The Book Of Jobbing
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Wed, 5 Apr 100 17:28:07 -0700
Subject: The Book Of Jobbing
X-Lib-of-Cong-ISSN: 1098-7649 -=[ Fun_People ]=-
Forwarded-by: "McGillveray, Robin" <email@example.com>
[Also see http://www.langston.com/Fun_People/1999/1999AIF.html
and http://www.langston.com/Fun_People/2000/2000AEY.html -psl]
THE BOOK OF JOBBING
(Translated from the original Sumerian)
Parable The First
And so it came to pass during one evening's performance that the Sidemen
were assailed by Doubts and Darkness descended upon the Bandstand. And
the Leader turned to his quaking flock and sayeth, "My children, why do
you doubt me? Have I not led you through the Valley of the Loading Dock
to the Great Land of Long Breaks, Hot Meals, and Undertime? Have I not
banished the dreaded Macarena from the Set List and allowed thee to Blow
The Jazz on selected numbers? Do we not play the Correct Changes for the
Bridge of Girl from Ipanema, and do we not play The Motown selections at
the Proper Tempi? And do I not pay thee all equitably, neither overpaying
the Chick Singers nor underpaying the Horn Players? And are there not
Charts for the Horns so that thou needst never Fake The Parts? So why doth
thou protest when I call The Willie Nelson Song, or The Jackson 5 Ballad?
Are they not preferable to Achy Breaky Heart or anything by Celine Dion?
Wouldst thou rather suffer Flung Beverage Containers or Scowls and Hectoring
by the Aunts and Uncles?
And the Sidemen answered him,
"But Father, we look out onto the Dance Floor and we see The Maelstrom.
We fear the Youngsters with The Pierced Body Parts as well as the Ancient
Ones with The Canes and Walkers. Also do we fear the Bridesmaids with The
Large Hair and the Groomsmen with Cigars and Disheveled Tuxedos. Also fear
we the Relatives from the Great Southwest as well as those from California
and from New York. Also do we regard with Fear and Loathing the Party
Planner and the Room Captain but mostly do we fear the Bride and Her Mother
who ruleth the Earth, yea, even above you, our Leader."
And the Leader looked and saw that this was true. And he took his Book,
and he flung it into the Buffet Heaters and he took his personalized music
stand and he broke it over his knee. And he took his Red Bow Tie and he
rent it asunder and he turned to the Party Planner and he said, "Now you
have no power over me, Minion of Evil." And he turned to the Room Captain
and he said "I will leave by the Lobby Entrance" And he turned to the Bride
and said, "Take thy Whitney Houston CD and place it where thy Groom may
find it during your Honeymoon" And he turned to the Bride's Mother and
said, "Thy Daughter is a Spoiled Brat, and I hope that she soon Divorces
her Callow Husband and returneth with her three children to live with thee
for the rest of thy Natural Life" And he turned to the drummer and said,
"The Band is yours." And he went home and slept deeply and soundly, to
awake the next day smiling, to begin Making Calls to find work as a Sideman.
Parable The Second
[also known as <http://www.langston.com/Fun_People/1999/1999AIF.html> -psl]
And it came to pass that in the dark of night the Lord awoke Noah, and
spoke to him. "Noah, awake and heed my words!" And Noah, being sore afraid
and disoriented, did cry out, "Who goeth there?" And the Lord did smite
him upside the head saying, "It is the Lord of all things, dummy!" And Noah
did tremble, saying, "Lord, why hath thou awakened me?"
And the Lord did say, "Noah, build me a Casual Band. For the earth will
be visited by a plague of Brides, followed by forty days of Trade Shows
and forty nights of Awards Banquets." And Noah did say, "Command me, Lord."
And the Lord did say, "First, thou must find me a Leader." And Noah replied,
"But Lord, will I not be the Leader?" And the Lord did smite him again,
saying, "Fool, thou wilt be my Contractor. Ask not why!" And Noah did
bow his head, saying, "Yes, my Lord. And what will this Leader play?" And
The Lord said, "It mattereth little whether he play or not or whether he
be proficient or not. For his job shall primarily be to talk to the Brides
and their Mothers, and to deal with Clients, and to count off Tempos wrong,
and to inquire as to whether Overtime will happen, and to try to segue
tunes that should never be segued. If he playeth any instrument thou must
always have another player of that instrument on the band just to be safe."
