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Dear Abby -Should I quit my gig?


LX88

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I think that ggurl's comments are valid in that there are probably very few men that would unjustly verbally abuse a female musician on a bandstand and get away with it, particularly if there were other men around to defend her.

 

I think in my case it is also because I am perhaps not considered one of the "elete" musicians in my community. I am just a hard working guy who can do the job, but I don't very often kiss up to the good ol' boys or drink and party with them.

 

I am not asking for a cheering section to support me here. As I said, I have been wondering more about how many other people have to put up with these types of abusive situations.

 

I would bet that on a construction crew, this type of crap happens all the time. It's often called RANKISM.

 

Some of us thought we could avoid it by choosing a profession in the arts.

 

Wrong.

 

It has already been determined that I should quit the gig. The topic has or will hopefully evolve into a discussion of people's experiences other than mine and how to best deal with these types of things.

 

 

 

 

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I still think you ought to put the guy over a barrel, figuratively speaking. Quitting the gig doesn't accomplish anything. Putting him up against the wall and telling him that, if he ever talks like that to you onstage again, you'll pack your shit and walk on the spot, that puts him in one of two positions: If he's a spineless loudmouth (what I suspect he is), he'll back down, and that'll be the end of it. If he's a dyed-in-the-wool asshole, he'll tell you you're fired. If he does this in front of the rest of the band (which is, by the way, the ideal time to confront him), then the rest of the band might just decide to "fire" him instead.

 

Worst case scenario, you're in the same spot you'd be in if you hadn't confronted him and just quit, although you'll be taking your dignity with you, instead of leaving it on the floor at the last performance.

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Guys like you describe are not BL's of successful bands for long since to stay successful, you have to be professional and can't burn bridges - eventually it catches up with you.

 

That being said, we all have our flaws and bands can be like marriages. Flaws get amplified when you play 100 gigs a year together year after year. Add the additional stresses in life and things can get ugly.

 

I've had a rocky relationship at times with one band member. He has a big mouth and at times a bad attitude. There had been a number of occasions when we had sat him down to talk about it. I was going through a divorce, had a sibling near death, and other personal issues not to mention stress from my day job, etc. There had been a series of situations that had things rocky between myself and the other guy. I won't get into details, but he shot me a dirty look on stage and mouthed obscenities at me (for no reason IMO) and then turned around and did exactly what he was criticizing me for. Now MY flaw is that I'm the type to sit and stew until I hit my breaking point, then explode. I didn't say a word or do anything else onstage. But as soon as the gig was over, I went back stage and let him have it - shouting match. He pushed me. I charged fully ready to deliver blow - the rest of the band got between us. To those who didn't see what happened onstage, I was completely out of control and out of line. Half the band wanted to kick me out. The other half asked me what happened - and knowing the other guy and his history - understood. There was talk of kicking him out - I said I didn't want that, I just wanted behavior to change.

 

Both of us were wrong - he acted inappropriately on stage, I responded inappropriately offstage. We settled it over the course of the next week. He promised to work on his attitude and keep issues offstage. I promised to be more patient and talk through any issues without blowing up.

 

To this day we are great friends and working things out turned out to be the bet thing for the band, our friendship, and everybody involved.

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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This is what I initially was curious to hear - who else has had to put up with this kind of stuff ,and how best to deal with it.

 

Some people seem to be immune from getting bullied, but I grew up with it so I am somewhat naturally defensive. I don't want to go into too many details but I grew up around A LOT of threatening characters in my early environment.

 

Even the Vietnam war looming as a possibility affected many of us from the boomer generation. I know it caused a lot of people I knew to live too fast...which was a part of the whole 60's phenonmenon.

 

But at the same time, there was all that great music....

 

 

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This is what I initially was curious to hear - who else has had to put up with this kind of stuff ,and how best to deal with it.

 

Some people seem to be immune from getting bullied, but I grew up with it so I am somewhat naturally defensive. I don't want to go into too many details but I grew up around A LOT of threatening characters in my early environment.

 

 

As did I . . . Thing is, when you strike back against such people you have be totally believable.

