Robert J

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Everything posted by Robert J

  1. Playing with bad singers

    Don't forget that's in Canadian $$$ Probably equal to the $50 you made. It was a martini bar, and the 2 I had cost me a foolish $15. I'm not complaining, I am grateful for the gig even though it will be painful. At least I get to stretch out a bit. I guess what I was getting at is, that although he's not a good singer, he still plugs himself and manages to get the next gig. Something smart about that. I know a guy, now on the west coast, who did a gig with a singer and it was not a good time. He vowed never to follow up with the dude. A year later he was asked to sub for a band which happened to have the same guy singing. My buddy walked into the rehearsal and said "Oh no, ... I didn't know it was gonna be you" He still did the night.
  2. Playing with bad singers

    The drummer post got me thinking about this. The second worst thing is performing with poor singers. This was really obvious to me a couple of weeks ago when I subbed for a piano player at club that hires duos. The singer has a repertoire, sort of, but he just does not have a good voice, or presence or phrasing at all. It was a painful 4 hours. But the real problem was he was such a nice guy. I just don't think he knew how bad he was. His wife and friends all came by to watch us. They were so encouraging. I knew all the tunes, but he insisted on a couple of rehersals. I did about 30 minutes with him beforehand; they were common tunes and I knew his keys. Just everything was lacking and it was so boring for me. No spark. Plus for some reason I played more than he sang. He kept missing my cues to come in for a second chorus etc. I'd play the whole tune in my solo sometimes twice. The audience didn't really know it. It was a martini bar at a restaurant so most people would hear only 3-4 songs. Plus he wanted to end every set with a ballad. AHHH If you could excuse the analogy, it was like making love to a dead fish! Anyone comments?
  3. High Voltage Rock & Roll!!!

    HM still serves a purpose in my life! I too have debated the sophistication of jazz (now) vs. the youthful times spent with HM. But I think there is a primal rawness that HM contains and allows me to tap into that jazz does not. I listened to metal before jazz and it was cathartic at 12-13 years of age, just going into high school. Now I can only really take Back in Black, some Sabbath (Master of Reality and Paranoid, and maybe solo Ozzie) and as for Zep, now only Physical Graffitti. And this is after a few beers and maybe a hard day. Metal is very necessary and I am suprsied that in my mid 30s the need is still there. I think the blues is something different entirely. Blues is universal in its own right, however I think it lacks the association that some of us North Americans find in metal (car stereos, various finger salutes, basement rec-rooms, weed, long hair, hating preppies). When I now need to kick out the jams or purge myself it is most likely with Fugazi or Husker Du
  4. Playing with bad singers

    LOL Sad reality: I got a call yesterday from this guy to do it all again. I'm on his "A" list. Will pay me about $125. Most likely I will still do it. Unlike a dead fish, we musicians still have to back to the trough...
  5. playing with bad drummers

    A friend of mine recently did a gig in Toronto's Skydome. This is where the the Blue Jays play baseball, etc. It seats 50,000 and usually the Rolling Stones are the only ones who could fill it. The gig was part of several bands performing for an Aboriginal event. Anyways, the drummer was told he did not need to bring his kit, as one would be set up there, fully miked etc. Of course this never happened. No kit whatsoever from the promotor. Luckily the drummer wisely brought his snare drum. So he has his snare on his lap with a mike hanging over it, and a mike on his foot hitting the ground (wooden stage) to act as the bass drum. I give this guy credit for turning around a situation rather than going home.
  6. playing with bad drummers

    I would go to this blues jam session in Toronto every week, about 10 years ago, a really good one. The piano player let me do a couple of tune here and there, then it became a whole set, and more. I thought it was funny cause he was in the house band and was getrting paid. Then I looked down from the stage and I saw him drinking with 2 women who became Wednesday regulars! He wanted me to keep playing so he could keep "playing" as well. He got the cash and I got the experience of playing with many different blues muscians in town. However, I eventually tired of working for free... B)
  7. Thanks Jim. I guess you do need 2 manuals. The hardest part for a piano player is losing the effect of sustain. Perhaps it concentrates your solos. Another thing pianist don't worry about is volume control, which is something that adds alot of contour to the organ's sound. When I had my Rhodes, I used a type of wah-wah pedal to get that phat funk/fusion sound. It took a bit to get good at it. BTW - I mentioned the Technics KN 7000 which I've access to. Have you seen these? Fantastic organ sounds as well as a digital drawbar.
  8. Highest paying gig

    Since gigging is not my main source of income, I try now to do just the jobs that pay well (Jim I don't have teenagers yet, but my son is turning 9 soon). Luckily solo piano for private parties is the best outlet I've been tapping into. Not easy to crack into right away, but when you do a good job, the refrerrals happen. Lately I've been in the $250 range for about 3 hours at peoples' homes. In December I played a party for one of the original founders of Netscape. They had a 7' concert grand in the living room. It was heaven. I drank out of a scotch glass that cost more than what I got paid! From stale Chinese food to this.
  9. Thanks for the left hand advice. What about sessions where you have a bassist? At some of the blues gigs I'd like to swith from piano to organ on my Roland FP3. There I don't know what to do with the left, so it does not sound too muddy. Soloing on my right is also different - you have to get the stock phases and effects down as well, something you really need a real B3 for!
  10. Lowest paying gig ...

    When I first started out gigging at age 17, I was playing solo piano at a chinese restaurant. There was a dixie band on Saturdays, so the venue's not so strange. It's a strip club now. I got $20 for three hours, plus beer and a plate of reheated chinese food leftovers. Awesome! Mostly old timers who were there 14 hours, handing over their pension scheques to the barmaid. I did get to learn some tunes like "Sentimental Journey" "Melancholy Baby" etc When I was 15 I actually played organ at my Catholic church. They needed a sub and I was too old to continue as the altar boy, and since the priest liked me .... I think I made $12.50 per mass. One day I brought in a Moog Prodigy, a little synth, and laid it on top of the orgfan. I used it for string pads. Sounded good. However, at the end of one mass I overheard an old lady berate the priest: "I've seen one of those things before [the keyboard] at the mall, and this woman was playing it nicely. But this guy [me] is ABSOLUTELY AWFUL". It could have been my long hair. I was asked to keep the Moog at home. Too many other stupid freebies to mention.
  11. I'd love to master or just get started on the B3. However it is hard to lost those years of playing like a pianist. We have the new keyboard by Technics at work, the KN 7000 (Oscar Peterson just bought one from us). There's some awesome organ sounds and even a digital drawbar. I can sound like an organist a bit on this. But I still have to learn to pad, be more economical, and solo differently. BTW - what the heck do you do with your left hand? Pour a drink? B)
  12. Highest paying gig

    I made $300 US playing solo piano for a Chrysler executive party in *** (help me B3-er, a rich area in the NW suburbs of Detroit; it was a nice hotel). I had no car so I took a $30 cab ride back to the Canada/US border (I actually took several busses to get there!). THe cab was a luxury, but the exchange rate covered it. No female peelers, but I feasted like a king and there was a full glass of scotch on my grand piano. Those were the days!