The Gigger’s Nightmare

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I have had this nightmare more than once, and sometimes I’m not even sleeping.
I’m doing something – could be anything – and a call comes and it’s somebody saying “Hey where ARE you! We have a gig today!”

I had a gig recently, and called one of the band members to let him know I was on the way, but I accidentally called another musician with the same first name, and said “Hey, don’t worry, I’ll be on time for the gig today”, and the poor fellow I called said “Ohmigod! We have a gig today!?!?”. At that point I realized my mistake, and delivered the fellow from this very nightmare.

Playing well is often the least of a picker’s worries as gigs grow more frequent, or if they’re higher profile gigs. Practicing your instruments and knowing your parts is child’s play compared to making sure you ALWAYS know where to be and when to be there.

Sometimes the anxiety manifests itself in weird dreams where you arrive at the gig, but have no clothes or your instrument case is empty. One guy I know dreamed he arrived to play and his instrument turned out to be a giant carrot with strings on it, and he just couldn’t get it to sound right, plus carrot flakes kept flying off it when he played it. Another friend dreamed the instrument’s strings were just old rusty baling wire.

A call comes in – “hey, we’ve got a gig coming up, such-and-such a date, are you in?”. I check a calendar, the date looks open, and I respond in the affirmative. A few weeks later, somebody calls, and verified I’m still in. “You bet, I say, it’s right on my calendar!”, and then after I hang up, I realize the guy I just spoke to is NOT in the band that’s on my calendar for that date.

Frantic checking of other calendars and old e-mails reveals a conflict. Sometimes, it’s doable – if I can bolt RIGHT after the first gig, I can JUST make the second. Sometimes, however, it’s just a snafu and needs to be addressed immediately. And that means disappointing somebody, and making myself look foolish and unreliable. That’s not a rep I want!

Bottom line is, I just want to have fun and play as much as my marriage will allow, but doing so means developing organizational skills that don’t necessarily come naturally. One thing I do know – I am looking forward the upcoming Good Old Fashioned Bluegrass Festival, and but for Mark Varner’s column Monday, it is EXACTLY what’s I’d be writing about! I’ll see y’all there, I hope!

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