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New Year's Eve Union blues and instruments

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  • CCruz74583@aol.com
    Back in the day..... The Sensational Showmen was a union band and we heard stories about making sure to have our union card renewed before playing a New
    Message 1 of 10 , Jan 1, 2012
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      Back in the day.....
       
      The Sensational Showmen was a "union" band and we heard stories about making sure to have our union card renewed before playing a New Year's Eve gig because our local union person has been known to check a band's union card status and deny them to play past midnight because they failed to renew for the next year.  Fortunately we remained current with our cards but we heard other bands had to shut down or lose a member after midnight that night!
       
      Also, was listening to a radio interview, last night, and the musician stated that "back in the day" musicians tended to have only one guitar for their gigs.  He continued to note that today's musicians have multiple guitars to play a gig.  He also noted that they never had a back up instrument.  How true!  One of the Showmen guitar players had a Les Paul that required a specific low impendence guitar cord.  When he had trouble with it, out came the soldering iron!  Likewise, when our horns were knocked over by clumsy dancers, we did not have a back up one.  Drummers often carried a few extra drum heads and sticks, but for the most part we had only one ax!  Back in the day.....
       
      Chris Cruz   
    • dano fleming
      Chris,    I remember the musicians union was very active just 60 miles from my hometown of Beloit in Salina, Ks.  Many of my friends played in bands in and
      Message 2 of 10 , Jan 1, 2012
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        Chris,
           I remember the musicians union was very active just 60 miles from my hometown of Beloit in Salina, Ks.  Many of my friends played in bands in and around Salina and felt the pressure from the union to join or not play at all in Salina.  Never could figure that out.  This is a right to work state but the Salina union was adamant about checking all bands for union cards and would literally tell you you couldn't play unless you were union.  A band from Beloit (not mine) played at the American Legion or VFW in Salina and of course were checked by the head honcho of the musician's union and told they were to pack up and not return until they were union members.  The bass player Judd Theirolf had hands about the size of my feet, so you can imagine how big he was and he just told the union chief that he welcomed any army the guy could drum up to come up and remove them.  Then he turned to the band counted the next song off and the boys played the rest of the night without incident.  So it was basically a scare tactic that backfired. 
           Most of the players that I knew in the union felt there was actually no advantage to being in a union.  The union promised more gigs, but never really delivered.  My band played a gig in Salina at the Armory 1971 and we had no problems from the union whatsoever.  Wasn't worried about it either...we were ready to call their bluff if necessary.
        dano

        --- On Sun, 1/1/12, CCruz74583@... <CCruz74583@...> wrote:

        From: CCruz74583@... <CCruz74583@...>
        Subject: [KS_and_KC_GenOne_Rockers] New Year's Eve Union blues and instruments
        To: KS_and_KC_GenOne_Rockers@yahoogroups.com
        Date: Sunday, January 1, 2012, 9:58 AM

         
        Back in the day.....
         
        The Sensational Showmen was a "union" band and we heard stories about making sure to have our union card renewed before playing a New Year's Eve gig because our local union person has been known to check a band's union card status and deny them to play past midnight because they failed to renew for the next year.  Fortunately we remained current with our cards but we heard other bands had to shut down or lose a member after midnight that night!
         
        Also, was listening to a radio interview, last night, and the musician stated that "back in the day" musicians tended to have only one guitar for their gigs.  He continued to note that today's musicians have multiple guitars to play a gig.  He also noted that they never had a back up instrument.  How true!  One of the Showmen guitar players had a Les Paul that required a specific low impendence guitar cord.  When he had trouble with it, out came the soldering iron!  Likewise, when our horns were knocked over by clumsy dancers, we did not have a back up one.  Drummers often carried a few extra drum heads and sticks, but for the most part we had only one ax!  Back in the day.....
         