 

I have been in a similar situation - once. Our guitarist was having an off night about a year and a half ago, and no sooner had the last note of the first set been played when our (de facto) BL tore into him.

 

Loudly. Profanely. In front of the crowd, and the staff.

 

I jumped in and said, "look, if you want to rip him a new one have at it, but for Chrissake take it outside! You have patrons, staff and the owner within earshot!"

 

He immediately turned his abuse on me, ending it with,

"get out of this before you get hurt."

 

I said,

"As of this moment, you and I are done. I will finish the gig because unlike you, I have professional standards. But I hope you have (my predecessor)'s phone number handy for next Saturday. You're going to need it. Oh, and if you think you're going to hurt me - bring friends."

 

I said nothing else for the rest of the night. It was a Friday.

 

On Saturday I emailed the other three members and said,

"guys, you have five days to to do one of three things:

  • find me an apology from him,
  • find yourselves a replacement keyboardist for next Saturday,
  • cancel the gig.

 

Now, two of the three had said the magic words ("I quit") numerous times and never followed thru.

 

I, on the other hand, had quit once due to non-band personal issues and returned a year later. They had not really believed my reason, and one of them actually believes to this day that he was responsible for my departure (no prize for guessing who).

 

By Monday lunchtime I had my apology.

 

But - they all knew I would do it. And a "threat", if you want to call it that, is only effective if the threatened party believes it will be carried out at all costs.

 

You can drop the q-word on him, but if this asshat perceives any sign of weakness in you, you're done. He's a coward and a bully for doing what he did, and that's how their kind operates.

 

What I told him (after the apology) and my bandmates after the incident, was that I have one basic rule of personal conduct for my bandmates:

 

Do not "cuss out", "disrespect", or threaten me with physical violence in front of patrons or staff at a gig.

 

EVER.

 

And you will accord all members of this band that level of respect. Yeah, if I deserve it, rip me to pieces. . . but do it PRIVATELY.

 

Going forward, break this rule even once, and we are done.

 

Since then, I find I get a hell of a lot more respect.

 

But hey, some people never wake up.

-Mike
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I still think you ought to put the guy over a barrel, figuratively speaking. Quitting the gig doesn't accomplish anything. Putting him up against the wall and telling him that, if he ever talks like that to you onstage again, you'll pack your shit and walk on the spot, that puts him in one of two positions: If he's a spineless loudmouth (what I suspect he is), he'll back down, and that'll be the end of it. If he's a dyed-in-the-wool asshole, he'll tell you you're fired. If he does this in front of the rest of the band (which is, by the way, the ideal time to confront him), then the rest of the band might just decide to "fire" him instead.

 

Worst case scenario, you're in the same spot you'd be in if you hadn't confronted him and just quit, although you'll be taking your dignity with you, instead of leaving it on the floor at the last performance.

 

This.

"Danny, ci manchi a tutti. La E-Street Band non e' la stessa senza di te. Riposa in pace, fratello"

 

 

noblevibes.com

 

 

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This is what I initially was curious to hear - who else has had to put up with this kind of stuff ,and how best to deal with it.

 

Some people seem to be immune from getting bullied,

 

In the context of this thread, I think that some people have a more active BS sensor. They judge the guy and see if it's possible to push back. If it's not, they figure out plan B. :laugh: Some "leaders" are always testing the waters. They figure out who they can and cannot treat poorly.

 

Wedding planners often do this. Some are very nice, some are very bitchy. What I do when they approach:

 

Wedding Planner: " I want you guys to..."

Me, Interrupting: "Sorry, but we don't work for you. We were hired by _____ and work for them".

Wedding Planner: Umm, err, aah.....Okay". :laugh:

 

Works every time. :thu: I also have a patented "Travis Bickle" glare. It states, very clearly, that I was not pleased with your comment/remark/attitude/playing, and it is entirely possible that, in fact, doing that again might not be in your best interest. :thu:

 

who else has had to put up with this kind of stuff

 

Sure. Since I do a lot of backup work, there will inevitably be a few MD's who are super dicks. Smokey Robinson's conductor is one: he was born mean. :laugh: People roll their eyes and get through it since it's one day only. If it were an ongoing gig, I'd bring out the Travis Bickle glare.

