By the way, thanks for reminding me that I need to tune two harmonicas before my show this afternoon. And actually, I'm not all that busy at the moment - only two shows this month. Working in this local market which is saturated with young, up-coming musicians is very competitive and I'm beginning to feel somewhat irrelevant.
I have an offer pending that I'm sure I'll take, but I'm looking at it as a kind of sign-post in my life. When I was a young college student at UCLA, I paid my way by working as a (plectrum) banjo player on weekends at Shakey's Pizza Parlors around L.A. When I transferred to U. of Oregon I scored a weekend gig at Pietro's Pizza in Eugene.
After college, I embarked on a career that took me around the world playing in some of the most prestigious concert venues from Hong Kong to New York and everywhere in between. Now I'm considering an offer for a one-niter at Morrton's Pizza and Pub here in Medford. And the pay is only slightly more than I was making playing pizza joints in 1966. "All my life's a circle."
Speaking of Pietro's Pizza, I'm reminded of a couple interesting stories about that gig. One day I was called into the office and informed that I could no longer play any songs that were in the BMI publishing catalog. The venue was not paying the required licensing fees and BMI had sent in a spy to monitor what music was being played there. I remember going to the library (this was way before Al Gore invented the internet) to research the publishing on every song in my repertoire. Luckily, the bulk of my pizza parlor repertoire was ASCAP material ("Ain't She Sweet", "You Are My Sunshine", etc.) But one night I had a request for a Beatles tune and - wouldn't you know - that BMI spy was in the room that night. I didn't get fired, but the restaurant was fined then had to pony up the annual BMI license fee. Things went downhill after that and a couple weeks later I quit after a disgruntled kitchen employee pissed in the pizza sauce. Yum!