Today someone made a comment regarding, a fellow musician. They referred to this person as a “real” musician. I thought to myself, mmm…. what does this genuinely mean, being called “real”. In all my years of playing and hanging around with these eccentric, cool cats (I looked up “musician” in the thesaurus and cool cat was used as a synonym), I had never, ever heard anyone refer to a musician in this way.
I was bewildered and began to ponder, and ask myself, who are the fake cool cats and which are “real”? How can one be distinguished from the other? I must have overlooked something. I was fooled for all these years. My god, the wool must have been pulled over my eyes! I had never given it much thought, before this. In fact, I never gave it any thought, until today.
Most of these hep cats, that I have known or been acquainted with, haven’t exactly been able to make a living playing their instrument of choice. The only ones, that succeeded, I can count on my one hand. If a “real” musician means giving up your day job, then I must have known nothing more than bogus ones. The only “real” ones, that I knew were Bryan Adams, and James Keelaghan (James only became “real” in last 5 years or so). I also knew a guitar player named Brian Russell, who’s claim to fame, is that he never had to work a day job in his life. The last time I saw him, he was Roger Whittaker’s, lead guitarist. Don’t laugh; he was paid the biggest bucks that you can only dream of, for that gig. He would go out for a few months and not have to work the rest of the year. One of the best guitar players(who will go unnamed)that I ever heard in my life, had never been on a stage or made any money at it. The fact that he had never made a cent doesn’t mean that he is bogus. To me, he was one of the most “unreal” musicians” I have ever heard.
I have contemplated this, and have come up with a definitive answer. What I really feel that a “real” musician is, no matter what your day job might be, is this. All it means is that you have a passion for the music that you are playing or writing. It is a part of who you are, it is in your soul, and you are able feel it in your gut. It doesn’t matter if you are still poor. Money has nothing to do with being a so-called “real” musician or not. In fact, if you ask any famous ones, why they began playing an instrument, money won’t be mentioned. I feel the only thing that differentiates us all, is if we are able to be a full time working musician or not. Most cool cats out there will never achieve that in their lifetime, which doesn’t in anyway make them any less worthy, or “real”.