Out of the frying pan, and into the fire. After around seven months of responding to perhaps 75 job postings (for graphic design, writing, and videography jobs) per week, and having been invited in for a grand total of two interviews, I decided to stop trying to fight City Hall, and commenced beating my head against the wall in an entirely different way — trying to secure bookings for my delightful new pop/rock combo, The Romanovs.
I’ve never actually done this before. Back when I was pretty and unlined and had both original shoulders, I didn’t actually have to grovel and plead very much to get my band of that era booked. I was the rock critic American youth most loved to loathe in those days, and I think club bookers believed that lots of persons whose heroes I’d pooh-poohed in print would swarm to my own group’s performances to look at me askance, or even to pelt me with rotten produce, or the lifeless rodents their cats had dragged in.
But the world has passed me by, and those who procure talent for the niteclubs and so on of present-day Los Angeles seem not remotely impressed to hear from me. To date, I have sent out half a dozen zany, custom-designed little advertisements to niteclub bookers to try to get them to have a look at our Website. Until last Friday afternoon it was though I’d clicked Delete rather than Send. But then a gentleman phoned to ask if we’d be interested in opening for three heavy metal tribute bands at the end of the first week in August at his club in the San Fernando Valley.
It’s quite common in Los Angeles to have to pay to play. A booker will say, “I imagine your band has a great many fans?” You mumble ambiguously, or clear your throat, hoping he or she will hear it as affirmative, whereupon the booker says, “Well, what we’ll do then, is sell you 100 tickets for $5 each. You, in turn, can sell them to your large following for $10.” I was much heartened when the guy proposed no such thing, but said he would actually pay us to play.
Three bucks each.
I thought I might buy some sugarless chewing gum with mine, though I fret about the chemical sweeteners they use instead of sugar being carcinogenic.
I accepted the gig. After weeks of frustration, I’d have agreed to open for a pile of Styrofoam clamshells for a buck each. Two of the other three were pretty delighted, but the third, who turned out to have played the venue more times than he could count, and who recalled its booker offering to book an earlier band of his if he would supply nude photos of his girlfriend, was highly undelighted. We decided jointly to pull out, though I’d already begun looking forward avidly to a clubful of over-tattooed young metal fans indignantly gasping, “WTF!” in unison during our closing number, The Who’s “The Kids Are Alright,” which we perform in the style of Johnny Cash & The Tennessee Two tune.
Two hours after the rehearsal at which we agreed sadly to decline the gig, I looked in my emailbox, and what to my wondering eyes should appear but an email offering us a Saturday night showcase at a club in Hermosa Beach.
Sometimes it appears for a few minutes as though hard work and tenacity really do pay off!
Eschewing complacency, I did another emailing yesterday morning, and damned if another heretofore-unresponsive booker didn’t respond. Of such small triumphs are my new hopefulness made!