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bifcake
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Art Dudley playing weddings

I am saddened to have read that a man of Art Dudley's stature and writing talents is forced to supplement his income by playing at wedding receptions. Jobs in the wedding industry are some of the thankless and grueling jobs out there. You get a glimpse of it from Art's description of the audience's reaction to the band. It's a shame that Art has to be a part of that industry given his obvious talents as a writer and having run a magazine of his own.

My heart goes out to you, dude.

Elk
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Re: Art Dudley playing weddings

There is nothing demeaning in performing music. Ever.

Plus, playing for weddings isn't bad. People are generally in a good mood and you get to enjoy playing. There are always people that make a point to tell you that they appreciate what you have added to the festivities. In fact most won't comment on or even notice the flowers, but everyone has an opinion as to the music and musicians.

I don't need the money I make playing. I play for fun, for the sake of music, and enjoy getting paid as well - it makes it easy to rationalize buying more music and music toys.

I am going to start charging extra for playing the trumpet voluntary as the bridal procession however. There is nothing voluntary about it.

bifcake
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Re: Art Dudley playing weddings

I didn't say there was anything demeaning about it. I said that it's sad that he has to resort to playing weddings. It's a thankless job, it's hard and you get no respect as a musician.

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Re: Art Dudley playing weddings

Huh? Have you ever played a wedding? What's thankless about being selected to play for a bride and groom on one of the most important days of their lives? I've always considered it an honor and it's often fun.

Maybe it's because I play trumpet, a traditional ceremonial instrument, that I think that playing ceremonies and the surrounding festivities can be fun.

Like Elk, I don't need the money I get from weddings, but I've worked musically with world class musicians (another honor) and almost all consider wedding part of their vocation.

Playing trumpet with a great organist or in a funk/rock/soul band at the reception can be fun. If Dudley doesn't like that work, there are plenty waiting in line that do.

Dave

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Re: Art Dudley playing weddings


Quote:
Huh? Have you ever played a wedding? What's thankless about being selected to play for a bride and groom on one of the most important days of their lives? I've always considered it an honor and it's often fun.

You get treated like crap. If you read the article, he states that people actually listen to his playing at very few affairs. For the most part, he provides background noise and babysitting services.


Quote:

Maybe it's because I play trumpet, a traditional ceremonial instrument, that I think that playing ceremonies and the surrounding festivities can be fun.

Like Elk, I don't need the money I get from weddings, but I've worked musically with world class musicians (another honor) and almost all consider wedding part of their vocation.

Playing trumpet with a great organist or in a funk/rock/soul band at the reception can be fun. If Dudley doesn't like that work, there are plenty waiting in line that do.

Dave

Very few people play trumpet at weddings (at least in NY), so I would imagine if you do a few weddings a year, that would be fun for you. However, if someone does that week after week, it gets pretty bad. Given that you play a trumpet and don't need the money, I assume you don't play at many weddings. So, your perception of the wedding business would be very different from someone who does it week after week.

KBK
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Re: Art Dudley playing weddings

Sounds like you folks in NY need a serious loosening of the ass and shakin' of the butts. Wait a minute. Are we talking white, and with asses so tight they squeak when they walk?

Weddings are all about getting down and having a blast. If the building ain't rockin', well... BORING!

Elk
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Re: Art Dudley playing weddings

What a sad and an unpleasant world you live in, Alex.

I've never played at a gray, depressing wedding. Perhaps I need to move to New York.

I have also never met a musician who "needs to resort" to playing weddings. Musicians love to play. While we like certain gigs better than others, they are all fun. I can't imagine Mr. Dudley is playing weddings, near suicidal with misery.

bifcake
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Re: Art Dudley playing weddings


Quote:
What a sad and an unpleasant world you live in, Alex.

I've never played at a gray, depressing wedding. Perhaps I need to move to New York.

New York is a tough place. Not for the meek of heart


Quote:

I can't imagine Mr. Dudley is playing weddings, near suicidal with misery.

Let's ask him. Anyone have Art's e-mail address or can we have the Stereophile editors forward that question to AD? Ask him if he's happy playing weddings or if he's doing it out of financial necessity?

dcstep
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Re: Art Dudley playing weddings


Quote:

Very few people play trumpet at weddings (at least in NY), so I would imagine if you do a few weddings a year, that would be fun for you. However, if someone does that week after week, it gets pretty bad. Given that you play a trumpet and don't need the money, I assume you don't play at many weddings. So, your perception of the wedding business would be very different from someone who does it week after week.

