I am waiting this morning for a guy to show up with $50.
$50 he said he convinced a venue to cough up when “they” cancelled my participation in his music gig.
“I didn’t know they had booked someone else to play with me,” he said. “But, at least, I got you $50.”
He was supposed to give me the money last night but he cancelled due to “an emergency.” He said, “I’ll be in town tomorrow and I’ll meet you in the morning, at 9, at…” the “music” store.
It’s 10:05 AM and I’m still in my car, in the parking lot in front of the store, waiting for my benefactor.
I haven’t heard from him and I want to call him. But I won’t. Not for another hour.
Maybe there was another emergency.
Maybe he had a hard time waking up.
I don’t know.
Maybe he’s not going to show up.
Maybe he doesn’t have the money.
Which would be absolutely okay coz, right up to the second he said he copped me a cancellation fee, I never would’ve thought to have asked for one.
That doesn’t happen around here. Most local clubs and restaurants refuse to use formal contracts when booking music and if, at the last minute, they decide to cancel due to rain, a DJ or a friend who plays guitar, they shrug their collective small business shoulders, sigh and say, “See ya.”
So, an inconvenience payment was an unexpected surprise. One much appreciated by me.
$50 today will guarantee prepaid minutes on my phone for a month.
If I get it today.
Which I’m beginning to doubt.
For good reason.
Two months ago, an agent booked my band to play at a popular restaurant. I was happy to get the gig coz, a month prior, the same agent said, “You’re guitar player’s too loud. And, for that reason, I’m sorry, I can’t book you at” the afore mentioned restaurant.
At the time, I chalked it up to that’s life and told the guitar player, “From now on, turn it down.”
So, I was happy the agent had a change of heart and we, the band and I, were going to be given a chance to prove ourselves at the eatery.
I started spreading the word. A lot of the folks were excited and said they would attend.
Then, 3 weeks ago, I saw the agent at a local BIG Event, and he said, “I need to talk to you. I’ll call tomorrow or Wednesday.”
I didn’t hear from him. So, Wednesday, 3pm, I called.
He said, “I’ve got good news. I’ve got bad news.”
I said, “Okay.”
“You still have your solo spots.”
“But,” he paused. “J. P. (the manager of the restaurant) said he doesn’t want your band to play.”
“Okay, can we reschedule?”
“No, he said he doesn’t want your band to ever play at his place.”
“Never ever? Why? He’s never even heard us.”
“He didn’t say.”
I notified fans as to the cancellation.
I vented to friends and band mates.
I was pissed. Outraged. Confused. I was welcomed to play solo but my band was not welcome. My band was banned. It didn’t make sense.
It was like a close friend saying, “There is always room for you at my house but your wife and kids may never enter.”
I wanted to say, “Find some one else for your solo spot.”
But, I needed the money, so I showed up last Thursday and played my show.
J.P. wasn’t there but his assistant was and, since I’ve known that go getter since he was a bus boy, and, since he was the guy paying me for my night’s work, I got close and whispered to him what the agent told me and he said, “I’ll tell you right now, J.P. didn’t say that. He wants nothing to do with booking bands. That’s why he has the agent do it.”
I shook my head and said, “Then, what’s…”
“I’ll find out what’s going on, Joe. And I’ll let you know next time you’re here. And I’ll put in a good word for your band. Even though I’ve never heard them, I’ll take your word.”
I left the restaurant grateful I knew someone on the inside who was on my side…but, I couldn’t figure out the agent’s agenda. If J.P. didn’t say what I was told he said, then the agent lied to me and cancelled the shows and blacklisted my band…after he booked us. And he booked us after he cited loud guitar playing to be the reason my band would never get to play for that particular venue.
That means he deliberately put me down to build me up… just to put me back down…
Makes no sense.
So I will know my place?
Makes no sense.
I know my place.
Some people say that’s show biz.
I say that’s some crazy bullshit.
I say that’s fucked up.
But, right now, unless my source reveals J.P. has uncharacteristically boycotted my band, the agent having a covert agenda is the only thing that makes any sense.
And, sometimes, it seems to me, everyone with whom I do business has a covert agenda.
That’s why I doubt I’m going to see that 50…..wait a minute, I’m getting a text…it’s from the “I’ve got your cancellation fee right here” cat.
He says, “First, the bad news. Club owner reneged on covering your loss. But, the good news is….I’m diggin into my own pocket. Consider it my investment on a mutually beneficial musical future. Meet me at Starbucks. 15 minutes.”