[Dixielandjazz] Milt Barnhart recalls a troubled tour with BennyGoodman

Steve Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Tue Nov 20 10:35:55 PST 2007

Larry Walton Entertainment - St. Louis at larrys.bands at charter.net wrote:

> ..... he was told that he couldn't enter the hotel by the front
> doors, only through the back.
> And between shows, he had to stay in a back room. No "mixing" with the
> guests...... Benny would not allow a star of his band to
> be restricted in such a demeaning way.
> ___________________________________
> You don't have to be black to be treated this way.  The key word is
> musician.  In the past 10 years things have been different more or less.
> The country clubs still really don't want you coming in the front and
> mingling with the guests while not prohibited isn't encouraged either.  The
> MAC club in downtown St. Louis wants you to go in the back and not use the
> guest elevators and they provide a break room.  No one jumps in the way if
> you do come in the front but knowing how they are from past experience I
> know what's expected.
> Most of the guys that play CC's here don't really mingle with the guests.
> The point is that it's not just a black and white thing but a hired help
> thing.  If you are hired help you aren't a guest and that's pretty simple so
> if they don't want to serve you at the bar or give you a break room or enter
> in the back it isn't a race thing.  It's like the TV series Upstairs
> Downstairs.  There is a distinction made.  If they are paying you then you
> are hired help and hired help are not guests.
> Personally I think some of these things are rude but there is no problem as
> long as "you know your place".
> Most of this junk is going by the wayside and that's good but looking at it
> from their point of view who wants some guy with a cart full of stuff to
> come through the guests and crowd up the elevators or block a front door
> while they unload.  After all they do owe more to their guests than to us
> hired help.
> I know that a lot of you don't see yourselves as hired help.  I work
> occasionally with two guys that could buy and sell most of the C Club set.
> I suspect that they don't really see themselves as that but when they are
> working they are hired help.
> Some people are just too quick to take offense.
> Thanks for the interesting piece.


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