Earn Money Playing Music?

Since about the early 1980’s, my hometown of Chapel Hill has been considered one of the most vibrant indie music scenes in the world. Ever since I can remember, there has been an attitude here that musicians shouldn’t play music to earn money. I think this attitude is grossly wrong.

My trio had a gig last night. All night long a drunken hipster made loud comments to the band – all in good fun, I suppose. After we finished playing, he gave me the “Chapel Hill Lecture” that I’ve heard so many times before: music should be played with friends hanging out together, and never for (the purpose of earning) money.

I’m so tired of hearing this, I could just scream. I suppose the thinking is that when money enters the equation, an artist will compromise his art in a way that will make it more profitable, and less meaningful or true to his artistic vision. In reality, it becomes a self-righteous badge for those musicians who would rather sit around on their ass than try to find gigs. It also works well for those clubs who are not interested in paying any money to the bands.

Just ask any of the following revolutionary musicians who PLAYED MUSIC FOR MONEY:
J. S. Bach
Miles Davis
John Coltrane
The Beatles
Yes
Leonard Bernstein
Big John Patton
Larry Young
et cetera.

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