.

    I've been getting my hair cut at the same barber shop for the last several years. Every Friday morning round 11 there's this old guy that drops by with a beat up Taylor and a Fishman Loudbox.

    Seriously, that's his weekly gig. At a barber shop!

    He plays a lot of old country standards - Cash, Merle and Waylon - that type of thing. He's a nice guy, fully aware this isn't exactly a glamour gig. He just does it for fun.

    The barbers like him. The customers like him. I like him. As long as you got people willing to listen, why not keep going?

    Nothing wrong about it at all.
  19. Jelly Roll Horton

    Jelly Roll Horton Country Gent

    Nov 10, 2017
    Portland, OR
    Your first sentence echoes something a painter friend of mine said some 45 years ago: "It’s not just that we want to be an artist, it’s that we can’t help but be an artist." I think that is true for musicians or anyone immersed in the humanities.
  20. montereyjack66

    montereyjack66 Country Gent

    Feb 29, 2012
    When small children scream and hide behind their moms, it's probably time.
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.