Tell us what makes you such an expert. What do you play at weddings? Or maybe all your experience comes from watching "Bridezilla" on cable TV.

Elk, do you agree that no one play trumpet at weddings in NY? I doubt it. I suspect that alex doesn't realize that the trumpet most often used as part of the ceremony, playing classical music. Later at the reception it'll be part of a jazz combo or rock group, depending on the bride's preference.

Alex, give us some personal experiences, please.

Art talked about the bride taking her shoes off and dancing. There's no greater appreciation. I love when that happens. A couple of the wildest receptions I've played were when the bride really stirred up the crowd and got everyone involved. The crows stayed long after the bride and groom had departed.

I'm not a pro, but every pro that I work with talks about gigs from hell. It's part of the territory. Weddings are one of the last great paying gigs, other than some corporate work and new year's eve. Studio work is 1/10th what it used to be, so it's harder and harder to make a living as a musician, but that's not what Art is talking about.

Thanks for helping me like Art more. I can't stand his politics and really appreciate that he seems to have moderated the use of his column as a soap box. I like him when he talks about music and audio.

Dave

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Re: Art Dudley playing weddings

"There is nothing demeaning in performing music. Ever. "

No way- anytime you have to bring your best to the completely clueless and unappreciative, it's demeaning, or at least potentially. That being said, we had a terrific jazz trio at my wedding (which to be honest was more like a big cocktail party than anything else) and they were very much appreciated. The guests pretty much all are really into music and like seeing live bands, so the gig was probably a good one for everyone. The band SEEMED happy anyway- and I heard a number of people go tell them how much they dug their set. I would have paid money to see them any day at a club- in this case it just happened to be a wedding. So- maybe Art gets some gigs that are not so great, but maybe some good ones too. Not that different I guess than a good or bad audience at a restaurant or club.

bifcake
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Re: Art Dudley playing weddings


Quote:

Quote:

Very few people play trumpet at weddings (at least in NY), so I would imagine if you do a few weddings a year, that would be fun for you. However, if someone does that week after week, it gets pretty bad. Given that you play a trumpet and don't need the money, I assume you don't play at many weddings. So, your perception of the wedding business would be very different from someone who does it week after week.

Tell us what makes you such an expert. What do you play at weddings? Or maybe all your experience comes from watching "Bridezilla" on cable TV.

I was a wedding photographer for about 8 years. I have been to about 600 weddings. I shot about 80 affairs a year.


Quote:

Elk, do you agree that no one play trumpet at weddings in NY? I doubt it. I suspect that alex doesn't realize that the trumpet most often used as part of the ceremony, playing classical music. Later at the reception it'll be part of a jazz combo or rock group, depending on the bride's preference.

I've never seen a trumpet player at a wedding. However, let's stay on topic. This is not about whether or not I've seen a trumpet at a wedding.


Quote:

Alex, give us some personal experiences, please.

I'm not a pro, but every pro that I work with talks about gigs from hell. It's part of the territory. Weddings are one of the last great paying gigs, other than some corporate work and new year's eve. Studio work is 1/10th what it used to be, so it's harder and harder to make a living as a musician, but that's not what Art is talking about.

So, then your arguments are based on hearsay?


Quote:

Thanks for helping me like Art more. I can't stand his politics and really appreciate that he seems to have moderated the use of his column as a soap box. I like him when he talks about music and audio.

Dave

I like Art. I like his writing, I like when he interjects his politics (regardless of whether I agree with him) and I feel bad for him if he has to play weddings to supplement his income given his obvious talents. If he does it because he has to, I wish he didn't have to. If he does it because he wants it, that's a different story.

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Re: Art Dudley playing weddings


Quote:


Quote:

I'm not a pro, but every pro that I work with talks about gigs from hell. It's part of the territory. Weddings are one of the last great paying gigs, other than some corporate work and new year's eve. Studio work is 1/10th what it used to be, so it's harder and harder to make a living as a musician, but that's not what Art is talking about.

So, then your arguments are based on hearsay?

No, I'm speaking directly from my experience as a semi-pro playing weddings, which is exactly the context of Art's article.

