Your opinion requested

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Your opinion requested

Postby Mike Childree » Sat May 23, 2015 10:42 pm

So guys, I need your input here....want to check my own thinking. After 35 years of gigging, I had a career first tonight.

About a month and a half ago, I was asked to provide upright bass services for a benefit show. Artists and musicians were paid, however, although not especially well, since it required travel for most all of us. Rooms were provided. The gig was backing a few fairly successful songwriters out of Nashville, in an acoustic in-the-round format. I was called because they specifically wanted upright since no drummer was being booked. I essentially took the gig as a favor to one of the other musicians, who's a friend. All traditional country, so no problem.

So for about 3 weeks, we waited for these songwriters to submit the songs they wanted to perform...and waited, and waited some more. Slowly, they trickled in, after repeated requests from me. When they came, they were usually all song titles that we were supposed to dig up on YouTube, and all of them were full band recordings with lots of instrumentation and arrangements that weren't going to be possible in the acoustic format of the show. These guys couldn't manage to get us accurate song keys, or any alternate arrangement info....important stuff, like song orders or who kicks the tune off. So anything but really basic charting was going to be tough. Not to mention that the gig was at an outdoor beachside venue with a steady breeze...more PITA for charts.

As you can imagine, all the backing players (2 acoustic guitarists, steel player, and me) were prepared for a very loose show. At gig time, we still didn't have a complete list of the material from all the "name" artists. Soundcheck rolls around, and the "names" show up almost an hour late. We begin working through their monitor mixes by running some of their tunes. The most well known of the artists starts his own shit in way different tempos, changes his keys on the fly, etc. There was a little confusion while the backing musicians adjusted. So this guy turns around to me, with a stage full of people, and asks me "are you prepared for this gig? Do you know this material?" I issued an apology about being a little confused, and we move on. Went fine for all the other artists, and we finish sound check. The first artist then comes up to me and begins giving me grief about not knowing his material. Now everyone on that stage had made some clams...including the artists. He just needed to single me out for some reason, though, and gave me a lecture about how I was hired assuming I knew my shit, blah blah blah.

It's very unlike me to take that kind of shit without giving the asshole the facts, but that's what I did. When he finished, I simply said "Is it your opinion that this gig would be better without me". He replied in the affirmative, so I packed up my gear and left. I was simply not going to be subjected to that. Went back to the hotel, got my wife, and we drove the 150 miles home. I ran into a few of the others in the hotel lobby, and they were pretty stunned and apologetic.

Now my question to you guys is whether or not I should have tried to salvage the situation. I'd done my homework and knew the material, but without any rehearsal or prior discussion, there were going to be missteps...that's a fact any professional would realize. But for once in my life, I was simply not willing to go through 2 hours of pain for this motherfucker. Bear in mind, I've had artists on the level of Doc Watson and Loretta Lynn compliment my playing in this genre.

Anybody care to comment?
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Re: Your opinion requested

Postby hoytbasses » Sun May 24, 2015 2:18 am

The guy is an egotistical asshole....

how are you spuuposed to be totally prepared for a gig when you don't have information to go on?

I'm kind of shocked that you didn't give it to him with both barrels for the piss poor job of getting you adequate charts/material to make prepping for the gig better.

probably wouldn't have mattered since his ego would have prevented him from hearing anything you had to say, so I suppose taking the high road was the best course of action.

f--- em!
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Re: Your opinion requested

Postby Jerry » Sun May 24, 2015 11:59 am

I second that fuck em emotion! [smilie=grinning-smiley-003.gif]
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Re: Your opinion requested

Postby Golem » Sun May 24, 2015 1:56 pm


About 1/3 of the way thru your post, I'm thinking "hope he packs up and splits".
About 2/3 of the way thru your post you do exactly that. Bravo ! Geronisimo !

FWIW if it were me, I'da packed up reeeeeal slow, taking an inordinate amount
of time to leave the stage. Leaving in a hurry is like being chased away. Slowly
leaving is like "This is MY choice, and all you all can chill awhile while I tend to
MY schidt in my own time".