        Chris Cruz   
      • Lester D Higgins
        By coincidence, I came across my union card out of Manhattan the other day. It s worth a scan. I ll try to get to it in the next day or so and give it a
        Message 3 of 10 , Jan 1, 2012
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          By coincidence, I came across my "union card" out of
          Manhattan the other day. It's worth a scan. I'll try to
          get to it in the next day or so and give it a post.

          dfh
          ABQ, NM

          On Sun, 1 Jan 2012 20:00:15 -0800 (PST)
          dano fleming <danodeluxe2000@...> wrote:
          > Chris,
          >    I remember the musicians union was very active just
          >60 miles from my hometown of Beloit in Salina, Ks.  Many
          >of my friends played in bands in and around Salina and
          >felt the pressure from the union to join or not play at
          >all in Salina.  Never could figure that out.  This is a
          >right to work state but the Salina union was adamant
          >about checking all bands for union cards and would
          >literally tell you you couldn't play unless you were
          >union.  A band from Beloit (not mine) played at the
          >American Legion or VFW in Salina and of course were
          >checked by the head honcho of the musician's union and
          >told they were to pack up and not return until they were
          >union members.  The bass player Judd Theirolf had hands
          >about the size of my feet, so you can imagine how big he
          >was and he just told the union chief that he welcomed any
          >army the guy could drum up to come up and remove them. 
          >Then he turned to the band counted the next song off and
          >the boys played the rest
          > of the night without incident.  So it was basically a
          >scare tactic that backfired. 
          >    Most of the players that I knew in the union felt
          >there was actually no advantage to being in a union.  The
          >union promised more gigs, but never really delivered.  My
          >band played a gig in Salina at the Armory 1971 and we had
          >no problems from the union whatsoever.  Wasn't worried
          >about it either...we were ready to call their bluff if
          >necessary.
          > dano
          >
          > --- On Sun, 1/1/12, CCruz74583@...
          ><CCruz74583@...> wrote:
          >
          >
          >From: CCruz74583@... <CCruz74583@...>
          > Subject: [KS_and_KC_GenOne_Rockers] New Year's Eve Union
          >blues and instruments
          > To: KS_and_KC_GenOne_Rockers@yahoogroups.com
          > Date: Sunday, January 1, 2012, 9:58 AM
          >
          >
          >
          >  
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > Back in the day.....
          >  
          > The Sensational Showmen was a "union" band and we heard
          >stories about making sure to have our union card renewed
          >before playing a New Year's Eve gig because our local
          >union person has been known to check a band's union card
          >status and deny them to play past midnight because they
          >failed to renew for the next year.  Fortunately we
          >remained current with our cards but we heard other
          >bands had to shut down or lose a member after midnight
          >that night!
          >  
          > Also, was listening to a radio interview, last night,
          >and the musician stated that "back in the day" musicians
          >tended to have only one guitar for their gigs.  He
          >continued to note that today's musicians have multiple
          >guitars to play a gig.  He also noted that they never had
          >a back up instrument.  How true!  One of the Showmen
          >guitar players had a Les Paul that required a specific
          >low impendence guitar cord.  When he had trouble with it,
          >out came the soldering iron!  Likewise, when our horns
          >were knocked over by clumsy dancers, we did not have a
          >back up one.  Drummers often carried a few extra drum
          >heads and sticks, but for the most part we had only one
          >ax!  Back in the day.....
          >  
          > Chris Cruz   
          >
          >
          >
          >
        • CCruz74583@aol.com
          Dano, Interesting. The Parsons musician s union man created many problems for musicians. He was the musician s version of Vern Miller, in a way. Pretty
          Message 4 of 10 , Jan 2, 2012
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            Dano,
             
            Interesting.  The Parsons musician's union man created many problems for musicians.  He was the musician's version of Vern Miller, in a way.  Pretty grumpy and strong handed.  When I was about to join the Great Awakening (later to be known as the Sensational Showmen) I was invited to a local gig and basically listened to them.  They asked me if I wanted to play along on a tune so I joined them on stage for one song.  After the band agreed to add me, they told me they were a union band and I went to the union office, paid my initial fee and was then told that he heard I had played with the band that week and that was a violation.  The band was fined for allowing a non-union musician play with them and I was denied union membership and my fee was not returned.  Since I was going to school at Pittsburg, someone told me to talk to the Pittsburg musician's union.  Their man was far more understanding and nothing like the Parsons union man.  I told him my situation and he allowed me to join.
             
