THE PRICE OF MUSICIANS
A guy calls the musicians guild to get a quote on a 6 piece wedding band. The rep says, "Off the top of my head,
The guy says, "WHAT? FOR MUSIC?"
The rep responds, "I'll tell you what. Call the plumbers union and ask for six plumbers to work from 6 'til midnight
on a Saturday night. Whatever they charge, we'll work for half."
THE LEAD SINGER
A tour manager goes down to the reception desk of the hotel and rings the bell.
"Hey Mr. Receptionist, I'm with the band staying here and my singer is in room 24 and I've rung the room like 20 times, and banged on the door but I'm just not getting an answer, do you have a pass key or some thing so I can wake him up, we've got a show to do!"
The guy on reception looks really sad and says, “Sir, I'm so sorry to have to tell you this but the was some kind of accident during the night and your singer died."
"Oh, " says the tour manager and walks away. About 10 minutes later he returns to the desk and rings the bell again. "Hey man, I'm with the band here and my singer is in room 24 and I've tried every thing I can think of to wake him but I'm just getting no response, have you got a key so I can get him up."
The guy on reception looks confused. "I'm sorry sir but I told you this 10 minutes ago - there was some kind of accident in the night, I don't know what exactly happened but your singer is dead."
"Oh," says the tour manager, and walks away again.
This repeats about 15 times before the receptionist guy finally loses it.
"I've told you this a thousand times, Sir, I can't get you a key to wake your singer, because he's DEAD! YOUR SINGER IS DEAD! YOUR SINGER IS DEAD! Why do you keep coming back here and asking me the same question don't you understand YOUR SINGER IS DEAD!"
"Oh I know that,” says the tour manager. "I just like hearing you say it."
A NEW MUSICIAN'S DICTIONARY
AGENT: a character who resents performers getting 90% of his salary.
ARRANGER: a guy who writes to support a drinking habit.
BALLET: an art form for people with eating disorders.
BANDSTAND: the area furthest away from an electrical outlet.
BIG BAND: nowadays, an aggregation consisting of two musicians.
BROADWAY PIT JOB: a prison sentence disguised as a gig.
CABARET: a venue where singers do songs from shows that closed out of town.
CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME: god's way of telling you that you've practiced too much.
CATERER: a man whose hatred for musicians is unrivaled.
CHANTEUSE: a singer with an accent and no time.
CLASSICAL COMPOSER: a man ahead of his time and behind in the rent.
CLUBDATER: god's way of telling you that you didn't practice enough.
CLUB DATE LEADER: someone who changes his name from Kaminsky to Kaye.
CONTINENTAL VIOLINIST: a guy who rushes like he's trying to catch the last train to Budapest.
CONTRACTOR: a man whose funeral nobody goes to.
CRUISE SHIP WORK: a gig that gives a musician two reasons to throw up.
DJ: the guy your son would rather have play his Bar Mitzvah.
D-MINOR: a rare army classification which states: in the event of war, all musicians are to only play klezmer.
DOUBLEBASS: the instrument the folks footing the bill feel is unnecessary.
DOWNBEAT: the magazine that would have you believe that all jazz musicians are working.
ELECTRIC PIANO: the instrument that enables its player to pay for the hernia he sustained lifting it.
HOTEL PIANIST: a guy who looks good in a tux.
JAZZ: the only true American art form beloved by Europeans.
JAZZ FESTIVAL: an event attended by folks who think Coltrane is a car on the B&O railroad.
LYRIC: that part of a tune known only by singers and homosexuals.
MELLOPHONE: an instrument best put to use when converted into a lamp.
METRONOME: the archenemy of chanteuses and cantors.
MOVIE COMPOSER: someone who can write like anyone except himself.
NEW AGE : a musical substitute for Valium.
NEW YEARS EVE: the night of the year when contractors are forced to hire musicians they despise.
ORCHESTRATOR: the musician who enhances a composer's music, only to be chastisedfor it.
PERCUSSIONIST: a drummer who can't swing.
PERFECT PITCH: the ability to pinpoint any note and still play out of tune.
PIANIST: an archaic term for a keyboard player.
PRODIGY: a kid who has as much chance at a normal childhood as the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series.