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This is what I initially was curious to hear - who else has had to put up with this kind of stuff ,and how best to deal with it.

 

Some people seem to be immune from getting bullied,

 

In the context of this thread, I think that some people have a more active BS sensor. They judge the guy and see if it's possible to push back. If it's not, they figure out plan B. :laugh: Some "leaders" are always testing the waters. They figure out who they can and cannot treat poorly.

 

Wedding planners often do this. Some are very nice, some are very bitchy. What I do when they approach:

 

Wedding Planner: " I want you guys to..."

Me, Interrupting: "Sorry, but we don't work for you. We were hired by _____ and work for them".

Wedding Planner: Umm, err, aah.....Okay". :laugh:

 

Works every time. :thu: I also have a patented "Travis Bickle" glare. It states, very clearly, that I was not pleased with your comment/remark/attitude/playing, and it is entirely possible that, in fact, doing that again might not be in your best interest. :thu:

 

who else has had to put up with this kind of stuff

 

Sure. Since I do a lot of backup work, there will inevitably be a few MD's who are super dicks. Smokey Robinson's conductor is one: he was born mean. :laugh: People roll their eyes and get through it since it's one day only. If it were an ongoing gig, I'd bring out the Travis Bickle glare.

 

We should have a whole separate thread about weddings and the horrors associated with playing them.

"Danny, ci manchi a tutti. La E-Street Band non e' la stessa senza di te. Riposa in pace, fratello"

 

 

noblevibes.com

 

 

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Wedding planners often do this. Some are very nice, some are very bitchy. What I do when they approach:

 

Wedding Planner: " I want you guys to..."

Me, Interrupting: "Sorry, but we don't work for you. We were hired by _____ and work for them".

Wedding Planner: Umm, err, aah.....Okay". :laugh:

 

Works every time.

Hmmm.

 

The only weddings I've ever performed were gifts to the couple, low-key affairs, and with no wedding planners, so I have no idea.

 

Isn't the planner the agent of the couple? Aren't they often helpful in helping to coordinate things? Or is this just for the bitchy type? (Honest question, not veiled criticism.) Does the answer depend on whether it's a classical gig? Maybe this should be a different thread. :laugh:

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Wedding planners often do this. Some are very nice, some are very bitchy. What I do when they approach:

 

Wedding Planner: " I want you guys to..."

Me, Interrupting: "Sorry, but we don't work for you. We were hired by _____ and work for them".

Wedding Planner: Umm, err, aah.....Okay". :laugh:

 

Works every time.

Hmmm.

 

 

 

Isn't the planner the agent of the couple? Aren't they often helpful in helping to coordinate things? Or is this just for the bitchy type? (Honest question, not veiled criticism.)

 

It's all based on instinct, which is why it's relevant to this thread. Yes the bitchy type, as the non-bitchy type say nothing except "Hello". We are never, ever rude at a gig. It's more of diffusing a potential situation: we make it known that we know exactly what we are doing. The nice ones sincerely appreciate it, the bitchy ones realize right away that they have to take out their aggressions on the florists or the photographers. :laugh:

 

Some people seek out people to boss, bully, order around etc. I think the OP's band leader is one of those, since he didn't say (or I didn't see it) that he behaves poorly with other people.

 

My grand theory: people who work in casual (not 40 hour week) employment are constantly sizing everybody up. It's what the bitchy wedding planner does, and possibly this band leader. It's a test. It usually happens right away: the bitchy planner makes it known right away that she'd like to boss you around. We diffuse it mid-sentence. Likewise, I think the band leader said "Asshole" as a test. I think it was semi-planned, maybe sub-consciously semi-planned. He was testing the waters and pushing it to see how one would respond to him. In the future, the OP can be aware of this and at least plan some sort of response in advance. It may be that the leader is a perennial dick and he needs to move on, or it may be that he can "take him" and the shit ends right then and there.

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This happened to me recently (mid-September). I show up early, provide the PA, play bass, and mix from stage, take it apart afterwards, and haul it home. I get an extra cut for this (usually $60-$100). Everyone brings a mic, stand, and cable and plugs in after I have the PA set up. Everyone except the drummer.