            The Parsons union man always knew when a potential non union job would be available and we were not allowed to perform at those.  On one occasion, some of us tried to volunteer to perform for a musical pit orchestra but the union put the fear of God into everyone and we were not allowed to perform unless we were getting paid.  The way I managed to play was they gave me a check and I handed it right back to them.
             
            Usually Stevens would black ball a band or a location and we heard of bands being unable to play because of it. 
             
            Chris Cruz
             
          • Cliff Sperry
            Chris, I have a story about the Parsons Union Man too. I was a union member, as were most members of the bands I was with, and we played both union &
            Message 5 of 10 , Jan 2, 2012
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              Chris, I have a story about the Parsons Union Man too.  I was a union member, as were most members of the bands I was with, and we played both "union" & "non-union" gigs.  When I went in the service in 1968 the Parsons Union Man told we my dues would be waived while I was on active duty and my membership would be kept intact.  When I got out, I contacted him about resuming my membership  & he told me my membership had lapsed.  I reminded him that I had been on active duty and that I had provided him with evidence of my active duty status.  He became agitated and we got in a bit of an argument.  He ended up calling me a "communist" (I have no idea where that came from) and I told to go you know where. 
               
              Cliff Sperry at Yahoo Mail
              Pittsburg, KS



              From: "CCruz74583@..." <CCruz74583@...>
              To: KS_and_KC_GenOne_Rockers@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: Mon, January 2, 2012 8:42:43 AM
              Subject: [KS_and_KC_GenOne_Rockers] Re:New Year's Eve Union blues and instruments

               

              Dano,
               
              Interesting.  The Parsons musician's union man created many problems for musicians.  He was the musician's version of Vern Miller, in a way.  Pretty grumpy and strong handed.  When I was about to join the Great Awakening (later to be known as the Sensational Showmen) I was invited to a local gig and basically listened to them.  They asked me if I wanted to play along on a tune so I joined them on stage for one song.  After the band agreed to add me, they told me they were a union band and I went to the union office, paid my initial fee and was then told that he heard I had played with the band that week and that was a violation.  The band was fined for allowing a non-union musician play with them and I was denied union membership and my fee was not returned.  Since I was going to school at Pittsburg, someone told me to talk to the Pittsburg musician's union.  Their man was far more understanding and nothing like the Parsons union man.  I told him my situation and he allowed me to join.
               
              The Parsons union man always knew when a potential non union job would be available and we were not allowed to perform at those.  On one occasion, some of us tried to volunteer to perform for a musical pit orchestra but the union put the fear of God into everyone and we were not allowed to perform unless we were getting paid.  The way I managed to play was they gave me a check and I handed it right back to them.
               
              Usually Stevens would black ball a band or a location and we heard of bands being unable to play because of it. 
               
              Chris Cruz
               
            • Douglas Watt
              As a show promoter, and I also booked clubs, I found that Salina, and Kansas City was the worst.  I had a  couple of places I always wanted to book groups
              Message 6 of 10 , Jan 2, 2012
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                As a show promoter, and I also booked clubs, I found that Salina, and Kansas City was the worst.  I had a  couple of places I always wanted to book groups into, and couldn't because it was black listed, one being the Pla-mor Ballroom in Paola, Ks.  it was a really nice old ballroom, but if you were union you could not play there.  The owner was Elmer Hagemeyer, and the union did not like him one bit. 

