I have a sobering and embarassing tale to tell. I was puttering around the kitchen this morning when the phone rings and the caller ID shows it's the #1 bandleader in town (a smoking bassist but is just the singer in his own band). This guy has been leading a top draw funk/soul band for over 15 years. In 2 hours they are headlining a benefit for Katrina victims and he tells me his bassist (the #1 guy in town) can't make it. Another killer bassist I know has recommended me. I'd play their show then back up any of the guests (all the top names in town) who need me. It would give me a chance to show my stuff in front of great players who don't know me, a networker's wet dream. Then it happens: he says "So would you like to come down and blow through some CHARTS with us?" I first started reading music forty years ago but once I got out of the school band I never had to read on stage. I can still read, but only at the most basic level...enough to work through charts and instructional material at home but not enough to sightread charts at full tempo. I do the professional thing and tell him "I appreciate the call, please thank the guy who recommended me but I can't sightread bass lines". As a result I will never again get the call to play with the #1 guys in town. People, do yourself a BIG favor: if you want to keep playing till they plant you in the ground, you need to be ready for anything. You can be a groove monster as well as a burning soloist, you can slap and tap and you can own all the latest and greatest booteek gear but if you can't read down a chart on the stage sooner or later you're going to lose an important gig to the guys who can.