[Dixielandjazz] TIPS

Stephen Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Fri Mar 7 10:45:13 PST 2003

John Farrell wrote:

> My post did not say, suggest or imply that by tipping a band in England you
> insult the band members, I simply said that it was not done. In view of the
> tone of Steve's comment I must have misunderstood what he means by
> "tipping", which in this context I have always taken to mean one person
> giving money, not beer, to another.
> There is a world of difference between "I really enjoyed that, have a beer"
> and "If you play such-and-such a tune I will buy you a beer". On many
> occasions I have pretended not to know the tune just to get rid of the more
> persistent requesters.

My comments and others in the USA about tips must have been misunderstood also.
No one says "If you play the Saints I will Give You $10, or buy you a beer"
They ask you to play the Saints and you do, then some might come back and give
you money, or buy you a beer. To me, that's a tip. We do not solicit in advance
like some Piccadilly Lilly. I think we are probably agreeing here, and my poor
command of the English language, which I readily admit and about which list
mate Charlie Hooks often admonishes me, may have led us down the garden path.

> "Glad also to hear that British musos are altruists. Actually, probably all
> jazz
>  musos play for love of the music. The money is merely a way of keeping
> score.
>  Most that I know feel that that they should be well compensated for what
> they
>  do."
> For some mysterious reason Steve frequently posts messages which emphasise
> the size of his pay packet, it gives the impression that he is in the
> business for that reason alone and that the music takes second place to it.

Not so mysterious, you should realize by now that this is how I make my living.
The reason I emphasize money is because there are a lot of folks out there
giving it away, needlessly, which then cuts into my ability to earn a living as
well as that of the professional musicians I employ. I am trying to get others
to realize that jazz was never meant to be played free and that they should
sell it for what it is worth. Is that crass? Sorry old chum but that is how I
and many others who are in the music "business" to earn a living really feel.

Regarding the "music" as being in second place, as soon as I finish my CD I'll
send you one and you can determine just what "second place" sounds like. I also
suggest you read "Maslow" and "Hertzberg" on Motivation and man's basic needs.
They would have us believe that man's primary need is survival. EG Food, Drink
and Shelter. Unfortunately to acquire those basic survival needs in most of the
world, one must earn a decent living which requires , ugh, money. That, or go
on the dole. So yeah, I look with disfavor on bands that give music away thus
making it more difficult for the real musicians to acquire their basic needs.

> If that is indeed the case it is where our philosophies part company - if I
> am offered a large amount of money to play a gig I know I will not enjoy
> then I would turn it down flat, most of the British musicians I know would
> do the same thing. I do not regard that attitude as altruism, but as the
> avoidance of an unpleasant experience.

I equated altruism with playing for nothing, not turning down gigs. Like you,
we frequently turn down high paying, unpleasant gigs. The benefit of having
many gigs to choose from is that we only play those we wish to play, only play
the kind of music we want to play,  only play for people we like, and in
clothes we feel like wearing. And oh yes, for sufficient money so that we get
the best musicians available for each gig, and otherwise help them earn enough
money to eat, house and clothe themselves.

> "I have found during my life, that generally, you get what you pay for. That
>  includes the quality of the music. Admittedly, as a choke . .  businessman
> and
>  . . choke , , American jazz musician. . I may be jaded, but that is my
>  experience."
> There is some truth in the old adage that you get what you pay for, however
> booking a band for a generous fee is no guarantee that they are capable of
> playing quality music. "The more you pay, the better the music gets" defies
> logic.

I did not say the more you pay the better the music gets in an afterthought
tense as you imply above. And in you first sentence you agree with what I did
say. Taken in context of my post it is eminently true that you "generally get
what you pay for." In other words, we play better than most, if not all,
"freebie bands in the USA and the UK". So in a comparison case between
different, or competing bands, as above, the audience will get better music
with us. The pay scales for bands, musical acts, etc., with rare exception, are
directly proportional to the size of the audience the band attracts, it's
ability to fit concert halls, etc.

That's why Kenny G and Madonna make so much money. Because they draw large
audiences. You and I may haughtily sniff and say that music is awful, but then,
we are not their audience either. The rest of the world, however, is and they
pay for that privilege.

Regarding your previous post where British jazz fans will not show up if they
have to pay extra for the music in these pub clubs. That is very sad to me. I
sympathize with the musicians if the reality of the situation is that they are
apparently no more than a free side-show for the punters, and that the music is
not really important enough to those punters to contribute an extra pound ot

Say, getting around those "no admission charge" rules may be easier than you
think. Where they existed here in the provinces, we came up with a pass the
hat, or a "free will contribution" musical offering. Simple, and direct, but
then, you might see that as begging where I see it as paying for what you get.


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