****** Musician's Meanderings******
Steve Hashimoto's Journey Journal – News From the Trenches – 07-06-2003:
Writing these bulletins is a continuing educational process for me. I'm
constantly reminded of the shortcomings in my feeble attempts to communicate what I
mean. Granted, often I go for the cheap laugh (and timing is everything;
usually if you stop to 'splain everything, the moment's gone), but still...
Like last week's tirade. I got tons of mail, all of it interesting. Evidently
I didn't make clear enough that the circumstances under which I felt
justified in turning down requests were mostly low-money and/or creative-type gigs,
NOT jobbing dates. Several jobbing leaders took me to task, saying "Now look
a'here, son, yer gettin' paid good money an' yer job is to do what the bossman
tells ya to do." I agree -- if I'm getting paid jobbing money I'll play (or
attempt to) anything. It's not my problem, really, if people make unreasonable
requests ("Play Rhapsody In Blue on yer banjo, boy!") -- if the bread's right,
I'm your jukebox. Your scowling, mulish, passively/aggressive jukebox. But I
also think it's pretty unreasonable of any leader to expect his players to
actually enjoy everything they're asked to play. And I suggest that anybody who does
enjoy EVERYTHING is overmedicated.
However, if I'm playing a low-paying club gig, ostensibly for the fun of it,
then I reserve the right to actually have fun. Moreover, if my name is on the
marquee (or chalkboard or whatever), then I reserve the right to decide what's
appropriate and feasible for the band to play, and I do believe that I have
more knowledge and expertise in that area than a non-musician. And if there's
ANYONE out there who truly thinks that the following requests are appropriate,
feasible, in good taste or reasonable, then I think YOU ought to reassess your
reasons for being a musician:
"Lara's Theme" requested from a Latin-jazz band.
"Disco Inferno" requested from a drumless, singerless jazz trio.
"Sing Sing Sing" requested from a drumless, hornless jazz trio.
"Happy Trails" requested from ANY band other than a country band!
"Achy Breaky Heart" requested from a big band.
Another point that some of you missed is that I conceded that many of the
tunes included in last week's list are fine tunes, lovely tunes, but familiarity
breeds the horrors. I heard from a whole lot of musicians, and it seems that
every genre of music has its own "Oh no! Not THAT tune!" list. My Irish
friends, to a man, nominated "Danny Boy", again saying that it's certainly a lovely,
moving song, but they usually have to play it a minimum of 3 times at every
gig, for their entire lives. My blues friends also unanimously nominated "Sweet
Home Chicago"; Dixieland musicians "When The Saints Come Marching In"; Latin
musicians "La Cucaracha"; many singers (not all, unfortunately) listed "Misty",
"God Bless The Child" and "My Funny Valentine"; jobbing musicians "Old Time
Rock n' Roll" and "New York New York"; and some jazz audience members listed
"Footprints" and "So What" amongst groaners at gigs and jam sessions. Again, it
wasn't the songs themselves but the fequency of performance that make us dread
And just to further clarify, I was remiss in my comments about Andrew Lloyd
Weber. Since he doesn't write the lyrics to his music, my comment about the
orangutangs was uncalled for. What I should have said was if you locked a dozen
orangutangs in a hotel room for a week with sequencers they'd eventually write
melodies indistinguishable from his. And I meant Ute Lemper, not Lemperer.
This week Steven Hashimoto will continue to follow his own agenda at:
SUN. 7/6: at THE GREEN MILL, 4802 N. Broadway, 8-10pm, with poet Marc Smith
and The Pong Unit (Mike Smith, guitar; Bryan Nichols subbing on keyboards; Ted
Sirota, drums) for The Uptown Poetry Slam.
WEDS. 7/9: a little gig with guitarist Mike Louie -- thanks, Mike and Jim
THURS. 7/10: at THE GATEWAY BAR & GRILL, 7545 N. Clark, 7:30-10:30pm, with
guitarist Pat Fleming.
FRI. 7/11: at THE GREEN MILL, 4802 N. Broadway, 1:30-3:45am, with The Green
Mill Quartet (Barely Winograd, bari sax; Bob Long, piano; Rick Shandling,
drums) for The After-Hours Jam Session.
SAT. 7/12: at THE LAKE BLUFF GAZEBO, 10-11am, with The Lil' Cow Band (Fred
Kuch, guitar and vocals; Teddi Kuch, vocals; Ken Hall, vibes; Mike Levin, sax;
possibly Steve Rashid, keyboards; John Vitale, guitar; and Alejo Poveda, drums,
but don't quote me). I could sure use something in the evening...
SUN. 7/13: a jobbing date in the evening, thanks to Richard and Charlene
Milne -- arigato!
Call me at 708-222-6520 to fill those pesky open dates!