Consider working in an industry where the unemployment rate is minus 3,900 percent. That’s the music business. Jazz is ten times worse, in fact I have heard that it is easier to become a Vice Presidential candidate than to get a jazz gig during a recession. I only have a gig because my dear friend, Buddy Cianci’s best friend Artin, owns a restaurant. I am honored that the perennial Mayor of All Mayors took time from his celebrity venues to help me. He has always supported artists and other non-profit organizations. He admires the Underdog. It is one of his finest qualities and in my mind reveals the true nature of the man. The sycophants who crave elbow rubbing with those who are invited to the right parties are too dense to recognize anyone or anything of quality by any other measure. We must pity them and then stay as far away from them as possible. Speaking of sycophants or should I say charletans, when the local jazz musicians got wind of my return to Providence and my gig, they went bullshit. My pianist called me yesterday to warn me that some of the creepier members of the groove community are trying to take over and “book” the restaurant I sing in. “Book” as in, get the gig, or get gigs other nights with their friends. I love this. But I was saddened that my pianist was concerned for his job. He has seen it all in Boston the last few years, and been “fucked over” time and time again by the ruthless competition for shitty low paying gigs all over New England. That what’s funny. A bunch of people fighting over a scrap of meat that is mostly gristle. Sometimes struggling to entrench themselves in a non-paying gig just so that they can get up and play. I won’t mention the horror of open-mike nights, the ultimate in exploitation, and what that does to a musicians sense of worth.
I told my pianist that while he was working with me, he had no worries, no competition, because nobody was as nuts as I was, at least in Rhode Island. When people want to go out and see “nuts” perform, they come and see me, and my pianist and bass player, period, unless they are going to a mud wrestling tournament. That is the joy of being completely original and take that lesson to your own heart. Never compromise yourself, never alter your work for any amount of money, any promise of fame or success. And never do an open-mike night. Eventually you will find your audience, employee, life. A life that is your very own. Let them take the gig, the job, the opportunity – offer it up to them graciously, then go get something better. There is always, ALWAYS, something better.