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Feb 27, 2018 - 5:57:07 PM
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13432 posts since 12/2/2005

This seems a fun topic for a thread. I'll start.

Up until just before Christmas, I was hosting a weekly bar jam on Sunday afternoon with some friends. We got paid, but not handsomely by any stretch. After the holidays, the manager informed us that the customers would rather watch football than listen to bluegrass, and that we'd be starting again after the Superbowl.

I checked in two weeks prior to the game, and learned that they MIGHT bring us back once late spring rolled around. In the meantime, they were going to do weekly meat raffles.

You know your music is making a difference when you get replaced by a meat raffle.frown

Who's next?

Feb 27, 2018 - 6:09:32 PM
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chuckv97

Canada

33691 posts since 10/5/2013

There was a jam with audience at the Gilbert Museum (greater Phoenix) twice a month, but the museum coordinator had it listed as RSVP or phone him (voicemail) - why I don’t know. I guess he could advertise it as a go in their e-newsletter. Well last year most pickers just showed up ,,I phoned him only once. This year it’s been cancelled every time , because no one contacted him beforehand. So it’s now been taken off the ABA jam list. So no meat raffle, but the jam has been replaced with silence.

Feb 27, 2018 - 6:13:03 PM
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beegee

USA

20675 posts since 7/6/2005

One reason I never went pro was because I find regular gigs are boring. The audience rarely pays attention. They know few tunes other than Foggy Mt. Breakdown and Dueling Banjos. You get tired of playing the same sets over and over. Travel on the road is tiring, nasty and boring. I traveled with a Southern Gospel group back in the 1980's. We had a bus and di a lot of weekend dates at churches from MD to SC. We'd play a church Friday Night, Saturday night, Sunday AM and PM and then have to drive home 8-10 hours to go to work on Monday. Set-up, tear-dwon, load the bus, unlaod the bus. I had a pig farm and when I was not there, my hired help didn't get much done. Anyway, I play for fun, mostly for fund-raisers and local festivals and private parties. Playing music takes a lot of energy and hard work. it is exhausting.

Feb 27, 2018 - 6:14:55 PM
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5961 posts since 2/14/2006

One time our band was playing bluegrass at a nursing home.  We played about 45 minutes, and noticed at the back of the room there was an elderly woman who looked asleep.  So we all took our instruments and stood around this woman and played 7 or 8 songs right to her.  She didn't move an inch, and appeared to still be sleeping.  So we packed up our instruments, and came to her and patted her  on the back, saying, "I hope you get better.." Immediately she opened her eyes and turned to us and said, "I hope you get better  too!"

OK, I know that's an old joke.  Actually nursing homes are pretty great places to play.  Those people really appreciate the music.  As far as nightmares go, I remember we played a local county fairgrounds during the summer.  It was SO hot, and HUMID.  We had to play under a tent, with the sun burning through and no breeze.  So I guess it was at least 100 degrees in that tent, 100% humidity.  At one point in my gigs I would put some baby powder on my left hand to absorb any sweat.  At this gig, I sweat so much I kept putting on the baby powder until it caked on.  It was like drywall mud on my strings!  That was a nightmare place to play!

Feb 27, 2018 - 6:27:40 PM
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66664 posts since 5/9/2007

I played music exclusively for a few years,but missed Port Clyde too much and came back to mostly go fishing and lobstering,saving weekends for music.

I like to pick and choose where I play,now.
Tomorrow I'm entering a National VA Arts Festival contest.
If we can win something we might fly to Iowa in the fall for a week's stay and big show.

Jams and a handful of gigs is good for now.

I recall a gig where we were told to get something to eat from the kitchen and not come around the main food table.
Another time the Lady of the House delayed the start of the entertainment by beckoning me over to her.
I went to her and she said "You're a tall one...here replace that kitchen light with this bulb."

Sometimes folks want to make sure you know who's paying you.

Feb 27, 2018 - 6:27:49 PM
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13432 posts since 12/2/2005

quote:
Originally posted by Doug Knecht

 So we packed up our instruments, and came to her and patted her  on the back, saying, "I hope you get better.." Immediately she opened her eyes and turned to us and said, "I hope you get better  too!"

 

It may be an old joke, but I hadn't heard it, and it sent Tasty Rum Drink shooting out my nose.

