attention, fellow sidemen…


i’ve been in the midst of a cleaning frenzy of late…to include my storage area, my house, and my computer files.


i found this while going through some old emails…i won’t reveal the source, because i was asked not to, and my googling turned up a website for the fat elvis band, so there may in fact be a credible source for this rant…but i couldn’t verify it.  at any rate, whether this is fiction or not, there’s a valuable lesson contained within for those of us who go out and play other peoples’ music as a vocation.


read on.

Dear Band,

Please allow me to express my innermost feelings. Know this is meant to be interpreted as a good natured rant from a flawed human being who wants to gently make a point to the ones he loves.

I am facing a 13+ hour drive by myself pulling a trailer for the next two days. On the way I will eat all meals by myself and stay in some shitty hotel worrying at all times about the security of our equipment and luggage. Once I arrive in Orlando, I will have to move the trailer early every morning. I will be super nice to EVERYONE, funny all the time, do 4-30 minute sets of music for 1000+ people but not repeat any song we played for them three months ago. I will pray that 4 people (you guys) don’t oversleep or have a problem with your flight on Friday. I will pick you up at the airport and get your room key for you. I make sure you are fed, prepared for the Sunday show, dressed properly, and aware of show times. I will grin and bear the bad sound system, the amateur choir, and any last minute changes the client has. I will do all of this in well pressed coordinated, stylishly conservative clothing.

(If you have ever cared anything about me, read on.)

This is one of two well paying gigs I have this month and the first one I’ve had in a few weeks. AND, I didn’t pick the music for the Sunday thing.

SO – (finally, the fucking point)…anything you can do to make this easier for me will be appreciated.


Including, and especially, keeping all sarcastic and passive aggressive remarks about the Sunday thing to yourself.

I didn’t pick the music but the wife of the guy with the fucking check did.

I, and the world, know you are too good to do this shitty music. Your refined ear makes it difficult for you to learn and rehearse these songs. I know it eases your pain (but increases mine) for you to approach the undertaking halfheartedly. I’ve been lifting weights all summer and I can tell you, it’s a lot harder to pick that heavy shit up when you don’t really want to pick it up. It’s EASIER to have – sorry to sound corny – a positive attitude. I understand that you are enduring some cruel cosmic joke that causes you to labor in obscurity playing in hack cover bands at Amway conventions while others with half your talent are stars. I feel your pain.

BUT, it’s one thing to be a great musician in a cover band. It’s another thing to be a great musician in a cover band with a shitty attitude.

Remember – no driving, you’re getting paid, your own room, out of town for the weekend, hanging on the Disney property, and only 4 30 minute sets over a three day period.

One more thing….

I know it’s funny to you to make fun of this gig and the crappy Sunday morning songs. It is your way of saying, “I’m too good to do this.”


Leave the funny shit to me.

I’m funnier than you will ever be, so don’t even try. Just shut the fuck up, wear the clothes, do the gig, and get your check.

You can never be as funny as me unless you go back in time and are raised by a paranoid schizophrenic with bi-polar disorder in rural fucking white trash Alabama with a job picking up trash on construction sites full of brown paper sacks that sweaty fucking hillbillies have shit in. THEN, you can spend the weekend at your Uncle’s pool with your molesting cousin and half wit brother who beats the fuck out of you whenever no one is looking. After that, you can go back to your nasty house where the dogs and cats have shit all over the place and practice guitar even though no one in your family plays and you have no reason to believe that you can.

THEN, after 20 years of struggle, you can support your whole family and spend your free time wiping your Mom’s puke from your porch and bathroom. Then, you can go to 13 different fucking therapists, every twelve step program known to man and be baptized twice.

THEN you can spend your adult life being known as Fat Elvis.

Then, after all that – you can fly a guy to Disneyworld, carry him around, feed him, and pay him $550.00 to complain about learning some songs.

THEN, THEN, you will be as funny as me and you can make humorous remarks for everyone to enjoy about the Sunday show.

In short, every day I don’t kill myself or someone else is a Goddamn miracle. I’m glad to have this gig and I’m glad to be going out of town and I’m thankful to have you as a friend and colleague. I’m a sensitive person who wants to please everyone around me and it makes me feel bad when you seem to be bugged by what I ask you to do.

Please – shut the fuck up, wear the clothes, play the songs, and don’t make me feel any worse about my life and what I ask you to do than I already do.


We have a lot to be thankful for. There are a lot of incredible players in Nashville who are working construction. I know. I have their fucking phone numbers.

I love you, See you in Florida,

Big E


i’ve been as guilty as anyone i know of falling off the BMC wagon (BMC=Bitch, Moan, and Complain) but i try to make a rule of being a team player.  my usual snits are when i show up to set up and there’s room for a solo acoustic act where a band is expected to set up and play, and there’s no room for my stuff.  in fact, i’d dare say that this would be my most recurring complaint…no room for my stuff.


(those of you who have employed me in the past would probably also be quick to point out that i’m not a light traveller…and your point would be well taken.)


generally speaking, though, i like to think that i’m not in the band in the email…


…most of the time.

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