RAGA: the official music of New York's Taxi and Limousine Commission.
RARE VIOLIN: a Stradivarius, not to be confused with a rare violinist, which is someone over four foot eleven.
SIDEMAN: the appellation that guarantees a musician will never be rich.
STAFF MUSICIAN: harder to locate than a cavity in the Osmond family.
STEADY ENGAGEMENT: look up in Webster's Dictionary under the word 'obsolete.'
24\7: the time signature of the national anthem of India.
UNION REP: a guy who thinks big bands are coming back.
VERSE: the part of a tune that's disposable, except to its composer.
VIOLA D'AMORE: a baroque string instrument and coincidentally the hooker Bach lost his virginity to.
WURLITZER: the Ford Pinto of pianos.
YANNI: a man blessed with great hair for music.
ADVICE TO CLUB GOERS: HOW TO BE FRIENDS WITH THE BAND
TALKING WITH THE BAND
The best time to discuss anything with the band in any meaningful way is at the middle of a song when all members are singing at the same time (such as a multi-part harmony). Our hearing is so advanced that we can pick out your tiny voice from the megawatt wall of sound blasting all around us. Musicians are expert lip readers too. If a musician does not reply to your question or comment during a tune, take this very personally. Singers have the ability to sprout a second mouth to talk with you and sing at the same time. If the singer doesn't, it's because he is purposely ignoring you. If this happens, immediately cop an attitude. We love this. When an entertainer leans over to hear you better, grab his or her head and yell directly into their ear, holding their head so they cannot pull away from you. This is an invitation to a friendly game of tug of war between their head and your hands. Disregard any respect for the musician's hearing.
Musicians are expert mind readers. Only refer to your requests with the phrase, "Play my song!" We have a chip implanted in our heads with an unlimited database with the favorite tunes of every patron who ever walked into the bar, so feel free to be vague. We love the challenge. If we do not remember exactly what tune you want, it's an intentional ploy to offend you. Remember, entertainers live to be offensive. We stay up all night thinking up ways to do this. We also never get enough abuse, so any abuse that you add will keep us in line.
If a band tells you they do not know a song you want to hear, they either forgot that they know the tune or they are lying to you. Try singing a few words for the band. If one member halfway knows part of a chorus, the rest of the band will instantly learn the entire song by osmosis. Knowing this, if the band still claims to not know your song, just keep requesting the same song ad nauseum. Never try to request another tune the band actually knows. Scream your request from across the room several times per set followed by the phrases, "AW COME ON! YOU SUCK!" Exaggerated hand gestures expressing disapproval from the dance floor are a big help such as the thumbs down or your middle finger. Put downs are the best way to jog a band's memory. This instantly promotes you to the status of "Personal Friend Of The Band."
If your choice of music is a complete departure from what the crowd loves (and cannot get enough of), i.e., if they play original Blues, ignore this. Simply put a lot of money into the tip jar to bolster your argument; this will circumvent any lack of knowledge they have about your requested tune. The more money you tip the band with, the more power you have to dictate what happens on stage. Feel free to use your money to bully the band. Entertainers are notorious fakers and never prepare for shows. They simply walk on stage with no prior thought to what they will do once they arrive. An entertainer's job is so easy even a monkey could do it, so don't let them off the hook. The band and club's income does not depend upon numbers of people patronizing the bar. Screw them. Your request is all that matters. If a metal band had played at the club for the last few weeks, the next band that follows will automatically know every metal tune the previous band played, even if
the current band is a blues or country band. It's the law. Feel free to yell AC DC or SLAYER!! to a band that plays strictly originals or blues, for example. Conversely, Deadheads may yell for Grateful Dead tunes at a dance or metal band.
HELPING THE BAND
If you inform the band that you are a musician in a garage band or singer in a Karaoke bar, be sure to let them know that you can run rings around them and they need you in their band. In fact the sole reason the band has not exploded onto the charts is because they do not have you as their big break. And besides, that black guy singing the blues is just copying the Downchild, and Clapton, in spite of the fact that he 's 63 years old. Tell the band, unequivocally that your mere presence as a member of their band will save them from the depths of mediocrity and assure them of success beyond their wildest dreams. This works every time.
