Dave Ferris Posted December 21, 2013 Share Posted December 21, 2013 Ok, I rarely if ever rant here...with the exception of how the Nord piano samples thin out on the top end or their sub-par action . But after tonight's Xmas Jazzual (casual on which you play jazz/standards ), I'm feeling less Christmasy then usual. So I'm googling the directions for tonight's gig over in Brentwood, and the house's Zillow pops up. Out of curiosity of course I click on it and it says sold in June of '12 for $9,250,000. I think wow, nice house and I'm making $350 for three hours, 7-10,...that sounds about right. Anyway, the leader, who's the drummer, tells me (after I take the gig)--the caterer said we can't have any food and are not allowed to go up to the bar. But we can get water out of the kitchen faucet...but stay out of everyone's way. Jeez. . I don't drink to begin with but I do like to get a Pellegrino or something like that on break. Also we had to be there an hour before downbeat or we'd be docked 10%. I usually get to a gig, especially a house (where the load-in is unknown) 45 minutes to an hour in front anyway. But this "docked" cr*p...wtf ?! So I leave my house at 4:15 to allow for the 24 mile drive across town on a super trafficy Xmas Friday. Getting from Glendale over to Brentwood is no picnic on the 101 & 405, even on a normal Friday night. But I took Beverly Glen through the canyon, over to Sunset, and I was there in an hour...45 minutes before the 6:00 time imposed by the paranoid caterer. So I'm the first one there of course and meet the homeowners. As I walk in, Bill Evans' "Israel" is reverberating throughout the house and I think...these people can't be all that bad. I meet the lady of the house who says--we have this space alloted for you..and points to a little nook beneath the staircase. I said-- you know we're a trio with drums, that's going to be pretty tight. I look over to the expansive living room with a Xmas tree that had to be 30' tall, with a wall at least 20-25 ' in length with empty space. I said, that area over there is really optimum for us. This smaller space would be perfect for just solo piano, or piano & bass duo, but we have drums. I don't if know he can manage to squeeze in there, but I'm not the drummer (or the leader) , so I'll let him make the call. She comes back with-I'm just worried you'll block the tree (it's 30 friggin' ft. high !!) and interrupt the flow of the room. It's a gigantic, probably a 1000 square ft. room for Christ-sakes. In other words, her idea of the Musicians are-outta sight, outta mind, or better to be somewhat heard then seen. So the leader shows up shortly and they hash it out...I'm not getting paid enough to talk to her anymore... After much further debate between the lady, her mother, her husband and the drummer--they decide to try and fit us in the nook. It's super tight but it works. I'm sticking out more then I want to be, and am a little fearful about the waiter or guest spilling a drink on my NP2. I make sure to put my plastic LeCover on during the break as my last line of defense. It's about 6:55 and we're just about ready to start when the head valet (dressed in a $2000 Armani suit) , accompanied by the paranoid caterer come up to us frantically saying..."whose OLD Ford Focus is that parked out front" ?! As I was going to my car to get some snacks beforehand, I saw our bass player had parked directly in front of the house, just off the main driveway. I wasn't gonna say anything but I knew it was coming. His car is probably around an '01, which isn't that old, but it has a bit of a Sanford & Son vibe to it. Wasn't exactly visually mixing well with all the new Benzs and Beemers. Paranoid Nazi caterer lady again reminded us..no food or drink and go to the back bedroom on your 15 minute break. And NO mingling with the guests ! I had run 8 miles in the AM so I knew I would need some fuel in the PM to get me through. I came prepared with a little bag of Trader Joes Cliff bars, almonds, an apple & banana and large bottle of Arrowhead water. She said to me--and keep that ugly water bottle out of sight, take it off your speaker ! I was close to walking at that point but I said to myself-count to ten, you need the dough, sh*t is slow. So we start playing and of course everyone congregates right in front of the trio, leaving the massive living room with the 30' Xmas tree almost vacant. So much for flow and blockage. I'm playing at almost a rock volume level and we're playing a swing version of Santa Claus is comin' to town....and we still can barely hear ourselves. So actually the night went pretty fast after all the upfront drama. It was 10:55 and the drummer says..I'm gonna go see if she wants overtime. I said, man I can't do it for less then a $100 for the half hour. He shook his head in agreement and said me too. So I noodled on O Holy night till about 10:59 when he came back and said...nah, they don't wanna spring for the OT..The bass player and I looked each other and said simultaneously...GOOD ! I've been doing these type of gigs for 35 years here in LA off and on. Back in the day, I managed to build up a pretty thick skin to all the abuse/humiliation that is typical for these kind of gigs. I've been treated like a rock star and with less respect then a dishwasher. Maybe it's just 'cause I'm getting older, been doing it for so long and hadn't done a gig in a long time where the person in charge was so over the top rigid about food , drink and arrival time. In addition to basically setting a peon vibe for me. The whole evening left a bad taste in my mouth and re-enforced my general dislike for the super rich. Anyway, making $100 tomorrow/Sat. for 3 hours, at an Italian restaurant out in the West Valley. I'm playing with great, swingin' cats, they give us a meal with killer food, ample set-up space and treat us with respect. We don't need a lot as musicians to make us happy. We somehow make it on the basics. I didn't think I'd go on for so long. https://soundcloud.com/dave-ferris 2005 NY Steinway D Yamaha AvantGrand N3X, P-515 Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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