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Some nights make it all worth it

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by JimmyM, Nov 16, 2010.

  1. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Just got back from my gig tonight at the Villages...we backed up the great Lesley Gore, and did a half hour of our own stuff. Sold out two 700-seat shows!

    OK, for you kids out there, Lesley Gore did the original version of that new song Amy Winehouse has..."It's My Party." She also had a buttload of other hits like "You Don't Own Me" and "Maybe I Know." Probably 9 or 10 big hits of the early and mid 60's. She also gave Quincy Jones his first hits as a producer.

    Lesley requires a 4-pc horn section, so we figure why let this horn section go to waste? Why not use them for our stuff, too? We decided on a list on Saturday, flew home that day, and i wrote 4-pc horn charts for 5 of our tunes that night, plus i had two that i needed to add a couple horns to. We did stuff like "Twistin' The Night Away," "When Something Is Wrong With My Baby," and "Sweet Home Chicago" among others. We had 4 of the very best guys in town, so we put them to work...seems like i did all the work writing those damn charts, though ;)

    And if that wasn't enough, we recently had a personnel change and brought in a new singer and guitarist/singer, and this was the first gig we did at the big theater there with the new guys. Our new singer used to sing lead with the (real) Carl Gardner Coasters for the last 12 years, and he's doing a lot of really cool R&B stuff we weren't able to do before.

    Man, it was a lot of work...we did two 85-minute shows and a full rehearsal of everything, but I never had a day go by so quickly and smoothly. The horns were absolutely spot on and sight read everything like they played it all their lives. And Lesley's got a couple songs that nobody can sight read right the first time, but these guys nailed it. Best horn section I've ever worked with. Our portion of the show got three standing ovations each show. Oh, and I sang two songs tonight, too!
    And best of all, I didn't have any mistakes in my charts! I'll tell you, there is nothing like hearing a great horn section and not have any mistakes in your charts the first time you use them!


    We've worked occasionally with Lesley over the past 10 or 12 years, usually just doing 5 or 6 songs on Bowzer shows. But this is the first long form show we've done with her, and there were a lot of songs we've never done before. To make matters worse, she always brings a conductor who plays piano, guides us through the songs and cues us on background vocals, and she didn't this time. She just sent charts and a CD of most of the show. Lesley can be really tough on bands. She's totally no-BS when it comes to business. It's her show and you better make it happen or you'll get it. But she's always really liked us and I guess we've got her trust now. That's pretty big in our oldies circles. That's like a major stamp of approval.

    Anyway, I hate to brag, except now and then I like it. Tonight was one of those nights where I liked it. I'm supposed to be getting a board tape, so maybe I'll upload a couple choice bits. Hopefully our girl group harmony chops will withstand closer scrutiny. We weren't dead-on perfect with everything, but it really felt good while we were doing it. Now and then you get one of those gigs where everything converges to work in your favor. Let's hope the board tape doesn't prove me wrong.
  2. faulknersj

    faulknersj Supporting Member

    Apr 4, 2008
    Scottsdale Az
    Sounds like all your efforts had a lot to do with it as well. Nights like that are really like an adult version of getting a smiley face on that test you studied so hard for :)
  3. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    Nice work, Jimmy, whatever the "tale of the tape" tells you. If it sounded good to you guys and the crowd on the night, it just goes to show that any little blemishes that may show up on tape matter not one jot during a live performance.

    How do you do your charts by the way? Old school pen and paper or using software? I use Sibelius myself.
  4. Congrats on a rewarding evening! I've always liked Leslie Gore, her hits, and the Quincy Jones productions. Does she still sound like she did back in the day? Such a unique smokey quality to her voice.
  5. TomB

    TomB Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2007
    Trick w/board tapes: listen, then put 'em away & check back in w/them after a little bit before passing judgment. It's amazing to me how a little time/distance softens my self-criticism. Anyway Jimmy, congrats on the show! ...sounds very gratifying.
  6. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Jimmy, that just rules. Way to hum.
  7. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    electra, she does more or less sound like she did back then, but a little more smoky these days. definitely has that unique quality she always had.

    bill, i'm using an old outdated version of finale. i keep threatening to upgrade but i'm afraid i won't know where anything's at anymore.
  8. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    also, in case anyone cares...i used my 95 p lyte with duncan qp's, my upton hawkes upright, and my 64 b-15n stack with a vt deluxe as a switcher between the two basses. stuck to a basic clean sound tonight.
  9. I'm really happy for you, I see you post a ton of letters, words and a few notes on this site, and you really have your "S word" down, I respect you. It seems like your in a real good spot. con grats. do us all a favor and post some video, and give me some lessons. your a legit player... respect.
  10. MNAirHead

    MNAirHead Supporting Member

    VERY cool... must have been a sigh of relief as it had potential train wreck ...

    Glad you had a blast.
  11. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    Nice! You had me at 2 sold out 700 seat shows!
  12. Pat C.

    Pat C. Supporting Member

    Jan 1, 2005
    Tuscaloosa, AL, USA
    Nice man, I know exactly what it feels like to put in a bunch of hard work and then have the outcome be somewhat magical...I think that's the reason a lot of us are in this business.
    Don't be too hard on yourself with this, it's a live show to be experienced in the moment. I'm not saying that it's a bad idea to critique and look for areas to improve, but based on your personal experience and the audience reaction that night it won't make sense to beat yourselves up over a few missed harmonies.
  13. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    aw, thanks pygmy. i know a lot of guys on here who can play circles around me, though. fortunately my gig doesn't require me to play any circles ;)
  14. sigh....i remember that....lou christie too....angels,marvelettes.....and they somehow managed to play live shows.........well maybe not here, but we did have the juke boxes,and my cousins 45's.....
  15. Whisper

    Whisper Supporting Member

    Awesome. Ironically, I'm playing with her (Lesley) in a few weeks.
  16. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    nice! she's a great gal, but watch yourself...like i said, she will work you like a dog if you don't cop her sound the way she wants it ;)
  17. Super pumped Jimmy!! That's the best feeling in the world, and the fact that you recognize that makes you very, very lucky indeed. Most people go their whole lives and never full appreciate how momentous events like this can be. Kudos!
  18. Damn, that's rad. All that work has paid off again, man. Good stuff. :bassist:
  19. Sounds like your hard work and effort, and talent, received some well deserved trust. Congrats on having one of those "make it worth it" nights. Thanks for sharing.
  20. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    thanks guys...hey, not the biggest gig in the world but it pays well and it's something we do 9 or 10 times a year out there in addition to 5 or 6 regular dance set gigs we do out there every month. good money in catering to the old folks ;)

    so now our drummer wants us to have the 4 horns on all these theater gigs. we have a regular sax player on all our gigs, and for the past year we've had an additional sax player at all the gigs. that's gone very well too but having the trumpet and trombone really makes it sound huge, and it's so good for the 60's r&b we're getting into now. hey, as long as it doesn't affect my money, i'm down. i get extra for writing the charts, too.

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