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Smoking (in) Jazz Clubs?

Discussion in 'Off Topic [DB]' started by Bruce Lindfield, Jun 1, 2005.

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  1. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I noticed Ray talking about a New York Jazz club and so I put this question here....

    Last Friday it was a pretty hot evening and I went to a really good gig at my local Jazz club - the place was absolutely packed out - standing room only, no chance to move and the room was getting more and more airless ...:meh:

    Then the guy right by me, lights up this enormous cigar and proceeded to blow smoke at me for the next 20 minutes continuously... :scowl:

    Why do people want less air when it's hot and stuffy?

    Then yesterday I heard a debate on the radio, about smoking in public places as the British government is considering this and a person came on who said he'd been to the US for his holiday and how it was so nice not to have smoke in clubs wherever he went and it was a real holiday from smoky rooms in the UK.

    So - what is it like in Jazz clubs, bars etc. in the US - is there a complete ban on smoking? What effect has it had? Do you prefer it, or has something of the "atmosphere" of clubs been lost? ;)
  2. DirtDog


    Jun 7, 2002
    It's been a major change for the positive in this city, so far - yeah, there was lots of debate and a couple of bars closed. My feeling is that if a bar shut down due to non-smoking, the customers weren't coming for food, drinks or atmosohere, were they? Fortunately, government and tourism drive the economy in this town, not the bars that allow one to smoke.

    We've been smoke free in all public places since summer 2002 - I think that most people have adapted to the new paradigm. The Province of Ontario is looking at implementing a province-wide ban on smoking in public places.

    The weird thing is when I travel to another place w/o the ban, it takes a while to get used to being in a room filled with smoke.


  3. John Sprague

    John Sprague Sam Shen's US Distributor

    Mar 10, 2003
    Rochester, NY
    Sales Manager, CSC Products Inc.
    In the US, laws differ by state. So in NY it's nice to go out without returning home smelling like a fireman, everybody has gotten used to stepping outside for a smoke (me included). I'll admit that it's a bit of a treat when I travel to states that have ashtrays on the bar though.
  4. mje


    Aug 1, 2002
    Southeast Michigan
    As an ex-smoker I generally stay out of jazz clubs- and music clubs in general- just because I cannot abide the smell of smoke anymore. What's even worse is having all your clothes and your equipment smell like stale cigarettes afterwards- getting tobacco smell out of a DB must be darn near impossible. (My last gig was in a coffeehouse, so I didn't have to deal with that.)

    Back in the 60s, I think it was, Ahmad Jamal opened a jazz club with no alcohol or smoking; didn't last very long. But times are different today.
  5. +1
  6. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    So - New York, would definitely have a ban on smoking in all Jazz clubs?

    I was wondering if this affected the "ambience" ...I just associate these places with a smoky atmosphere, although as a non-smoker I don't like the lack of fresh air and my clothes smelling etc. etc.

    I wondered if it would make the clubs feel "sterile"...?
  7. The gov'ment are bringing in a smoking ban here in Newfoundland on July 1st. I can't wait. It never really bothered me until I visited Ottawa and realized what a difference it makes. Oh, and the "main" jazz club here in St. John's was non-smoking as soon as it opened so I don't think it will ruin the vibe.
  8. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    I'm an ex-smoker and I have smoked 10 boxcar loads of tobacco in my life. I still like the idea of a good smoke but I know in my bones it will kill me if I keep it up. So I don't.

    We've had the smoking ban here in Winnipeg for a couple years now and it's a joke to suggest it's been bad for business. The complaining business owners are the ones who are bad for their businesses.

    We are down to about 20% of adults smoking tobacco in my neck of the woods. It's not moving down very quickly from there. Those that remain are hard core and have lived through years of vilification by now. Once they stop hacking and spitting up green stuff they may complain a litte about their treatment but even most of them can see this is a straight-up public health issue. Smoke free bars are far, far better than smoke-filled bars and it's a boon to musicians not to have to work in toxic air.
  9. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Augusta GA
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    New York City has a ban on indoor smoking EVERYWHERE, jazz clubs included. I haven't worked any gigs in what used to be called "cigar bars", so I don't know what's happened to those (I know MERCHANT'S uptown is still a gig)...
  10. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    So, we will be amongst the last around here to have to put up with smoke.. although when I visit Mediterranean countries like Spain and Greece, they still seem to be puffing away!!
  11. It is so nice to have smoke free bars and restaurants.
    When I used to smoke over ten years ago I remember playing various places and still being overwelmed with smoke half way through the night. Then for the next two days I'd be recovering from the harm done to my lungs.
    Since I finally quit that habit there hasn't been a day pass that I haven't thanked myself for getting tobacco out of my life.
    Frankly if the music's good, the food is good and the drinks are good that's all the ambience that's needed. :)
  12. I remember when the anti-smoking ban was enacted all the club owners were crying and saying that it would be the end for them. But instead of less people there are now more people going to clubs and restaurants. Of coarse cali in general and san diego in particular are health conscience areas. The demographic in California for smokers are lower middle class heavy drinkers, and these people never were big jazz fans anyways, at least around here.
    The most dramatic change that I see from the old days is that there are more attractive ladies coming out at night to party, and 95% these women HATE tobacco smoke.