 

It was the last gig of a long festival season and we had 30 minutes to set up outdoors and sound check. I'd had enough and asked the leader to please ask the drummer to wire up his two mics for a change like everyone else (One mic and stand was mine!). He did, and the drummer stormed up to the stage stage ranting "that's what we pay you $100 for! When my other band rents a PA the sound guy takes care of everything. I can get someone to do the whole gig for $125." I politely reminded him that everyone else carries their weight by hooking up their own gear, and that I get $350 when I do sound for another band. He sat down 5 minutes before downbeat and said "I'll just play without mics, then." I was livid but just said "that's rather childish" and I wired him up and we played. Everyone said we sounded great. It felt like crap playing bass for a night with a drummer that treated me like that. Everyone else in the band, including the leader, heard him but said nothing.

 

I slept on it for three days and remained angry. I called the leader and asked him what he thought about the drummer's attitude. He didn't seem to want to make waves, and an apology dd not appear to be forthcoming, so I quit on the spot and suggested that they call their old bass player and let the drummer be responsible for booking the PA. I felt a heavy weight had been lifted from my shoulders. Two members expressed understanding of my decision, two (including the leader) were and have been silent.

 

I know I did a great job for the band over two years. But I knew I couldn't enjoy playing with someone like that. The band puts up with him because he sings about a third of the tunes and brings a crowd. The day after I quit I got a call for 2 months of work that pays more than the entire festival season did! Now I am working on my chops and looking forward to the next endeavor for 2012.

 

LX88, sometimes enjoying the gig can be more of a need than the money. And it always seems like the right decision to follow your instincts and act accordingly no matter how difficult. I commend your professionalism and hope you find a light at the end of the tunnel like I did.

Peace,

Mark

"Think Pink Floyd are whiny old men? No Problem. Turn em off and enjoy the Miley Cyrus remix featuring Pitbull." - Cygnus64

 

Life is shorter than you think...make it count.

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Nah, it isn't the Numa. I came it terms with its lack of adjustability long ago. It had been dialed in for quite a while.

 

The Numa is one of the reasons that I hate to give up gigging by the way. It is working out incredibly well... one of the best acquisitions I ever made.

 

I knew there were a couple more stories like mine out there, like the ones Mickey Keys and Sparky shared. As I said, I am learning from how other people deal with this stuff.

 

Maybe in at some point I will have a story with a happy ending!

 

 

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If you stay too long, it can do harm to you. There is a residual affect from being in an abuse situation.

Saying go f yourself is not so much it.

Assuming this BL is not going to change

Assuming you have tried to break through his aggressive issues

Esp because he drinks, the above assumptions are likely true.

 

Ask yourself, and do not share it here... ask yourself how you feel about this person.

It is quite a challenge that is before you. And you have my sympathy.

 

 

You don't have ideas, ideas have you

We see the world, not as it is, but as we are. "One mans food is another mans poison". I defend your right to speak hate. Tolerance to a point, not agreement

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...the drummer stormed up to the stage stage ranting "that's what we pay you $100 for! When my other band rents a PA the sound guy takes care of everything. I can get someone to do the whole gig for $125." I politely reminded him that everyone else carries their weight by hooking up their own gear, and that I get $350 when I do sound for another band.

 

FWIW, while we can get it for less if need be, generally we tend to pay around $500 for full sound, upwards of $1000 for a festival, plus more for lights. We've paid $100 just to have a good sound guy come out and run us on a house system.

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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...the drummer stormed up to the stage stage ranting "that's what we pay you $100 for! When my other band rents a PA the sound guy takes care of everything. I can get someone to do the whole gig for $125." I politely reminded him that everyone else carries their weight by hooking up their own gear, and that I get $350 when I do sound for another band.

 

FWIW, while we can get it for less if need be, generally we tend to pay around $500 for full sound, upwards of $1000 for a festival, plus more for lights. We've paid $100 just to have a good sound guy come out and run us on a house system.

 

Yeah, no kidding. Wonder if drummer boy understands the whole concept of "gear replacement costs"...

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+1 with Derek and MissRTee.

