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9.25 million dollar home and NO food or drink !!!

Dave Ferris

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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 :D . 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. :rolleyes: . 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. :D:thu:


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 ! :blah:


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. :facepalm: 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 ! :laugh:


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. ;):cool:


I didn't think I'd go on for so long.


2005 NY Steinway D

Yamaha AvantGrand N3X, P-515





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That's a funny story (in a "I feel your pain kind of way"). My band plays lots of wedding receptions and we've discovered an inverse relationship between how fancy the place is and how we get treated. Funny how that works.
Live rig: Roland FA-08, Yamaha MOTIF ES 6, laptop for supplemental sounds.
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Good on ya.


I just hope next year, you charge her at least $50 more per player. That early arrival time means you're working for free, or cutting your hourly rate significantly, even if you're not actually playing.


If I can add a little snark, Wealth doesn't purvey party planning ability, common sense, or common courtesy.


Enjoy your next gig and have a Merry Christmas.

"Call me what instrument you will, though you can fret me, yet you cannot play upon me.'-Hamlet


Guitar solos last 30 seconds, the bass line lasts for the whole song.



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Well, you just can't buy class. Folks either got it or they don't.

Yup. Your bass player with the old car probably has more class than the rich homeowners and planners of this event.

Did I just say that about a bass player!??


Hammonds:1959 M3,1961 A-101,Vent, 2 Leslies,VB3/Axiom,

Casio WK-7500,Yamaha P50m Module/DGX-300

Gig rig:Casio PX-5S/Roland VR-09/Spacestation V3


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Not a unrealistic story, I've been in similar venues. Experience probably the result of the caterer /party planner. Find out who they are and then avoid gigs where they cater to their impressions of what a fun party is. Hanging out in the back bedroom during breaks, that's classic. I guess it's sort of a dressing room. Thanks for the laughs.


Merry Xmas Sir,


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It's written in the caterer's code of ethics handbook: "Be bitchy to the musicians for they must always know their place". :rolleyes:


Who cares?


Book the gig. Bring your own carrots and bottled water. Play like you mean it. Chill out on breaks in the back bedroom. Take the money and run.


Wash, rinse, repeat. This is par for the course.


As kanker says, "How much does the gig pay?" :cool:







"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent." - Victor Hugo
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That's a funny story (in a "I feel your pain kind of way"). My band plays lots of wedding receptions and we've discovered an inverse relationship between how fancy the place is and how we get treated. Funny how that works.


I've actually found the reverse often applies, at least in terms of commercial venues.


The staff at The Dorchester, for example, have never been anything but unfailingly helpful and friendly to me when I've gigged there (the doormen will even help you unload gear and get it sent up to the right room on a trolley while you park).


Then again, I've been routinely been about as welcomed as dog shit on a pair of Converse at many a godawful Best Western or similar in the middle of nowhere.



Studio: Yamaha P515 | Yamaha Tyros 5 | Yamaha HX1 | Moog Sub 37

Road: Yamaha YC88 | Nord Electro 5D

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I unfortunately have come to a conclusion.. it mirrors something Biblical, about a rich man through the eye of a needle.. anyway, I do not like to prejudge I think that's called prejudice... but sorry, Dave, I have to say, with precious few exceptions, I do NOT care for the materially rich... Period ! I know exactly the vibe you encountered, and as we age, our subconscious minds have retained what these thankfully few and far between dumbass's have dumped on us. I always go back to the Beethoven story about the servants entrance being relegated to him, and him disregarding it. The rich are rich BECAUSE of what they value, and what they DEVALUE.

peace my brother


edit do you know guitarist Rick White? He told me a story about our former Governor, from Austria. Their obnoxiousness, and their subsequent entreaty for him to "return to the bandstand" that he had vanished from. Rick is a Leo, and a great guy, but does not suffer fools. Been a while, but I think he turned down offers for money to return to their party to play! Of course this was likely 10+ years ago, before 2008 Stock market! lol Peace

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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You don't have to be rich to treat people poorly, but it probably stings more when snubbed by a rich person.


Question: If you were offered both gigs again on the same night and could only take one, would you take the $100 gig (with meal and drinks) over the $350 gig?

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Man you should write for Keyboard Mag.! I would look forward to your monthly read! Great story! :thu: Coming from a place with emotions that can only come from gigging. I hate those uptight gigs! Makes a guy feel less human and more like a musical puppet.

While I'm 37 its safe to say you have a few years on me but can confidently say when someone asks me how I manage to keep playing year after, I simply reply with a smile "You gotta love music." ;)

"A good mix is subjective to one's cilia." http://hitnmiss.yolasite.com
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Been there - first one that comes to mind - gig for massive wedding party at an exclusive yacht club somewhere in Florida - guest are showing up ON THEIR YACHTS instead of driving their cars(!) - no food, no drink, you MUST stay in the service corridor during breaks we don't want to see you anywhere else on the property, especially out by the docks, gave us a 4 foot square to set up in, micromanaged EVERYTHING we did down to complaining about my Beethoven looking hair (hey, I was born that way - and it's NOT falling out now that I'm getting older either), put us up in ONE ROOM in a $7.25 a night fleabag hotel (well, at least we had a room - we left and went somewhere nicer) ...


You just kinda have to keep your mouth shut, collect your money at the end of the job, and if they try to hire you again decide if it's worth it a second time around.