    You can really see a difference between smoking and non-smoking venues because the Indian casinos in town do have smoking, and the crowds, I know a lot of guys who wont think about doing the casinos although they generally pay good and the hours are few.
  13. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    I lived in Boston in the mid 90s, and the smoking ban was being talked about. It finally took effect, and the report I heard from musician friends was: more people were coming out to hear live music. Just an observation...
  14. I've noticed the same thing - at last, clean air! thank god!

    I've always thought the idea of separate smoking-areas in restaurants to be about as effective as separate pissing-areas in swimming pools…

    - Wil
  15. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    Any idea if there is a ban such as this in Illinois-specifically Chicago? I've got asthma and when i'm around 2 people smoking for 2 hrs, i feel it for the next few days. e.g. my lungs feel tight and it is harder to breath than normal.

    That's all
  16. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    My calendar took the same path as the DotCom bust when the ban went in and has never really recovered. The real issue is property rights. If a substance is illegal, it's illegal. If it's legal, it's legal. It should be up to the property owners if they want to allow smoking or not.

    Think how it would be if Big Brother insisted that smoking HAD to be allowed in your establishment and the outcry it would bring about.

    All I have to say. And think of the money I save -- I just don't go out to hang...
  17. In Ontario we are going to have the toughest anti-smoking poilicy around.

    Currently you cannot smoke in a bar unless it has a separate (ie enclosed) room for smoking with its own ventlation system. Or, you can have a covered patio outside that is for smokers.

    Now they (the gov't) has decided, that after the bars/restaurants etc spent the money on these "smoking rooms" that they will be illegal, and no longer permitted. So now, well soon anyways, you will no longer be able to smoke indoors. No smoking rooms, not even a covered patio. These will have to be torn down. opened up, or whatever it takes.

    Saying that, I saw Motorhead a couple months ago, the place was packed. So everybody was just lighting up where they were. As a former smoker, I must say it is nice to get home after playing, and not have everything you're wearing smell like smoke. But to take out all the smoking rooms, patios? C'mon now. If I don't want to smell the smoke, i just stay outta the room, simple as that. Some people eh.
  18. Chrix


    Apr 9, 2004
    I saw Victor Wooten at the Canopy Club in Urbana, IL (a club known for being packed with people and smoke...MANY different kinds of smoke...) a few years back and it was very refreshing that he requested that it be a smoke-free show. It was by far the easiest concert that I'd ever seen there. What was hillarious was that his drummer, JD Blair, saw someone attempt to light up in the audience. He came down off of the stage and confronted the kid about it, then proceeded to go back up on stage and say that this guy almost made JD leave the show.

    I know it may have been a bit of a jerk thing to do, but I know I'd love seeing shows and playing shows that don't leave me or my gear smelling like an ashtray.
  19. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    I can go along with that, as long as responsibility attaches to the rights. If you've harmed me somehow with your toxic-gas-filled bar I should then have the right to come after you for damages, perhaps even suing you out of existence. The same legal principles would apply as with slippery sidewalks, poisonous food, daggers hanging by threads over patrons' tables, every other ice cude containing a lethal dose of cyanide, etc...

    If it was a completely private club wherein everyone signed an agreement recognizing the toxic aspects of the air then maybe it's a basic property rights thing. Otherwise it's a basic public health thing. You can't serve drinks in lead cups. Why? It kills people, slowly but surely. Same with tobacco, as much as I regret it because I surely miss my nice fresh Marlie...

    I reckon we're probably skirting close to the "Danger! Politics!" sign. Not to worry, I won't take us over.
  20. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    But you can serve alcohol, sugar-laden drinks, fatty foods, allow people to stay up past their bed times (making them sleepy and a driving hazard), allow people to wear stinky perfumes, allow live music (known for causing hearing loss)...

    If you don't like smoke, then go to a smoke-free bar. Let the proprietors decide ont he business they want to run, and the partons decide on the business where they want to spend their money.

    Should I hold the tax payers responsible for the loss in my income and go on The Dole to offset their behaviour?

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