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Bob Elliott
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Bob Elliott

9/16/2009 12:50:31 AM

Portrait of the Artist and the Day Job
couple thoughts on artists and day jobs. Not going into how much they eat up the time for the art, we all know that. But thinking about what happens when the artist becomes good at their day job? What if they even add their artist soul to it? Probably artists are frequently good at the day job. Have they now entered into a sticky web? Would they have been better off to suck and be miserable at the day job so that it wouldn't take any of their artist soul?

I don't know. I'm kind of good at my day job, and so I continue with it year by year until years become decades.


On the other side, I feel like if you have paid the price of the day job, shouldn't you view yourself as a free soul as an artist? I mean, in some ways, shouldn't the artists with the day jobs be the more radical of artists I don't have to toe any lines if my bills are already paid. I can be as experimental as I feel like, and I do it completely from the need to do art, from freedom.

Yet, so much of the music made by the day job crowd seems to be so completely conventional, almost hyper-conventional.

I don't have any particular point... just stuff I've been thinking about. The second thought is one of my favorite thoughts> I like to remind myself that I bought myself artistic freedom by paying my bills another way. I don't have to do any particular thing about my music. I just can seek out what it is I feel would fascinate me.

And all in all, I do really dig that aspect of the day job.

But I'd drop it in a second ...


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Noah Spaceship

9/16/2009 1:38:58 AM


I think your POV is exactly why you are what you are, Bob.
If I may gush for a moment.
I checked out your tunes. It humbled me greatly.
Isn't it all relative?
I see people at work (other carpenters) and they are artists to me.
I wouldn't want a day job I couldn't sink my teeth into like that.

It's funny, how quick I can be at ripping someone a new one, and how hesitant I was when reading your posts(to blindly rip you a new one)
I found myself agreeing with you to the point where I had to go and listen to your music only to find I am in awe of what you have up on your page.

i've stated it before, here goes again,
I aspire, dude.


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Hop On Pop

9/16/2009 2:47:21 PM


The Day Job is there (for me, at least) because there is something more than myself to support. My family is my Number One. So, at the same time that I am paying the Day Job Price, I am also consumed by the responsibilities of Family.
Sadly, it leaves little time for artistic pursuits and provides many distractions to the completion of said artistic pursuits. Or, does said artistic pursuits distract from my responsibilities as father and husband?
Either way, Family comes first. And, at least in my case, my art is a beautiful aside from my life, proper.

The Day Job, no matter what primary responsibilities may be -- to self or to family or to art -- is merely a means to an end. Provides support for sustenance.

And I, like you Bob, happen to be pretty good at what I do.

And I, like you Noah, am in awe of Bob's talent and skill. Easily one of my favorite artists on IAC and, in fact, one of my favorites, period.

(But I've kissed Bob's ass enough for him to know that already!)


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Tom O'Brien

9/16/2009 7:36:50 PM


A wise teacher once told me, "Make your life support your art, not your art support your life."

If we are artists, vocationally called, bred in our spirits, then we are artists whether we are making our art, or building a house, or pushing paper at the office, or teaching little kids to read. It's like religion - you don't stop being Jewish or Catholic or whatever, just because you're doing your day job.

I like my job, and am good at it. While I'm there I'm always thinking of music or painting or writing in some part of my brain. I have a job that allows for that. I think even if I were a surgeon or a pilot or something that requires constant vigilance and concentration, some part of me would be busy creating. Part of the creative process is taking in information and processing it.

As an aside, it seems that everyone is in agreement about the high quality and soulfulness of Bob Elliott's output. His songs are definitely in the top percentile of IAC music. He is an incredibly talented individual, (and I'm not saying this just so he'll say it back). So why isn't he famous on a bigger scale? and more than this, wouldn't it be nice if the community at IAC could propel him into the stardom that he deserves? I don't know how the music industry works these days. Needless to say, it's changing fast. We all want to succeed, but couldn't we somehow make him a star? Of all the people out there, can't we just pick Bob and somehow give him the right connections to be more than just an internet phenomenon? He's worked incredibly hard on being an honest artist, and a great songwriter, and he deserves way much more credit that a few shout outs on the Pipeline.

