Cost of living and jazz: Concepts that do not belong in the same sentence.
Posted by keithosaunders on December 10, 2009
A warm welcome and a hearty g’day to ya. Crack open a kangaroo beer, put a shrimp on the barbie and…wait, I just remembered — I’m not Australian. So you found your way here to Keitho’s site and by now you’re probably wondering, where the hell is the content? What did you expect, pole dances? I’m working on it! Give me time. I’m a pianist, not a web designer, damnit!
What’s the deal with musician’s salaries? We haven’t received a cost of living increase since the beginning of the 20th century. (thank you, TR!) The few times I have had the nerve to ask a club owner for a raise I’ve been made to feel like Oliver Twist. More?!!
My favorite was 25 years ago. I had this gig in the East Village at a joint called Princess Pamela’s Little Kitchen. Pamela weighed in at about 250 and was a surly blues singer who verbally abused her customers, but since it was the ’80s the yuppies who came there loved it. They were like, “Thank you maam, may I have another?”
But I digress. The gig paid $20.00, however being that it was 1985 that actually paid for 21 rides on the MTA. I had recently moved to Brooklyn from Manhattan and the commute was considerably longer so I had this idea that I would ask for a raise. A $5.00 raise. I had to go through channels via the bass player who was the boyfriend of Pamela. “Let me get back to you on that,” he told me after our gig.
Three days later I get a call from him: “We’re not working this week.” Sadly it was just me who was not working. That was how they fired me!
I have since gone on to bigger and better endeavors, increasing my average salary by as much as five fold. What a country!
That’s it for post number one. Leave me a comment and let me know you’re out there and in return I’ll keep on supplying you with scintillating content. Good day.