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How important is age in a band?
Old 23rd July 2015 | Show parent
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boombapdame's Avatar

@ Herb I didn't miss your point as ageism is very real and ignorant.
Old 23rd July 2015 | Show parent
It's still a point.
Old 27th July 2015
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Labs's Avatar

Originally Posted by 1AlaskanAssassin View Post
both in our 30's. (...)the lead guitar player I reckon is about 50.
For members of a band that hasn't made any impact, I think the gap between mid 30s members and a member being 50 is much less than the gap from 25 to 30.

I had 4 beers and a sip of my 5th, so I am probably not making any sense...

Old 31st July 2015 | Show parent
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Rev2010's Avatar

As many here have already mentioned, unless the music is heavily image influenced (in which case it's less about the music and more about money and getting laid) I don't think age really matters much. Of course, this is if you all get along and have similar interests and click well. I do a few different things and am currently focused on my metal project. I'm 41 but have been into metal since I was 16. Even back then I thought older dudes playing metal were kickass. When you have someone the same age as your stuffy parents rocking out you can see right there that getting old isn't all boring and lame across the board.

I think for most metalheads it's about the music first and foremost. Look at how much attention the heavy metal monk got and he was over 60. Of course, it's a primarily male genre, but again it's about the music not sexy band members wearing next to nothing. I had a drummer that was 21 when I was 35 or 36. We got along perfectly. Only split because he went off to some college in a different state.

TLDR; so long as you're all getting along and clicking well concentrate on the music and trying to get it heard rather than on the age of your band mates. If the music is good I really doubt the age differences are going to make a difference.

Old 31st July 2015
Gear Head
Reading this thread I could not help but think of the movie "The Rocker".
Old 31st July 2015 | Show parent
matt thomas's Avatar
Originally Posted by Stevie B View Post
Reading this thread I could not help but think of the movie "The Rocker".
Check this one out. Real life Spinal Tap:

Anvil: The Story of Anvil (2008) - IMDb

Old 7th August 2015
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Originally Posted by 1AlaskanAssassin View Post
My roommate's a pro drummer, I'm a singer/sw/guitar and bass player, both in our 30's.

I just joined this band playing bass, a couple weeks after he did, it's 2 guys, the singer/sw is 24, and the lead guitar player I reckon is about 50. They've written about 7 songs and have been playing together for about a year.

So now my roommate and I are playing modern rock with them. They're both good, and it's going well. But I do wonder how much of a problem the older dude's age might be. I feel bad but with how competitive things are, I can't help but wonder if the image would hold us back.

Playing-wise, he is good but he does something a lot of lead guitar players seem to do, which is put themselves before the song, soloing over everything, using lots of delays and not really letting the silence exist in the songs.

Since we've only been playing a month or so, I'm not beating the singer over the head with my opinion, since they've written these songs and we're doing them. But I wonder if it's a sooner-better-than-later situation, if there's going to be a change, might be a lot less drama if we don't yet have an album etc.

What would you guys do?
If he served the songs better, would you keep him in?
Do you think it's a big pitfall having a 50 yr old in your rock band?
Or is it kind of cool? Thanks.

The 50 year old guy is way too old unless it's like a Primus, Grateful Dead, Phish-esque jam band.

The 30's year old guys are too old to make a serious run at musical success as well.

It's just the times we live in... it's all about YOUTH. If you aren't successful by 30 people will wonder what kind of loser you are and why they should be wasting their attention on you. THe social media game has changed everything these kids (especially the rich ones) are coming up now with so many more connections.

The only one who is the right age to be in a band just starting out is the 24 year old singer and even he only has a couple years left to make a serious run at it. If anything, all you guys 30 and older are holding him back if he has any kind of talent/charisma.
Old 21st August 2015
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MrHarryReems's Avatar
I think it really depends on your market and your goals. Like so many others have said, if you're shooting for a particular 'look', then it makes a difference. Otherwise, the only thing that should matter is fit. My last band had an age range from 28-64. Personally, I prefer playing with older players, as they tend to have their act together, show up on time, knowing their parts, ready to play.
Old 11th September 2015 | Show parent
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JADOS's Avatar
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
I'm honestly surprised.
I think if you have an edge in another regard, age might be irrelevant. Like if you are a Seasick Steve type artist, or a Susan Boyle.
If you are only as good as your contemporaries though, the better looking, younger ones might have an edge over you.
I don't think image only impacts the teeny band market. It's like Hollywood and television, there is still a pressure to look good in most areas of entertainment.
if nothing else, i would think that one could try pulling a 'daft punk/slipknot' (face-concealing masks or helmets) which might help to get you into certain circles of music genres ? (because lets face it, not everyone who has musical talent/skills, can have a pretty face.)
Old 19th September 2015 | Show parent
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KRStudio's Avatar

I was coaching a metal band that were all older when they asked if age was a problem for them. Not when you are good. They got signed once we started shopping them around. Look up Benedictum. The vocalist and guitarist were nearly 50 when they got signed. Another band I was shopping got great offers from Sony and Virgin and the drummer was 49, the rest of the guys only 30s. Unfortunately the band broke up during contract negotiations. The young guys got stupid.

