[Dixielandjazz] Unwritten rules??/

Bigbuttbnd@aol.com Bigbuttbnd@aol.com
Wed, 11 Sep 2002 09:18:37 EDT

Everybody has run into this problem at one time or another. For years we made 
our living selling ourselves. Most often a 4 peice band in which every 
sideman was also a leader (and a salesman). It wasn't unusual to go out and 
play 4 gigs over 1-2 days, each gig featuring the same 4 guys, each gig using 
a different band name and sometimes different uniforms and a different one of 
the 4 guys as leader on each gig! To avoid problems we had our own unwritten 
rule to stay out of each other's contact list. It made more sense to go out 
and develop more work than to compete with each other as to who would be 
leader on just a few jobs.

I think that is the essence of what is often viewed as 'unethical' about 
Bob's hypothetical situation. If the original leader has hired the sideman to 
represent his group (which he has) the sideman should, at the least, not 
approach the management during the job trying to "snake" the gig away. If 
there is anything unwritten it is the sense that, at least during the gig, 
the sideman should be held to a non-compete clause.

Now any savy leader will quickly look for a new sideman who will not compete 
with him for the same gig in the future. The sideman should have more sense 
than to pull a fast one like that. He would be wiser to go out and flush out 
some new 'game' and bring that back to the table, even his own table, than to 
try to divide up the work that's he's already getting a piece of.

The funny part for us is that when a manager thinks he'll try something new 
and seeks out a different band he ususally gets one of us and we put the 
exact same band back in there under a different name and in a different 
uniform. I've played the same 4th of July gig for about 10 years... while it 
changes leaders it rarely changes personnel! It's always funny when these 
managers, who only see you once a year, say something like, "You guys are 
better (or worse) than those guys we had last year!" Heck, we're the same 

Rocky Ball