[Dixielandjazz] Musician's Union

tcashwigg at aol.com tcashwigg at aol.com
Sat Nov 4 11:44:15 PST 2006

WOW are you guys gonna catch Hell when Dave Hanson reads these posts,

I am laying out of this discussion with all my stories, but one day 
they will be in my Book :))

I will just say this:  The Last Place in the World that I would call to 
book a musician would be the AFofM in any city in the USA.

I would rather go audition the better playing members in Homeless Park 
playing for more daily in Tips from passersby than they likely ever 
made from being members of the Musicians Union,  which has always been 
and operated as a GOOD OLE BOYS, GUILD anyway rather than a Union.

it is a larger body of players many of whom are too lazy to go look for 
work and are looking for a cushy sit down gig where they can pretend to 
be an artiste' and not have to worry about being creative, but rather 
just sit and play the notes form the charts and collect a steady pay 
check and go on strike every year for more money.  All the while 
playing the same music to an ever dwindling audience being asked to pay 
higher and higher admissions every year to keep up with the rising 
costs of the Symphony including the ridiculous guy in the Tuxedo up 
front waving around his silly little white stick and not even bothering 
to spend his greatly exaggerated salary to get a haircut. :))

These players with those locked gigs also want to go out into the 
working musicians marketplace and get additional casual gigs on their 
off days, play weddings and society gigs, and Chamber music gigs and 
basically take all the live performance work they can find, sign up for 
and get grants and Arts council funding ( WELFARE FOR THE SYMPHONY)  

Ahhh but don't get me started on this wonderful organization:

I actually received a call from the S.F. Symphony earlier this year 
asking me to bring MY HIGH PROFILE BAND to perform for Free for their 
annual fundraiser,  Shameless twits, they also had the Symphony and 
several symphony player ensembles on the same event performing, and ALL 
getting Paid, most several times for separate gigs at the same  event.  
  They thought we would be honored to Play with THEM,  Hah, I told them 
we would be happy to Play for them for FREE  so long as they 
reciprocated to give me a Free Concert anywhere I chose to present the 
Symphony, and if they would make a  $10,000.00 Donation to our Jazz for 
kids program for schools with no music program funding.   Well needless 
to say I am still waiting for the Donation and we did not play their 
GALA fundraiser.   They did however pay another Headline Guest Artist 
$50,000.00 plus expenses to show up and hob nob and sing about four 

There parting gesture was to ask if any of us would like to buy tickets 
to the Gala and attend anyway, :))  Yeah Right

Now that folks is Reality :  And it goes on all over the country all 
the time, don't take my word for it go check it out.


Tom Wiggins

-----Original Message-----
From: jazzboard at hotmail.com
To: JohnWilder at Comcast.net; dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com
Sent: Sat, 4 Nov 2006 9:58 AM
Subject: Re: [Dixielandjazz] Musician's Union


The articulate and knowledgeable Johnny Wilder posted a very 
story about his Musician's Union experiences. I certainly read about
Johnny's experiences with great interest!

There is another long long story about negotiations between the AFM and 
Sacramento Dixieland Jubilee (as it was then known). Bill Borcher 
of the Jubilee) was at the forefront of those negotiations and I got to
watch all the action being on the Board of Directors at the time.

I won't go into it all, but it was rather funny.  Basically the 
resulted in the loss of "bonus funds" which were paid to the musicians 
on (after they had been paid for their sets and the remaining funds in 
Jubilee receipts had been deposited).  The Jubilee worked on their 
budget and the money left over was distributed to the individual 
in the form of a bonus (which varied from year to year).

The union required a fixed set fee for the musicians and the bonuses

But it's more complicated than that and I don't want to go into it all.

My favorite union story involves a band I know of and all of the guys 
union members. The leader wondered why they never got recommended for 
by the local which the union guys had said they would do.

So the leader asked his wife to call the union and pose as a person
interested in a certain kind of band and ask the union who (whom?) they
would recommend. She described her husband's band (which was rather 
and quite popular).

The union guy said he had "just the band for her" and recommended the 
led by the president of the union. The wife said that she had heard 
there was a band called (she named her husband's band) and asked what 
union thought of them.

The union guy replied that they were an ok band, but that (the band the
union president led) was far superior and was really the one she should

The wife thanked the union dude and hung up.

After she told her husband and the rest of the guys in the band about 
conversation everyone in the band (including the leader) resigned from 

End of story.

I don't know what is complicated or surprising in stories like these 
and the
ones Johnny Wilder related.  That's just the way things operate . . . 
SOP (Standard Operating Procedure).

Respectfully submitted,

Bill "Union? What Union?" Gunter
jazzboard at hotmail.com

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