Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Don’t Let Your Kids Grow Up To Be Musicians (part 1 of ∞)

I’m a musician and I have decided to chronicle the unfolding saga of my musical “career” gig by gig. The main goal is, of course, to stop you or your offspring from considering this as a money-making option. Let me make it clear that I play in cover bands. These are bands that play other people’s songs to entertain drunken patrons who do not want to hear songs they don’t know while they’re getting inebriated (shitfaced, pissed, sauced, plastered, Boris Yeltsin). If you don’t get paid playing an instrument then you are not a musician for the purposes of my crusade. So if you want to play in your garage along with your favorite records and do a really killer drum fill that is supposed to end on the “1” with a crash but ends up continuing for a few extra 16th notes, because you don’t know what a metronome is, keep at it. By the way, I will generally use drum references because I’m a drummer. If you’re a guitarist don’t worry about metronomes because none of you can play in time anyway.

October 25th – Gig opening for an AC/DC Tribute Band
Pre-show rigmarole:
The “leader” of the band wanted us to arrive at 6 p.m. because the contract said 6 p.m. load in. This was, of course, a ludicrous request which I completely ignored as sound check was at 8 p.m. and showtime 9:30 p.m.
On my way to the gig, he called me twice asking me if I was close to arriving. It was similar to having a really possessive girlfriend calling you at 2 a.m. asking where you are while you’re trying to have sex with another girl. Very annoying.
The point is if you’re not going to listen and become a musician don’t show up 4 hours before the gig to set up unless you want to get Boris Yeltsin before the show.
The other three members of my band did show up at 6 p.m. because they keep listening to the “leader”. If we were Dominicans I’d refer to him as Trujillo right now. Needless to say they were bored out of their little musical minds by the time I arrived at 7:30. I set up in 20 minutes and was ready with time to spare for the sound check. After that was done there was another hour of useless standing around. Obviously at 8 p.m. there is no one in the bar but the staff so if you’re one of those dudes that likes to hit on chix (I like to spell it with an ‘x’) you will be greatly disappointed.
The band was lifeless throughout. I imagined I was in that bar Obi-Wan took Luke and I was playing in the house band with a bunch of robots ("These aren't the droids you're looking for"). I spent half the show staring down at my snare drum. One of the architectural gems of this venue was that the stage was behind a load-bearing beam. That beam was right in the middle as you looked out. So it was obstructed view musical theatre. At one point I was watching the singer and it looked like he was serenading the beam. It didn’t respond to his advances. The stage lights above the drums shone down and reflected off my tom heads straight into my face. The glare from said lights smashed me in the face like a million suns. I needed SPF 80 but there was none to be found. A pair of sunglasses would have helped a lot but then we would have had to do that Corey Hart song or risk pretentiousness. I sweated profusely throughout that torturous hour and was worried that the thirty something white trash chix in the audience were going to smell me afterwards. As it turns out, I didn’t need to worry because I didn’t talk to any of them. That’s one of the myths you need to tell your kids about. Musicians don’t really get chix. Well maybe sometimes they do, but not as much as you think. Trujillo can get them but he’s tall, good looking and uses Magnums so I’m not sure if his musical skills have anything to do with it. It's a matter of great debate amongst the great unwashed artistic masses.

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