[Dixielandjazz] Re: insurance

TCASHWIGG at aol.com TCASHWIGG at aol.com
Sun Jul 11 23:56:01 PDT 2004

In a message dated 7/11/04 11:28:37 PM Pacific Daylight Time, 
robert at ringwald.com writes:

> Remember, often in fact most of the time now, musicians are hired as
> independent contractors.  As such, the club or venue is not necessarily
> obligated to cover independent contractors in their insurance.
> --BR

Yep and that is primarily because the players for many years have been trying 
to dodge the IRS and not report or pay taxes on their musical income,  we 
started it.

It also came about because of some less than ethical sidemen taking a casual 
booking from a band leader for a one or two nighter on the weekend and then 
walking into the unemployment office on Monday and filing a claim against the 
leader and or the venue listing them as their last employer.

Thus the independent contractor game came into play, the leaders did not want 
to be held responsible to deduct and pay payroll and workers compensation 
taxes and matching employers social security taxes on each sideman they employed 
on a part  time basis, therefore they just got the sidemen to take independent 
contractor status and legally passed the buck on down to them and made them 
responsible for their own reporting and payment of taxes.

These costs and the accounting that insued quickly ate up any leaders fees 
that they may or may not have gotten paid for the gigs, not to mention the legal 
fees they often faced in defending themselves from unscrupulous sidemen of 
which there were never a shortage of.

I have also seen musicians purposefully trip and fall off the stage, or jam 
their mouthpiece into their rotting teeth and then file a claim against the 
bandleader for an injury on the stage and go get his teeth fixed and sue the 
bandleader for it.

I have also witnessed musicians stealing or arranging for the theft of their 
axes from gigs and then suing the venue for lack of security and the 
bandleader as well.  It just goes on and on and on.

I know many of them right now who are collecting SSI benefits and playing 
four to five nights a week for cash under the table, supposed to be permanently 
disabled and unable to work.

It is indeed a Rats nest.  And most musicians cannot get Health care 
insurance except for a very high premium because of the reputations as drunks and drug 
addicts, which is why the smart ones have a legitimate day gig so they can 
get insurance coverage for themselves and their families, and you can bet they 
do not mention to the insurance company that they are musicians.

Everybody is trying to beat the system.  Many of them actually do.


Tom Wiggins

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