Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Graceful Departure

It'll be hard to accomplish. The useless cockbreath AV tech, who unchecked jealousy and ego started this, will still be there for the remainder of my employment, albeit only in passing due to shift change. The AV tech that I'll be working with for the rest of the week is a much better tech, and a bigger man than Cockbreath McPothead. He'd also shown some concerns that I'd played too hard, until I'd noticed and shown to him that the TD-20 kick-drum pad had been set up improperly, with the pad's anchoring spurs not set at the same height. It'll take some explaining to him that I won't be coming back to the Atlantis after Sunday. Ever.

So what will I do in the interim? I've removed all my equipment from the stage area. Gone is my $400 wireless headset microphone, my high-tech Easton AHEAD alloy drumsticks, my comfortable drum throne, my pedals, my repair kit, even my monitoring headphones. Why bother with it all? The drums themselves have been turned down to virtually zero, and I walk into the building with only a single pair of cheap generic 7AN sticks. I play so lightly that I doubt anybody can hear anything. With the band's sequences including full drum tracks, the tourists really can't tell the difference. I've even toyed with the idea of simply shutting off the drum controller, and just spend the night tapping pads and hoping I'm not doing permanent damage to my back because of the nice but backrest-free throne. Why bother with the risk of damaging my own equipment? Just the barest necessities will do. Now if I could only find my hair trimmer.....

I will simply do my job for the last five nights, just with the barest minimum of effort. I still have my courier route, and a second part-time job will suffice. I'll find an original band somewhere along the line, and play because I want to rather than playing because I have to just to keep the lights on and the rent paid. And I'll play before audiences that actually want to see me and whatever band I'm in play, rather than some anonymous amalgamation of drunken tourists who keep screaming out requests for songs I've never played before, some I'd never even heard of before.

I think this blog will help me keep my hand in the game as it were, allowing my fellow musicians around the country to gripe, complain, and more importantly, organize. We can only stand up to shitty venues, companies, and people if we stand up together.

Welcome To My World

Have you ever played a gig somewhere, where you just didn't get treated well? Not by the crowd, but by the venue and/or its staff. Whether it's the cost to rent the venue, the friendliness (or lack thereof) of the people who work there, safety issues, etc., there are places out there that take advantage of you and your band, screw you over, treat you like shit...... you know the deal.

Well, here's a place to talk about it, point out those who take advantage of us, expolit and abuse us, and to stand up to the bastards and eventually either get them to change their ways, or run them out of business.

And since my gripe is the germinating seed of this blog, I'll fire the first salvo right now. This is cross-posted from my MySpace blog:

"I stand before you, accused of being myself. Of being a drummer. Of not being willing to suck up to a low-IQ'd AV tech who seems to have it in for me, why I have no idea. Allow me to elaborate.

As you may or may not know, the Atlantis in Reno purchased a Roland TD-20 V-Drum kit about a year and a half ago, because of noise concerns about us noisy, obnoxious drummers, never mind that we had a screen up on the stage for just that reason. About eight motnths ago or so, a drummer of limited brain capacity set up his bass pedal so far-off center that it actually caused damage to the head of the kit's bass-drum pad (NOTE: with V-Kits, you have to be careful to set the beaters of your bass pedals dead center, because that's where the actual contact pad is located). A series of temporary patches has come and gone, with the most recent being a section cut from an old acoustic bass drumhead, taped into place with gaffer tape.

Last week was the first time I'd played there in over two months. And I noticed a small tear in the patch. It was under the right-hand pedal of my double-bass pedal, but after careful analysis, I determined that I couldn't have done it, because the actual point of initial impact of that beater was not on the tear. But I was accused of having done da dirty deed, and then accused of having caused the original damage to the head in the first place by AV tech Steven, who then bragged about how he was going to get me kicked out of the Atlantis, by my 'brother-in-law' no less.

Author's Note: I have only one brother-in-law, and he's a tugboatman in Port Angeles, WA. I think Steven meant my stepdaughter's fiancee Bill, who works in Atlantis' Security department.

Oh, I got pissed off. Who wouldn't, when they're falsely accused? Especially by a person who is utterly clueless when it comes to music, and especially drums and percussion! I debunked every accusation with ease, and then Calvin told me not to worry about it. Tuesday night I was informed that the Atlantis had decided that all the damage was my fault, that it was solely because I hit too hard, and because I use a double-pedal, which I was now barred from using. I chose to punch a wall rather than an AV tech. Calvin chose not to stand up for me, even though I'd showed him how I was right, and they were wrong. I can also name two or three players who are there as often as I am, who play a whole fuck of a lot harder than I do. To be totally honest, that kit is getting close to falling apart, and it's not because of any individual that plays it. It's a group effort, dozens of drummers playing a total of eight hours a night, six nights a week, fifty-two weeks a year. Do the math. That's 2,496 man-hours a year (2,504 if New Year's Eve falls on the regular off-night of Monday), far more than it's designed for, and I'm responsible for about twelve percent of that at best. And I've been made the scapegoat.

I am nobody's fucking scapegoat, now or ever."

Now here's the disclaimer. I have no beef with Atlantis Casino Resort & Spa, or the family that owns the place. They and their employees have been led astray a craven little bastard of an AV tech who wouldn't know a paradiddle from a paddle. I work hard for my pay, and I want justice, pure and simple. Nothing more, nothing less. And I've decided that this week will be my last appearance there until the offending AV tech is fired. Nothing violent, because I know that if I lose my temper someone's going to the hospital, and I'll be going to jail.

What do you think? Do you have a venue, or a person, that's on your shit list? Let me know!