[Dixielandjazz] The Wife

Larry Walton Entertainment - St. Louis larrys.bands at charter.net
Wed Jun 7 12:27:41 PDT 2006


All the reasons you listed are of course valid reasons to bring your wife. 
You forgot the best reason of all is to schlep equipment.

Also don't misunderstand that I am equating how well a person plays with 
professionalism or that a gig that might be the exception.

Many bands do this and the wives have sort of a club and troop around with 
the band.  Those bands simply operate under a different set of rules.  They 
are more social clubs and don't exactly fall into the professional musician 
class even though some of the players are very good.  One of my friends 
played with the Stan Kenton band and is one of the best sax players around 
but he is more or less retired and only plays for his own reasons and money 
isn't one of them.  Even he doesn't bring his wife to most things.

My point was that bringing a wife or girl friend just to have her there is 
an unprofessional thing and can be really bad.

I play with a lot of different bands and there are differences and one of 
those differences has to do with wives and girl friends.

Since I don't do it, I really don't discuss it with clients but I have had 
quite a few write across the contract NO WIVES OR GUESTS!  These are people 
who, it seems, have had bad experiences with band members inviting people 
in.  They don't want to feed them, give them drinks or let them in free.  I 
have played a lot of $60-$100 a plate weddings and parties.  They don't even 
let the band eat or have a table at that rate.

Some time ago a trumpet player that I had played with in the AF band called 
me for a gig.  I hadn't seen him for 20 years so I thought it would be fun. 
It was for a more or less public dance at a KC hall in the next state.  He 
had just gotten married and was really taken with the fact that his wife had 
been a stripper in the 50's.  By the way she was way over the hill.  During 
the evening she proceeded to get rip roaring drunk.  To be fair what did she 
have to do but drink and sit there.  She didn't know anyone at the dance and 
none of the other wives came.

I still think that it's a poor idea to bring wives or girl friends to the 
average gig.  Now if it's something special, by invitation, public or there 
is a definite reason as you listed several then that's another matter.

I am working with  the best big band in the area tonight at a public park 
concert.  The leader brings his wife to many of the things that we do but 
never to a private party such as a wedding.  It's unlikely that any of the 
wives will be there.  Another thing, while I don't know about the other 
members of this group, I only socialize occasionally with the leader and 
even though I know the other members very well our relationship is musical 
not social.  I mentioned the rules being different.  My association with 
this band will only last as long as I can play the parts and do a good job. 
When that goes it makes no difference that I am friends with the leader. 
This leader has a sextet and I don't play with that simply because one of 
the guys plays better than I do and not that we are friends.  I play in two 
bands like that.  There is also a difference in sideman pay.  Both of those 
bands pay three times as much as the "Social" bands.  There is another 
difference too.  The social band members and leaders tell me what a great 
job I did or some solo or another was really good.  They are very free with 
the pats on the back, while nice, the non social bands and leaders almost 
never do that except with featured soloists.  They expect good performance 
and professionalism as the norm and they pay for it.
St. Louis
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Richard Stevens" <richard at thejazzfactory.net>
To: <dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com>
Sent: Wednesday, June 07, 2006 2:32 AM
Subject: [Dixielandjazz] The Wife

> Hi All,
> I followed this thread with interest and someone suggested that it only
> "amateur"
> Bands had their partners attending gigs. The venue manager for a dinner
> concert we are doing on Sunday in fact has invited The Wife as his guest 
> to
> dine with him. Very professional of him as he understands just what her
> contribution is.
> The wife can sell CD's
> The wife can entertain celebrities
> The wife can do a sound check from the room
> The wife can take a booking enquiry
> The wife can tell you if you are boring
> The wife is not a spare part but an integral part of the show, often
> organising the audience to a venue.
> That's among the professional things she does.......
> MY wife will also buy a drink and bring it over to the stage
> MY wife actually loves jazz and is a regular contributor, that's 2 of the
> reasons I married her!
> regards,
> Richard Stevens
> www.thejazzfactory.net
> -- 
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