                --- On Mon, 1/2/12, CCruz74583@... <CCruz74583@...> wrote:

                From: CCruz74583@... <CCruz74583@...>
                Subject: [KS_and_KC_GenOne_Rockers] Re:New Year's Eve Union blues and instruments
                To: KS_and_KC_GenOne_Rockers@yahoogroups.com
                Date: Monday, January 2, 2012, 8:42 AM

                 
                Dano,
                 
                Interesting.  The Parsons musician's union man created many problems for musicians.  He was the musician's version of Vern Miller, in a way.  Pretty grumpy and strong handed.  When I was about to join the Great Awakening (later to be known as the Sensational Showmen) I was invited to a local gig and basically listened to them.  They asked me if I wanted to play along on a tune so I joined them on stage for one song.  After the band agreed to add me, they told me they were a union band and I went to the union office, paid my initial fee and was then told that he heard I had played with the band that week and that was a violation.  The band was fined for allowing a non-union musician play with them and I was denied union membership and my fee was not returned.  Since I was going to school at Pittsburg, someone told me to talk to the Pittsburg musician's union.  Their man was far more understanding and nothing like the Parsons union man.  I told him my situation and he allowed me to join.
                 
                The Parsons union man always knew when a potential non union job would be available and we were not allowed to perform at those.  On one occasion, some of us tried to volunteer to perform for a musical pit orchestra but the union put the fear of God into everyone and we were not allowed to perform unless we were getting paid.  The way I managed to play was they gave me a check and I handed it right back to them.
                 
                Usually Stevens would black ball a band or a location and we heard of bands being unable to play because of it. 
                 
                Chris Cruz
                 
              • Bill Collins
                We were lucky back then to even have had one good instrument. I had a Fender Mustang bass that played and sounded great, but it had sharp through the body
                Message 7 of 10 , Jan 2, 2012
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                  We were lucky back then to even have had one good instrument. I had a
                  Fender Mustang bass that played and sounded great, but it had sharp through
                  the body string ferrules and a lousy bridge that broke strings regularly,
                  until I took to it with a file. My Carvin LB-75's have been played
                  endlessly and have never broken a string.

                  Back to the union man, I remember Steve Stevens warning us about that! For
                  those of you not in the Parsons area, he was the local union dude, and ruled
                  with an iron fist. But I got along with him just fine....of course I paid
                  my dues way in advance. ;)

                  Thanks for the memories, Chris.
                  Bill Collins
                  ----- Original Message -----
                  From: <CCruz74583@...>
                  To: <KS_and_KC_GenOne_Rockers@yahoogroups.com>
                  Sent: Sunday, January 01, 2012 9:58 AM
                  Subject: [KS_and_KC_GenOne_Rockers] New Year's Eve Union blues and
                  instruments


                  Back in the day.....

                  The Sensational Showmen was a "union" band and we heard stories about
                  making sure to have our union card renewed before playing a New Year's Eve
                  gig
                  because our local union person has been known to check a band's union card
                  status and deny them to play past midnight because they failed to renew for
                  the next year. Fortunately we remained current with our cards but we heard
                  other bands had to shut down or lose a member after midnight that night!

                  Also, was listening to a radio interview, last night, and the musician
                  stated that "back in the day" musicians tended to have only one guitar for
                  their gigs. He continued to note that today's musicians have multiple
                  guitars
                  to play a gig. He also noted that they never had a back up instrument.
                  How true! One of the Showmen guitar players had a Les Paul that required a
                  specific low impendence guitar cord. When he had trouble with it, out came
                  the soldering iron! Likewise, when our horns were knocked over by clumsy
                  dancers, we did not have a back up one. Drummers often carried a few extra
                  drum heads and sticks, but for the most part we had only one ax! Back in
                  the day.....

                  Chris Cruz
                • Ron Bowell
                  Dano, Friar Tuck and the Monks joined the Musicians Union in the late 60 s just so we could play Salina. No other venue even bothered to check. I don t even
                  Message 8 of 10 , Jan 2, 2012
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                    Dano, Friar Tuck and the Monks joined the Musicians Union in the late 60's just so we could play Salina. No other venue even bothered to check. I don't even think it was required at the Red Dog in Lawrence although it could be because we were already members. I don't remember anyone ever asking to see the union card outside of Salina. Part of the Salina issue was likely that just about every club in Salina that had live bands in the 60's and early 70's was controlled by one man. It wouldn't surprise me if there were "kickbacks" involved for requiring union membership. BTW that guy ended up dead in one of his clubs with a bullet in him. It was a rough business back then.

