Monday, October 15, 2012
To Those Who Are Too Chicken Shit To Be Honest
That was the subject line in my email to the agent in this town who seems to have connections in many of the casinos and events here. This was following my "audition" at a casino last week. What happened there is the typical guy in charge who has some kind of bias - in this case, the guy hates country music, and even though I only played 4 country songs out of the 17 I did for my set, it was enough for him to send his minion to try to convince me that my country music wouldn't work at "his" place. Funny thing, when I see the reaction from the people who were there, then having to listen to the managements bullshit, it becomes obvious what went on. The agent I wrote the following email to also books bands in the casino I auditioned in. I can deal just fine if I don't fit in a certain situation, but as I say in my email, I know when I'm being snowballed, and I don't deal well with bullshit. BTW, the minion who was sent to do the little weasel's dirty work got told straight out (by me) what I thought of her and her boss's blatant crap. Her reaction was typical of the cowardly, bullying types who often get in positions of "authority" - she backed off and didn't know what to say.
So, here is my email:
I’m writing you to see if you’re among those who cannot be straight. I do, at this point, wonder, being that you have not acknowledged my last two emails. I’ll go ahead and write this, to see if I get a response.
I’m beginning to wonder what the story is here in this town – with the people in management and entertainment positions, and please, “You’re in Reno now”, as I’ll mention in a little more detail later - I’ve seen the live music in Reno.
Back to my point. I’ve gotten endless runaround, I’ve seen entertainment directors who won’t come to the phone, won’t return calls, won’t return emails, and most of whom are so full of themselves that it makes my skin crawl. While my ego is not part of any equation, I seem to have this bad habit of calling bullshit what it is, and what’s contained in this email will be no different. I’m sure you got a call first thing this morning, from that little weasel, Eric – at Baldini's. This is a guy who I had to listen to for 45 minutes, proceeding to tell me how his clientele are the only ones in this town who will tell a band that they are not worthy, that many bands and/or acts cannot make it in his casino, and, he candidly, albeit unintentionally, told me who his music buddies are. He all but told me that I was going to fail in his place. Well, I “auditioned” last night at Baldini’s. In my 30+ years of being in the corrupt business, my objective has always been to please the audience, the customers, and NOT the management. Yes, I’m fully aware that most management types think that the entertainers are there to lick their boots, kiss their ass, tell them how wonderful they are, and how much they appreciate the crumbs that get thrown on the floor in front of them. I do well in places where the management will put their customers first, and their ego somewhere where nobody has to be imposed on by it. On the other hand, I usually won’t bother to try to get past the self serving asses who have infested the music business with their endless need to stroke themselves. I’ve been in this business long enough to know when an audience is happy with the entertainment, and I’ve been in it long enough to know when I’m being snowballed (as I was in Baldini's last night), or otherwise B.S.’d. I also know all the revenge tactics – such as being put in a situation where the person in authority knows the act does not fit (and I’ve seen with my own eyes – this cheap tactic backfire), putting an act in a room where it’s known that nobody goes into, and, putting an act in a room on a night when it’s known that a major event will keep customers away for that night. I’ve also seen an act being put in a room and not have any advertising whatsoever, so that the customers have no idea there was even going to belive entertainment appearing on such a given night. I’ve witnessed the cheap tactic that Eric just pulled last night – where he set the stage (pardon the pun) for me to “fail”before I even walked in the door. Please allow me to elaborate: First, during no part of my hour of playing did he come anywhere near where I was. Second, Vonda did the same, except for about 3 minutes where she was behind the bar appearing to have something bar related to deal with. Third, they made sure to not pipe my music throughout the casino – as they do with the “regular” acts there, and believe me, I know all the justifications they can throw at me – all of which are nothing less than cheap excuses. They did not want the people in the casino to hear what I was doing. Funny thing, the people in the bar, and the people on the other side of the bar (the people within earshot) –they were having a great time (by the loud reaction from them) – including the couple of girls who were grinning at the stage the whole time, the little kid next to the stage who was dancing on pretty much every song, the people who were dancing in their seats, people singing along, and the big, Mexican bartender who was back there dancing during one of the songs I was playing. There was also the one little worker who came skipping up the stage while I was tearing down, asking, “So, when does he start?”,to which was replied, “He doesn’t, the management didn’t like him”. The look on her face was priceless and worth a thousand words. Moreover, when Eric was asked, “Did you acknowledge the people, or even look at the bar and the people in it?”, he danced the jig, not to answer the direct question that was asked no less than three times.