 

Maybe not a big f-off but just quit the band. You're an artist and you've got to keep your dignity otherwise no one will respect you. Like Cygnus said these type of jerks are always testing people to see how much they can get out of them and how sh--ty they can treat them. Now that the alpha dog band leader has pissed on you on stage in front of an audience, he thinks that you'll take it next time to show the audience the BL's dominance. You need to get out. I'd do it tactfully but it just ain't your scene. You have to treat the situation like you're an abused wife and just get out no matter how few other gigs are out there because if you don't respect yourself, no one else will respect you either.

 

D.

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On the other hand

The gig scene has NEVER been this slow ( bad ) for me, and many many others.

And dignity, and other peoples opinion of your behavior who have not walked in your mocassins, is only one aspect- this might just be a serious cross to tolerate for a little longer.

 

I am a full timer, yeah right, "full" used to mean 5 to 7 days a week- things are so slow, I have no new years eve gig. ( For you part timers- New Years has been the busiest most high paying gig of the year )

Those of you who do not solely rely on gigs, may not grasp the pain and anxiety of this persons situation.

Some problems like this one, HAVE no clear answer. That is why I refer to it as a Cross to bear.

 

 

You don't have ideas, ideas have you

We see the world, not as it is, but as we are. "One mans food is another mans poison". I defend your right to speak hate. Tolerance to a point, not agreement

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I am not sure how much support I can expect from this forum after some of my (occasionally)outspoken posts. but I want to run this by some of you.

 

Last night I was playing a gig and the bass player was playing a solo, to which I was attempting to play (what I intended to be) a tasteful accompaniment.

 

During all of this this the bandleader abruptly yelled at me to "BRING IT DOWN !!!" and so I basically stopped playing for a couple bars. I then heard this guy yell at me "I didn't mean to stop playing - ASSHOLE!!!".

 

Well , needless to say the rest of the night was basically toast, even though I am expected to sing 3/4 of the tunes .... many of them unrehearsed requests. That in itself can be quite a challenge... to be spot on with no prior preparation.

 

I just about walked OFF of the gig after this outburst but to be honest, I needed the money too badly.

 

Plus I think that whatever happens, it would probably have been worse to walk out and cause a scene so I hung in there even though I hated every second of being on the stage with someone who would attempt to humiliate me publically.

 

What I really need to do is take a leap of faith, get out of this scene and look for another gig. The fact is though that paying gigs are scarce in my neck of the woods.

 

Plus I am at the point where I don't think that I can look this fool in the eye that I work for anymore. Among other things, to say that he drinks and smokes pot "a bit" would be an understatement. Just try to communicate rationally with THAT.

 

I am just curious how many of you have had to endure this kind of crap and how you dealt with it.

 

 

I just reread your post.

I have had to endure variations of what you experienced. When I was young, there were so many 5 and 6 nighter gigs, it was less a no win situation.

NOW is another thing.

The slow economy is a source of considerable discomfort.

Here is a quote from genius Einstein that applies

You can never solve a problem on the level on which it was created.

 

Oh, you said, 'it is slow workwise, in your neck of the woods'

You DO realize, the music business is slow seemingly everywhere?

You don't have ideas, ideas have you

We see the world, not as it is, but as we are. "One mans food is another mans poison". I defend your right to speak hate. Tolerance to a point, not agreement

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Your avatar is cool! Is that your child? It is a great picture.
Thanks. Yeah, thats my daughter at about 6 months old. Shes a rocker!

 

She does look like Elton John in this picture. Go baby go!

'55 and '59 B3's; Leslies 147, 122, 21H; MODX 7+; NUMA Piano X 88; Motif XS7; Mellotrons M300 and M400’s; Wurlitzer 206; Gibson G101; Vox Continental; Mojo 61; Launchkey 88 Mk III; Korg Module; B3X; Model D6; Moog Model D

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I really consider myself very lucky as throughout my entire 40 plus years of playing in countless bands, no one ever behaved like this. We always respected each other as musicians and human beings... And believe me, some of us were not that talented. But if we tried, that was all that mattered.

