: Someone made an interesting comment in an earlier post regarding the touring
: of the current KT. Working only 2-4 days a month it would seem that all of the guys
: would have other jobs or sources of income unless Bob Shane's largess knows no
: bounds. George is an excellent arranger, Bill had a group in Phoenix for years and
: Rick works in the operatic field. It must have been a surprise to find out the job
: (albiet rather part time) was going away, but I would hazard a guess these talented
: folks have other options.
: It would seem so, to a layman.
: But its not as easy as you think for professional musicians to just waltz into
: another job in their field, whether you are a folk musician or play in a symphony.
: How many "arranger" jobs are out there? Ones that pay, I mean. Take a
: And the older you get, the harder it is to find work. I use the word
: "work" very deliberately. I'm talking about playing professionally and it
: being your main source of income, as opposed to being a weekend warrior at church
: picnics or free gigs in the library to blow off steam, and then having a straight
: job during the weekday. That's not to in any way denigrate folks who play
: non-professionally for fun. More power to them.
: Do you think you can just make a left turn into a straight job where your salary is
: commiserate with what you've been earning on the road? Especially if you are, say,
: in your 50's or 60's? Or another music gig that keeps you employed at the same level
: of compensation, or forming a new group? Do you know how much of an investment it
: takes to establish a new band, and how long before you start seeing a profit (if
: ever)? Good luck with that.
: That "rather part time" gig also includes an added, unpaid two or three
: days on either side just for travel. Some of those shows are two-a-day, sometimes
: more when you have a casino residency. Add to that all the unpaid work you do on
: your own time, like interviews, radio appearances, practicing to keep your chops up,
: working out or refining material, maintenance and repair on your instruments, as
: well as a myriad of ancillary expenses. A Calton hard shell flight case for a guitar
: or banjo costs in the neighborhood of $1000 EACH, or even more for a custom made
: case to accommodate something a bit unusual like a tenor guitar or long-neck banjo.
: You get a tax break for expenses, but only up to a point. Let's not forget MEDICAL
: AND DENTAL COVERAGE. You pay for that out of your pocket.
: 30-50 dates a year is a perfectly respectable schedule for a touring musician,
: especially a legacy band like the Kingston Trio. There's a certain level of comfort
: you get used to. I don't mean limos, hookers and blow and 5 star hotel
: accommodations with all the lobster thermidor you can eat. I mean playing nice
: venues, like theatres and performing arts centres with comfortable, clean dressing
: rooms and amenities like meals, water, coffee, clean towels, etc., and not having to
: ride in the back of a dirty old Econoline van doing a string of hand to mouth
: one-nighters in grotty clubs for gas money. Kind of like what the NKT had to do when
: Shane was trying to reestablish the name as a viable commercial entity in the 70's.
: They are well compensated for what they do, and you get used to a certain standard
: of living. I'm not talking about mansions, guitar shaped swimming pools, or gold
: plated toilet seats. I mean basic things like how much rent can you afford before
: you sign that lease, or repairing or replacing your washing machine/water
: heater/roof/refrigerator, or setting a mortgage based on your projected income,
: especially when for the last 3 or 4 decades you are handed a tour schedule at the
: beginning of the year that lists your work dates for the next 12-14 months.
: They make it look like fun, and look easy, but that's part of the gig. Make no
: mistake, this is a JOB. And a good rule of thumb is never to quit your job until you
: have something else lined up, and this is especially crucial for working musicians.
: There's no "golden parachute" and rarely if ever any severance pay.
: Transitioning to another gig is something best done far in advance, with plenty of
: time to work your contacts and exploring other options. That's why, when someone
: decides to leave a successful gig like this one they usually give up to a year's
: notice. Not just out of respect to your employer, but also to give yourself a
: financial cushion while you explore those other options.
: No matter how you slice it this was an abrupt and unwelcome shock to these guys, and
: there's bound to be some scrambling to readjust to suddenly finding themselves