[Dixielandjazz] Unwritten rules??/

Bill Gunter jazzboard@hotmail.com
Wed, 11 Sep 2002 07:47:31 +0000

Hi Listmates,

Bob Romans poses the hypothetical situation:

>. . . your band is booked at a local country club. It pays $100 per man, 
>and is a very nice gig!! Everything is going great, the band is cookin'!
>During the last break, you find the manager and let him know you've enjoyed 
>the gig, and you hope he'll call you again, so you hand him your card, and 
>he informs you that one of your sidemen just gave him HIS card, and 
>suggested he call HIM the next time if he wanted a band since he, too, has 
>a band.
>What would YOU do?? Is this an ethical thing for a sideman to do? Would you 
>hire that sideman again for another gig?

I'm gonna take a stab at this question even though I am actually a current 
sideman in Bob's band "Cell Block  7"

Just because your band has been booked at a venue does NOT give you the 
exclusive right to all future bookings at that venue. The very fact that Bob 
uses the words "unwritten rules" tells you instantly that it is actually NOT 
a rule at all.

It's not even a breach of etiquette or ethical conduct. I have a band and 
would not hesitate to tell the manager of a venue about the availability of 
my band even though I might be playing there with some other band.

I'd ask Bob a couple of questions.

1. Suppose the sideman waits a day after the gig and then goes to the club 
manager and offers his card with the suggestion the manager might be 
interested in hiring his band. Is that OK? If it's OK the next day why isn't 
it OK any time?

2. If the answer is "No, it's not OK" then when is it OK for the sideman to 
make a pitch to the club manager?

3. If the answer is Never! Then do you assume only you have any right to the 

4. If you answer question 3 "Yes, only the original leader's band has any 
right to the gig" do you think you are living in the real world?

5. What makes any musician think he has exclusive rights to a gig when there 
is no contract to that effect?

6. If you were a club manager would you sign a contract with band X that you 
will henceforth only book band X? I very much doubt it.

In summary, there is NO rule, written or unwritten, and no force of ethical 
conduct preventing a musician from giving his card to a potential booker at 
any time. To assume this practice is "unethical" is to define "ethical" as 
only that behavior that benefits you. This is, of course, pure doo doo.

I suggest the leader ignore the sideman's conduct and get on with the 
business of leading the band to the best of his ability and not make any 
judgments about any sideman who exercises a perfectly legimite right.

Respectfully submitted,

Bill "Anyone Interested In Booking a Washboard Band?" Gunter

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