[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.
THE AFOF M HAS PREDOMINATELY ONLY BEEN INTERESTED IN REPRESENTATION OF
SYMPHONY ORCHESTRAS PLAYERS AS FAR BACK AS I CAN REMEMBER, why because
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.
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
ones Johnny Wilder related. That's just the way things operate . . .
SOP (Standard Operating Procedure).
Bill "Union? What Union?" Gunter
jazzboard at hotmail.com
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