[Dixielandjazz] Re: Unwritten Rules

Williams, Bob robert.c.williams@eds.com
Thu, 12 Sep 2002 12:24:50 -0500

I occasionally play as a sideman, and would *never* solicit a gig for my own
band while working for someone else.  My limited understanding of agency law
suggests that such a thing is illegal, beside being unethical and in
extremely poor taste.  Perhaps someone who knows more about the law can
comment on this.  But if you're working for somebody, you're working for

As far as I'm concerned, this applies to any incidental gigs that might
present themselves while you're at the gig.  If I'm playing as a sideman and
an attendee approaches me on a break and says she's looking for a band, I
*always* refer her to the leader of the gig.  She obviously likes the band
she's hearing, and to solicit another band would be a violation of trust to
her *and* the bandleader.

Anyone who leads a band knows what an incredible pain in the ass it can be.
It is disgusting to think that one of his sidemen might be stabbing him in
the back.  If a leader puts good musicians together and creates a good
musical product, he has a right to enjoy future benefits of that work, ness

I believe the fear of this happening is why I don't often get work as a
sideman.  It's possible, of course, that I'm such a crappy player that I
have to book my own gigs to work at all.  But I prefer to think the former
thought is true.  

Let me assure all you Sacramento leaders that my own travails make me a most
excellent and considerate sideman.  If I'm a sideman, I don't even *have* a
band of my own.  But I digress.

Mr. Gunter seems to be couching the bulk of his argument in a liberty cloak,
which is specious at best.  Our law books are full of mandates that qualify
our liberties when they interfere with the liberties of others.  At the risk
of oversimplifying, I believe that's what they're for.

Bob Williams 
The World's Most Modest Man and 
The Nominal Leader of The Wooden Nickel Jass Band 

-----Original Message-----
From: Robert S. Ringwald [mailto:ringwald@calweb.com]
Sent: Thursday, September 12, 2002 3:29 AM
Subject: [Dixielandjazz] Re: Unwritten Rules

Re: Bob Romans recent question regarding a sideman solisatating a gig from
the manager of a club where he is working with another band.

This is a no-no.

I never do it when working as a sideman.  While working as leader, if a
sideman did this, I would have a serious talk with him.  If it happened
again, not only would I never hire him again, everyone else (musicians) in
town would hear about it.

I lived in Los Angeles for 17 years (which was 18 years too long).  While
there I was lucky to have been able to work with some really great
musicians.  Often they worked for me.  Not one of them ever did such a

In fact, often, when being hired to lead a band by an agent, or when a band
leader subbed a job out to you to lead, you were told that there were to be
no personal business cards passed out by you or any of your musicians.

If it ever happened, you'd never work in the town again.

There have been a few times when I thought that a club where a band was
working might be interested in my band on a different night.  Before
contacting the club, I first asked the band leader if it was OK.

When trying to book a foreign or even out-of-town band for one special
night, just to give them some extra work while they were passing through, I
never go to the manager of a club where another band is working without
consulting the band leader.

For many years there was a band leader in Sacramento who was known for doing
such things.  If a band landed a gig in a club, within 2 months, this
musician's band would be working there.  He was not well liked nor respected
by other musicians in town.

Placerville, CA USA
Amateur (ham) Radio Station K6YBV
Fulton Street Jazz Band
See: http://www.ringwald.com
Boondockers Jazz & Comedy Band
See: http://www.theboondockers.com

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