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Attn: New York folks.
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willyz



Joined: 12 Apr 2006
Posts: 1545
Location: Austin, TX

PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2010 9:51 am    Post subject: Attn: New York folks. Reply with quote

What's the scene like in New York these days?

Is there work? Are any of you able to break even with just playing? Are you enjoying it?

It seems that there's tons of opportunities (within several forms of music) there, and that the music industry isn't as "tainted" as it is in LA or as lacking as it is in a town like Austin.

It's always been a dream of mine to live in New York and a lot of great music seems to come out of there...
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cjbdrm



Joined: 19 Jan 2006
Posts: 1250
Location: East Coast

PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2010 10:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You think you have a hard time with gigs and money now?

....though I heard the rent has dropped a little in the Hell's Kitchen area...

(general Times Square vicinity)
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willyz



Joined: 12 Apr 2006
Posts: 1545
Location: Austin, TX

PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2010 10:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You know, when I sit back and think about it, my financial status is far from terrible. I make enough dough to pay for rent, car expenses, insurance, food, drumheads/sticks, whatever- even with some money left over.

Austin isn't exactly the most inspiring "professional" environment to pursue a career in. I've learned from experience if you put yourself out there and go after gigs, you'll find some... maybe not the greatest or the ones you wanted, but still.

That being said, with some careful budgeting and saving, I could relocate to some place like New York in a couple years, and have enough saved to live off of for atleast a few months (assuming I'm paying what, $1,500 rent?).

Anyway, just a bunch of thoughts at this point...
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lri



Joined: 20 Oct 2006
Posts: 404
Location: New York, New York

PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2010 10:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you're willing to live in a flat with other people (your own room), you can pay a lot less than $1500.

Come on out ... gotta get the east-coast HOD love going. :)

/LRI
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Suspiria



Joined: 17 Nov 2005
Posts: 1026
Location: New York, NY

PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2010 12:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, you can certainly find a better deal than $1500. Either by living with people or finding a place in Brooklyn. You should be able to get than down to $1000 if you are smart about it. Buddy of mine has a great apartment in Washington Heights well under $1000, just as an example.

I would also recommend shooting Jojo Mayer an e-mail. I would imagine he has detailed knowledge of the NY scene. A few years ago he was very responsive to any questions I sent him. He is busier now, but give it a shot!
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cjbdrm



Joined: 19 Jan 2006
Posts: 1250
Location: East Coast

PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2010 3:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you're going to check it out, I suggest going with a partner or becoming someone's roommate.Keep in mind there's a lot more to living in NY than being able to pay the rent...you can do it, though- just do it while you're young!

I don't know if I'd waste Jojo's time with questions about living there. But that's just me.
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Suspiria



Joined: 17 Nov 2005
Posts: 1026
Location: New York, NY

PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2010 3:52 pm    Post subject: Re: Reply with quote

cjbdrm wrote:
I don't know if I'd waste Jojo's time with questions about living there. But that's just me.


Oh, agreed 100%. I brought up his name as a source of knowledge about the current music scene from the perspective of a drummer. Perhaps I should have been more clear.
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Hugh



Joined: 26 Feb 2010
Posts: 24
Location: Western MA

PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2010 4:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've actually been mulling over the same idea...I'm graduating from college in a couple of days and I've been considering moving to New York and taking some lessons at the Drummers Collective/finding gigs there. Daunting considering my student loans need to be paid.

I was thinking about getting a place in Stanford CT or someplace close to the city...I would be able to take a 45 minute train into the city everyday and save a little on housing costs. Seems like there is a good amount of work in NY, definitely more so then in Boston. One things for sure, if I'm gonna do it nows the time.
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nomsgmusic



Joined: 13 Apr 2006
Posts: 263
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PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2010 10:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Willy,

As someone who has been on the NY-NJ Music scene for 20ish years, I'll say this. Everyone is right when they say to make this move while you are young.

Secondly, what are you looking for from a move? The grass is ALWAYS greener in a new town!!!! But most "scenes" are EXACTLY the same. I have said this repeatedly to many students. What is your definition of "success?" Is pulling up all of your contacts and moving, going to put you closer to your own definition of "success?" THIS IS AN ESSENTIAL QUESTION THAT WE ALL MUST ANSWER!!!!

