A large pizza can feed a family of four.
It’s an old joke, and perhaps one even rooted in a bit of truth. We artsy types aren’t exactly celebrated for our ability to hold “straight” jobs. Still, Mr. Wright doesn’t completely fit the stereotype of Starving Musician—he has other skills that people actually pay him for, like selling real estate and lobbying politicians.
You wouldn’t know it by his last gig, though. I’m pretty sure he ran the gamut of stereotypical behaviors for musicians.
Always arrive late. The musician must always arrive late; so late, in fact, the people who hired him must be scratching their heads at 30 minutes before the curtain, wondering if he will actually show up. Mr. Wright met this challenge by making an eight-hour drive before showtime, and getting stuck in Labor Day weekend traffic.
Be disorganized. The musician must always leave an amp cord or microphone behind, causing the entire band to scramble and pray for miraculous provision before sound check. Mr. Wright is a drummer, so he doesn’t have an amplifier or cords, but he rose to the occasion by tossing every piece of his kit into the back of our Expedition, willy-nilly, and forgetting to pack spare equipment—a glaring oversight noticed mid-show, when his snare drum experienced a blowout.
Have an attitude of expectation. The musician must earnestly believe every person in his life is there to appreciate his talent and yearn to serve him. As Mr. Wright casually grabbed a glass of wine and chatted with his bandmates, Pockets and I were left to unpack the equipment. If you are the child or spouse of a musician, you may as well get used to being a roadie. The role is not optional.
Be broke. The musician must bum money off friends and relatives, because his gig money rarely pays his bar tab. Mr. Wright “borrowed” my last ten bucks cash, right before sending me off in a car with a gas gauge hanging a half-inch below “E.”
Be mysterious. The musician must have an air of mystery about him. People must wonder what creative beauty is churning in that brain of his. Mr. Wright actually failed on this count—at least as far as I’m concerned—but I’ve known him for more than ten minutes. 90% of the time he’s thinking about one thing, and the other 10% of the time, he’s thinking about food. Still, those dark sunglasses he wore probably fooled some of the audience.
That’s my man… over forty, father of seven, and still living his rock and roll dreams. Thankfully, he’s no longer wearing Spandex onstage. Back off, ladies—I saw him first!