Perznally, I might have bailed out pre-show when all the preliminaries failed to
materialize. It's not a question of "Do I need the material?" .... as you said, you
were ready for a loosey goosey show ! Nope. The real question is "Do I wanna be
abused for low pay and 300 miles round trip ?" Looks like all the warning signs
were there. Acoarst, if you had important personal connections involved then
I can see pushing ahead despite all the warning signs.


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Re: Your opinion requested

Postby harleyyy » Sun May 24, 2015 5:44 pm

You handled it better than I would have. I'm pretty sure I would have laid him out Mike. You are a noble man and worthy of your pride brother. [smilie=grinning-smiley-003.gif]
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Re: Your opinion requested

Postby GonzoBass » Sun May 24, 2015 5:50 pm

We need names.

Sorry you got caught up in such a sitution Mike
but it sounds like you handled it quite well
and got out with your rep intact.

Please don't hate on future gigs because of it.
Just notch it up and move on with your head held high.

It's not gonna stick to you.

Call me jaded
but nothing in the "Music Biz" surprises me any more...


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Re: Your opinion requested

Postby ghiadub » Sun May 24, 2015 10:21 pm

Nobody should have put up with BS like that.

I had a similar situation with some poets and had to cut off any changes in the keys, tunes, pretty much everything but the order of the tunes 2 weeks before the gig. They kept changing keys, more poets trying to add tunes. It all makes things sound bad at the gig, and you are right to not want to play it. I would have done the same.
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Re: Your opinion requested

Postby Mike Childree » Mon May 25, 2015 3:39 am

I won't cite any names, but his initials are Ken Mellons. Don't take any gigs with this guy. [smilie=cool-smiley-031.gif]
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Re: Your opinion requested

Postby Mr. Mom » Mon May 25, 2015 4:43 am

You did right. Why work with an asshole if you don't have to? Especially since you were doing him/them a favor??
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Re: Your opinion requested

Postby Rob Francis » Mon May 25, 2015 9:24 am

Some people are just assholes.
I think you were correct.
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Re: Your opinion requested

Postby Rhian Batson » Mon May 25, 2015 9:51 am

harleyyy wrote:You handled it better than I would have. I'm pretty sure I would have laid him out Mike. You are a noble man and worthy of your pride brother. [smilie=grinning-smiley-003.gif]

Agreed. I woulda had a hard time not laying hands on that little prick. That asshole woulda heard me loud n clear and known EXACTLY how I felt about him, the low pay, and that piss poor set up. Taking the high road certainly was the pro move in front of your peers (especially those who know your work) and will ensure gigs moving forward. Now we all know to avoid that little bitch and his soul sucking, black hole of an ego. So often the bassist gets looked at when something is loose. 9 times out of 10 we're the most solid cog on that stage. Part of the territory I suppose but still what a complete asshole. You were right to walk away. He's a piece of shit and you're the man.

**Don't mean to offend anyone - Just sayin' what I'm feeling.
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Re: Your opinion requested

Postby Mike Childree » Mon May 25, 2015 10:36 am

Thank you guys....y'all are the best!

I remembered today that his justification for being hard on the bassist was that there was no drummer. They decided to keep it "acoustic" to save money for the promoter. So this economical lineup included (4) front men, all with acoustic guitars, rhythm acoustic guitar, lead acoustic guitar, steel guitar, fiddle (asshole's wife), and .....bass.

Who sees the problem here? [smilie=smilie_kopf.gif]
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Your opinion requested

Postby harleyyy » Mon May 25, 2015 10:47 am

The problem here was, the JACKASS forced his rhythm section to vacate. He's got the look that makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up.
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Re: Your opinion requested

Postby aussiemark » Mon May 25, 2015 2:49 pm

You did well, Mike. I would have given it to this "professional" dead straight and called him on his appalling attitude and persona, preferably in front of as many of his peers as possible.
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Re: Your opinion requested

Postby Paul DeLano » Tue May 26, 2015 5:41 am

Ken Mellon? Never heard of her. [smilie=cheeky-smiley-025.gif]

I'm fortunate that I rarely have to deal with douchebags like that anymore, but when I do, I don't handle it with as much style and grace as you did.


"Look, just between us, nothing good ever comes from playing guitar. Nothing." - Kennan Shaw
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