coppershow2.jpgWENT OUT TO SEE MY BROTHER’S BAND, COPPER, OPEN FOR SHINE DOWN at the Tennessee Theater last night.

It was a good show, and they played to a packed house, most of whom seemed to know the lyrics to their songs well enough to sing along.

Copper has been on the brink of record deals for a while, talking with a bunch of big labels.

I hope they’ll manage to bring one of them off. They’ve certainly paid their dues, touring all over the country and playing lots of places.

But I think that rock is a shrinking sector within a shrinking industry, which makes it pretty hard.

One of the popular stereotypes of musicians is that they’re lazy. The fact is that the average halfway decent guitarist or drummer or bass player has put in thousands and thousands of hours of work to get good enough to play live with some degree of ability. (Of course, by dedicating so much time to that, they sometimes let other things slip, which may be what gives them the reputation for laziness.)

It’s a hard life, and the source of lots of jokes — “What’s the difference between a musician and a large pepperoni pizza? The pizza can feed a family of four.” — but what’s amazing is how many people give it a go anyway. Most don’t get as close to making it big as my brother has, and yet even those who get signed by big record labels usually don’t make all that much money, really. A few get pretty rich, but most, even among those with record contracts, don’t make enough money to justify all the time and effort they put into it.

Is this because people are irrationally optimistic about their own prospects?

Or is it because they enjoy the process enough that it’s worthwhile even when the likely payoff is small?

I think the answer is both.