The World According to Keitho

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Posts Tagged ‘Empire Diner’

Burned by daylight savings time

Posted by keithosaunders on March 12, 2017

It’s not fair to be a musician with a Sunday brunch gig on the first day of daylight savings time.  After a late Saturday gig you are robbed of a precious hour of sleep before waking up at what is really 7:30 to play for Sunday brunch.  The humanity!

One of my first steady gigs back when I first moved to New York, 30 + years ago, was at a boxcar diner with an upright piano crammed into one side called, The Empire Diner.  It was a four hour gig – from 11pm-3am – and it paid thirty dollars plus a meal.  (Eventually it went up to thirty-five)

A couple of times I played the late set on New Years eve which was from 2am-6am.  It paid double scale!  After those nights I felt so prosperous  that I would spring for a cab ride home – from 10th Ave & 22nd st all the way to the Upper West Side on Broadway and 109th st.

Us late show pianists actually caught a break during the change from standard time to DST.  At 2:00am , when the clocks  jumped ahead to 3:00, we would say, “Welp, time to clock out!”

Conversely, in the fall, when the clocks moved back an hour, the place expected us to play for an extra hour.  I would try to sub that night out, or conveniently forget about the time change.

Enjoy the extra light, everyone, we have made it through the dark days of winter.  Now if we can only make it through the dark days of the Trump administration.

 

Image result for empire diner

 

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Posted in jazz, New York City, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

New Years memories part II

Posted by keithosaunders on December 31, 2015

Alcoa presents: Keitho’s New Years gig memories!

I used to do this solo gig at the Empire diner on 10th Ave & 22nd st. My slot was Saturdays from 11pm-3am. It paid $25.00. After a couple of years it went up to $30.00. I was living large after that. They had an upright piano which was right next to the bathroom. One day this lady went into the bathroom followed a minute later by this guy. The next thing I knew I heard this rhythmic pounding and I turned to my right to see a woman’s face plastered against the plate glass window. What could I do? I went right into “Easy to Love.”

Anyway, one year in the late 80s New Years eve happened to fall on a Saturday and the Diner asked if I wanted to play the late set for $100.00. The hours were 3-7 AM. Cha-ching!

I already had a normal New Years gig in Englewood, NJ with this horror show club date band who shall remain nameless (R*bby S*ott). In between gigs I came back to my apartment on the Upper West side at which point my buddy, Jeff, gave me a ride downtown. People were so drunk at that hour that Jeff had to have the reflexes of a Mario Andretti to avoid getting into several accidents. It was like being on Mr Toad’s Wild Ride except instead of Disneyland we were in Manhattan. Things were so much more interesting when everybody was drunk and high on blow. These days on New Years Eve people only need to grab their pipe and slippers and they’ll fit right in.

Posted in jazz, New York City, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »