I’m Not The Only One

Never thought I was the only one but busking is a funny experience. You have to pick yourself up by the scruff of your own neck and drag your stuff out there, not asking permission and Do it.

I never considered myself part of a community. Never belonged to a support group. My experience has been in bands and part of playing in a band is an “us against the world” mentality.

It’s always nice to find people who think like you do. Its even better when you can respect and admire what they do. The icing on the cake is learning from them while maintaining your own unique orientation. And so it is with this awesome group from SF called Clangin’ & Bangin’

I subscribe to a “music business insiders” newsletter called TheLefsetzLetter. It has lots valuable insights into the music biz and the world of music as a business which has lost its soul.

The Clangin’ & Bangin’ guys gave a thoughtful response to one of the articles in the newsletter. I contacted one of the guys and asked if I could reprint his response as it was so refreshing to find a kindred spirit.

A drummer friend and I were frustrated with all these issues being discussed and decided to do something about it. We’ve been in bands for a few years, played bars, decent venues, small festivals, etc. But definitely no $ or major recognition.

So over the last year we’ve been dragging an upright piano and drum kit all around the Bay Area. We started playing on the streets for free, in winter, (with hand warmers!) and it has led to all kinds of gigs. We still play on the street often, but those initial gigs led to private parties, MLB baseball games, NPR recognition, and actual paid gigs. Our drummer quit his job a few months ago and has subsisted on playing gigs ever since. Granted, he does have some loans and grants for music school, but he makes more money playing music than in his previous jobs. His classmates can’t believe how many gigs he plays. But they weren’t handed to us. If you put yourself out there you never know what can happen.


-Kirby Lee Hammel

Well said. And kudos to anyone who pushes a piano out into the street to play.

I promise to never bitch about lugging my drums ever again.



Author: Ian

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