Monday, October 5, 2009

Rolling Along

For those of you that have been wondering about me (and I'm sure that number is quite large), I'm alive and well and rolling right along.

Like a stone, as one might say.

Autumn always seems to bring a lull with it. Things have certainly slowed down. Guess that's why they call it the fall (whoever "they" are).

The summer, for both the working player and the weekend warrior that undercuts the working player, is and was lively and full of action. Lots of fun was had by yours truly. I had a great deal of work with both the Lonnie Brooks band and the BMR4, as well as the fine Mississippi Heat and Matt Stedman bands. I did a gig with an old pal, Vince Agwada, and another with an even older set of pals (Ron Shanaver, Buzz Kilman, Pat Brennan, "Dangerous" Dave Forte, and the All Bubba Blues Band/Heirs of Moe.)

Neil Young wouldn't have been prouder.

I also did a few clunkers. You know, the gig was average, the band (and the dough) was only average, the venue was average, and the wardrobe was average (if you look like a hack...)

But that was then, and this is now, and there's only looking forward. And even though things drop off a bit right about now, meaning the bread gets lighter in concert with the workload, it's by no means a disaster. Simply an adjustment in lifestyle.

And it is a lifestyle, not just a job.

Which is why it kills me that some of these younger cats out there can be so shortsighted. As you have by now surmised, I recently did a gig with a young bass player (always with the bass players.)

Green as a frog.

To again quote the late, great L.C. Walker (it's becoming routine these days, it would seem): "Let me elucidate."

You gotta do what you gotta do, and I understand that. But if you're gonna go ahead and take that $50 or $75 gig (yeah, I hate it too, but sometimes...,) the first thing to remember is that it's not really a good idea to bitch about it while you're on the gig. Nobody wants to hear it. Not the other guys in the band (they're getting screwed too, don't forget,) not the band leader, and certainly not the boss at the gig (even though he knows he's screwing you.)

Complaining will only give you a bad reputation in your young professional life. And since I am looking over at the kiddie table, remember that you don't exactly have one yet. We all deserve to make more, but we took the gig and that's that. If you really don't dig it, then don't do it (and believe me, I've turned down as many cheap-o gigs as I've taken.)

I know you think you're Jaco (who?), but, um, you're not. Maybe someday though.

Doesn't really matter if you're perceived as a whiner right out of the gate.

It's easy to find someone who'll do that $75 hit for 50, know what I mean?

The other thing you shouldn't do is spend half or more of your dough at the bar. It's not the smartest thing to be doing, don'tcha think? I mean, if you're complaining that the money's low, and you deserve this and that and such and such and your rent is due Monday and you gotta pay your over charges on your phone bill, then it's probably not a good idea to just give your paltry salary back to the boss.

Like I said, he knows.

As for me, I just roll along. Taking the good with the bad. Keeping my complaints close to the vest. Staying in the good graces of band leaders for the side work that fills in some of my blank spaces (which means I've got dates to fill. Don't be shy in calling.)

So it goes...


  1. "It's easy to find someone who'll do that $75 hit for 50, know what I mean?"

    Plugging numbers into my way back machine Sherman (h/t Mr Peabody) I find that $50 in 2009 = $9.68 in 1972, the year I started playing professionally. Might be innerestin' to take a good look at musicians wages, and why 10-208 hasn't followed along with Portland and a few other cities to start a living wage for musicians campaign. Not that I am advocating a return to the dump yer amp in da river' days of enforcement..but a living wage would be a good idea.

  2. yes, it would be a good idea. unfortunately, the union hasn't been worth a you know what in quite a long time. portland is a small scene, so maybe that's a great model for everyone else to follow.

  3. Yeah, that's why I play organ, so I don't need a bass player. You should have given some advice about not bitching because it's a small music scene.