EAST: Erskine Abouzied Stekelenburg Trujillo

Efraim Trujillo – saxophone
Michiel Stekelenburg – guitar
Damian Erskine – bass
Tarik Abouzied – drums
Recorded in Holland in October 2018

The benefit of being a musician I value the most is the ability to share its practice with people all over the world. I hadn’t been to Holland or met Michiel and Efraim prior to the recording of this album, but our shared love of craft allowed for the creation of music at a level generally reserved for musicians with years of shared experience. We spent a week together recording and performing, and I consider this album among the best of those I’ve been a part of.

Happy Orchestra Plays Tower of Power

Brought out the crew to play through and document some of my favorite music by Tower of Power. Turned out great!

Happy Orchestra featuring:
Tarik Abouzied – bass
Nate Bogopolsky – vocals
Skyler Floe – trumpet
Jory Tindall – tenor sax
Skerik – bari sax
RL Heyer – guitar
Mack Grout – keys
Brad Boal – drums
Tor Dietrichson – percussion

Nick Molenda – cameras

New Song: YeahYeah

A new song featuring Jory Tindall on saxophone, Michael Van Bebber on trumpet, RL Heyer on guitar, and myself on drums, bass, and keys. Watch the full video above and pick up the mp3 from Bandcamp below!

Low-Paying Gigs: Think About Where the Money Goes

I’ll preface this by saying that the majority of club owners I deal with are good people. They love and believe in live music and have handed over their lives to the punishing task of owning and operating a small business. There are definitely snakes out there, but generally they’re hard-working people who took huge risks operating in an industry with a shrinking audience and growing costs. That said, when a venue doesn’t generate enough revenue to pay everyone adequately, musicians are often the ones who bear the brunt of that shortfall.

Most venues that offer door deals or low guarantees have no built-in crowd, meaning the only reason people walk through the door is to see a band. But when the end of the night comes and there isn’t enough money to compensate everyone, musicians are generally last in line to get paid. The staff gets paid, the food/alcohol vendors get paid, the utilities get paid, the taxes get paid, the bank gets paid, and the owner of the building gets paid. This is a common refrain and isn’t surprising to anyone, and I’m not arguing that these people don’t deserve their earnings. But the thing that musicians often miss is that, when you commit your time to one of these businesses without a reasonable guarantee, the fruits of your creative output are being used to pay other people first, including the generally wealthy people who own the building and loaned the business money. But for the music you create and perform, the money to pay all that overhead wouldn’t flow into the business in the first place (The same could be said about Spotify and other streaming/radio platforms by the way). Given that banks and commercial real estate owners are indirectly earning money from your work, you should think hard about whether or not you’re getting something meaningful out of the arrangement.  Continue reading Low-Paying Gigs: Think About Where the Money Goes