If the band continues to refuse your repeated demands to perform with them, stand on the dance floor and perform with every tune they do. Do everything you can to be louder than the band, if they won't let you perform with them, be disruptive. Nothing asserts your superiority like an out of tune harmonica, vocalist or a tambourine played out of tempo.
For extra credit, use these instruments in tunes that do not have them in the original recording. Musicians love to play cover tunes with instruments that do not belong there. They will overlook how badly you play and will wonder how they have gotten along all these years without you.
As a last resort, wait until the band takes a break, and then get on stage and start playing their instruments. Even if you are 86ed, you have made your point. The band will call you immediately the following day to offer you a position.
After years of hiding the fact that the love is gone, the last child
moves out of the house and Mom and Dad announce they're getting a
The kids are distraught and hire a marriage counselor as a last resort
at keeping their parents together. The counselor works for hours,
tries all of his methods, but the couple still won't talk to each
Finally, he goes over to a closet, brings out a beautiful upright bass
and begins to play. After a minute or so, the couple starts talking
and they discover that they're not actually that far apart and decide
to give their marriage another try.
The kids are amazed and ask the counselor how he managed to do it. He
"I've never seen a couple that wouldn't talk through a bass solo."
YOU KNOW YOU'RE TOO OLD TO GIG WHEN:
- It becomes more important to find a place onstage for your box fan, than your amp.
- You refuse to play out of tune.
- Your gig clothes make you look like George Burns out for a round of golf.
- Your fans have left by 10:30 p.m.
- All you want from groupies is a foot massage.
- Your aftershow party is at the International House of Pancakes.
- You love taking the elevator because you can sing along to most of your playlist.
- You hire band members for their values instead of their talent.
- Instead of a fifth member, your band wants to spring for a roadie.
- You've lost the directions to the gig.
- You need your glasses to see your amp settings.
- You've thrown out your back jumping off the stage.
- You're thrilled to have New Year's Eve off.
- The waitress is your daughter.
- You stop the set because your bottle of Ibuprofen fell behind the speakers.
- Most of your crowd just sways in their seats.
- You find your drink tokens from last month's gig in your guitar case.
- You no longer use a tip jar.
- You refuse to play without earplugs.
- You ask the club owner if you can start at 8:30 p.m. instead of 9:30 p.m.
- You check the TV schedule before booking a gig.
- Your gig stool has a back.
- You're related to at least one other member of the band.
- You need a nap before the gig.
- You don't let anyone "sit in."
- After the third set, you bug the club owner to let you quit early.
- During the breaks, you now go to your van to lay down.
- You prefer a music stand with a light.
- You don't recover until Tuesday afternoon.
- You can't operate without a set list.
- You have a contract.
- You say you double on bass.
- "One of the perks of being an unemployed musician is that you get to play
much less bad music." - Jack Daney
- "After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music." - Aldous Huxley
- "Music is, by its very nature, essentially powerless to express anything at
all. Music expresses itself." - Igor Stravinsky
- "Hell is full of musical amateurs." - George Bernard Shaw
- "The drummer drives. Everybody else rides!" - Panama Francis
- "Some days you get up and put the horn to your chops and it sounds pretty
good and you win. Some days you try and nothing works and the horn wins. This
goes on and on and then you die and the horn wins." - Dizzy Gillespie on playing the trumpet
- "Music is my mistress, and she plays second fiddle to no one." - Duke Ellington
- "Jazz is the only music in which the same note can be played night after
night but differently each time." - Ornette Coleman
- "We never play anything the same way once." - Shelly Manne's definition of jazz musicians
- "Someone who knows how to play the accordion, and doesn't." - Al Cohn's definition of a gentleman
- "Music is a very hard instrument." - Vido Musso
- "The only tune they play in 4/4 is 'Take Five!'" - (unknown-talking about the Don Ellis band)
- "If I could play like Wynton (Marsalis), I wouldn't play like Wynton. - Chet Baker
- "I'm too old to pimp, and too young to die, so I'm just gon' keep playin'. - Clark Terry
- "A great teacher is one who realizes that he himself is also a student and
whose goal is not dictate the answers, but to stimulate his students
creativity enough so that they go out and find the answers themselves." - Herbie Hancock
- "To be a musician is a curse. To NOT be one is even worse. - Jack Daney
- "Don't bother to look, I've composed all this already." -
Gustav Mahler, to Bruno Walter who had stopped to admire mountain scenery in rural Austria.