Last edited by KRStudio; 24th September 2015 at 06:21 PM..
Old 24th September 2015
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lame pseudonym's Avatar

It is kind of creepy when there's one old guy in a band. That's why I don't pursue being in a band any more. I'd be the creepy old guy in the band unless I was in a whole band of pathetic old guys with beards and black T-shirts playing white people blues.

If I ever get tangled up in that you have my permission to kill me, and you never will because I never will.
Old 24th September 2015
I wonder if the band still exists, and if it does if the "old guy" is still in the band.
Old 24th September 2015
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Certain pop music - the thought of old or middle aged people doing it, it's either weird or awkwardly nostalgic (with few exceptions of course).

But, with good music, if the performer is sincere, expressive and competent, age is never a factor. Look at Wayne Shorter - he's past 80 and still killing it, and Herbie is almost 80, and he is as well...
Old 24th September 2015
I know guys who are in their late 20s but look like they're in their late 40s. Age is one thing. Image is another. Sometimes they meet.
Old 30th September 2015
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The issues described are musical issues, not age issues. People of any age in any band could have the exact same issues.

Issues about age I'd say are different but could be a factor if people are missing practices due to age-related issues. But again, that could still happen to almost anybody of any age. So I don't think age is a factor.
The ability to communicate and share ideas without backbiting and quarreling is the most important factor.
Old 24th April 2017
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1AlaskanAssassin's Avatar
Just wanted to say thanks for all the opinions! Lots of perfectly valid viewpoints.
@ theblue1 thanks for everything you said, and I didn't know who Richard Hell was, I like it!

It's good to hear that a lot of people feel it's more about quality. As a listener, if a song makes the hair on my arms stand up, I couldn't care less about their ages.

Although whenever I hear people giving anecdotal evidence of bands "still" playing into their older age, I always think "yeah but they were like 20 when they got signed."

Then again I grew up in the 90's when labels still controlled the very small table of artists that were visible. Now that that all seems to have been turned on its head, and there really doesn't seem to be any "artist development" long-term or even medium-term thinking at the labels, I do wonder how much it matters now.

I think it used to matter so much because of the time and money investment the label put in. a 20 year old would be a 30 year return on investment (springsteen is a good example), whereas a 40 year old would only have maybe 10 years, not even enough time to build up, unless it's a 1-hit wonder.

But if I'm a label and I'm not interested in long term development, I'm going after the best songs period. I'm a much better songwriter now, than I was at 20, and I wrote and released a 13-song CD at 19, and had label interest, just as the labels were dealing with the first wave of Napster-denial.

We are still playing, and we are all still in the band, we're on Pandora and it's going alright locally (L.A.) but can't seem to get any national traction.
Everyone wants you to become successful on your own first, at which point they'll happily swoop down and try to get in the middle.
Old 29th April 2017
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BarcelonaMusic's Avatar

It`s REALLY important to the young guys if you`re old, and vice versa. I`m 42 and probably considered old by general band status. On the other hand, if someone is 22, I`m MUCH wiser and not going to be able to deal with the punk. I don`t see any bands that have huge age dependencies, and I`m sure that`s the reason. All young or all older.
Old 29th April 2017
If the band is a band intent on being musicians, playing music for the sake of playing music, age does not matter. I was in my fifties with 3 early twenty something and all we wanted to do was play, practice and have fun doing it. Age did not really matter on stage but off I think the kids appreciated someone more established. Of course the audience were deadheads. Some of them are older than I am.

That was 13 years ago. I still occasionally play with those guys at the reunions, but at 35 now those kids are too old to be pop stars, which was never their goal. All they want to do is be able to be semi homeless and play music all night and record all day. There is no age limit to true musicians.

I just did a reunion with some other kids who were early recording victims. I dubbed it MOHAWKS to ManBuns. LOL
Old 29th April 2017
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GeminIAm's Avatar
In my experience playing with older people it's less about imagine (some old guys are cool, some young guys are boring) and ability but more about where you are in life and what your goals are.

