Independence of Occupation

Would be watching some superb local musician and someone would say he works as a cook, when he’s not playing. Admirable appreciation by the musician that he can’t currently make a living from his preferred occupation, and will work otherwise, to make sure the bills are paid.

Don’t find a number of musicians today saying I have no money because I haven’t played in awhile. Wasn’t always that way. In the time of Margo Davidson, it was quite common for musicians to do nothing else. And when they weren’t playing, they had no money. And when they had no money, somebody would typically step up to offer some form of support. People in the theatre seemed to be more economically realistic, perhaps because there could be such long gaps between paying engagements. Don’t remember any actor saying I have no money because I’m waiting for the next successful audition.

Musicians in the 1970s had numerous local playing venues, plus would typically be managed. The manager would regularly book them out of town, since there were numerous smaller playing venues throughout a province. Drummer Gerry Wand talks about this during his time playing with Bryan Fustukian and Billy Cowsill. So they had, in many cases, a semi-regular source of income, but not such income that always paid the rent and other bills.

Still meet musicians from that time. Some have never done anything else, and still won’t do anything else. Some point proudly to the spouse they married, who has gainful, lucrative, permanent employment. Implicit message that they obtained the coverage. Others speak of the good fortune of inheritance.

Wonder how many people are covered, in various occupations. The “professional” of whatever sort, whose lifestyle bears little relationship to the cash flow being generated from a particular profession. The family members always ready to help, being so proud of the professional. As the working spouses are so proud to see their musician spouses onstage.

In many cases, it is necessary to work two or three jobs to pay the bills. Artists are no exception. Neither are professionals with muted success.

Turns out that history may not have changed as much as one thought:

“You date musicians for all these reasons, but if you took the fact that they were a musician out of the picture, you’d never date the guy,” says Emily. “Think about it: a guy who works 15 hours a week, drinks a lot, smokes a lot and whenever you go out to dinner, you pay. He always has all these hot girls after him, he can’t go on dates with you during normal hours, and you can only basically hook up after practice or shows. Who would want that?”

Admire the musician who works as a cook, plays when the opportunity is available, and pays his or her bills, without relying on others. The others who enable the illusion that one is gainfully occupied, and that one day all of the enabling might, just might…


About brucelarochelle
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