Les Mizzell


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Dave, since I'm in LA I can visualize exactly where you went and how you got there. Been there done that. This story reminds me of the time in Virginia when we got booked at a state senators house. The house was a survivor of the Civil War and was laid out for slaves. The kitchen was completely offset from the main rooms of the house with stairs that went down the side of the house towards the old slave quarters that had been converted to a garage. It was, play here, don't say a word to the guests and stay in the kitchen with the all black staff on the breaks. Nice. This was like Gone With The Wind, what a bunch of assholes. The staff was far nicer than everybody else in that house.


I'm sure a lot of you guys know this joke but I'm going to tell it anyway.


Jascha Heifitz finished a concert at Carnegie Hall and this elderly matron comes up to him and says "Mr.Heifitz I shall like to hire you for my function." He hates these people so he gives her a number he's sure she won't accept so he says "Madam I don't work for a penny less than five thousand dollars." This was in 1920.


Without blinking an eye she says, "That is acceptable but understand you're not allowed to mingle with the guests."


Heifetz says "In that case madam, it's three thousand dollars."



Hammond SK1, Mojo 61, Kurzweil PC3, Korg Pa3x, Roland FA06, Band in a Box, Real Band, Studio One, too much stuff...
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I've heard about gigs that have gone like that - but haven't suffered any gig abuse at the hands of the rich myself. I have been treated like sh*t a couple of times before - but in each case, the sh*t came from a "peon in power" (i.e., a wedding planner, a country club event coordinator). My experience has been that the "rich folks" themselves usually turn out to be pretty pleasant.
The SpaceNorman :freak:
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All too often, the PIC treats musicians just as poorly as they treat their regular employees. I never let people be disrespectful to me or they get the disrespect right back. I have been in a position that I really needed the money, but bitched the PIC out and told them if he/she didn't get an immediate change of attitude, I would pack up and leave. I ALWAYS got a deposit from people that hired me for the first gig. (Of course, hotels and clubs don't do that) But private parties that are unwilling to put their money where they mouth is could take a hike.


I have no problem trying to keep a low profile, staying out of the way of guests, and keeping the volume down. But taking a pile of crap from a PIC that was looking to get $3500 worth of dental work doesn't work for me. Just another reason I retired.






Mike T.

Yamaha Motif ES8, Alesis Ion, Prophet 5 Rev 3.2, 1979 Rhodes Mark 1 Suitcase 73 Piano, Arp Odyssey Md III, Roland R-70 Drum Machine, Digitech Vocalist Live Pro. Roland Boss Chorus Ensemble CE-1.


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Dave, thanks for the heartwarming, musician's holiday story ;):sick:

Hey, at least we sometimes get a human soul heading up the parties we play. Helps balance things, sort of..


And I thought the huge party I played once in Milwaukee was bad. You only got water, though you did have a bedroom in which to hang on breaks. We got stuck in the back corner of a service kitchen, on decrepit folding chairs; but at least we had a cooler of soggy, bologna sandwiches and flat, off-brand diet soda. Of course we couldn't mingle with the guests or staff, nor dare touch the food at any of the half-dozen 'themed' food extravaganza bars. One of the band members accidentally grabbed an egg roll, early on; the party planner was on him faster than a terrier on a rat, then frantically said to our bandleader, " Mario, your people CAN'T be seen eating at a food bar ! "....

'Someday, we'll look back on these days and laugh; likely a maniacal laugh from our padded cells, but a laugh nonetheless' - Mr. Boffo.


We need a barfing cat emoticon!








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My experience has been that the "rich folks" themselves usually turn out to be pretty pleasant.


That's often been the case for me as well.


I can't think of a single time the "rich" person has been an A-hole. It's always the caterer or somebody like that. In fact, I take great pleasure when, to the dismay of the bossy caterer, the person paying the bills chooses to hang with the band and have fun.


Honestly, I find the generalizations in this thread troubling. What if the tables were turned? A band shows up late, plays loud, and is getting stoned in the van on break, and the "rich" person says "I hate musicians...they're all a bunch of unprofessional stoners". You know there are a THOSE bands out there, but they are the minority. You wouldn't want people to assume that about you based on a bad experience. In fact, your treatment at a gig like this probably has more to do with that stereotype than the fact that they were rich.


In terms of the trend in rich people being less charitable, and increasing income inequality... I think this whole class warfare has had the opposite result of what was intended. It's a very basic instinct that can be demonstrated with a baby. Give a baby a toy to play with. Try to snatch if out of his hands and his natural reaction is to pull back. Put out your hand, smile, and ask "can I play with it too?", and he'll smile and hand it over.



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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Nice story. i

I played a week ago in a rich guy's house outside Jerusalem. People were very polite, they treated us nice and we mingled with the guests between sets. Very bice food also. I must have helped that i played with a pretty well known world music musician, and the corwd there like and respect him. But i have been in your shoes sometimes and i know its not easy to get the evening through. Sometimes its better to find refugee in the kitchen between sets and just wait for the time to pass...

Be grateful for what you've got - a Nord, a laptop and two hands
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Honestly, I find the generalizations in this thread troubling. What if the tables were turned?


Indeed; but it's much easier for some folks to paint with a wide brush, unfortunately. :(


I had two thoughts based on this thread:


1) I have had far more positive experiences than negative with people of means; perhaps because I carry myself professionally at all times on gigs, and treat people as I'd like to be treated (y'know, a smile, a glass of Scotch, a quick reacharound... ummm... anyway, where was I?).


2) I wanted to quip: You know, dahling, we didn't get to be rich by feeding the help, after all... :D

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