[Dixielandjazz] Whores and Big Bands

TCASHWIGG at aol.com TCASHWIGG at aol.com
Sun Dec 5 14:00:28 PST 2004

In a message dated 12/5/04 12:43:40 PM Pacific Standard Time, 
sign.guy at charter.net writes:

> There may be a basis for this.  We share some similarities besides we sell
> what we are best at.  Both professions decry the wannabes and amateur
> talent that insists on giving it away for free or at very low prices.  The
> only difference between the two is that as the group of musicians gets
> larger the price goes down.  Not so with whores.
> ----- 

Yes, Larry you make a good point here as well.

Part of the major problem is that for decades we have nurtured and given out 
and sold music lessons to millions of people (I did not say musicians or 
entertainers here) as I meant people in that context.  Now everybody wants to be in 
Show Business and thinks that because they took some lessons in high school 
they can go do it professionally and make millions of dollars for an hour or 
two a day of fun.

None (at least that I ever met or heard of doing so) of the sometimes highly 
paid professors ever had a class where they taught the musicians how to go out 
and make a living actually playing his instrument.

It is one thing to sit in a lab and play Ellington Charts, Basie Charts, 
Dorsey charts etc. and even make some alterations in the arrangements to give it 
your own sound, but it is entirely a different world to go out and try to build 
a reputation for you and your band and sell it for anywhere near the money 
that those bands made in their hey dey.

Even in today's market, as evidenced right here on this list every day the 
people who are into that particular sound and KOM want to hear Ellington, Basie, 
and Dorsey, etc the way they remember hearing it originally.  Just like many 
of them want to hear Louis as Louis, not Kenny G's version of Louis music. 
Etc.  There was nothing wrong with the original music but so many professors of 
music continue to try and reinvent the wheel without digging down deep into 
themselves and actually finding anything worthwhile to advance the original and 
make better.  The opposite often happens and they send a bunch of kids out into 
the world hoping that they will have been duly influenced by their Ph.D. in 
music and that their graduates will someday play their charts and make 
royalties for them.

I also believe that anybody who is issued a drivers license should be 
required to have take a basic auto mechanics class so they can know enough about an 
automobile to tell if they are out of gas or have a dead battery.  Nobody 
teaches them the basics of the tool they are expected to operate.  Keeps the tow 
truck drivers in business however, and the battery jumper cable folks do pretty 
well off of them too.

Not all of us can be Rocket Scientist, nor Heart Surgeons, Lawyers, or 
Accountants, or countless other honorable professionals.  But if we and they expect 
us to be able to afford to pay them professional fees for their services then 
they damn sure should be prepared to pay the professional musicians their 
going rate.  Do you think open Heart surgery or Liver transplant operations are 
negotiable?  Do we have the option of shopping for a cheaper Heart Surgeon, and 
hire a drummer who does a little Brain and Heart surgery on the side for fun 
and some extra bucks?  I don't think so.

Musicians have pretty much self destroyed their own marketplace by practicing 
the exact thing we all hate "unfair employment practices" It is not all the 
fault of the Dirty rotten promoter or sleazy booking agents, and unscrupulous 
managers in this business, although there are plenty of them, and surprise 
surprise, many of them are former musicians or wannabe musicians who could not 
become successful as a player, so they moved over into the rip off the naive 
musicians game.   It is much more profitable for them to sell the wannabes than it 
is to actually work and sell true professional working acts who know they are 
and how much money it takes to run their band and what they are really worth.

As in the Dr. who HOLDS the Trumpet while getting the band to play for little 
or no money so he can massage his alter ego as a wannabe musician, and you 
can probably bet that he did not book the band for free either, after all he is 
a prominent Dr. with wealthy and wannabe wealthy friends all around him to 
support his lifestyle.  They often have a hard time separating their medical 
profession income level with their amateur musician status and charge the same as 
they would for a Heart Surgery to play for the Hospital Foundation Annual 
Holiday Gala fundraiser where all their peers and community leaders pay $250.00 to 
$500.00 a head to attend and see and be seen.  This has nothing to do with 
what the other musicians make however, since he knows they work for free or 
fifty bucks all the time, that in his mind is what they are worth.

Now take the same scenario with the Jazz Professor, who cons his class into 
going out and performing with him for free for the Alumni association 
fundraising event, etc., etc.

There are pots of money all over in every profession to tap into if you do 
your homework and go find and negotiate them before these guys on the inside 
track snatch up the cushy gigs.  These kind of gigs can finance a lot of 
promotion for your band and give you additional revenue to save and disperse fairly to 
the players for less paying gigs that are worthwhile and that can lead to 
more and better paying gigs.

YOU are only as Good as your last GIG.

If it was a bad one whose fault is it you booked it or accepted it.  Do your 
homework, check it out and do not be afraid to turn one down for legitimate 
reasons.  The money is not everything, but is certainly a major factor to be 
considered in the overall career development process and financing your "Music 
Business" and if it is not a business for you then you should stay at home and 
play for your own abusement and leave the market to those who do.  What the 
Hell, someday the poor musician will probably need a Heart Transplant and you 
will get all of his money anyway.  :))

No, I don't want to get a bunch of hate mail from the Drs. and Lawyers , 
etc., on the list, I am not picking on you personally, there are similar musicians 
in all professions, Hell even some of them claim to be Professional 
musicians, :))  there is a time and a place for free performing, but we need to look 
into it and address it accordingly.  If any body is getting paid then Everybody 
should be paid, YES, even the musicians.  The more money musicians have the 
more they will spend, so we all need to feed the economy, keep the money moving 
around in circles.  The trickle down theory to the musician simply does not 
work, especially with the price of alcohol, gasoline and drugs and health care 
and legal fees and taxes continuing to rise at record rates.  If the shoes fit 
feel free to wear them, if not then pass them on to the guy they will fit 
better.  :))

Sorry about Accountants guys and gals, musicians don't have enough money to 
count so most of them don't need your services.  However you might call on the 
Drs. and Lawyers Bankers, and other highly compensated professionals :)) 


Tom Wiggins

New bumper sticker:

Help Stamp out BAD music break up a Band today.

The Government in it's efforts to fix this problem, have developed a new 
program which will go into effect at midnight on New Year's Eve.  They will offer 
$50.00 for every instrument turned in for destruction between Jan 1 & Jan 30. 
2005.  This maneuver is expected to create a lot of higher paid gigs for the 
Real Professionals by altering the supply and demand side of the music 
industry.  Now if you own more than one instrument for God's sake turn it in, most of 
you can't play more than one at a time anyway :) DO NOT loan it out to another 
wannabe player who will take your gig.  If you own a synth. Or band in a box 
the government will pay you $100.00 to turn it in, they are collecting them 
for use in all their new Iraqi  & Afghani Disco Chains planned for operation in 
2009. :))

OK back to my Cave.

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