In this episode, Jared shares a horror story involving alcohol at a gig. He also offers a few different approaches Gigging Pros take towards drugs and alcohol at gigs.
What's up musicians, it's Jared. And today I wanted to talk drugs and alcohol at gigs. So I want to start by a quick story. And before I jump in, I want to let the person involved, if they ever listen to this podcast and let them know that I forgive them, I'm not going to identify them, because that would just be wrong. But it's a relevant story to the topic of this podcast. So several years ago, I was personnel manager for a regional Symphony. And during one of their summer concerts, you know, as a personnel manager, your job is to staff the orchestra, the orchestra typically has a standardized roster of musicians. And then if any of those musicians are unavailable, or any of the pieces need different staffing, different instrumentation, then it was my job as the personnel manager to go ahead and secure those positions. So this one particular concert, I needed an additional person. And my first thought was like, I know this person, he's my friend. And I'd love to have him play on the concert. So I reached out to him, you know, give them date, time venue, pave, plus whatever rehearsals, he said, Yes. And that was great. Got him the music. Then the concert day rolls around. And this concert was an outdoor concert in an area that was not the typical performance location for this orchestra. And I had communicated this out, he had sent an email to the whole roster, and said, Hey, here's where our locations are. Here's the address. Please let me know if you have any questions. I never got a question. But then the day of the gig, we were supposed to arrive, like an hour and a half early for a soundcheck. And I had carpooled with a couple other musicians, as I'm pulling in or getting getting close to pulling in, I get a phone call from this musician who I had mentioned earlier. And as soon as I answer the phone, I hear the person on the other other line sounds intoxicated, to say the least. I don't want to go into too many details. But it was clear that this person had been consuming something. And it wasn't my job to figure out what but it didn't sound like they were in a good state to perform. I had to calm them down. And you know, help them find location because they were screaming on the other end of the line, I can't find this place. yada, yada, yada, yada. And so I managed to get them to calm down and instructed them how to get there. And then they arrived. And, and I could just tell they were they were intoxicated. And it was, it was really uncomfortable. I didn't know what to do. It was literally within like the first couple of weeks of me having this job as personnel manager. And I felt helpless. Partially because we couldn't have an empty, empty seat. But also, you know, I don't want this is a semi professional orchestra. You're not supposed to have intoxicated people in it. I had no idea what to do. I wound up just I think I let one of the other orchestra members, orchestra staff know that this person didn't seem 100% sober. And they said, Well, can they play? And I said, I guess so let's see what happens. And they said, okay, just keep them in and keep an eye on him. And then during during the gig during the concert, this person like they played their their music and everything. But during some of the applauses they were shouting, which was uncomfortable. But nothing too terrible happened. However, if, you know, there's several things wrong about that, like playing a concert where there's these professional expectations, intoxicated has several consequences. One of which is there are 1000s of people in the audience who all can see and hear. And if you're behaving erratically, or yelling in the middle of the applauses, well, that just looks unprofessional decreases the status of the orchestra. Also, if there are any members of the media or press, that story of somebody being intoxicated could have a ripple effect, and negatively affect the orchestra long term. And then the conductor of the orchestra sees everybody they can see every single person and if you're intoxicated visually and auditorily, the conductor will know. And then that will cause a status decrease for your own reputation as the intoxicated musician and also the music In the group, if they see somebody is not treating this gig seriously, that will also take away from their ability to perform. So the music is going to suffer. And also, the other musicians perception of the professionalism of this orchestra is also going to suffer driving the overall status of the orchestra down. And then, I mean, the the part that, for me, I guess hurt the most was that as the personnel manager, I, you know, it's my reputation that's on the line, I brought this person to this gig, I said that I gave my word that this person would do a professional job, and they didn't. And that reflects poorly on me, too. So, at the end of the day, you know, this person, I think, I don't remember exactly what happened. But the gig happened, everything was fine. None of those terrible things did happen, except maybe like, the internal thoughts of, well, this person is intoxicated. That's no good. And anyway, I forgive them. But how does this impact our gigs that we do now? Because, you know, I'm a wedding musician, I make most of my living off of wedding gigs and I'm a gigging Pro. And there was an interesting discussion the other day in the Gigging Musicians Facebook group of should you consume alcohol at a gig? Because there are not just wedding musicians there, there are all kinds, including cover bands who played bars, or corporate events. And at some of these gigs, you're offered alcohol by the hosts, what do you do? There's no obviously, there's no definitive answer, this is gonna vary depending on the person, and their level of professionalism, and their personal approach towards drugs and alcohol. Some of the answers that we got, and including my approaches, don't drink during the gig. But if you're personally offered by the host afterwards, you know, I will enjoy them as a thank you for having us here. You know, I will appreciate that token, and I'll have one drink, but no more, because I don't want anyone accusing me of overindulging, or, you know, getting in the car, having more than one drink. It's just not something I want to tolerate. But then there are some musicians who responded saying, no tolerance whatsoever, do not drink before, during a gig or after while you're still at the venue. And that's totally fine, too, you know, you're not going to run into any issues by taking a very firm approach towards it. But then, you know, on the opposite side of the spectrum, there are some musicians who play at bars who say, the bar gives them pitchers of beer during their set. And as long as nobody gets too drunk, the music still sounds good people having a good time, it can actually add to the audience's enjoyment of a gig. So the big takeaway is that there's no one approach to this. You know, nobody can tell you exactly how to approach this. But there are consequences to every action. And going taking things too far or going too far in one direction can definitely have negative consequences. So it's just something to think about. The last episode I talked about being a gigging Pro, and I know that gigging Pros will probably take a slightly more conservative approach towards alcohol, because this is our livelihood. And if it's not part of your show to be acting intoxicated, then you're gonna do whatever it takes to make sure that you are putting out as professional of an appearance as you possibly can. So hope that inspires some discussions and thought, and if you enjoyed this podcast, make sure to like it and subscribe to it. And go ahead and get your copy of Gigging Secrets the book that's out now, it is available at GiggingSecrets.com And remember, you're just one gig away.