So, Vonda comes up to me after I’m done playing, with, “Well, I liked you, but we don’t think you, with your country music, would be good for the weekends here”. If that’s not blatant crap, somebody please tell me what is. She claimed that her customers would not like the country music that was contained in my set (4 out of 17 songs) – which is even more blatant crap. I do my research, I’ll go into a venue, observe the age group, and if there is any live entertainment at the moment, I watch the reaction of the crowd. I do not just walk into a place and say, “Hi, I play music, will you hire me?” I’ll ask this again – what the hell do these acts tell agents and entertainment people in order to get themselves hired, as they sure as hell aren’t getting hired because of their ability to entertain, play, sing, or whatever else? I don’t have a line of shit, that’s not my MO, I only present what I do, show up, entertain the folks, and there’s no more to it than that, if that’s not enough, then I’ll hang up my guitar right now (in the live part of this business). Thing is, it’s always been enough. Yes, I’ve run into self serving asses before, but I’ve never seen so many managers, entertainment people, and musicians, in one place, with the incessant need to overcompensate for their tiny, dysfunctional body parts and/or abilities in my goddam life. I’ve seen most of the music acts in this town. I’ve seen the burned out hippies in the dives with their entitlement attitude, as in, “I know I suck, but you should love what I do anyway, because it’s my right to subject the masses to my “art”. I’ve seen the burned out rednecks with their entitlement attitude, as in, “I know I suck, but the more you show me that, the louder and more obnoxious I’m gonna be”. I’ve heard the prissy lounge duos, including the cutesy 45 year old girls who are lucky to hit half the notes, and the coolie guys, their mudmouthed singing, mindless guitar scales, and their silly hats. I heard the lounge lizard from hell, who, according to Eric, “always delivers”.Oh yeah, and most of these guys have no idea what those little knobs and faders on the mixing boards do – as most of them sound like they have a mouthful of mud; and, as if that’s not enough, I’ve witnessed at least one “band”, where the guy running the sound was making damn sure that the whole room could hear him, while doing his damnedest to silence the other guy.
FTR, the little weasel, Eric, didn’t even have the decency or the backbone to come and face me – he sent Vonda to do his dirty work – who by, the way, told us right from the start that this was the first time she’d been asked to deal with an audition– fishy, yeah, fishy. Ya know why these guys haul ass out the back door – it’s because they know they’re full of it, and they know who isn’t going to be bullied, and who is not gonna kiss their ass, and they’re too chicken shit to want to face that. Also FTR, I’m perfectly fine with a situation where I don’t fit, in fact, nobody would even need to tell me if the audience didn’t like what I did, I’d find the person in charge, offer them a sincere handshake, and tell them thanks for having me, but I don’t think I’d work out in a room such as this one” – and, I’d pride myself in doing that. BUT, when I see the reaction I saw last night, and the person in charge (or in last night’s case, his minion) feeds me crap such as they did last night, my bad habit of calling bullshit what it is will do what it does.
My last “FTR”,I don’t need to do this, so I don’t need to take crap from these people who think they can talk down to me, insult me, or feed me cheap B.S., and that includes any and all of ‘em. If I work in this town, great, I get to entertain the folks, if not, I don’t live to play in live venues.
If you have anything you would like to discuss, any questions, any anything, please feel free to email me, or call me (***-****-****).
One last point, I’m hoping you can tell the difference between frustration and disgust. I’m not frustrated in the least, but my level of disgust is off the charts. I deal just fine with legitimate rejection, but I do not deal well with bullshit.
That’s all for now.