                     

                    Ron

                     

                     

                     

                    From: KS_and_KC_GenOne_Rockers@yahoogroups.com [mailto:KS_and_KC_GenOne_Rockers@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of dano fleming
                    Sent: Sunday, January 01, 2012 10:00 PM
                    To: KS_and_KC_GenOne_Rockers@yahoogroups.com
                    Subject: Re: [KS_and_KC_GenOne_Rockers] New Year's Eve Union blues and instruments

                     

                     

                    Chris,

                       I remember the musicians union was very active just 60 miles from my hometown of Beloit in Salina, Ks.  Many of my friends played in bands in and around Salina and felt the pressure from the union to join or not play at all in Salina.  Never could figure that out.  This is a right to work state but the Salina union was adamant about checking all bands for union cards and would literally tell you you couldn't play unless you were union.  A band from Beloit (not mine) played at the American Legion or VFW in Salina and of course were checked by the head honcho of the musician's union and told they were to pack up and not return until they were union members.  The bass player Judd Theirolf had hands about the size of my feet, so you can imagine how big he was and he just told the union chief that he welcomed any army the guy could drum up to come up and remove them.  Then he turned to the band counted the next song off and the boys played the rest of the night without incident.  So it was basically a scare tactic that backfired. 

                       Most of the players that I knew in the union felt there was actually no advantage to being in a union.  The union promised more gigs, but never really delivered.  My band played a gig in Salina at the Armory 1971 and we had no problems from the union whatsoever.  Wasn't worried about it either...we were ready to call their bluff if necessary.

                    dano

                    --- On Sun, 1/1/12, CCruz74583@... <CCruz74583@...> wrote:


                    From: CCruz74583@... <CCruz74583@...>
                    Subject: [KS_and_KC_GenOne_Rockers] New Year's Eve Union blues and instruments
                    To: KS_and_KC_GenOne_Rockers@yahoogroups.com
                    Date: Sunday, January 1, 2012, 9:58 AM

                     

                    Back in the day.....

                     

                    The Sensational Showmen was a "union" band and we heard stories about making sure to have our union card renewed before playing a New Year's Eve gig because our local union person has been known to check a band's union card status and deny them to play past midnight because they failed to renew for the next year.  Fortunately we remained current with our cards but we heard other bands had to shut down or lose a member after midnight that night!

                     

                    Also, was listening to a radio interview, last night, and the musician stated that "back in the day" musicians tended to have only one guitar for their gigs.  He continued to note that today's musicians have multiple guitars to play a gig.  He also noted that they never had a back up instrument.  How true!  One of the Showmen guitar players had a Les Paul that required a specific low impendence guitar cord.  When he had trouble with it, out came the soldering iron!  Likewise, when our horns were knocked over by clumsy dancers, we did not have a back up one.  Drummers often carried a few extra drum heads and sticks, but for the most part we had only one ax!  Back in the day.....

                     

                    Chris Cruz   



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                  • CCruz74583@aol.com
                    Things were not always so in Parsons with the musician s union, Bill. Most people will not remember that prior to Stevens, my late uncle, Raymond Castoreno,
                    Message 9 of 10 , Jan 2, 2012
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                      Things were not always so in Parsons with the musician's union, Bill.  Most people will not remember that prior to Stevens, my late uncle, Raymond Castoreno, was the union secretary.  I suspect Stevens came into power after my uncle's death in that awful car accident near Bender's Mound.  Yes, Stevens certainly knew how to take advantage of his position.  I do not believe Stevens was considered an active musician when he was in power.  My uncle, on the other hand, was a good keyboard player and enjoyed performing. 
                       
