Bob Hempker Wants Your Answers

May 16, 2013

This is Bob Hempker and I’m curious to know what you guys listen to music wise. Usually these newsletters concern themselves with us giving you our opinions and hopefully passing on a little useful information, but this week I’d like to turn it around and ask you some questions.

What is your favorite genre of music to listen to and why?

Are there any particular soloists that you like to listen to, steel guitar or otherwise?

What type of things do you practice when you practice?

What sort of things frustrate you about music and steel guitar?

How long have you been playing and what skill level have you achieved?

Do you play out or do you play strictly at home?

What or who inspired you to take up steel guitar?

If you were only allowed to listen to one steel guitar player for the rest of your life, who would that be?

For you guys who are weekend warriors, how do you juggle a full time job, playing, practicing and keeping a family life?

What kind of equipment do you use and what kind of equipment would you like to add to what you already have?

If you could make any changes to your equipment, what changes would you make?

How do you normally handle it when you’re feeling really burned out?

I personally have taken a couple of sabbaticals from playing during my career. I quit one time for seven years. I have found that when I develop a negative attitude towards playing and the music environment, that’s the best thing for me to do.

When I come back to the music, I’m like a kid with a new toy and I attack it will renewed zeal. I’m not recommending this for anyone else, this is just the way I’ve dealt with it. I’ve often wondered how other people handle it.

I’ve known a few players who had good full time careers outside the music business who put their music on the back burner until they were at a point in life where they didn’t have to take every playing job they could scrounge up, could afford to turn down opportunities to play that didn’t interest them and could pick and choose the playing jobs that they really wanted to do.

I personally have three elements that at least one of them have to be there with a job before I’ll agree to do it. The music for one thing. It has to be a great band playing great music. Or the money has to be super great. Or the people I’m working with or the working conditions have to be really super.

If a single one of these three conditions are met, I don’t play the job. I won’t work and play music I don’t like with players I don’t care to play with for little or no money and the working conditions be sub-par. I stay home and watch TV or do something.

I refuse to put myself thought that sort of torture. Again, this is a personal set of criteria that I use to agree or not agree to play. I don’t recommend it for anyone else, it’s just a simple code of rules I use for myself in judging a gig before I accept or turn it down.

Never forget that playing music is supposed to be fun and enjoyable. When a music gig ceases to be fun and enjoyable, it’s time to start looking at other playing gigs or even day jobs. It’s not worth the hassle staying in an untenable situation.

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