That'll be one new keyboard, bub. laugh

Feb 27, 2018 - 6:33:06 PM

66664 posts since 5/9/2007

quote:
Originally posted by beegee

One reason I never went pro was because I find regular gigs are boring. The audience rarely pays attention. They know few tunes other than Foggy Mt. Breakdown and Dueling Banjos. You get tired of playing the same sets over and over. Travel on the road is tiring, nasty and boring. I traveled with a Southern Gospel group back in the 1980's. We had a bus and di a lot of weekend dates at churches from MD to SC. We'd play a church Friday Night, Saturday night, Sunday AM and PM and then have to drive home 8-10 hours to go to work on Monday. Set-up, tear-dwon, load the bus, unlaod the bus. I had a pig farm and when I was not there, my hired help didn't get much done. Anyway, I play for fun, mostly for fund-raisers and local festivals and private parties. Playing music takes a lot of energy and hard work. it is exhausting.


Did you ever know of Kip Yattaw in those days,beegee?

He was in a Gospel band for 15 years,back then.I can't remember their band name right now.

Feb 27, 2018 - 6:51:17 PM
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3768 posts since 6/15/2005

Strictly speaking, my story is about an audition, not a gig, but I guess that's close enough.

Back in the late seventies one of my band mates learned that a bar on Staten Island was looking for a bluegrass band to play sort of regularly. They wanted us to come out on a Wednesday night to audition. We all had to leave work early in order get to my place in Brooklyn by 6:30 and then drive an hour or so to the middle of Staten Island in late rush hour traffic. When we finally got there, we realized that we were in the proverbial middle of nowhere. The room itself was long, dark and narrow. There was a bar on the right and a small stage at the very end. The bar was empty except for the bartender and a guy who appeared to be quite drunk nursing a beer. We unpacked our instruments and started to play. The second or third song we did was "Rank Stranger." As we played, the drunk got off his bar stool with a bottle of beer in his hand and started waltzing his way to the stage in perfect 3/4 time. He stopped right in front of the stage, drinking, smiling, swaying, until we finished. We didn't get the gig, but I've never forgotten the audition.

    

Feb 27, 2018 - 6:57:32 PM
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13403 posts since 8/14/2003

Another emergency call for a "guest" picker last week... "We don't have a banjo picker"... (one of these days I'll learn?) Two hours of NO Bluegrass... They should have had their cowboys hats on...and called it Wanttabee Willy... just damn///////////////

Edited by - Kenneth Logsdon on 02/27/2018 18:59:21

Feb 27, 2018 - 7:10:03 PM
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47835 posts since 12/14/2005

Got a gig to be the entertainment at a regional Cub Scout meeting.
Packed up ALL the gear needed for demonstrating how to make a cookie-tin banjo.
Got there, unpacked the gear onto the carts, got into the building, and the guy who gave me the gig apologized.
He had lost my card, or he would have phone me and told me the Committee had decided to hire a different presenter to do a different demonstration.

Didn't offer to slip me a few bucks for the time and gas.

So now, I try my damnedest to get everything done by e-mail, so I've got something PRINTABLE.

Feb 27, 2018 - 7:28:10 PM
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3768 posts since 6/15/2005

Wow, Mike's mentioning the Cub Scouts brought back a memory of a gig so bad I'd nearly repressed it.

My same band was booked to play a Cub Scout jamboree at a big park in Connecticut. There were seven or eight different performers culminating with an appearance by the actor Dan Haggerty, who was starring in the hit TV show, "Grizzly Adams," about a woodsman who rescued a bear. We were the next-to-last act, appearing right before Haggerty. By the time we went on, the 3,000 Cub Scouts in attendance had been sitting in the hot sun for over an hour, waiting for their idol, Grizzly Adams. A bluegrass band was the last thing they wanted. Forty years later, I can still see their beady little eyes staring up at us shooting daggers toward the stage.

Edited by - arnie fleischer on 02/27/2018 19:38:51

Feb 27, 2018 - 7:37:19 PM
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168 posts since 7/28/2016

I have a gig Saturday night playing with a rock and roll band. I can't wait. I really enjoy playing with anybody anytime. The band gets paid but I don't take any money. I'm just happy to be there because I'm not real good. You can't hear me good which makes it easier when I make a mistake. Sometimes they actually have another banjo player also. I feel like if I got paid for it I would stop enjoying it,

Feb 27, 2018 - 9:18:36 PM

Medic Players Union Member

USA

95 posts since 1/31/2003

quote:
Originally posted by steve davis

I played music exclusively for a few years,but missed Port Clyde too much and came back to mostly go fishing and lobstering,saving weekends for music.

I like to pick and choose where I play,now.
Tomorrow I'm entering a National VA Arts Festival contest.
If we can win something we might fly to Iowa in the fall for a week's stay and big show.

Jams and a handful of gigs is good for now.

