Saturday, July 18, 2009

Putting The Work In Network

Knowing what's going on in your work environment is critical to success. And it's no different for me. When my friend Tracy Bing suggested to me that I start hitting the jam nights her friend Dean put on in the area, I figured I'd give it a try. I'll trust her on pretty much anything, and even Joy trusts her. Well, it has provided work for me. Dean and I have played together for a gig or two, though a full-time band isn't really coming to fruition like I thought it would. But between jam nights and my courier route, work offers are coming in.

First was gigging with Dean, then came the temp gig with Steppen Stonz that may become permanent, depending on what happens with Dre's family issue. I only say that because Mike and Arthur have no clue what's going to happen with Dre. From what little I've heard, Dre has no idea what's going to happen with Dre, and I can't blame him either. I need to call his ass one of these days.

And my latest offer is coming from the person who got this whole ball rolling, Tracy Bing. I'll be subbing for her drummer Fletch (he's going to some sort of music festival, something that's been in the works for a while, apparently) at the end of September at a gig at the Desert Rose Casino in Alturas, CA, or as I like to call it, "The Town That Makes Me Glad I Have Satellite Radio" - drive through there, you'll understand! I used to drive through Alturas, a town of just under 3,000 in the extreme north-eastern part of California, on a regular basis when Powerlight was playing exclusively in Reno while Joy and I were still living in Olympia, and I swear to (insert the deity of your choice here) that whenever I drove through that town, the only radio station I could ever pick up was a scratchy AM station that only seemed to play Patsy Cline songs. If I liked her music, that wouldn't be a problem. But if you know me, you know my musical tastes, so there's where that lengthy nickname comes from. It's just for a weekend, but it's money in my account, so who am I to complain? There might even be more gigs than just the one in Alturas, from what Tracy was telling me the other night at Indigo. But let's just take this one weekend at a time, shall we?

I'm not terribly sure which incarnation of her band I'll be playing with. The basic version is simply known as "The Tracy Bing Band", and it has three alter egos, depending on what the situation calls for: a Fifties-and-Sixties band called "Tracy & The Kingpins" a Seventies-and-Eighties band called "Big Bad Boogie Rock", and a country and oldies band called "Ricky and The Redstreaks", which adds a male singer named John Jackman (and his 'sister' Jacqueline Zucchini as well) to the band. The Redstreaks seem to get the best gigs of the lot, playing regularly during the major rodeo events in Reno as well as gigs in Vegas during the National Finals Rodeo in December (this year they'll be playing at Mandalay Bay, no less!), though Tracy and her guys play all year long. But I really don't care, I guess. I've heard the music they play, and it shouldn't take for Tracy to round me into shape with her band. And after that gig has come and gone, having a well-rehearsed understudy is always a good thing, isn't it?

It just goes to show that having a good network of friends and colleagues is pretty good thing to have.

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