Libretto November 2012

Hamilton Musicians Guild
November 2012


The General Membership meeting scheduled for December 4th is shaping up to be a very interesting and informative meeting. First of all, the position of Secretary-Treasurer and delegate to the AFM Convention and Canadian Conference is up for election. Nominated for the position of SecretaryTreasurer at the general meeting of October 29th were Brent Malseed and John Pope. Both nominees agreed to stand for election. There will be an advance poll held at the office from 10am-4pm Dec 4th, so I urge you all to take the time to vote. Jenny Hearns from AIL Insurance will be giving a brief talk about some free benefits for our members. She was scheduled to talk at the last General Meeting but Hurricane Sandy interfered with our plans and we asked her to reschedule so that more members would benefit from her presentation. Also, former President John Staley will be giving a progress report on the Neil Murray case that was tried the week of October 15. John testified for two days and he will elaborate on the proceedings. Neil pled guilty to breach of trust and theft over $5000. His sentencing will take place on Feb 22 2013. I will also offer my impressions of what I saw during the two court days I attended. By the time you read this we will have participated in our first Hamilton Music Awards as presenters and supporters of the event. This is a part of our ongoing efforts to raise the Local’s profile and reach out to the Hamilton musical community at large. As you can see our agenda is full and we are pursuing other projects that will be informative and of vital interest to our members and those who may become members in the future. We’ll keep everyone informed as plans are finalized.

See you on the 4th of December.

Larry Feudo, president


Secretary-Treasurer’s Report

Over the recent past, the office has answered one question on a regular basis, “Can I pay on-line?”. Please remember that an on-line payment can be made by simply going to clicking on on-line payments, filling out information card and hitting submit payment at the bottom of the page. The CFM then issues a cheque to our Local and although this step does take a few days, it by no means impedes the swiftness of recognition of payment. The latter part of this explanation was of particular concern for members filing for, or renewing, P2’s in a timely manner. Please remember that an e-mail is issued to this office in the form of an “on-line payment has been made to your Local” by the CFM within one business day of payment. If confirmation is needed sooner, we simply call the CFM to verify. On the majority, the office still deals with cheques or cash, but the convenience of on-line payments is becoming more popular by the week. On a second question dealing with P2’s, the entire band does not have to come in to have your paperwork processed by the Secretary. Upon verification of each members standing, your manager, band leader or band member can pick them up. This also applies to one member coming in to pay the band’s dues or having one member (with the proper information) sign up the entire band. After having made our third quarter per cap payment to the AFM, our chequeing account balance now stands at $5,999.06 while our savings account remains at $4,450.76 and our membership now stands at 396.

This concludes my report, see you at the meeting.

J.M. Pope


In Memoriam: Bob Almas, Stan Southern

Bob Almas, a long time member of the Local passed away on September 28, 2012. The song has ended, but the melody lingers on.

Stan Southern, another long time member of Local 293 passed away on October 29, 2012. A fine trumpet player, Stan played with many dance bands in the area.

We extend our condolences to their families.

Advance Vote for Election of Secretary-Treasurer

There are two candidates running for the position of Secretary-Treasurer. Brent Malseed and John Pope agreed to stand for election at the nomination meeting held on October 29, 2012. You will have an opportunity to cast your vote for the position of Secretary-Treasurer (and Delegate to the AFM Convention) at an advance poll at the Guild office on Tuesday, December 4, 2012 from 10:00 a.m.— 4:00 p.m. You will also have an opportunity to vote at the General Membership meeting being held at the Admiral Inn on December 4, 2012 at 7:00 pm. Sergeant-At -Arms Paul Panchezak will supervise the vote.

And now right here on our stage …

Just think of how many of the greatest names in music in the last half century have graced the stage of the Ed Sullivan Theatre in New York City. As the home of the Ed Sullivan Program and The Late Show with David Letterman everyone from Elvis to the Beatles and The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan and Frank Sinatra have entertained television audiences at one time or another. Recently Local 293 was proud to have Of Gentleman and Cowards added to that illustrious roster. All four group members, Simon Edwards, Christian Fedele, Jake Warren and Josh Dawson are Local 293 members and McMaster University students. The Letterman spot came after winning the Red Bull Soundstage Music Contest in August where they beat out bands from across North America. Also their tune “Save Me” will be featured in “We Made This Movie” a film by Letterman’s production company World Wide Pants. A new generation of musical talent does Hamilton proud and of course they are professionals from the Canadian Federation of Musicians.

The Choice of People in the Know

State of the Arts, a nine week feature in the Hamilton Spectator profiling Hamilton artists recently focused on classical musicians. Performers were selected by experts and peers in the Hamilton arts community. Of course it should come as no surprise that Local 293 members were well represented. Boris Brott recommended violinist and educator Megan Jones who also has managerial responsibilities with the Brott Music Festival. Cellist, composer and producer Kirk Starkey and classical pianist Shoshana Telner were also singled out as “emerging artists you should know”. Once again Local 293 members are the roots and the future of music in Hamilton.


