Music Man

I was 15 and playing bass in a really slimy bar and up walked a man with a manicure, coiffed hair and a thousand dollar suit. He gave me his card and said to call him tomorrow at three. That was my introduction to the Music Man. He said he needed a bassman for his show that was opening next week and show up at his practice hall the next day. There was a drummer and piano player already set up and we soon had about 20 songs down. Then in came a chubby girl singer and she sang some of the songs we had worked up. Then these dancers started showing up and they worked up their tap and jazz routines. I left my amplifier and that Friday night we had our first job. It was at a high scale night club and it was packed to overflowing. We played the first set ourselves, the second set with the singer and then out came the dancers for the last two sets. There was thunderous applause and after the dancers finished their routines, their parents, aunts and uncles came running on stage to hug their children in their "professional debut".

So what I gathered after a while was what the Music Man did was to walk into any nightclub and guarantee the owner a full house of all new customers for a really high price on any night of the week. I also found out that he attended all the high school's chorus shows and all the band concerts. He also went to all the dance recitals at the local dance studios. All the kids had been hired just like me.

He started hinting that my bass and amp looked horrible and started covering it up with a rug he said that he had a deal with a local music store and to go get myself a new rig and I could pay for it with my salary from him. When I didn't do that and he noticed that MY parents, and kinfolks never showed up for the shows, I was dispensed with and a new bass player with lots of kin and one of his new amplifiers and bass was soon hired.

I was fascinated with this new type of person who never seemed to work, had the finest of everything. While my family were "nose to the grindstone" and never seemed to get anywhere. Years later when I saw the show "Music Man" I realized where my local genius had gotten his idea and laughed so hard that I nearly fell out of my chair.




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