I'm a musician. Not a particularly 'cool' one, like those dudes who get up at the crack of noon and embrace the holy trinity of rock stardom: sex, drugs and rock & roll. I'm up at 4:30 am. I hustle. I move fast. I like to make a legitimate buck. By rock and roll standards, I am everything that is uncool.
Indulge me while I toot my own horn for a bit. I've just finished three albums in the last year; one with Jeff Daniels, the acclaimed actor/singer/songwriter, along with two albums with my band, The Verve Pipe. I finished a book this week as well. Writing, not reading, thank you. I play house concerts, about 75 per year on average, while also doing rock shows with the band. The Verve Pipe does children's music as well. (How uncool is that?) Our kid's shows bring out more kids than the adult shows bring out adults. I'm writing a musical. I'm producing a TV show.
Why? Let me answer that with a question for you: When was the last time you went into a record store and bought a CD?
But lack of CD sales is not the only reason. I love to work. I love to create. I love the process.
It's been said, streaming music is killing musicians income, and don't I know it! Our hit song "The Freshmen" was streamed 4 million times in one quarter. I received a payment of $200 for that.
That was the excuse I needed to step it up, to work as much as possible, to create, perform, expand my brand. To do what I love. To do what I was born to do.
Retirement for me will go something like this: About the age of 72, my agent will call me and ask me to play or speak somewhere, and I'll say, "Hmmm..that wasn't an enjoyable experience the last time I played there. No thanks." I'll hang up the phone, and wait for the call requesting my presence at an event that I very much enjoyed last time.
Until then, I'll probably take every gig. That will make not taking the gig (in retirement) all the more sweet.
But stop writing, recording, performing, speaking? Never.
If you love what you do, why would ever stop doing it? That's not a rhetorical question. Share your retirement plans, thoughts, critiques in the comments below.
Ok, back to work.
You can stream all of Brian's music on his website for free. You can also send him into earlier retirement by purchasing a signed CD for you or a friend. Don't make him take the crappy gigs until his 72nd birthday. www.brianvanderark.com.