How I Survived Not Making Any Money in the Music Industry

Looking Back with Horror at 20 Years of Crummy Side Jobs

Comments

1
"If this is about money..." Ouch!

Thee Oh Sees rule earth. I hope for my own selfish reasons I can see you play in small clubs for just a while longer.
2
artists often seem to start out with the shittiest, weirdest, most awkward jobs. often with condescending miserable assholes breathing down their necks wondering why their weirdo coworker/employee doesn't 'get with the program'. some say this suffering is good for artists, I wonder if it just sucks the soul dry and depletes confidence & self worth. You need those things to make good art & music
3
Lucky for you daddy is a doctor and can bail your dumb white ass out.
4
"...tangy microwaved diaper." GAH! I can taste it! Rock On, Lars and co.
5
As a working musician I love having a day job. Although I could hustle gigs and pay my way, my side job means I can focus on the music I truly love without sacrificing my integrity.
6
#3 - True, hey? I was wondering how this useless tit could possibly afford to attend the Art Institute, but the fact that daddy is a doctor says it all.. I had looked into attending the Art Institute for the same program here in Canada. It was around $50k a year, just for tuition and materials, let alone living expenses in a city near Vancouver, BC. I kid you not.

But more than that, how is this guy so devoid of working skills even after going through post-secondary school that he gets jobs that should be for 16-year olds? Honestly I make a great living in sales in the I.T. field with a high school education and some brains. I'm also a musician.. it reall just takes brains and sense.
7
I mean the article was funny and all, but really it mostly just makes me shake my head..
8
...And the irony of the band name and the 'genius award' just hit me...
9
This is a brilliantly written piece. Also, one of the most hilarious articles I have encountered in a long time, thank you.
10
@6, @7, & @9: I can relate!

Great article, Lars! I pray your music career takes off like a lear jet!

After an embarrassing number of shitty jobs that never earned me anything while I was in school (what IS it about AIS? And WHY do they laugh at you if you work at Kinko's?), or even after I graduated, some with the crappiest hours, criminally insane health hazards, and mostly mismanaged by white-slavers (why do I picture Bad Bosses here?) I finally said fuck it, and reactivated my Washington State UBI. I haven't filled out a job application anywhere since.

I still don't earn a ton of money, but I'm at least happily my own boss, putting my degree in music to work.
11
@ 6 "Honestly I make a great living in sales in the I.T. field...and I'm also a musician."

Why are (most) Canadians so fucking dickish? HEY? (I say *most* because there are a few like Alden Penner and Lorne Greene and Alex Trebec that are all right.)
12
@6: "Honestly I make a great living in sales in the I.T. field...and I'm also a musician."

What a fucking TOOL you sound like! *WOW* your skills as a musician must really be top notch and culture changing since your job is to sit at a computer all day AND NO ONE HAS EVER HEARD OF YOU. This article is hilarious and clearly self-deprecating (which you obviously missed) and Lars has made more people happy all over the world with his awesome music than your bitter ass ever will by tinkering on people's hard drives or whatever.
13
@6: "Honestly I make a great living in sales in the I.T. field...and I'm also a musician."

What a fucking TOOL you sound like! *WOW* your skills as a musician must really be top notch and culture changing since your job is to sit at a computer all day AND NO ONE HAS EVER HEARD OF YOU. This article is hilarious and clearly self-deprecating (which you obviously missed) and Lars has made more people happy all over the world with his awesome music than your bitter ass ever will by tinkering on people's hard drives or whatever.
14
I'm a musician and I got past school as they didn't want me hanging around in the bathroom doing drugs anymore so they graduated me with failing grades.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yNYLWe5O4…
Seems my French video is the most loved and I rather be French and Fried then on American Idol.
15
What would the shit-jobs industry be without the help of AIS (and other for-profit "schools") to put graduates into working poverty? I can hardly imagine how much worse it is in this economy.
16
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NPYQPPUca…

I love this one though! it all comes together and sets the top spinning like a spinning top.
17
@15: Ever notice those "for profit" schools boast an entirely fictional "90 % job placement" statement to lure incoming students?
18
this is brilliant and i love you.
19
funny stuff. made me giggle. thank you!
20
@17
You've almost got it right. A goodly number of these 'for-profit' school mills claim such high job placement rates not out of prevarication, per se, but by hiring recent grads. These same institutions then chew them up and spit them out after a year, and move on to the next graduating crop. Sow, grow, harvest, repeat.

"See?" They say, "Look at our job placement numbers!" Next time you hear something along those lines just ask how many current employees (and interns) at this 'for-profit' school are comprised of last year's graduates. (The school rep will appear as if they've been clocked along the side of their head by a 2x4.) When the dust settles, ask them about staff and faculty turnover rates. Very telling.
21
@17: Ah. You're right. Thank you for the correction, Laurence.
I did notice high staff and faculty turnover rates at AIS. Financial Aid advisors there weren't very helpful either about explaining the dire consequences of compounded high interest rates and defaulting in the student loan process. Interesting architecture, too, for an institution offering careers in the art fields. Is it just me, or does the building resemble a prison more than a school?

I'm glad to have at least learned a valuable lesson, however harsh. When finishing what I'd started eons ago, I earned my BA of Music from a creditable 4-year university on grants, work-study jobs, and other resources not requiring any repayment. When filling out my FAFSA forms at the box asking if I 'would be interested in taking out a student loan', I marked NO. I'm thanking God and everyone else that I don't owe a dime now.

I can't believe students today are paying so much more for so much less now! If my parents weren't still alive to bail me out at AIS, I'd probably be homeless.
22
A funny and well written article, but also sad -- this was billed on the cover as the article about "How To Make A Living" in the Rock-and-Roll Survival Guide...amusing, but the idea of going to art school and working shitty jobs for 20 years isn't really an inspiring story.
23
I would so much rather sing in my car than do these jobs and play music for 100 people.
I'm a music teacher and I still get the benefit of music in my life. Maybe something other musicians should think about when they're working at Chuck-E-Cheese.
24
@23 SaraJean: Good for you! I'm a composer & musician who teaches too (offers lessons in my home, or in practice rooms at the local university).

While not earning a lot of money, I love being able to put my passion to work, and give back to the community. I agree: running a register at Wal*Mart or bagging fries at McDonald's doesn't cut it for me, either. Those that really love and excel at that line of work are remarkable individuals, but I'd rather have fun. Life's too short to be miserable.
25
"the red sea of brake lights ahead of me on the freeway."

this is los angeles.
that's all you need to know.
26
Brilliant. Shit jobs build character and gift you with a vast reserve of suffering to make art with.

I kinda feel bad for some of these kids that went to university straight out of high school, coasted on student loans and/or parents money and managed to land a job in their field right after graduating. Having worked in the food service/retail industry I can tell pretty quick whether a person has ever had to demean themselves for a paycheck. Makes you a less shitty person.