“Talent Might be the First Prerequisite to a Successful Career in Music”

Talent might be the first prerequisite to a successful career in music. However if you are looking to secure high profile concert and festival gigs you will also need promotional tools and business skills in dealing with promoters and festival talent scouts. Local 293 Executive Board member John Balogh of Big Time Productions has produced over 10,000 shows in a 35 year span from street festivals to major concerts featuring headline marquee acts. Here he shares his thoughts on how to improve your chances of landing that coveted high exposure slot:

It’s that time of year when I start to hear from my musician friends with the same questions and inquisitions I’ve encountered over the past 30 years. Here is a review of what I hear and what you should avoid when talking to a promoter, talent buyer, agent or anyone else that would hire you or your band.

First of all, you need to go out and meet 51 more people like myself. This way you can expect at least 1 date per year from each of us, thus letting you work a minimum one day per week 52 weeks of the year.

Now imagine if you meet and establish a relationship with 100 persons like myself. I tell you this because I still get asked the same redundant question, over and over: “Can you hire my band for all of your dates and festivals?” No! This doesn’t make good sense! First, why would you want to flood the market area? You don’t see me booking Wilcox or Jim Cuddy at all the festivals. The general public likes to see a variety of entertainment, not the same acts over and over in the same year OR year after year after year.

One thing you should know is that in all my 40 years as a talent buyer I’ve never received calls or promo from big bands or artists (i.e. “headliners”). The reason you call and they do not is because they now have marquee value. When I hire a headline marquee act I know they have a history and catalogue of music that is branded and recognizable by at least 5,000-10,000 people who will show up for this band. I need this many patrons or fans of the band because we do not charge admission to the festivals, and the headliners draw large free crowds to eat souvlaki, buy tie-dyed t-shirts, drink beer and so on. This is what really pays for the “free” entertainment. Yes we pay all the bands.

No we don’t pay them all the same money. Kim Mitchell gets a different amount than Wink Dinkerson. Wink is still working on his branding and is hoping to release his first CD whereas Kim has 25 some odd recordings. Following the line now? The more people you draw the more you’re worth to a festival, club, promoter or producer. Now you’re working on your branding. Tighten your helmet it’s a long ride.

Here’s the big advice: get on the social media bandwagon, eg. FB, twitter, LinkedIn etc. Don’t forget business cards with your name and number on them (for those older dudes). They are invaluable in your quest of shameless self promotion. Every day, promote yourself. Meet a few new people; club owners, promoters, talent buyers, anyone who will listen to you. Take no as a maybe, call back and bug the shit out of everybody (not just me). And remember do a lot of this self promotion yourself. Put posters up. Contact local media. I’ve put up thousands and thousands of posters on poles all over Canada. Ask Dave Rave or Norm Thornton. They put ‘em up with me and ate sandwiches in our cars while we did it.

I cannot stress enough, the importance of meeting as many people as humanly possible that have anything to do with show business. You may not get anything out of a relationship for years and years and years. Burn no bridges and try to be nice. I’m an old hippie and believe me, what goes around comes around. Karma’s a bitch! Work with it to the positive. Buy a big yearly calendar. Hang it up and write everything on it. Miss no meetings, and don’t act like you know everything or that you don’t need help. Because guess what? You won’t get help if you already know it all.

Be professional. Don’t stink of alcohol or weed going into a meeting. It might feel cool but you really denigrate the business and yourself. Have your electronic media down. Have your You Tube links, audio and video files and send them along to anyone that will listen. Be modest. It will go a long way in building your career. I’d rather help a nice guy out. Over the years, his talent will build as opposed to working with someone that’s a great talent but a shitty human. You may work once but is that all you want to work? It’s better, believe me, to be able to work over and over with friends throughout your play in the music biz. Have fun. Most in the music biz had a tad of the Bohemian lifestyle, and that has a quality of life value as opposed to dollar value for the onset of one’s career. Money will come but it’s tough and nobody will deliver it to your door unless of course it’s a big royalty check.

When you hear “No.” take it as maybe. Things might look different tomorrow. And one big thing – don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you don’t ask, you won’t know. If you do get booked, advance your date. That is call ahead. Talk to the contact person. Make sure you know what time you do what and for how long.

Don’t take things for granted. Talk about deposits, production, crew, final payment method, chickens, beer and so on. Get all the particulars straight until you know all the answers and you feel comfortable. One thing I learned a long time ago was if it felt weird usually something was up and it wasn’t good. Don’t be difficult – asking for 3 cases of beer, catered meals, Dom Perignon…. you get it. Be reasonable! Play like you’re having the time of your life. Do a great show and chances are we’ll be seeing each other again and again and again. Have lots of fun and we’ll see ya.

Regards, John Balogh