[Dixielandjazz] Getting gigs and beating out the moaners

Lutemann at aol.com Lutemann at aol.com
Sun Jun 3 06:56:21 PDT 2007

I know that this has been a big topic on this list and I would like to put  
in my two cents.  I am half of a banjo trombone duo called Bordello  Rhythm.  
We  play essentially classic jazz (1920-30) with a repertoire  of about 70 
tunes and we do no vocals (i wish we could).  We just got a  steady gig yesterday 
after a short audition.  
We have found that people, especially the boomer crowd, like  OKOM.  I think 
they are sick to death of walking into venues and seeing  same guy sitting on 
a stool strumming the guitar and moaning. (they all sound  like they are 
moaning). And the venue owners like out fees and the  flexibility we offer.  The 
place we'll be playing has an upstairs room  (converted attic) a downstairs room 
and a courtyard.  We use no equipment  and no music stands.  No one else in 
town could play this gig except  us!
The reason we can keep out fees down is basic economics.  Take the  case of a 
single moaner.  He has to have a pickup or mike for his guitar, a  mike for 
his voice, a PA for his voice, maybe a guitar amp for his guitar and  then a 
couple column speakers. If he were to rent this equipment out for one  night, he 
would have to get at least $200.  So if the moaner gets $200 for  a three 
hour gig (a very good fee in my medium sized southern  town), he's playing for 
free.  In fact, a very good friend of mine (a  moaner) quit playing, started 
renting out his equipment and increased his  income. 
I think you have to be careful how you package this music. If you have  
pencil mustache and straw hat, you're not going to make it. We say we play New  
Orleans style jazz and we tell the employer up front that everybody likes  this 
music - and they do.  

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