I don’t do much in the way of Freelance gigging these days. There are two reasons:
1) I don’t get called. I get the feeling I don’t have much of a reputation for that stuff.
2) I’m kinda more focused on pursuing the my solo carreer anyway. It may not amount to much, but it’s my little anthill.
That said, I love getting calls from time to time to do freelance stuff. It’s a nice change of pace. Often, the gigs I do get called for are low-maintenance, good money, good music, and a lot of fun… even if I do gotta wear a monkey suit. Most of the time, the leaders are great to deal with. They know me, they know what I do, and they hire me on that basis. Most are really cool to deal with too.
It’s almost a matter of tradition that I do some freelance gig on New Year’s Eve. Why? Money. Pure and simple. New Year’s Eve gigs usually pay pretty well. I spend the rest of the year making art more important than money. Why not take one night a year, be a whore for a night, and make life a little easier around the Finn household?
The gig I did last year went OK enough that the leader asked if I could do NEXT year. Same gig, same band, same night…. Etc… I said, “sure.”
I didn’t hear about the gig again, but since the leader in this case is a close friend and very trustworthy, I didn’t think about it. I just assumed the gig was on. Three weeks ago I got a call from someone I knew of, but hadn’t ever worked with. She wanted to know about New Year’s Eve and whether I was working. I called her back and said I had a gig, but I’d check to see if it was still on. I checked and it wasn’t. So I called her back.
The next few conversations were like the twilight zone. After informing me of the great money I’d be making (less than one-third of what I usually get… ahem), she asked me a million questions trying to figure out if I’m good enough to do her gig. Since I feel uncomfortable saying things like, “Oh yeah, baby, I’m a badass! I’m yer guy!”, I just gave her some names of people I knew she’d trust and told her to call them. I also (in the interest of honesty) informed her that I hadn’t done a country gig in a while (She’s a country singer).
She calls me back and asks how many country songs I can sing. I told her that very few people hire me on my singing. I can croak out a few things, but I do it only to give the singer a break on a long gig. My preference is not to sing at all. She asks for a list of fifteen country tunes I’d be willing to learn for this gig.
Time for a reality check. Two weeks before New Year’s Eve, she’s looking for singing guitar players. Obviously, she’s exhausted the list of players she knows. They’re all gigging. That’s why she’s calling me. From my point of view, I’d rather gig than not, but I won’t be heartbroken if I don’t. I’m offered short money to play music I don’t like with someone who appears to think I need to “prove myself”. Is something amiss?
I called her back and told her my bottom line. I gave her five songs I knew how to sing (not country really, but you can kinda get away with it….) and also told her how much I need to be paid. If that doesn’t work, then I would be happy to provide names and phone numbers of people she could call (though I expected they were all working too….).
Sooo…. Check this out… she called a friend of mine and asked to relay a message to me that she found someone to do the gig.
Is that lame or what? I don’t mind getting passed over for the gig at all. I have no desire to pursue a “country alter-ego”. First she puts me through all this shit, then calls A FRIEND to tell me I don’t have the gig. I thought I was done with Junior High….
What’s THAT about?
At 8:30 PM on New Years Eve she called and asked if I could come to the gig and play.
When I stopped laughing, I declined, but wished her a Happy New Year.