[Dixielandjazz] Unwritten rules??/

Bill Gunter jazzboard@hotmail.com
Thu, 12 Sep 2002 05:57:16 +0000

Hi listmates,

Henry Stinson, while agreeing basically with me on the "unwritten rules" 
business reads Jim K's post and backs off a bit. He says:

>While basically I agree with Bill Gunter, reading Jim K's words
>causes me to realize that the manager who was handed the card
>sees this as an act that is not only sneaky but shows disrespect
>by one of the band members for its leader.  Thus, it throws a sordid
>light on both, but especially on the sideman

I beg to differ! No "sordid light" is thrown on anyone.

There is no way of knowing exactly what the manager 'sees' when handed a 
card. For all we know we may conclude the manager is grateful for an 
individual who expands the manager's options. Frankly that seems more 
reasonable to me.

Where do people get the notion that because a person says "here's an option 
for you to consider" he's really saying "This current band is no good!"

Be logical. There is absolutely no reason to forbid anyone from handing out 
a business card at any time. I can think of NO RULE OF ETHICS preventing 
people from exercising such an option.

I'll tell you what is unethical . . . that's anyone's assumption that I may 
be denied my right at any time to speak positively about what I do.

If a band leader were to tell me that I chouldn't give my card to anyone I 
choose during a gig I would immediately engage him/her in debate and 
question the motives for such an assertion. Personally I feel such motives 
would be the result of selfish, exclusionary attitudes which are shoddy and 

On what basis can anyone question my right to say what I wish to anyone I 
wish at any time I wish?

Several DJMLers have suggested that it would be more proper to wait until 
the next day.  WHY? What is so sacred about right now as opposed to tomorrow 
at this time? Further, If it's ok tomorrow then how about right after the 
band has packed up and is heading out the door. If the gig is over at 6 
p.m., at what time is handing out your card not a breach of "ethics" - 7 
p.m., 8 p.m. what? At what time does it become more acceptable? How about 
BEFORE the gig starts? How many hours and minutes must one be forced to wait 
before it's proper to pass out one's business card?

This is all utter rubbish.


A musician may hand out his card to a potential agent whenever he wants and 
nobody - NOBODY - has any right to deny him that.

Of course, if the band leader chooses to fire a sideman because of this 
behavior he may do so. But to me, firing a sideman on the basis of this 
behavior is far more "unethical" than anything the sideman did!

Come on leaders . . . get a grip - You have no right to control anybody's 
right to speak.

The excuse "Well, it's just NOT done . . ." is absurd. Who says so? There's 
NOTHING in any code of ethics specifically forbiding the right of an 
individual to speak!

A sideman is hired to do a specific job at the time of the hiring. Basically 
the speficic job entails (a) showing up on time (b) wearing the proper 
attire (c) playing the gig competently (d) staying until the contracted time 
expires and (d) remuneration of a specified amount agreed upon prior to the 
gig. The sideman does NOT sell his soul to the leader. The sideman does not 
give up any other rights unless he agrees to them AHEAD OF TIME.

If a leader says to me "You may not pass out your business card to the 
management during the gig." I have a choice of either not accepting the gig 
or abiding by the terms set forth by the leader. But in the absence of such 
an agreement (ahead of time) no leader can arbitrarily impose such standards 
of behavior on anybody.

Respectfully submitted,

Bill "I Won't Give Up My Rights" Gunter

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