In honor of this blog’s first anniversary, I’d like to share an old post from the LML messageboard days, all about….
My First Day In The Music Business
This past spring  I celebrated twenty-five years as a producer-artist-engineer-hoosier griot/ promoter-raconteur-troubador-actor-dancer/ guitarist-saxophonist-drummer-bassist-pianist-organist-oboist-harmonica and banjo playin’ utility infielder.( In musical theater parlance, I’m what’s known as a triple-threat; a singer-actor-dancer; I also dabble in the visual arts;I attended the U. S. Navy Photography School, and I like to draw and paint.)
Now twenty-five years is a hefty chunk o’ time, but it only represents the professional part of my so-called career. ( I date my pro career from 1982, the year I produced my first variety show with my dear friend Carlos Oliveira, a fine bassist and singer from what was then the Portuguese section of south Boston, whom I met while in the Navy.) My FIRST taste of ‘showbiz’ was ‘long about third or fourth grade, in tap class. (Thanks, Mom.) I began to become a musician in the fifth grade, when I started learning the saxophone. My first band experience was in junior high (then called middle school) with a group called TNT- after Tim Schroeder and Ted Christensen.( What up bros?) I doubled on sax and drums, if memory serves; I guess it was inevitable that I would become a guitarist. I feel like I was born an entertainer,but I had to learn to be a musician. But I digress: the topic is dues and and, for me, the first dues installment began with my first night in the music business.
My First Gig
I thought I was pretty hot stuff after trading solos with Larry McWilliams in the CMA ( Culver Military Academy) Jazz Band, this woulda been my coming out- but re-hashing Guy Lombardo at Indiana Beach Ballroom was my first paying gig. The floor- terrazzo- much harder than wood.
The pay-I think thirty bucks, which, incongruously, is still acceptable today, if the gig is three or fewer hours and you are an incompetent musician/promoter, but hey, not bad for a ten-piece band in 1978ish. (and thirty bucks would buy gas and smokes for a month, back then)
The show went well, many dancers greased the dance floor with their sweat. At the end of the night, I was presented with the opportunity to either drive home to Walton (from Monticello, an eighty-mile round trip) or bed down on the premises. As the various musicians paired off, it eventually became clear that the last blanket was to be shared between me and the bandleader….
Late that night, I was awakened by a groping at my crotch; the perpetrator, as soon as I voiced a protest, leaped to his feet,denying that he’d meant anything by it; he’d merely mistakenly confused me, in his sleep, with his wife, or so he maintained, and I credulously took his word. ( he might even have been telling the truth,for all I know.)
My Second Night In The Music Business
Between the first and second set of my second night as a professional musician, I sat in the green room of the aforementioned venue as the proverbial dutchie was passed; I later determined that the bowl was spiked with what I now believe to be PCP, based on the effects I experienced.-I had thought, based on my experience up to that point, that I could “maintain” on just about any drug available in the 1970’s- turned out, I was wrong. If I ever catch up to “Elmer”- the guy who passed me that bowl, I owe him an ass-kickin’. I was fired from the gig that night for inability to execute. I have cut many gigs since; if there’s a moral to my story it’s this: know your leader, know your gig, know your self. *edit*- No, it’s not. The moral is, if you want to be a musician, the FIRST two traits you’ll need to develop are TOLERANCE and PERSISTENCE.