How 'bout it? Anyone wanna make Bob Elliott a household name?


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Sylvester

9/16/2009 9:50:53 PM


Einstein did his most creative work when he was employed as a patent clerk.


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Bob Elliott

9/16/2009 10:27:40 PM


Sylvester, that really says it all, Einstein and the clerk job. Nothing better to think on than that...


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Noah Spaceship

9/16/2009 11:04:30 PM


@Tom
I think it's damn to cool to have someone like Bob (and you) here at the pipeline/IAC.

It's hard to measure success when it comes to art (I am sure you are philisophically aware)

From my pov, if I could record and perform to my satisfaction, I would consider that a success.
But isn't the whole mainstream music industry innundated with mediocre over produced goop?

This topic is a good one because,refering to your quote of a wise teacher, many of us struggle with even seeing art in the mundane, let alone accomodating it and embracing it in most obscure aspects.
My grandad was an engineer/surveyor, an artist in his own right. He would always say "the trick isn't doing what you enjoy, the trick is enjoying what you do."

the grass does seem greener on the other side, but if I could bang out tunes like Bob, I am not sure if I would need a record deal or tour dates. But it does also seems somewhat tragic that you can't go and buy a Bob cd at FYE, but you buy a Kanye West cd anywhere.


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Bob Elliott

9/17/2009 12:32:54 AM


Well, that's cool to know I hit a target now and then. It'll sound typical, but I really don't think anything I've done so far is gonna be as good as the next thing I'll put out. So many things have lined up to a point where I should be able to do something ...I just feel it coming, something coming...

but I believe all these things:

no way can I get anywhere now that I'm 47, no way

of course I can get somewhere

my music is beautiful

my music isn't so great or it would have spread like wildfire


I believe all that simultaneously.

It doesn't matter. It just burns you up inside, so really, what difference does it make? The feeling to do the music is pretty much an independent force...

But I sure can relate to the artistry of carpentry, Noah. Totally. I'm decent at it. And when I build, it's a lot like song stuff. Except I don't build originally, really. Still, carpentry is beautiful.

Todd- coming through for my family has been the driving force since I was 19. No regret for all that love...

Tom- here's how we'll pull it off: just move out here and we'll see what we can shake down, Mon.

I guess in the end my real fascination is how great of artists can we be and still care for our kids? I see so many stars that just aren't there for the kids. I just was never into that idea. Must a person be careless with others to make it somewhere? I think no.

But then I think making it somewhere is based on the quality of the music, not the business efficiency.

But business efficiency ain't bad...I just don't have much of it...


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Hop On Pop

9/17/2009 7:42:46 AM ---- Updated 9/17/2009 7:43:11 AM


Carpentry is a pretty noble pursuit.
I've heard about another carpenter that did some pretty good work outside of his chosen profession, too. A nice Jewish boy, too.
But that was a long time ago...


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Tom O'Brien

9/18/2009 2:31:06 PM


Yeah, that Jesus played a mean axe.

Bob, you and I don't really have to explain anything to each other about music and family and all that. We've been in similar musical headspaces since day 1.

Being without kids (which I find myself regretting sometimes) I'm freer to make the art I want and not think about it beyond what it is. It'd still be nice to be doing it for a living, but like I said, I like my day job, so I'm lucky.

But giving children to the world is the ultimate creative act. Everything they do is art. I'm just hoping that something I create outlives me. I guess that's what I feel with Bob's music, too. I want it to have a life of its own. I want it to travel the world and touch a lot of people. He's got incredible children, and I hope they appreciate his talents.

My children are paintings and songs and stories. And I hope that they can all find lives of their own. Because mine won't last forever, and I'd like to share who I am with the world. Isn't that what we all want?


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