The Ideal Sideman
…arrives a half-hour early to every gig.
…never pesters you, the leader, about food or drinks.
…never questions the paycheck that doesn’t add up right.
…plays every song called, in an appropriate style, without correcting the tempo.
…is a mind reader, anticipating your every desire.
…knows every song in every key.
…doesn’t mind playing 90 minute sets for straight scale just “to keep to party going.”
…never gets into abortion discussions with a pregnant bride.
…never notices that you just got a $100 tip.
…doesn’t expect to get paid for talk-over rehearsals that take up three breaks.
…never objects to playing “a little overtime” for free.
…doesn’t mind that you invest his money by paying him only once every two months.
…brings his own 300-pound sound system to every gig for free.
…is grateful for all the expert advice he gets from you on the job.
…would, if you have to leave, call the same tunes and tempos you would have.
…plays the melody without injecting his own personality.
…is available to work the same party every year for the original 1990 scale.
…never goes to the kitchen for anything.
…keeps a spare amp in his car in case of emergency.
…gladly holds any date and doesn’t complain when you cancel it the day before, even though he turned down other gigs.
…enjoys playing hour-long sets, outside, in the hot sun, in a tux.
…never sends a sub without telling you.
…never complains about out-of-tune pianos, sticking keys, or broken sustain pedals.
…doesn’t mind learning on Friday that Saturday night’s gig is cancelled.
…never outdresses you.
…never grabs a chair from the wedding party’s table because there aren’t enough for the band.
…is thrilled for the chance to work even though he doesn’t get paid for parking, mileage, cartage, room charges, strolling, or extra shows.