I often speculate on when I will give up playing music out. I’ve had an amazing run, really: If I manage to drag gigs out for another year, I will have spent 30 years playing bars and restaurants in the South and on the East Coast.
This has always been a hobby thing — my median number of gigs per year is about two dozen, I’d guess, and I’ve had many a year with fewer shows than that — and I just assume that the time will come when this string will play itself out. There is a physical and mental toll that comes with gigging, and those 2 a.m. load-outs after four hours of performing are one whole heck of a lot harder at age 54 than 27. And the summer gig season is coming, where one of the strategies involved with playing involves dehydration avoidance, of all things.
I’m not done yet, though. I’ve already got 20 gigs scheduled into November. My summer is packed. I’ve picked up booking for one of my bands and the gigs are starting to flow in; the other band already is as busy as it wants to be for pretty much the rest of the year. I’m now looking at somewhere north of 40 shows for the year.
There’s no money in this — I play small bars that don’t pay much, and once the expense of travel and owning and maintaining equipment is figured in, I might squeak barely ahead — but there is a lot of fun. And as long as it’s still fun, I’ll still keep playing.