It takes A LOT of time to establish yourself in ANY town, even if you are a KNOWN cat! Ask any of "the cats" how long it has taken (is taking) them to establish themselves in new towns like Nashville, Memphis, LA, San Fran, Chicago, Boston, Philly, or NYC (and the surrounding areas of each of these towns.)

Take your estimate of how long you can survive on your "nest egg" in NYC, and cut it in half (maybe a third) to make it more realistic. NYC is the most expensive place in the world to live. Even people with A LOT of money (and success) live pretty "small" in NYC. You MUST be prepared for that reality.

ISSUES: As mentioned above, a roomate is essential (and even that opens up a whole can of worms!) Will you have a car? If so, what are the expenses of that? If not, have you ever tried to work as a drummer without a car? It's tough!!! Possible, but hard. Gigs: The "creative music" world is going through a phase now, where there are so many (high caliber) "music students" who are willing to do gigs for almost nothing, that the pay scale for professionals has gone way down, EVERYWHERE. There are more music students in NYC than anywhere else, you do the math. The pros that have gigs are holding onto them like their lives depend on it (because they do!) And I can't blame them. When there are fewer nuts, the squirrels can get awful nasty (dig?) Add to this, that people just ain't going out as much as they used to, and venues are paying less, and some are closing down (everyone knows this.)

I always tell young guys to move to Jersey and have a car. That way you can EASILY work EVERYWHERE (NYC and all of the outer boros, NJ, Philly, and Boston (each just 2 hours away,) DC etc.) And you don't have to live in a closet with 6 other musicians. Having transportation also opens up many more streams (and locales) of potential musical income. You can take public transportation into the city to hang, or drive and find times and places to park for free.

If you live in NJ and things go REALLY well, you can eventually move into NYC. I could write a page of well known drummers that don't live in NYC, and are prevalent on the scene, and I personally don't think it's necessary to live in the city to break onto the scene.

A LOT of hanging is the ONLY way to get your name out, and today that even costs money. When I got here you could hang at various clubs all night and spend about $20 (toll=$6, 3 drinks= $15.) That's hard to do today. When I was younger, I was around so much that everyone just assumed that I lived in NYC.

As drummers we all seem to look out for each other, and I try to do the same. Be prepared to take every gig that you can, which means do it ALL stylistically, and equipment-wise be prepared for all genres.

I don't mean to discourage, or encourage you. I don't even know you. But this is the plain truth. I could on forever, PM me and I'll give you my phone # and if you want to talk I'd be happy to arrange some phone time. I've been here for a long time, and you sound like a nice and serious kid. But this is a tough place, and I have seen my share of tough, nice, and serious kids, split after a year with their tails between their legs.

And notice that I haven't even mentioned "playing ability," and all that that entails. That has to be a given! Nor have I mentioned practi$e $pa$e which is a "dream" to many musicians in the city.

And just so
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nomsgmusic



Joined: 13 Apr 2006
Posts: 263
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PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2010 10:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Damn!!!!!

And just so you don't think that this is coming from some "old bitter wannabe drummer who is mad at the world for not giving him a chance." I am a 40 year old drummer, who has toured the world, played everywhere, just BOUGHT a house, and STILL plays the drums for a living. I also write, teach, etc etc... But my bills are paid, and my house was bought by the DRUMS, and in MY mind, I am happy and pretty (semi) successful. I'll be the first to admit that I'm a LUCKY guy (who works hard.)

Give me a call! And the best of luck!
Mark
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cjbdrm



Joined: 19 Jan 2006
Posts: 1250
Location: East Coast

PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2010 5:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent post Mark.
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cornelius



Joined: 22 May 2007
Posts: 36
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PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2010 10:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with Mark - living in Jersey is a great idea. You'll be giving up a lot less, life-style wise. You can keep your car and live in a roomy place where you might actually be able to set up a kit to practice and give lessons. I live in Manhattan and pay a lot for parking, and have to keep my drums in my rehearsal studio. Also, you can get away from the city, which can be a good thing...
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drumming sort of person



Joined: 18 Nov 2005
Posts: 1735
Location: Newport Bleach

PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2010 3:20 pm    Post subject: Re: Reply with quote

cornelius wrote:
I agree with Mark - living in Jersey is a great idea.


