people are talking a lot about values here in Holland. This has
something to do with the fact that we now have a rightwing minister
called Heinsbroek, who thinks that this is an important subject.
And though I have no sympathy for his intolerant party the LPF (in
fact, the LPF people in parliament and in the government are so
intolerant that they dont even tolerate each other, it seems
like everybody is fighting out something with another member of
that party), he does have a point. There is a lot of senseless violence
and strange behavior going on in our society, which could be stopped
if people would think about what theyre doing. Of course,
most jazz musicians dont resort to violence when they dont
like their record deals, or when they dont like what a fellow
musician plays. Still, things happen. Let me give a few examples.
Once I had a gig with a saxophone player who didnt arrive
at the address we were supposed to play. When there were only 30
minutes left, I decided to call him, still believing he could arrive
any moment. I got him on the telephone and he told me that he had
been asked for a recording the next morning. He preferred to be
fresh the next morning for the recording session, so he had decided
not to come. Of course, I was flabbergasted by what I had just heard.
Also, I had less then 30 minutes to find another saxophone player.
I was lucky, I found one immediately, who was there in time to.
But I never asked the first guy again, who, by the way, was an excellent
saxophone player. I believe he no longer is active as a musician,
he started a saxophone shop.
What if youve agreed to play for $50, - with a terrible band
in the middle of the night far away and next youre offered
a gig with fantastic musicians for $175 nearby?
What do you do when youre in a band that plays beautiful music,
has a lot of gigs but one essential member keeps doing terrible
things? Youre late for a gig (a wedding), but when you arrive
at the house of the percussion player, he tells you that hes
hungry, he wants to eat a pizza before leaving, and its really
essential that he take a shower to. As youve guessed, this
happened to me. I couldnt get him to come along immediately,
though I tried very hard. We arrived too late at the wedding, to
the disappointment of the couple that was getting married
I think there is only one way to avoid anger, frustration and disappointment.
When youve made a deal, you should stick to it always, and
other people should to. If youre sorry you made a certain
deal, thats just too bad for you. Its really in your
own interest to realize this. Let me remind you of the saxophone
player in my first example. If you behave that way, soon nobody
will want to play with you anymore. People will consider you unreliable
and prefer to ask a bass player they can depend on. Too bad if you
can get a better gig than you agreed on. Youll have to stick
with the deal you made.
Of course, Im only urging you to stick to the deals you make;
Im not urging you to make stupid deals. For instance, you
could say to the band with the $50 gig that youll do the gig
if you dont get another one. You could set a time limit and
agree that youll do the gig if 2 weeks before the gig you
have not found another one. 2 weeks should be enough time for them
to find another bass player.
Stop working together with people who dont treat you well
or behave like the percussion player in my example. Playing is supposed
to be fun, not hell. So no matter how many gigs you have with a
certain band, no matter how much you earn, there really is only
one way to go. Working together with this kind of people is never
worth the embarrassment or pain.
My girlfriend thinks this is an irritating and slightly arrogant
piece. She thinks musicians know very well for themselves how they
should behave. Maybe shes right, but, given my experiences,
Im not entirely convinced, so Im leaving it on the net