And Noah did say, "And what else shall this Leader do?"
And the Lord replied, "It shall as well be his job to spread Bad Information
and Confusion amongst the Sidemen, and to pit them one against the other
and to delay all payments. Further shall it be his job, until we can afford
a Soundman, to create Feedback and to invent new Equalization Curves
thereof." And Noah did shake his head in wonder, saying, "Lord, Thou Moveth
In Mysterious Ways. What more shall I do?"
And the Lord said, "Next, find me a Rhythm Section. First, find me a
Drummer and Three Things above all must this Drummer possess." And Noah
did ask, "What are these Three Things, Lord? Double Bass Drums? An
Electronic Kit? Congas?" And the Lord did smite Noah again, saying
"Second-guess me not, my servant. First, this Drummer must have slightly
imperfect time so that whenever he playeth a Fill, and he must play many,
he always emergeth at a different place, sometimes early and sometimes late
but thou may never guess which. And second, he must be Supremely
Discontent, always hoping for the Big Break which will lead to him playing
with Chick Corea or Madonna, so that he despiseth The Casual. "And third,
he must always be convinced of his Righteousness in all things including
Time, Volume, Tempo and Feel so that he argueth always with the Bass
Player." And Noah did say, "As you command, Lord. And what next?"
And the Lord did say, "Thou art learning, Noah. Next shall be the Bass
Player. And he shall be Bored. That is all." And Noah did say, "Of course.
And next, my Lord?"
"Next shall be the Piano Player. And he shall play as if he has twenty
fingers, and he shall ply Substitute upon Substitute, until no man may name
the Chord, and he will not be helpful. Furthermore, he shall always be
late. And he shall always be trying out New Gear of which he has no
knowledge." And Noah did wonder aloud, "Lord, Great is thy Wisdom!"
"Next shall be the Guitar Player. And he shall be a Rock Guitar Player.
And he shall be Loud and he shall sing 'Old Time Rock n' Roll' and his tux
shall be the Rattiest. Also shall he know not The Page, and so shall rely
upon his Ears which have been damaged by exposure to High Sound Pressure
Levels, for all the Guitarists who Read shall already be playing The Big
Shows, and will be making the Big Shekels". And Noah did say, "It shall
And the Lord did say, "Next thou shalt need Horns. First shall be the
Saxophones and they all must be Beboppers. And they shall play their Bird
quotes in every song, yea, even unto the Celine Dion ballad. And they
shall Get High on every break but make the Long Faces all night long,
especially when 'In The Mood' is called.
Next shall be the Trumpeters. And they shall every one attempt to take
everything they play Up an Octave, and they shall fail frequently. And of
Changes they shall know nothing.
And finally, shall be the Trombone Player. And many jokes will be made
about him, for he will have a Beeper, as well as a Day Job, and he will be
the first to be cut from the Band." And Noah, taking many notes, did say,
"Mighty is the Lord!"
"Next shall be the String Players. Find me Three Women, and attach Pickups
to the Violins that are more ancient even than Myself, so that their
instruments screecheth and causeth great pain. And their jobs shall be to
dress in Evening Gowns and to Fake Parts on all Ballads, and to occasionally
Stroll,and to complain about the Volume and the Intonation and to impede
the Swing." And Noah did say, "What else can be left, Lord?"
And the Lord did say, "Lastly, find me the Singers. And they shall be
numbered Three, a Male, and two Females. And the Male shall be a Strutting
Peacock with the Rock 'N Roll Hair and he shall never have to wear The
Tuxedo. And also shall he play The Harmonica. And of the Females, one
shall be Black and one shall be White. And the Black one shall ALWAYS sing
the Aretha songs and the Disco. And the White one shall ALWAYS sing the
Power Ballads and the Country Songs. But both shall share the Motown Medley
and shall sing Backup for the Male and forget the Words, and be Late, and
know nothing of Keys or Form. And they shall leave every gig immediately
it is over, having never touched a piece of Equipment. And they shall be
paid many more shekels than the Sidemen. Ask not why." And Noah did say,
"As Thou sayest Lord."
And the Lord did command him, "Search high and low, for as not every
musician can fulfill these requirements. And though we have No Work yet,
a Commitment must be secured from All. And while you're at it, start
looking for Subs." And Noah did say, "Lord, thy will be done."
And it was.
© 2000 Peter Langston