Getting a Gig: They All Get Prettier at Closing Time

“Been there.  Done that.”  Have you ever heard that before?

Well, that is how this band stuff feels sometimes.  We had a successful performance.  We are excited to play again.  We are prepared to practice.  And we do not want to let the momentum slip away.  Hey, that really is encouraging.

The week after the July Sunday Surf Party, our family went to brunch at a newly opened establishment.  We were celebrating Mom’s 88th birthday.  My family certainly is not adhering to the Pete Townsend line from “My Generation” which will not be repeated here.

The restaurant area had a stage in it complete with curtains.  Raised and very cool.  The wheels started turning.  All ages.  Check.  Has food.  Check.  Can control the door.  Check.  Could be available relatively early in the evening.  Check.

Ideal?  Not really.  No liquor license.  No easily available parking.  The overall theme of the business does not necessarily fit a summer fun music vibe.  But didn’t somebody once sing something like, “They all get prettier at closing time”?

What the heck, drop a line in the water.  “Do you think we could do something here?”

Suddenly, the table was abuzz with conversation.  “You can’t play as loud as you usually do.”  But that was not a show stopper.  “We could use practice amps.  Glenn is not an especially loud drummer.”

Like Mickey Rooney or Judy Garland in one of those really old movies, one sister said, “We could have a Hawaiian theme party!”  That led to talking to the owner who joined in the buzz and, after batting around a few ideas, ended the conversation with “Let’s talk about it next week.”

On Tuesday, my well-chronicled impatience overwhelmed efforts to be laid-back and uber cool, and I was on the phone.  “Hey, we talked about doing something.  Can we get together and discuss it?”  The owner’s enthusiasm of Sunday had waned, “Oh, I haven’t had the time to talk to my folks.  I’ll get back to you tomorrow.”

Tomorrow came.  No call.  Thursday.  No call.  Friday, I called again. 

“Oh, we just were sitting down to go over it.  How many people do you think you can count on?”  I replied 20 to 40 and pimped what we bring to the table. 

“We’ll do a catchy poster which will get some attention for your restaurant.  We’ll make sure that the gig is on the internet, on Sacramento event websites, and in the print media.  You’ll reach a bunch of people who don’t even know that you exist.  Most everybody we get to attend will be new business for you.”

“I’ll get back to you.”  A couple of hours later, she left a voice mail.  “I’m sorry it does not pencil out.  I need a guarantee that you will bring 50 guests, all of whom will eat off of the menu.”  As I listened, I thought, “If I could guarantee 50 people would pay to hear us play and eat, I wouldn’t be talking to a place that doesn’t sell beer and wine.”

Oh, well, for a moment, enthusiasm had blinded me from the reality that finding a place to play is not always easy.  Move forward.  Step back.  Resume the search.

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