Only small musicians. That’s harsh, but true.
A few months ago I played a wedding gig with some great musicians from Nashville. In typical Nashville fashion, every musician was amazing, talented, and fun to hang around with in the green room. Except one guy.
My friend was obviously talented, but he hadn’t learned his parts. He started several songs in the wrong keys, and missed quite a few key licks. The crowd wasn’t particularly into the show (they were all pretty drunk), and my friend didn’t make much of an effort to try and engage them. For most of the show he hung around the back of the stage, staring at his pedalboard.
A few weeks later I was talking with one of the musicians who was at the same wedding gig, and was going out with a major recording artist. He needed a musician, and I brought my friend’s name up as a possible fill in. He smiled, and said “I just couldn’t trust him to have all the songs ready to go. I like him, but I can’t take any chances with him showing up unprepared.”
When you take the stage, you’re playing to two audiences: the crowd, and the other musicians on stage with you. The audience is important, but often the musicians around you are even more important. They know when you aren’t trying, when you’re not prepared, or when you have a bad attitude.
And they’ll remember the next time they think about hiring a musician for a gig.