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Road Warrior: The Greater Good

I’ve learned that regardless of the crisis level in which the recession has placed me and my musical endeavors, there’s always a silver lining: I can pretty much always get a decent column out of it.

But for those musicians who need to ply their craft daily just to pay the bills, whether it’s rocking arenas or bar mitzvahs, the loss of a gig can be devastating.

A drummer friend recently found himself out of a gig. As most musicians don’t qualify for unemployment benefits, the sole option for his and his family’s survival was rapidly finding new work. As the economy steadily shuts down venues and studios, freelancing is riskier than ever. The fortunate few with full-time gigs are guarding them closely.

After a few months of distressing unemployment, my pal came across the answer to his prayers. No, not a rich girlfriend (though that would certainly qualify), but rather an invitation to join a new band, whose debut CD he had heard and loved.

After a few rehearsals with the band, our guy began to notice a few red flags. Small things here and there … and there … and there, until the dream gig became something of a nightmare.

Now our guy faces the same decision with which many of us will eventually grapple: To go for a payday or remain true to his music? His experience ought to tell him that accepting a gig with the intention of bailing asap can earn one the reputation of opportunistic hustler. On the other hand, staying in a gig that’s all wrong can kill one’s musical soul.

If that doesn’t work, I’ll remind him of how he once leapt blindly from one romantic relationship into another. Once he recalls how splendidly that worked out, the decision should come easily.

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