You need to re-read his piece. There's nothing about anything other than playing semi-pro, mostly for fun. There's nothing implicating that he plays because he "needs to", but only because he wants to. Like any musician he really enjoys and appreciative audience, like at the wedding he cited.

I'm sorry to read that you need to work weddings as a photographer. That must be really horrible work for you.

Dave

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Re: Art Dudley playing weddings

I haven't worked as a wedding photographer in about 13 years. I put myself through school doing it. It's one of the toughest jobs out there. There are very few jobs out there that have so much responsibility. As a photographer, you are solely responsible for producing the job for the wedding. If you fail, the bride and groom will not have pictures of their wedding. There is no one to back you up. You are the sole point of failure. Very tough job.

I suppose if I only did 15-20 weddings a year, I would think of it as 'fun', but doing weddings professionally isn't easy and it isn't fun regardless whether you're photographing, playing in a band, catering, or delivering flowers. It's very stressful work.

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Re: Art Dudley playing weddings


Quote:
I haven't worked as a wedding photographer in about 13 years. I put myself through school doing it. It's one of the toughest jobs out there. There are very few jobs out there that have so much responsibility. As a photographer, you are solely responsible for producing the job for the wedding. If you fail, the bride and groom will not have pictures of their wedding. There is no one to back you up. You are the sole point of failure. Very tough job.

I suppose if I only did 15-20 weddings a year, I would think of it as 'fun', but doing weddings professionally isn't easy and it isn't fun regardless whether you're photographing, playing in a band, catering, or delivering flowers. It's very stressful work.

For what it's worth - the wedding photographer we used turned out to be not so good. It didn't really bother us much, tho - guests take tons of pictures at weddings, and people naturally sent us copies, so our wedding album is a mix of the pro's photos, and our friends/families photos. Makes a nice, complete album. And some of the pictures - i don't know if the pro or Aunt Ginger shot them.
We never went back to the pro to complain, it wasn't important and we were busy with honeymoon and jobs and such.
Just telling this to take some stress off of AlexO, who sounds like he was carrying the weight of the world when he shot weddings.

BillB
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Re: Art Dudley playing weddings

BTW, why are people defensive about "needing" to work? Most people do need to.

bifcake
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Re: Art Dudley playing weddings

Not so much defensive about needing to work, rather NEEDING to play weddings to supplement one's income. It's one thing for a Joe Schmoe to play weddings to supplement his income, it's quite another for a former editor of a national magazine, a contributing writer for a national magazine to NEED to supplement his income by playing weddings. Then again, at least he's not compromising his reviews by soliciting high end audio manufacturers to advertise on his website.

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Re: Art Dudley playing weddings

As a clasical guitarist I usually am asked to play the rehearsal dinner and or the ceremony. Ocassionally I will play at the beginning of the reception till the band comes in.

I've never known musicians to experience the kind of anxiety Alex is talking about. But we don't have the same kind of responsibility the photographer has.

However most musicians I know do think weddings are more work(especially bride/groom requests for specific rep.)

OTOH, I tell people I don't do requests for specific rep. The bride and groom can come hear me play at a gig and if they like what I play they will use me.
So I do have the luxury of cherry picking which weddings I would play.

Playing a gig is using one's craft to make money. Playing a concert is using one's art to make money. Of course, there is overlap, but one doesn't expect the same attention/appreciation from the guests at a party as one expects from the audience at a concert.

I think it would be safe to say most musicians think both gigs and concerts are honorable ways to make a living.

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Re: Art Dudley playing weddings


Quote:
It's one thing for a Joe Schmoe to play weddings to supplement his income, it's quite another for a former editor of a national magazine, a contributing writer for a national magazine to NEED to supplement his income by playing weddings.

Not _needing_ to, AlexO, _wanting_ to. Playing to an audience carries with it its own special reward, something I wrote about last April: see www.stereophile.com/asweseeit/407awsi .

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

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Re: Art Dudley playing weddings

That's very true, but playing to an audience on your own terms as in a concert is one thing, but playing to an audience on someone else's terms time and time again is quite another.

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Re: Art Dudley playing weddings

Quote AlexO: "I was a wedding photographer for about 8 years. I have been to about 600 weddings. I shot about 80 affairs a year."

I bet shooting the affairs was alot more fun than shooting the weddings.

