I went to a wedding in California a few months ago. There was a live band there called Larry Lynch and the Mob.
Now, I’ve worked as a professional musician for 18 years. I’m afraid those years wore down my affection for live music. I’m not saying that’s good, I’m just being honest. My fiance refuses to bring me to live music events anymore. I’m a real drag. If everything isn’t in tune, or in the pocket, or if the sound sucks, or whatever it is – I know I turn into a really lousy date. So when we walked into the reception and a live band was on stage, my fiance gave me her “please don’t do that thing you do” look.
But, man, this band killed it. The pocket was locked up tight. The vocals were great. They could play anything. The dance floor exploded and people danced for hours and hours. Including me! We want to hire them for our wedding, too. They were really great.
So I asked Larry for an interview.
One thing you should know that Larry doesn’t mention below: Larry was the drummer on the song Jeopardy, which hit Billboard’s top ten in 1983.
MW: When did you start playing music, and when did you realize it was something you wanted to do professionally?
I started playing music when I was 14 years old. That’s when I bought my first set of drums.
I realized I wanted to start doing it professionally when I was 6 years old. I thought Elvis was the most amazing performer and I just thought that was the only thing to aspire to (and I thought that everyone would want to do that).
I am totally self taught, I would play for hours everyday to my record collection in the bedroom.
Music has impacted my life so much, I made it my career for about 20 years (solely) and it’s still an important part of my life and it is still a very substantial part of my income. I now have my own second business (carpet and upholstery cleaning) to augment my income to prepare for my future years.
Briefly describe your career today. What kinds of work do you do to make a living?
I am currently the band leader to my band “Larry Lynch and the Mob” and I have had this band going for 28 years and counting (www.Larrylynchandthemob.com) – We mainly play weddings on the weekends.
I also have a carpet and upholstery cleaning business (www.Larry’s-extremeclean.com) It has been extremely successful also.
How do you find work as a musician?
The way I find work as a musician is: put together a great looking website, to be very personable and accommodating to my clients by delivering great customer service (learn specific songs, work with their timeline, responding to their e-mails and phone calls promptly, being on time, dressing properly, etc.) One of the best advantages for us, is we offer clients to come see our band play live at our studio. It serves as two terrific ways to secure the wedding date. One, you find out and play the songs they would like to hear you play live. And two, it allows them to meet you and the band and see how responsible you are and it also allows them to ask you questions about the specifics of their wedding. It’s also helpful to contact all the booking agencies in your area and send them any promo you may have. And follow up, don’t give up. Be willing to play for exposure and the opportunity to establish your act and the money will follow -
What skills are necessary to be successful at your job (or jobs)?
The skills necessary to be successful at your job (many are listed above) are to be reliable, on time, communicative, courteous, playing at a comfortable volume, dressing properly, not to drink alcoholic beverages, finding out the songs in advance they would like to hear (we encourage our clients to look over our song list on our website and send us a list of the songs they would like us to play), taking our breaks at the appropriate times according to their timeline, such as during cake cutting, toasts/speeches, etc. Also it is important to not take too much time in between song selections – it keeps the momentum of the party going, and look like you’re enjoying yourself (smile) and encourage audience participation.
Put the customer first and let them know your priority is to provide them the best entertainment that will be the highlight of their event. Remember, this is about them and their special day, not about you. Your job is to focus on giving them the best of your ability.
Finally, do you have any advice for younger musicians aspiring to be professionals?
To all aspiring musicians I would give this advice: If you love playing and entertaining, then never give up. The secret is to keep going (persevere), but only if you love what you do. There will always be challenges and disappointments but to be a good musician, nothing comes easy especially if you’re not enjoying it. So make sure it’s what you really want to do. Music not only brings joy, it keeps you young.