I recall a gig where we were told to get something to eat from the kitchen and not come around the main food table.
Another time the Lady of the House delayed the start of the entertainment by beckoning me over to her.
I went to her and she said "You're a tall one...here replace that kitchen light with this bulb."

Sometimes folks want to make sure you know who's paying you.


What part of Iowa and which big show are you looking at going to? I live in south east Iowa.

Feb 27, 2018 - 10:01:12 PM
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47835 posts since 12/14/2005

From Steve Davis

-----------------------------------------------------

Another time the Lady of the House delayed the start of the entertainment by beckoning me over to her.
I went to her and she said "You're a tall one...here replace that kitchen light with this bulb."

-----------------------------------------------------

FINALLY!

An HONEST answer to

"How many BANJO PLAYERS does it take, to change a light bulb??"

Feb 27, 2018 - 10:24:10 PM
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pickin_fool

Canada

1660 posts since 6/30/2017

"How many BANJO PLAYERS does it take, to change a light bulb??"

25...1 to do the actual changing plus 24 to hold a debate as to how earl would do it...

back on topic...was playing an out of town gig in nipigon ontario...(home of the worlds largest brook trout)...

anyway there were 4 guys up there from kentucky...they saw my banjo on stage and they went nuts...so instead of our usual mix of 1/2 bluegrass and 1/2 easy listening crapola we played every bluegrass tune we knew...(yes foggy mountain breakdown and dueling banjos at least 6 times each)...anyway these guys requested me for a private kinda session while they had supper...my pay from the bar owner was a roast beef sandwich...but it was a really good sandwich...all in a days work...

they good ole boys invited me up to their campsite next day and being the party animal i was i accepted...i got so messed up that i missed the first two sets on stage that night...

wutta life

Feb 28, 2018 - 2:37:02 AM
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225 posts since 3/12/2014

I have enjoyed this train.

My only similar incident was going to an open mic. Well, to be honest the advertising wasn't honest. They had a house band - same group played together for ages and they were not looking for new members or to allow someone else to play. I was told I wasn't playing.

...Deb

Feb 28, 2018 - 2:47:06 AM
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47835 posts since 12/14/2005

So, the advertising SAID the mic would be OPEN, when what they REALLY meant to say was that the mic would be ON.

Feb 28, 2018 - 3:54:08 AM
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2179 posts since 11/15/2003

I have a lot of good memories of "the road", but it's surly a young person's game!
I've slept in the backs of all manner of van's, motorhomes, bus's and motel rooms, and got to(or had to) eat anything that walked or crawled at one time or another!

I've recalled one of our adventures one week back in 1997, 10 of us, in a 7 passenger customized van, pulling a u-haul trailer with our instruments, cd's/tapes, hangup stage clothes, ect, we left, southern Mo, on a Thursday noon, and played 2 sets in northern Mo at a festival thursday night.
Packed up on thursday night, left about 11pm and had to be in Moncton New Brunswick on stage by 2pm saturday, worked sat and sunday, left monday, had a pickup in Indiana on wednesday, had to be in Houston Mn at money creek haven by thursay nite, worked that till saturday nite, left around midnight and droped down into iowa at Oscalousa for a couple of Sunday sets, left late sunday nite and got home, early monday am!
all miles added up to just shy of 4800 !
Glad I it did? Sure!
Would I do it again? Probably not, and surly not for the same money!
Warp!

Edited by - warpdrive on 02/28/2018 03:55:43

Feb 28, 2018 - 6:30:16 AM
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ClawJam Players Union Member

USA

84 posts since 12/21/2012

Bars around here (Va Beach) and their patrons seem to be fixated on 80's music...80's new wave, 80's hair metal....80's you name it. Our group is kinda old-time/ folky and we do some pretty old tunes, so when someone invariably comes up and asks "do you play any 80's music?" I say "YES....1880's!" No one ever gets it.

Then there was the time about 6 songs into our first set, a young waitress came up and asked me (quite seriously) "are you going to play any songs that, you know, people might actually like?" I looked around the room, paused, and said "probably not, Sweetie, probably not".

The look on her face: priceless

Feb 28, 2018 - 7:13:28 AM
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lazyarcher

Canada

6946 posts since 4/19/2004

quote:
Originally posted by warpdrive

I have a lot of good memories of "the road", but it's surly a young person's game!
I've slept in the backs of all manner of van's, motorhomes, bus's and motel rooms, and got to(or had to) eat anything that walked or crawled at one time or another!

Glad I it did? Sure!
Would I do it again? Probably not, and surly not for the same money!
Warp!