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Re: Art Dudley playing weddings


Quote:
That's very true, but playing to an audience on your own terms as in a concert is one thing, but playing to an audience on someone else's terms time and time again is quite another.

Alex,

we musicians tend to accept giging as less fulfilling than concertising but still more rewarding than an office job :-) or waiting tables etc.

No job is ideal all the time.
When no one is listening we console ourselves with the paycheck, after all, the motto of the professional musician is "you pay, I'll play" :-)

The worst thing is being asked to a party and then being bugged to play for free. Somewhat insulting actually unless the host is a very close friend. But a close friend wouldn't impose in such a way.

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Re: Art Dudley playing weddings


Quote:
"There is nothing demeaning in performing music. Ever."

No way- anytime you have to bring your best to the completely clueless and unappreciative, it's demeaning, or at least potentially.

While this can be frustrating, it is not demeaning - at least in my understanding of the word as debasing or degrading.

While it is throwing pearls before swine, the musician pearl-thrower is still sharing pearls. It is the audience who are swine.

As for New York, I have always found it to be an energetic and joyful place. There is lots of good food, good museums, good music, good theater. Oddly enough there are trumpets there, too. And plenty of weddings with great music (I've been to a few.)

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Re: Art Dudley playing weddings


Quote:
I am saddened to have read that a man of Art Dudley's stature and writing talents is forced to supplement his income by playing at wedding receptions. Jobs in the wedding industry are some of the thankless and grueling jobs out there. You get a glimpse of it from Art's description of the audience's reaction to the band. It's a shame that Art has to be a part of that industry given his obvious talents as a writer and having run a magazine of his own.

My heart goes out to you, dude.

It's worse than you think.

A couple of years ago, I blundered into a social situation in a crappy bar where a band called "Rock Bottom Remainders" was playing.

They were just OK (and I'm being generous) but the crowd was openly derisive of their playing. The atmosphere there made Art's travails seem like a walk in the park.

A couple of the guys in the band were familiar to me from encounters in other walks of life, and it was really sad to see them having to play that dive and take the abuse they took just to make ends meet. (I was tempted to pretend not to know them, It was that embarrassing.)

I agree with you, AlexO, my heart goes out when I run into guys who I thought had it going on enough to not need to work at such menial positions in order to keep paying the rent.

On the plus side, maybe they can take the crumbs they earn playing tunes and, if they really apply temselves, might end up making a go of it at something they are better at than their day jobs.

Things are just tough all over.

Cheers, man.

Jeff Wong
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Re: Art Dudley playing weddings

The nadir for those hacks must've been when a boardwalk hack like yours truly did a caricature of them back when they first started--the shame!

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Re: Art Dudley playing weddings

Well, Jeff, I guess like attracts like.

Hope you didn't waste too much pigment on those guys.

Jeff Wong
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Re: Art Dudley playing weddings

Back in June (2nd to be exact), when I attended a Crystal Zevon signing in NYC, I gave several prints of the illo (from 1992 for Entertainment Weekly) to Dave Barry to give to various Remainders--I'm not sure he cared or liked it, but, he made some quip about the caricatures looking more real than the subjects (it seemed a bit disingenuous at the time, or like a pat/rehearsed/by rote reply for some reason, maybe, it was just me). The summer of '92 I ran into Matt Groening at the San Diego Comic Con and he told me that people were asking him for weeks if he played drums after the illustration appeared (he doesn't).

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Re: Art Dudley playing weddings

Back to the original topic . . .

For most of history, MOST musical performance has been incidental to other activities--socializing, dancing, worship, etc. Ancient Athenian gentlemen employed musicians and dancers to entertain at their "symposia," where they gathered to drink wine and talk philosophy. J.S. Bach spent most of his career as a church organist: I bet he played plenty of weddings, and didn't mind. Telemann's "Tafelmusik" was composed as background entertainment for aristocrats eating dinner. These were not concert settings, and the musicians did not expect the undivided attention of their listeners.

I play in a Celtic/Renaissance/Baroque band, and we LOVE wedding gigs. The pay is a lot better than restaurants and pubs, we get a chance to play more of our classical repertoire, and people are generally appreciative of our contribution to the overall atmosphere of the event. When we play receptions and private parties, we focus on the uptempo folk-dance repertoire, and the greatest compliment is when people get up and dance. We certainly don't expect them to sit and listen in hushed reverence.

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