Kids grow up wanting to be in a band. They always have done, since music became a contemporary way of life, and they always will do. The reasons are obvious, too. Who wouldn’t want to become successful in a world where there is the potential for a party every night, or where thousands of people are screaming in appreciation of your skills.
Being a top musician, or having any job in the entertainment industry, means that your life consists of you being paid – sometimes very well, sometimes not so – to enjoy yourself. Not bad work, if you can get it, in a world where millions are miserable and stuck in the ‘rat race,’ going to their job on a daily basis, promising to themselves that they will change their lives, but never doing anything about it.
For me, though, it was never about the adulation, or the fame, or having myself plastered all over MTV. Being a session musician has always held far greater appeal that actually being front and centre of a band itself.
This is why.
Always at Work
Don’t get me wrong, being in a band is clearly a great gig – literally – but those who talk about the ‘price of fame’ aren’t just making it up. I’ve seen what those guys go through, and having people rush up to you with pieces of paper and magazines, and feeling like you have to sign everyone lest people take to Twitter and call you everything under the sun is not something that is particularly appealing to me, nor has it ever been.
I earn well enough and have everything I always wanted out of life. The difference is I can walk through an airport and no one has a clue who I am; just the way I like it.
The Way I’m Viewed
I’ve never felt comfortable with people feeling star struck around me. Admittedly, it has only happened on the odd occasion when an album recording had an invited audience, but afterwards I was the one leading the conversation!
For the most part, however, I’m just me, and people in those situations recognize that I’m just a normal person, not too different from them, and embrace me as such. I like to think that I haven’t got a lot of airs and graces and that I carry myself well, but I try to let other people be the judge of that.
If a band has a particular track or guitar riff on an album and people think it is rubbish, I don’t get any grief for it. Is there the feeling that I’m missing out when a record is critically acclaimed and goes multi-platinum around the world? In all honesty, there isn’t.
I do what I do out of love for music, not because I want to be the face of a generation. No, I don’t get the credit I maybe deserve, but at the same time I don’t have to face awkward questions or criticism, and calls for me to give up my profession.
For me, being a session musician beats lead guitar in a huge band any day of the week.
Karl is an online content writer and session guitarist, despite never having had a guitar lesson in his life. Karl has played guitar with a number of notable artists in studios across London.