[Dixielandjazz] Stealing Gigs - Handing Out Cards

Stephen Barbone barbonestreet@earthlink.net
Wed, 11 Sep 2002 11:16:07 -0400

List Mates:

Dick Sudhalter in his book "Lost Chords" relates a story about the boys
in Ben Pollack's Band. The band was playing all over the place and at
one of their gigs in a very high visibility venue, side man Benny
Goodman went to the room management and offered Ben Pollack's Band,
MINUS POLLACK, for a lesser price.

Now, Pollack might have been a jerk etc., etc., etc., but if true, what
Goodman did was about as unethical as one can get. Really trashy. The
fact that people do it probably results from overblown egos and the "I
can do no wrong" attitude that accompanies them.

It would be as if Bill Gunter (sideman with Cell Block 7), offered that
band, MINUS LEADER BOB ROMANS, to a venue where there were already
playing. Now, knowing Bill, I'm  sure he would never do that, and I
offer this comparison only by way of example.

But if he did, Bob, could hurt him and assert the "Twinkie" defense.
(Ask Bob what that is)

As I see it, it is not "The Gig" over which the leader has exclusive
rights, but the sidemen who work for the band at that gig. If you work
for somebody, at any kind of day job or gig, give that person your all
of your loyalty. If you can't do that, then go work for somebody else.

Regarding high quality musicians, Barbone Street is fortunate in that
respect. There are at least 40 excellent players who love to gig with
us. If we get one who steals gigs, or tries to, he/she is easily
replaced. None of us in the band is irreplaceable including me.
(Sometimes I have 4 Dixieland Bands, 24 musos,  working at the same
time, eg Fat Tuesday)  I suspect that is true in most larger metro areas
and I would urge band leaders to immediately fire a person who hands out
cards and/or tries to steal gigs. You might be surprised at how many
excellent musos are out there that can do a great job in Dixieland,
OKOM, YKOM, Trad Jazz or whatever you play.

An example of one of our sources is The Philly Pops Band, led by Peter
Nero. We've worked with 4 great players from that group when we needed a
sub for a gig. They love, and play excellent polyphonic counterpoint,
can read anything you throw at them, in any key, and transpose any key
to any key. What more is there?

Steve Barbone