- "I would rather play Chiquita Banana and have my swimming pool than play Bach and starve." - Xavier Cugat
- "[Musicians] talk of nothing but money and jobs. Give me businessmen every time.
They really are interested in music and art." - Jean Sibelius, explaining why he rarely invited musicians to his home.
- "Only become a musician if there is absolutely no other way you can make a living." -
Kirke Mecham, on his life as a composer
- "I am not handsome, but when women hear me play, they come crawling to my feet." - Niccoló Paganini
- "What is the voice of song, when the world lacks the ear of taste?" - Nathaniel Hawthorne
- "Flint must be an extremely wealthy town: I see that each of you bought two or three seats." -
Victor Borge, playing to a half-filled house in Flint, Michigan.
- "If one hears bad music it is one's duty to drown it by one's conversation." - Oscar Wilde
- "Critics can't even make music by rubbing their back legs together." - Mel Brooks
- "Life can't be all bad when for ten dollars you can buy all the Beethoven
sonatas and listen to them for ten years." - William F. Buckley, Jr.
- "You can't possibly hear the last movement of Beethoven's Seventh and go slow." -
Oscar Levant, explaining his way out of a speeding ticket.
- "Wagner's music is better than it sounds." - Mark Twain
- "Berlioz says nothing in his music, but he says it magnificently." - James Gibbons Hunekar
- "If a young man at the age of twenty-three can write a symphony like that,
in five years he will be ready to commit murder." - Walter Damrosch on Aaron Copland
- "There are still so many beautiful things to be said in C major." - Sergei Prokofiev
- "I never use a score when conducting my orchestra. Does a lion tamer enter a
cage with a book on how to tame a lion?" - Dimitri Mitropolous
- "God tells me how the music should sound, but you stand in the way." - Arturo Toscanini to a trumpet player
- "Already too loud!" - Bruno Walter at his first rehearsal with an American orchestra, on seeing
the players reaching for their instruments.
- "I really don't know whether any place contains more pianists than Paris, or
whether you can find more asses and virtuosos anywhere." - Frederic Chopin
- "When she started to play, Steinway himself came down personally and rubbed
his name off the piano." - Bob Hope, on comedienne Phyllis Diller
- "Never look at the trombones, it only encourages them." - Richard Strauss
- "In opera, there is always too much singing." - Claude Debussy
- "Oh how wonderful, really wonderful opera would be if there were no singers!" - Giacchino Rossini
- "I think popular music in this country is one of the few things in the
twentieth century that has made giant strides in reverse." - Bing Crosby
- "A ponderous orchestral absurdity." - Frank Zappa on his rock symphony debuted by the Los Angeles Philharmonic
- "The bottom line of any country is, what did we contribute to the world? We
contributed Louis Armstrong." - Tony Bennett
- When you are drunk, you just THINK you play like Eric Clapton. When
in fact, you sound like Big Bird on a zither.
- Bands are still making the same money they did 25 years ago.
- People don't want to hear your 10 minute guitar/drum/bass solo no
matter how good you think it is.
- People will always say you are too loud and they are usually right.
- Most people are not there to listen to the band.
- You may think you're the opening act but you're really the sound check.
- Everyone wants to hear "Mustang Sally" no matter how many times you've
played it in the past.
- Secretly you enjoy playing "Mustang Sally" cause it's easy to solo over.
- A good way to send people to the restroom is to announce the next
song is an original.
- When you are hired to play an event what they really hired was the
use of your PA.
- At the end of the gig most folks couldn't tell you three songs you
played the entire night.
- The more complex a song is the less people want to hear it.
- Most people don't even know the name of your band.
- People will enjoy a bad band if they at least act like they are
having a good time on stage.
- Anything having to do with music takes a back seat when your first
child is born, (band members without children will never understand this one).
- At some point someone will request "Freebird". It doesn't matter if
you play a banjo in a Spanish band & wear a sombrero, it's going to happen.