 

But there was one night in the early 70's when our bass player showed up an hour late and dressed completely in drag. Sure we were pissed that he was late, but the drummer lost his head on stage cussing him out because he dressed up like David Bowie. (considering the time period, it was kind of cool). We immediately put a stop to that unprofessional behavior from our drummer.

'55 and '59 B3's; Leslies 147, 122, 21H; MODX 7+; NUMA Piano X 88; Motif XS7; Mellotrons M300 and M400’s; Wurlitzer 206; Gibson G101; Vox Continental; Mojo 61; Launchkey 88 Mk III; Korg Module; B3X; Model D6; Moog Model D

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Here is an update on my original post.

 

First of all, I am working relentlessly on trying to find other work and will continue to do so until something else develops. I am on the phone every day asking about jam sessions or who might be willing to put something new together.

 

That being said, I returned to work this weekend because as I said, I just cannot go without income plus - this band is booked heavily in November . I have a stiff property tax bill due in mid November. I just can't say sorry, I don't have the money. I have to have income to cover situations where no excuses are accepted.

 

It seems like every time I need to have something repaired ( like a flat tire just the other day) the prices have doubled. I have to walk away a lot of times and say, I just can't play your price and shop elsewhere where I can afford it.

 

We had a different bass player this weekend. When he soloed on the tune in question that caused all the ruckess, I brought it down and played sparsely. He commented to me that he felt that the bottom dropped out of the tune completely and that the tune needed the sustained energy, which is why I did what I did in the first place.

 

The bandleader has also apologized to me, but that doesn't mean I am not going to walk on him at the first available opportunity.

 

As Mrs.Richard Tee has said, things have just about never been this tough as far as available work for musicians. I hate having to swallow my pride and take this crap but believe me, I will never forget that it came to this.

 

One of the lessons I am learning is to thank the other musicians for the good job they do at every opportunity and to also be grateful for any gig I have where I am allowed to play without harassment.

 

 

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One of the lessons I am learning is to thank the other musicians for the good job they do at every opportunity and to also be grateful for any gig I have where I am allowed to play without harassment.

 

That learning is actually a blessing, and will go far toward making your time in the difficult circumstances bearable. Being thankful in adverse circumstances always means a better attitude in general, and more enjoyment of your day. The bandleader's apology also is a good sign - doesn't mean that it will never happen again, but it does mean that he KNOWS he was out of line (and there are those with attitudes that would never permit them to even realize they were out of line.)

 

You are doing what you cna about the situation, living day by day, making the best of the time, and seeking to better your situation. That's about all any of us can do.

 

 

Howard Grand|Hamm SK1-73|Kurz PC2|PC2X|PC3|PC3X|PC361; QSC K10's

HP DAW|Epi Les Paul & LP 5-str bass|iPad mini2

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

Jim

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I have a different take on this that you may or may not want to hear. I came up in Big Band Jazz in the 60's that was dominated by very drunk and very vulgar Italian guys. They called me (and each other) every name in the book and I quickly learned to let it roll off my back.

 

He got to you because you let him get to you. If you need the gig, realize who the real asshole is: the guy calling another musician an asshole on stage.

 

What do you care what this guy calls you? He's obviously not your friend or someone you respect. He's a paycheck. His opinion is less than worthless. He's an asshole.

 

And the next time he calls you an asshole, just smile at him because you know who the real asshole is. That should drive him crazy.

Everybody's got to believe in something. I believe I'll have another beer. W. C. Fields
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It depends too, on HOW the offender says the offensive word(s). The HOW is a major part of it.

I don't wish to characterize the OP as in any way at fault for HOW he handles the offenders HOW, so to speak.

There are many ways to say the same word, not just one or two.

It depends on the intensity too.

 

You can use words " I love you " and mean the opposite. Or use a vulgar phrase and it means something supportive. We have experienced this, yet we don't verbalize it.

 

Take BL's apology.... there is the HOW there as well... HOW sincere.

All of this is academic ( who came up with that meaning? Oh academics! ) because drunkeness can make a nice person a devil.

You don't have ideas, ideas have you

We see the world, not as it is, but as we are. "One mans food is another mans poison". I defend your right to speak hate. Tolerance to a point, not agreement

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