My first outside gig was Ari Weisbrot's Bar Mitzvah in the old gym at Frisch, also with Jonathan and Mark. Ari's mother was our English teacher at Frisch, and I am unclear whether we actually had a clue as to what to do or not.
The only other thing I remember about that gig was that the caterer, Al Amsel, fed us himself. He set a table and brought over fried chicken, which was delicous.Little did he know that the caterer is supposed to be abusive and obnoxious to musicians.In my experience, there is usually, but not always, an inverse relationship between the quality of the hall and the rudeness of the caterer. I've gotten more attitude from the caterers at some of the low-rent Brooklyn venues than from the staff at the Pierre, Waldorf-Astoria, Plaza, or Metropolitan Club.
Dan Smith writes:
I put my band together in college and we practiced a few times, just kinda fooling around. A friend who had a well established klezmer band accidentally overbooked, and one day called me to say that my band had a bar mitzvah to play the next Sunday morning. We didn't even have a good sound system. Needless to say, we were tremendously nervous. We were plowing our way through the first dance set, everyone seemed happy, dancing, there was lots of ruach. then a middle aged lady came up to me, face red, shvitzing, and said" could you... puff puff... please.... puff puff... play a little.... puff puff... slower?" At least there were no injuries or heart attacks.Dave Bogner writes:
My first professional gig was the summer between my sophomore and junior year of High School. I played trombone with a band doing mostly Chicago, KC and the Sunshine Band, and Average White Band covers in the teen lounge at the Tamarack Lodge (alav hasholom) in the Catskills.
I was the only HS kid in the band... and it was one of those life experiences (of which there have been soooo many) that I look back and say, "If I only knew then what I know now..."