Most older guys do a bit of music on the side and lack that hunger to make it which can cause friction. Also people, generally, tend to get on best with people their own age which helps the "bonding process" a band needs.
Old 29th April 2017 | Show parent
Deleted c205829
Best bet is to stick some kind of futuristic looking animal helmet on the old dudes in the band and make them wear body suits (with gloves). They can even go to the after party as long as they keep the costume on.
Old 29th April 2017 | Show parent
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kafka's Avatar
Originally Posted by Deleted c205829 View Post
Best bet is to stick some kind of futuristic looking animal helmet on the old dudes in the band and make them wear body suits (with gloves). They can even go to the after party as long as they keep the costume on.
I'm going to stick with the 'fat old guy in the Hawaiian shirt' look. `Cause I have nothing against 47 yo groupies if they have nothing against me.

47 yo groupies, btw, don't have sex with you. They just, I don't know, I guess go home when the gig is done. I'm not sure, actually. I was really tired. It was way past my bedtime anyway.
Old 1st May 2017
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boombapdame's Avatar

@ philsaudio what is an early recording victim?
Old 1st May 2017
I turned up to audition for this band as their drummer and as I was unloading one of the young lads asked where the drummer was.

I didn't get the gig.
Old 2nd May 2017 | Show parent
Originally Posted by boombapdame View Post
@ philsaudio what is an early recording victim?
People who you earn your recording chops recording I guess. Those particular kids with the mowhawks were 14-16 YO kids of some of my friends. They learned how to record with me. I lose track of time, that was 17 years ago. Now at least 2 of them have gone on to record with their new bands and one is making his own recordings at home with his screaming kiddies in the background.
Old 2nd May 2017
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jaxman12's Avatar
This is a good thread. I am a musician / producer that does not gig regularly. Instead I will put together a group or band for special events. I have good skills for putting together successful events. I am also 65 years old but people tell me that I look like I am in my 50's. My main focus when putting together a group is to put on a show that is "Jaw Dropping" good. The music is exciting, the vocals are excellent, and the mix and performance is on a professional level.

I am in the middle of rehearsals with a band. All are in their 40's except for me. Most gig regularly playing mostly 80's music. However, they all have their faults. The drummer has a chronic problem keeping a beat, even with a click track going, he can get off beat.

The piano player can play any sheet music you put down in front of him, but there are some songs where there is no sheet music available. Upon questioning him, he has no idea about how to read chords. When asked if he could just memorize the few chords within the piece and repeat them, his reply was that he is awful at memorizing. That if he tries to memorize and then perform, he will mess it up every time. If his parts are not written out, he cannot play them.

The guitarist plays by ear only. He doesn't read music and he cannot play by a chord chart. I have never met a guitarist who could not read a chord chart.

The lead vocalist brought in an effects box that he uses. His voice was masked so badly with overly processed effects that I could not hear what was really going on with his voice. I told him that he needed to turn off the vocal effects box so that I could here what his voice sounded like raw. The problems with his voice were that he was going out of tune and when going to the higher notes, (which really weren't that high), his voice would sound pinched and strained. I coached him and the other backup singers in the group on vocal training exercises and how to overcome the problems he was experienced and he got pissed. Didn't say anything till after the rehearsal, but them apologized for his attitude. He also was offered a contract when he was in his early 20's from a record label but decided to take a different career path.

To me age is not as bad a difference as is how good a musician you are and if you can gel with the other musicians and make exceptional music. Good skills, attitude, willing to work and practice, learn your parts, reliability. In the end it is the final, end result. If a group can put on a performance that is "Jaw Dropping Good", that is what I care about. The age to me doesn't matter.

As to the question about age difference about an after show party. I don't drink of do drugs so I would not stay for that. Don't need the acceptance or camaraderie. Just the satisfaction that comes with putting on an exceptional show.

Last edited by jaxman12; 2nd May 2017 at 05:48 PM..
Old 19th May 2017 | Show parent
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Originally Posted by lame pseudonym View Post
It is kind of creepy when there's one old guy in a band. That's why I don't pursue being in a band any more.
A student of mine (age 21) recruited me to play a gig with her band. She was always having trouble getting drummers. The rest of the band was 21-25. I am in my 60's. Musically, it worked out great, I had a blast and I was even invited to the after-party.

Nevertheless, if the band had continued on seriously, I would have insisted she find an age-appropriate drummer. I did not feel 'creepy' but certainly image-wise, it would be holding the band back. You can make sympathetic noises about "ageism", but the reality is that image counts.

Even with such a distinguished-looking Silver Fox such as myself.
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