Things look very different from the stage, part 4.

Note: I wrote this last night and didn’t think it was worth publishing. I still don’t, but I’m gonna put it out there anyhow. If you’re looking for words of wisdom, there are none. It’s sorta, mostly, kinda me bitching about the job.

I’m still not actually sure why I write these, or for whom they’re written. Still, they seem to interest folks and that’s what I’d like to do. I’d like to interest you in learning more about music, learning to play, and improving your level of ability.

Thus, I reveal my secret ulterior motives and my affiliation with the shadowy Classical Guitar Cabal! (We have invaded all the things, all of them!)

And, this will continue along those lines. I shall entice you with the allure of stagecraft and inspire you to pursue the art of musicianship!

Or not…

See, that’s what this whole thing is about. It’s about letting you see the other side.

We have stress, just like you!

In fact, we have a lot of it.

I was up well before dawn and practiced for my full two hours. I then played for probably another hour – I count playing and practice as two distinct things and, in fact, sometimes playing is practice because I’m rehearsing.

Side note: How strange it is to be saying that again.

This afternoon, I gave a guitar lesson and that ended – giving me some free time before rehearsal began. We had a full band rehearsal at my house and that entails a bunch of mundane things that you can imagine. Basically, we cram six of us into a studio that was originally designed for myself and maybe two other people.

Then, we cram in two more people – sometimes more!

It’s cozy, I suppose.

And, I find out some new information today. We have a show tomorrow night and our drummer has scoped the place out. Today, I learned that the stage is much smaller than we thought. Well, it’s not smaller – I’m sure the square footage is exactly what it says in the contract, but it’s shaped funny. Turn the letter E sideways and point the pointy bits of the E towards the crowd.

I’m probably gonna fall off the stage and die! I’m too old for that! I’m going to break a hip!

The two guys I told to show up this weekend are going to have to ride up with the drummer – in a second trip, ‘cause they don’t actually have licenses. Note to self: That’d have been a key question to ask. However, one of them can’t get out of work early enough to make it – so they want me to figure out a way to get them there.

Fortunately, a way was found and they will be there at just about the right time to do the heavy lifting. Crisis averted, because I’d already scheduled some stuff for that time period and that stuff is sort of important.

Then, there’s some personal drama that’s not important and I’ll leave separate from this site. It’s not world-ending, but it’s drama.

It gets even worse…

I’m supposed to get a check before we do our setup. I’m supposed to show and get that – I don’t get paid after the show. Instead, I got a check on Tuesday. It might sound great getting paid ahead of time – but this contract has some clauses that could result in more or less payment. If it’s less, I have to bring cash with me and give it to them to make up the difference. If it’s more, I’m not actually sure how they plan on paying me.

Also, we have to share the dressing rooms and one of the bands (we’re sandwiched between two) is, I’m told, full of pricks. I didn’t learn this until tonight – and I’m really not in the mood to deal with pricks.

I may know all the people on the board of the venue, but I have no idea who is actually doing the venue management on that particular night – and I’m damned sure it’s not someone on the board!

To top it all off, the truck was supposed to be painted this week but it wouldn’t have been ready by Friday – so we’re continuing to show up in a box truck that advertises some defunct construction company.

Don’t even get me started on their convoluted set times!

But…

It’s gonna be awesome! This is a smaller venue – the room we’re in can only hold like 1,200 people and the complex we’re in holds thousands. However, we’re in their hall and people are able to just come and go as they please.

So, we’ll be heard and seen by tons of people.

Which is to say, and I’ve said it before, it’s a job. It’s work. The difference between my job and your job is that I have people watching me do it all the time. Hell, your job might even involve that.

It has its stresses. There’s parts to the job that I don’t really like that much. There’s always more things to do. There’s never enough time. The stress can be maddening!

It’s not all strippers and blow. In fact, it seldom is. It’s a long week, punctuated by work and excitement. It’s chaotic and prone to some of the strangest shit going wrong. There’s bizarre rules and an even stranger social etiquette.

Yes, I’m expected to be grateful that the drunk guy just handed me a bunch of random pills like they were treasures. I don’t actually know what they are – and I’m probably not going to eat them, but I’m supposed to be grateful.

(Seriously, don’t feed me drugs – I have plenty that I can identify and know the source. They’re not actually in short supply and, if they are, they’ll make more! I do appreciate that you want to give me something, but you’re drunk and that’s a felony! By that I mean, hide it better and tell me what they are!)

Because we’re not headlining, we’re pretty much obligated to defer to the band that is. We’re also obligated to be nice to them, irrespective of their antics towards us. It’s okay – we’ve got roadies and our drummer is built like a tank. Well, a well-cushioned tank, but still a tank. If my band gets in a fight, I’m gonna be so proud of them!

Yeah, it’s stress…

Yeah, I love it…

I think it takes a certain type of person to put themselves through this. They tell me that I’m sane, but I sometimes doubt their definition. There’s a reason we musicians tend to die young.

Finally, if you’re thinking about following this path, it’s a great journey – but it’s not always sunshine and signing boobs. There’s tons of stress, work, and chaos. But, I find it worth it. Until next time…

Shut up and play us a song!

(Also, if I’m not here on Saturday, I fell off the damned stage and broke a hip. Send strippers, not flowers.)

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