Ill echo your comments...exactly my experience playing full time as a youngster!

I have a book full of nightmares.

In Ontario in the late 70s, the Good Brothers were a big fav. Country rock/bluegrass...plugged in, drummer, sold out shows.

A promoter books us (Dixie Flyers 5 piece trad bluegrass band) into a club in Sudbury..northern Ontario. The owner wanted a "Good Brothers" bluegrass band at a lesser price....

We show up in our van with us and our sound system. The owner says we can unload at the side door when our sound truck gets here...which is here because its in our van. We go into the room to set up...and it seats like 800 people..its huge. We have a small system made for a 200-300 seat club???? The owner is not impressed.

We play the 1st of 6 nights to about 100 people...who are less than enthusiastic.

2nd night about 50 people.

3rd night maybe 8...one of them who comes to the stage at the end of the 1st set to say.."you guys really suck"

4th day we sit down with "Joe" the owner and come to a mutual agreement that this was not going to work out.

He paid us out of the contract which we gratefully accepted and got out of Dodge.

We suck!

Feb 28, 2018 - 7:57:05 AM
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beegee

USA

20675 posts since 7/6/2005

I once played a gig for the Produce Grower's Convention in Belle Glade Florida. It was a Union gig and someone on the committee "had to have a banjo player." There were no banjo players in the Miami union, so they called me. It was kinda fun being out at Okeechobee in a 1930's dance hall loaded down with fruit and vegetables, but I was playing with an electric guitarist, saxophone, piano, drum, bass, trumpets, trombone and clarinet. I did manage to play Foggy Mountain Breakdown. Had to wear a tie and jacket....I remember it was hot and I was miserable.

Edited by - beegee on 02/28/2018 07:57:53

Feb 28, 2018 - 8:12:08 AM
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BTuno

USA

840 posts since 3/3/2007

Flash back to the early 1960s, high school hootenanny: We were gonna do a couple Peter Paul and Mary songs when, in rehearsal, the Drama Coach, had an idea. He asked us to dress as PPM and keep it quiet. He billed the Hoot as "with special guest stars". We got into it. My buddy dressed as Mary with hairy legs and all. My mom wrote spoof lyrics to Fluff the Spastic Dragon. That night when announced as Peter.... Paul....and Hairy, the crowd went wild.
My buddy "Hairy", passed away a couple years ago and I now own his grandfathers 1928 Gibson Mastertone, that I am making a repro 5-string neck for. Its a keeper!

Feb 28, 2018 - 9:19:21 AM
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Cornflake Players Union Member

USA

3633 posts since 10/18/2007

There was the time our band drove to the next town, 50 miles away, to play a gig. We played a few songs to a totally empty room till the owner told us it was no use.

Feb 28, 2018 - 3:43:47 PM

1198 posts since 10/17/2013

quote:
Originally posted by arnie fleischer

Wow, Mike's mentioning the Cub Scouts brought back a memory of a gig so bad I'd nearly repressed it.

My same band was booked to play a Cub Scout jamboree at a big park in Connecticut. There were seven or eight different performers culminating with an appearance by the actor Dan Haggerty, who was starring in the hit TV show, "Grizzly Adams," about a woodsman who rescued a bear. We were the next-to-last act, appearing right before Haggerty. By the time we went on, the 3,000 Cub Scouts in attendance had been sitting in the hot sun for over an hour, waiting for their idol, Grizzly Adams. A bluegrass band was the last thing they wanted. Forty years later, I can still see their beady little eyes staring up at us shooting daggers toward the stage.


 

Good grief! Man, if you'd only presented yourselves as the "Bluegrass Bears"!

Perhaps some of those beady little eyes are now (not) shooting daggers at their banjos.

Honestly, I can't believe there would be such an interest in "Grizzly Adams." Those Scouts must have been devastated. I am sure more than one of them thought, "Horrors! Here come the Blasted Bozos of Bluegrass."

Edited by - bluegrassbanjopicker on 02/28/2018 15:45:14

Feb 28, 2018 - 5:15:19 PM

ClawJam Players Union Member

USA

84 posts since 12/21/2012

"Horrors! Here come the Blasted Bozos of Bluegrass."

Now that's funny!! How about the "Wacky Webelos of the Woebegone?"

Feb 28, 2018 - 7:21:50 PM
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3768 posts since 6/15/2005

Luke, it was a totally different time 40 years ago.

The band was called Watershed. Our repertoire included bluegrass versions of songs by Dylan and the Stones but it didn't seem to make any difference that day.


Edited by - arnie fleischer on 02/28/2018 19:31:48

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