[Dixielandjazz] Musician's Union

Larry Walton Entertainment - St. Louis larrys.bands at charter.net
Sat Nov 4 12:00:03 PST 2006

I hate to agree with you but it's true.

A guy I know got tired of being hassled over the union and formed his own. 
He went before the Labor relations board and got it approved.  So far as I 
know there are no dues and the only group he organized is his own band.  It 
was all legal.  As far as I know he still has it on the books somewhere.

His name is Howard Funct and he owns a music store in St. Charles, MO.
Larry Walton
St. Louis MO
The Most Dangerous City in the World.  Hoo Rah!
Now where did I leave my gun?

----- Original Message ----- 
From: <tcashwigg at aol.com>
To: <jazzboard at hotmail.com>; <JohnWilder at Comcast.net>; 
<dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com>
Sent: Saturday, November 04, 2006 1:44 PM
Subject: Re: [Dixielandjazz] Musician's Union

> 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)
> ETC.,
> 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
> songs.
> 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.
> Cheers
> 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
>   Friends,
> The articulate and knowledgeable Johnny Wilder posted a very
> enlightening
> 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
> the
> Sacramento Dixieland Jubilee (as it was then known). Bill Borcher
> (founder
> 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
> settlement
> resulted in the loss of "bonus funds" which were paid to the musicians
> later
> on (after they had been paid for their sets and the remaining funds in
> the
> Jubilee receipts had been deposited).  The Jubilee worked on their
> upcoming
> budget and the money left over was distributed to the individual
> musicians
> 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
> disappeared.
> 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
> were
> union members. The leader wondered why they never got recommended for
> gigs
> 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
> unique
> and quite popular).
> The union guy said he had "just the band for her" and recommended the
> band
> led by the president of the union. The wife said that she had heard
> that
> there was a band called (she named her husband's band) and asked what
> the
> 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
> book.
> The wife thanked the union dude and hung up.
> After she told her husband and the rest of the guys in the band about
> the
> conversation everyone in the band (including the leader) resigned from
> the
> union.
> 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 . . .
> it's
> SOP (Standard Operating Procedure).
> Respectfully submitted,
> Bill "Union? What Union?" Gunter
> jazzboard at hotmail.com
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