Thursday morning, we (Yacht Rock) had our first U2 rehearsal. We're playing (under the name Uno Dos Tres Catorce) a couple of shows in March. It's a pretty easy set for me--I'm mostly percussion, and a few little keyboard parts to help out Bencuya. The bulk of the music is guitar with delay!
In going back and studying the stuff, I was really impressed by how much The Joshua Tree impacted me. I wouldn't have said I was a huge U2 fan, but checking out that album made me realize how deep I really was into it in the late 80s. Very powerful stuff, now and then.
Thursday afternoon, I got an email from Ben Lovett asking if I would like to be part of a movie. He's doing the score for an independent feature film called The Proxy, and they were looking for a street musician to play bass clarinet (huh?). I said yes, I 'd do it. A lady from the movie emailed saying she'd be in touch with more info.
Thursday night, Yacht Rock played a private gig at 200 Peachtree. It sounded great, considering the acoustics. I liked it a lot more than I did a few weeks back at the Beatles show there. We played for the Meeting Planners International party--hopefully we'll get some really good gigs out of it.
My effects pedal that I use for my saxophone died. One of the buttons (the "up" button) that allows me to scroll through presets stopped working. That would not be a huge deal, but I have a couple of them set up as intervals, and I need to change the interval mid-phrase! Yikes. Only the "down" button would work, so I would play on one setting and then frantically scroll through eighty presets to get to the on above it. Not cool. On the break, I took a screwdiver and attempted a little triage (using paper to help activate the "up" switch inside), but it didn't work. I plugged it back in right before the set, and the "up" button still would not work. A minute or two later, I looked down, and the the thing was scrolling "up" so quickly that I could barely make out which direction it was going! The thing went Poltergeist on me. I unplugged it and went without effects for the rest of the night.
I played well, and I had great reeds on both horns, though my tenor reed had a chip in the corner. It still played fine.
Friday morning, Yacht Rock had a photo shoot at the Atlanta Humane Society for an upcoming gig. We played with four or five dogs and they took pictures. The dog I had made my suit and shirt really smell bad.
Friday afternoon, the costuming lady from The Proxy called, asking about clothing she'd seen on my website. I agreed to bring a few loud Yacht Rock suits.
Friday night we played a sold out show at Andrews Upstairs/8 Traxx Disco. The usual stuff--crappy stage, weird sound, darkness where I was sitting. It's not a really fun place to play, but it's a good money maker, so I will only complain so much! I played well, especially considering I was sitting next to Bencuya, who only hears me this clearly when we play this venue. I fared well. Bencuya gave me a gold star for my playing.
In between soundcheck and the show, I got an email about The Proxy. No one had bothered until now to mention that the shooting date was Saturday morning. Great. The email she sent me had the call sheet--7 AM! Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! Not good. I couldn't find a phone number on the sheet (and I didn't think calling and yelling at the costume chick would do me any good). I didn't feel like I could back out of it, and I didn't want to do that to Ben, but I was NOT HAPPY.
Saturday morning, I got home from Andrews, unpacked my truck, took a shower, and went to sleep at 4:35 AM. I was up at 6 AM, and on the set (downtown Atlanta) at 7 AM. They started with me, so I thought hopefully I'd be finished in an hour and I could go home and sleep. Not so! I spent four and a half hours standing on the corner of Fairlie and Walton in my brick-red three piece suit (white shoes, of course), playing bass clarinet, while they shot this scene of the movie two or three times from EVERY CONCEIVABLE ANGLE! It was really boring (and for the first three and half hours super cold and windy). As non-movie people walked through the set, I did manage to get 1. a tip ($1); 2. someone telling me to go to Buckhead instead of downtown; 3. lots of strange looks. I guess that was better than the homeless character across the street, who was told he couldn't lie there!
I have no idea what the movie was about. The main character walked up to me, had some sort of epiphany, and then walked off. I guess a futuristic movie with street musicians in 70s attire playing bass clarinet will do that to you.
Anyway, keep an eye out for it. I'm sure I was magnificent. The 2012 Academy Award for Best Street Musician in a feature film goes to…
There was some discussion about the next day's shoot (again at 7 AM), but I told them I was unavailable due to church gigs.
I am still wondering if I will get paid for it. It all came together so quickly, I never had time to ask. Once I was on set, I never knew who to ask.
I got home, packed my truck, and left for my gig that night.
Saturday night, Yacht Rock played a gig at the Children's Museum. I was going on fumes. It was some kind of benefit…I really don't know. I think it was for the Children's Museum. Whoever put the gig together must have never done it before because they forgot to get us a PA. We showed up (thinking that the sound was provided), and Nick had to race back to the rehearsal space and get our PA. Ouch! Other than that, the gig was cool. The crowd was really into it in the second set.
Sunday morning, I got home and unpacked around 2 AM, slept a few hours, and got up at 7 AM. Church gig number one was a little strange. The drummer told me he'd gotten an email asking him to stay for the second service, and it also told him that (in case I asked) that there I was not involved in the second service. I asked the leader, and he said yes, stay for the second service. Weird. We played through the stuff we need for that first service (kind of blew through it). Things got a little tense in there (the leader said something about "spoon feeding" us the alterations).
Interestingly, we finally got some clarification about extra money for staying late. When we have been asked to play part of the next service, I (and others in the band) have asked if we would be compensated. Generally, we have, but when there is no mention of it, I ask. My thinking is that it is not just one (or more) songs extra--the second service begins a half hour after the first ends, and so we end up staying forty-five minutes to an hour later, and that time has value (in my case, it means SLEEP!).
It's not like this church doesn't have the money, either. Last fall, I heard crazy-big numbers about how much some of the Atlanta Symphony guys were being paid to fill out the holiday music.
The new plan laid out by the leader is thus: stay for the opening song, no money; stay up to the sermon, extra money. That's fine with me. The leader asked that we "stop asking about the money." Now that we're clear about what the compensation will be, I don't think that will be a problem.
Sunday afternoon, I finally slept. Basically, from noon to 5 PM I was out. I got up, showered, and hit my second church service. It sounded pretty good!
Sunday night, I watched the Academy Awards and started thinking about what my acceptance speech would be…"I accept this award on behalf of bass clarinetists and street musicians around the world!"