- "Girlfriends" with tambourines are annoying.
- Anyone with a tambourine is annoying, (this includes cowbells).
- The "Chicken Dance" & "Play that Funky Music White Boy" are staples
at weddings. Live with it.
- If you play enough bars & beer joints, you will eventually get
flashed -- by the ugliest woman in attendance.
- Most Blues begin, “Woke up this morning………………..”
- “I got a good woman,” is a bad way to begin the Blues, ‘less you stick something nasty in the next line: “I got a good woman - with the meanest face in town.”
- The Blues is simple. After you get the first line right, repeat it. Then find something that rhymes ... sort of:
“Got a good woman - with the meanest face in town. Got teeth like a moose – and she weighs 500 pound.”
- The Blues are not about choice. You’re stuck in a ditch: You’re stuck in a ditch, “ain’t no way out.”
- Blues cars: Chevys and Cadillacs and broken down trucks. Blues does not travel in Volvos, BMWs, or SUV’s. Most Blues transportation is done in a Greyhound bus or on a south-bound train. Jet aircraft and state-sponsored motor pools ain’t even in the running. Walkin’ plays a major part in the Blues lifestyle. So does fixin’ to die.
- Teenagers can’t sing the Blues. They ain’t fixin to die yet. Adults sing the Blues. In Blues, “adulthood” means being old enough to get the electric chair if you shoot a man in Memphis.
- Blues can take place in New York City, but not in Hawaii (or possibly, any place in Canada). Hard times in St. Paul or Tucson is just depression. Chicago, NYC, St. Louis, and Kansas City are still the best places to have the Blues. You cannot have the blues in any place that doesn’t get rain.
- A man with male pattern baldness isn’t the blues. A woman with male pattern baldness is. Breaking your leg because you had a skiing accident is not the blues. Breaking your leg ‘because an alligator is chomping on it" is.
- You can’t have the Blues in an office or a shopping mall - the lighting is wrong. Go outside to the parking lot or sit by a dumpster.
- Good places for the Blues:
c. empty bed
d. bottom of a whiskey glass
a. Lord and Taylor
b. gallery openings
c. Ivy League institutions
d. golf courses
- No one will believe it’s the Blues if you wear a suit, unless you slept in it.
- Do you have the right to sing the Blues?
a. you’re older than dirt
b. you’re blind
c. you shot a man in Memphis
d. you can’t be satisfied
a. you have all your teeth
b. you were once blind but now can see
c. the man in Memphis lived.
d. you have a retirement plan or trust fund
- Blues is not a matter of color. It’s a matter of bad luck. Tiger Woods cannot sing the blues. Gary Coleman could. Ugly white people also got a leg up on the blues.
- If you ask for water and your woman gives you gasoline, it’s the Blues. Other acceptable Blues beverages are:
a. wine (usually out of a box and not French)
b. whiskey or bourbon
c. muddy water
d. black coffee
The following are NOT Blues beverages:
a. cranberry juice
b. kosher wine
d. sparkling water
- If it occurs in a cheap motel or a shotgun shack, it’s a Blues death. Stabbed in the back by a jealous lover is another Blues way to die. So is the electric chair, substance abuse, and dying lonely in a broken down cot. You can’t have a Blues death if you die during a tennis match or getting liposuction.
- Some Blues names for women:
b. Big Mama
d. Fat River Dumpling
- Some Blues names for men:
c. Little Willie
d. Big Willie
- Persons with names like Sierra, Sequoia, and Rainbow can’t sing the Blues no matter how many men they shoot in Memphis.
- The Make your own Blues name starter kit:
a. name of physical infirmity (Blind, Cripple, Lame, etc.)
b. first name (see above) plus name of fruit (Lemon, Lime, Kiwi, etc.) (Now wait a minute! Kiwi is a blues fruit???)
c. last name of President (Jefferson, Johnson, Fillmore, etc.) For example, Blind Lime Jefferson or Cripple Kiwi Fillmore, etc.
- I don’t care how tragic your life; if you own a Plasma TV, you cannot sing the blues. You best destroy it. Fire, a spilled bottle of Mad Dog, or shotgun. Maybe your big woman just done sit on it.