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'808' documentary pays tribute to disruptive drum machine

Discussion in 'Composing / Producing / Arranging' started by audiokid, Oct 22, 2015.

  1. audiokid

    audiokid Staff


    The Podcast on this episode is cool too.


    I bought one of these in 1981, put together a techno pop band, programmed enough pop songs to play a full night and within 2 weeks after contacting one of the most powerful booking agents in Canada, we were booked solid for 6 nights a week, 47 weeks a year, 18 month in advance for 18 years until I retired and started this site, Recording Org.

    Some might think that wasn't that big a deal (being in a tech band from the 80's) but I'm pretty grateful to come from that era who made a living through it all because it paved the road to DAW technology today. Everything I use today is all from that generation. DAW's are simply samplers on steroids.

    I know many recordist shun the generation and music who embraced drum machines and samplers. I used samplers back then to create cool sounds and effects because there wasn't loops sold. Sampler were simply put, DAW's in their infancy. We were the generation creating, not stealing. ,
    I still use samplers to create / sound design. .

    For those who are interested in what its all about, it was a really fun time.
    There is a new documentary coming called "808" Here is the Trailer .

    kmetal likes this.
  2. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    That's one hell of a run Chris!!!!! damn that's a lot of shows.
  3. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Very similar to my background. From 1980 until 2000, I worked an average of 5 nights a week, sometimes as many as 7 nights ( not including sometimes working two gigs in the same day), but never less than 4 days a week, and that didn't count me working as an engineer in the daytime.

    For all of us, this was our job. I paid rent, mortgages, bought cars, motorcycles, boats; bought gear, kept the lights burning and the heat/AC on at home, and put food on the table - all from being a musician. I laugh these days when I hear some kid yippin' and complaining about being tired after playing two gigs in a row. They have no idea. LOL - I used to do sessions in the day and then leave at 6 or 7 to be at the gig by 8 or 9, then play from 10-2... and then get up the next morning and do it Allllll over again.
    There was no "getting sick"... well, plenty of us did get sick from time to time, but we still had to do the shows. If you couldn't find a sub for the night, you knuckled down and did the gig - because if you didn't, you were putting 3 or 4 of your buddies out of work for that night, and that was unacceptable. Taking a night off without getting yourself a GOOD sub was verboten. It wasn't even discussed as being an option.

    We'd also take three months out of the year and hit the road, playing all over the United States and Ontario, Canada; usually playing 6 nights a week.
    God may have rested on the 7th day, but we didn't. That day was for travel, doing laundry and grocery shopping ( not necessarily in that order... LOL .)

    We used to have band meetings every first week of January or so, where we would decide which weeks we collectively wanted off in the coming year ( usually 2 weeks but never back to back) so that our agent(s) would know what NOT to book.

    It was crazy. That 20 year span is a blur ... of stages, studio control rooms, hotel/motel rooms and tour buses. I have absolutely no idea of how many gigs or sessions I did - I did once attempt to count them, but it made my brain hurt so I stopped...
    audiokid and kmetal like this.
  4. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Well, I counted the hours and it was over 20,000. And the hotels and clubs, I used be able to count them all, and remember everything about them and the friends I met along the way. Its a past blur.

    Your post experience was exact to mine. We obviously know the road life and what its like to be a professional musician from one of the best decade to be a musician.

    My first gig, I remember it so well. Looking out at the crowd and thinking, WOW... I'm getting paid to play my guitar. What rush.

    Oh ya... , nothing worse than having to sing with a flue or bad cold. And people who complain that they get tired after 24 performances on the road, ^#$%ing wimps!
    I was so polished that I noticed how 2 days off effected my chops. So into the music and living on the rush of the last days performance, and trying to do better on the next on coming.

    Sundays, yup. Laundry, smoking doobies, listening to tunes without a worry and traveling to the next gig.
    Then reality hit, you arrive and are wondering what the rooms are going to be like. And so it goes...

    Warming up my vocals an hour before show time, riding down the elevator with my guitar over my shoulder proud of being a musician who had a "real job", playing his instrument.

    Poor guys today, I've seen bands playing for nothing now. They play for free just to get the exposure. Crap bars with hardly any people. Shitty sound. Brutal now.
    Back in my day, the clubs were full night after night. And girls were fun and interested in me. Not like today where I'm doing a day gig and I'm just another guy lol.
    But Its fun having that attitude that only comes from having the balls to stand up in front of people and play. You can't buy talent or balls lol.
    Sound familiar Donny ? :)

    ah..., all those stories and memories. As I got better I started choosing where I wanted to play. Had the best times fishing and hanging with people I looked forward seeing.

    Technology has been really good for me. Its allowed me to become a master at my passion. To be able to make a living doing what I love is something I never take for granted. I'm so grateful.

    I hope it gets better for the new generations. We have a new prime minister with a vision. The future looks good again.
    kmetal likes this.
  5. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Oh yeah... even on a Tuesday or Wednesday, always a great crowd. People came out to hear good bands; and the next night they brought their friends, and so on, and so on.

    I remember playing a gig in Timmins, Ontario; it was in an old hotel, ( The Empire, I think )the club was on the first floor and our rooms were on the third - and one night after a show, I was up in my room and I heard a tapping at my window, I went over and opened it up and a girl had climbed the fire escape up to the third floor. I let her in, and she said "Oh my God I can't believe I got the right room, eh? You're Donny!" I said, "It's nice to meet you, but you know you could have just as easily used the elevator and knocked on my door..." LOL.

    In 1985, 86, 87, I was making an average of $700 per week as a musician.

    In today's numbers, that's almost $1600 per week - as a musician! At a time when average rent was $300-400 per month ( and that was for a really nice apartment, too ), and a payment on a NEW car was around $150 per month, with gas at around $1.00 per gallon, that $750 per week ($3000 per month) was more than enough to cover all the bills and still allow us enough left over to buy gear, take vacations, etc.

    Not that it would matter much now, even if there were still places to play for that same money these days - I'm too old now to be touring in a club band and handling the rigors of the road, and besides, no one wants to see a 50-something guy up on stage playing in a hi-energy band. LOL - I can say with 100% confidence that there wouldn't be any young, pretty girls climbing up any fire escapes to see me anymore.

    It's a young man's game, it always has been, really. But these days, it seems like live music has been devaluated. No one seems to really care all that much about it anymore.

    But Oh yes and my-oh-my ... there was a time. And we did it, didn't we, Chris? ;)

    We were very fortunate to have once played active parts in the best time for live music, and members of the best generation to have been working musicians.

    kmetal likes this.
  6. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

    Go you rock star...lol

    -where were her 3 friends following her up the fire escape???
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