                      Chris
                       
                    • dano fleming
                      Just doesn t pay to be an asshole. dano ... From: Ron Bowell Subject: RE: [KS_and_KC_GenOne_Rockers] New Year s Eve Union blues
                      Message 10 of 10 , Jan 2, 2012
                      • 0 Attachment
                        Just doesn't pay to be an asshole.
                        dano

                        --- On Mon, 1/2/12, Ron Bowell <ronbowell@...> wrote:

                        From: Ron Bowell <ronbowell@...>
                        Subject: RE: [KS_and_KC_GenOne_Rockers] New Year's Eve Union blues and instruments
                        To: KS_and_KC_GenOne_Rockers@yahoogroups.com
                        Date: Monday, January 2, 2012, 10:02 AM

                         

                        Dano, Friar Tuck and the Monks joined the Musicians Union in the late 60's just so we could play Salina. No other venue even bothered to check. I don't even think it was required at the Red Dog in Lawrence although it could be because we were already members. I don't remember anyone ever asking to see the union card outside of Salina. Part of the Salina issue was likely that just about every club in Salina that had live bands in the 60's and early 70's was controlled by one man. It wouldn't surprise me if there were "kickbacks" involved for requiring union membership. BTW that guy ended up dead in one of his clubs with a bullet in him. It was a rough business back then.

                         

                        Ron

                         

                         

                         

                        From: KS_and_KC_GenOne_Rockers@yahoogroups.com [mailto:KS_and_KC_GenOne_Rockers@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of dano fleming
                        Sent: Sunday, January 01, 2012 10:00 PM
                        To: KS_and_KC_GenOne_Rockers@yahoogroups.com
                        Subject: Re: [KS_and_KC_GenOne_Rockers] New Year's Eve Union blues and instruments

                         

                         

                           I remember the musicians union was very active just 60 miles from my hometown of Beloit in Salina, Ks.  Many of my friends played in bands in and around Salina and felt the pressure from the union to join or not play at all in Salina.  Never could figure that out.  This is a right to work state but the Salina union was adamant about checking all bands for union cards and would literally tell you you couldn't play unless you were union.  A band from Beloit (not mine) played at the American Legion or VFW in Salina and of course were checked by the head honcho of the musician's union and told they were to pack up and not return until they were union members.  The bass player Judd Theirolf had hands about the size of my feet, so you can imagine how big he was and he just told the union chief that he welcomed any army the guy could drum up to come up and remove them.  Then he turned to the band counted the next song off and the boys played the rest of the night without incident.  So it was basically a scare tactic that backfired. 

                           Most of the players that I knew in the union felt there was actually no advantage to being in a union.  The union promised more gigs, but never really delivered.  My band played a gig in Salina at the Armory 1971 and we had no problems from the union whatsoever.  Wasn't worried about it either...we were ready to call their bluff if necessary.

                        dano

                        --- On Sun, 1/1/12, CCruz74583@... <CCruz74583@...> wrote:


                        From: CCruz74583@... <CCruz74583@...>
                        Subject: [KS_and_KC_GenOne_Rockers] New Year's Eve Union blues and instruments
                        To: KS_and_KC_GenOne_Rockers@yahoogroups.com
                        Date: Sunday, January 1, 2012, 9:58 AM

                         

                        Back in the day.....

                         

                        The Sensational Showmen was a "union" band and we heard stories about making sure to have our union card renewed before playing a New Year's Eve gig because our local union person has been known to check a band's union card status and deny them to play past midnight because they failed to renew for the next year.  Fortunately we remained current with our cards but we heard other bands had to shut down or lose a member after midnight that night!

                         

                        Also, was listening to a radio interview, last night, and the musician stated that "back in the day" musicians tended to have only one guitar for their gigs.  He continued to note that today's musicians have multiple guitars to play a gig.  He also noted that they never had a back up instrument.  How true!  One of the Showmen guitar players had a Les Paul that required a specific low impendence guitar cord.  When he had trouble with it, out came the soldering iron!  Likewise, when our horns were knocked over by clumsy dancers, we did not have a back up one.  Drummers often carried a few extra drum heads and sticks, but for the most part we had only one ax!  Back in the day.....

                         

                        Chris Cruz   

                        Chris,



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