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Kurtis



Joined: 19 Apr 2006
Posts: 1236
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PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2010 3:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

don't attempt NYC. stay as far away from there as possible. sure the culture is amazing and then some. but there are to many bads out weighing the good. get your ass back to LA and give it another shot. i repeat. stay away from NYC. plus those damn terroist seem to like to blowing things up around that area. it's harsh winters and summers there. i'm in south jersey and north jersey is an ok place to lay low while you have tons of fun commuting into NYC. don't bother with philly either. nothing going on there. blues, classic rock and did i mention classic rock bands oh yeah lots of CLASSIC ROCK. fuckin' jersey. atlantic city is a maybe. there are some cool rock/pop bands that play in the casinos (hip bars). contemporary rock stuff that gets the crowd going. the borgata has lots of that. don't bother with boston. heck don't bother with any east coast city. LA is a city where you can weave your way in.

remember and always remember.... you have to bring something to the table that no one else has. i cannot stress that enough. best of luck. keep it real cause i'm keeping it real. Cool
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Joe Choroszewski



Joined: 23 Feb 2006
Posts: 162
Location: New York/New Jersey area

PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2010 9:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll chime in here. My experience is on the New York scene is a bit different than most others'. I knew way before I even went to college that I was going to take the Broadway scene head-on. I was something of a theater geek and I was fascinated by the musicians playing in the pits and the process of orchestrating drum part. Long story short, I'm happy to say that at two-months-shy-of-30, it's working out well. I have a full-time gig at a popular Off-Broadway production, and presently sub on two full-scale Broadway shows outside my regular show. I have worked painfully hard to get here, and I love every minute of it.

That being said...

You should NOT attempt to come here and take on the theater scene unless you are hardcore and absolutely driven to do it. It is a myth that there is enough work for all, and that the scene has space. Thanks to some needless promotion and exposure in magazines and the universities in recent years, we suddenly have a city full of wide-eyed 20-somethings and recent college graduates optimistically thinking the Broadway scene is something they'd like to try. I get a LOT of calls from people hoping to sub. And I don't blame them, nor do I in any way feel a sense of superiority. The day my show eventually closes, I'll be making the same hungry calls they are. The scene is tough right now. People are holding on tight to their gigs. I should also note that there are some heavy people holding down these gigs (for example: Bernard Purdie, Chris Parker, and Buddy Williams, all in recent years). And trust me, the guys you maybe aren't as familiar with are killing, MF'ers.... People like: Clint de Ganon, Perry Cavari, Gary Seligson, Ray Marchica, Warren Odze, Rich Mercurio, etc... Serious, serious players. It's interesting, because I think in previous generations, a lot of drummers would fall into the Broadway scene, after much experience in other corners of the music world. Now, especially since the great studio era is totally dead, it's actually a sought-after vocation. The people who are working are comprised of everyone from jazz guys who need to make some money, to skilled multi-percussionists who have their drumset chops together.

I should mention that I am extremely less involved in other genres. I do minimal club gigs, do not belong to a rock band, and despite holding a Bachelor's in Jazz Performance, haven't played jazz in a few years now.

Why? Survival. I need to make money to keep up at a ridiculous, fast-moving pace. I really don't have time to seek much or any music for fun or personal fulfillment right now. I use all the rest of my time to teach private lessons and practice. I have never independently lived in the NYC boroughs, always outside the city. I use these outside locales to take advantage of teaching in suburbia, absolutely relying on my car. I also like the idea of being able to practice where I live, as opposed to renting a shared practice space. My wife and I just bought a house a full hour outside the city in New Jersey. Starting immediately, I now have a mortgage to pay.

Bottom line, if I wasn't driven to work the Broadway scene....or if the availability of live music jobs on this scene should shrivel up and go away... I wouldn't be breaking myself to live here.

I won't even comment much on the other genres/gigs happening here. I'll just say that: A LOT of people are setting up their own home or rented-space recording studios to focus on virtual/remote sessions, and club gigs with bands (as mentioned above in this thread) are HARDLY paying. SO MANY people here just playing to feed their soul, and either working day-jobs....or getting supported unrealistically and "parentally".

Two cents, in the jar! (sorry if this was skewed too biographical)
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