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Foray Into Fiction: The Band Manager

Scott telephoned me asking me to manage the band, trying to convince me to manage the band. This was not something I wanted to do. Being a member of the band, the lead guitar player, was what I wanted. It was true that I could not play guitar well, but I could have got better if they let me into the band. Instead, they chose Paul who could play. Scott was lead vocals, Paul was lead guitar, Mike was bass, and Peter was drums. They wanted me to be a manager. It took about an hour before I finally agree to manage the band. My conclusion was I could run the band. Besides, I had read Hit Parader and Circus magazines, and I knew everything I needed to know about bands. How hard could it be?

The house was in a trailer park. The band would rehearse at Scott's house, and set up in the narrow living area of the trailer. The chesterfield, being two feet or less from the band was where I sat. They wanted me to listen to them as their new manager. The first song was 'Smoke On The Water' that they stumbled through, and the second and last song was so badly played I can't remember what it was. Scott leaned on the mike stand, Paul never looked away from his left hand fingers, Mike looked at his shoes, and Peter looked like he was in a school music class. No emotion and little movement by any of them. At the end of it, the guys mentioned coming up with a name for the band. Mike suggested I think up a name for the band because I was the band's manager. Thinking for a moment, I said the first name that came to my mind that was created from seeing the band perform: 'Stock Footage'. After the pause, as the band members looked at each other, they agreed to the name. 

From the beginning, I started to annoy Stock Footage. It was my job to book the band, and I booked them almost everywhere, mostly bars, a few nightclubs, some strip joints, and everywhere in between. It was my solution to their lack of experience. They had to get out and perform in front of as many live audiences as they could to get better. Rehearsing just wasn't enough.

Many of the places I phoned did not want a band to play there. It was the same old story, the band wouldn't bring in any money the person would say to me. Booking was hard, and I hated doing it, but it was a numbers game. Eventually someone would say yes. The next problem was negotiating pay, and getting the place to advertise the band. Spending nights photocopying advertisements that were hand drawn wording with a Polaroid shot of the band stuck on a piece of paper was part of my job. Then getting them out there was the other part. After leaving a few copies with the owner of the place the band was going to play, it was frustrating to show up to find not a single one had been posted anywhere. Many owners of the places couldn't even be bothered to put one of the advertisements in a window to help promote the band.    

Mike was swearing as his feet slipped on the icy ground. The air was bitterly cold, and it had started to snow again. We both pulled hard on the equipment case to get it out of the back of the rented van. With a hard thump the end of the case dropped to the ground. Mike swore even more. Being in charge of the money, I knew we would be lucky just to cover the cost of the van rental with this show, and a dozen more shows. None of us had eaten yet either. We hauled the equipment into the bar, and we set up with the rest of the guys who had hauled the other stuff in. 

My mind wasn't on the band playing, having heard the set so many times, my mind drifted as I sat a a table to the left of the stage. At least that's what the bar owner called it. She asked me if I wanted a beer. Tight low cut shirt, busty, attractive. No, I politely said, then I went back to trying to work out the problems in my head. The band finished the last song for a small group of drunks. After helping in packing up the gear, I looked for the owner for our pay.

"Thirty two for the show," he said. "You can pay the 15 dollars now, I'll just make it even, or I can take it out of the 32." 

"What?!" I said, "No. It's 32 dollars for the band that's what we agreed to!" 

Being ripped off was something I had learned about the hard way. One guy told me he had to count up the receipts for the night before he could pay us, and then told me the receipts didn't add up to enough to pay the band. Another was me being told by the staff only the owner could take money from the till, and he had left an hour ago. The band had casually gathered around me.

"Yeah, but you drank 15 bucks worth of beer tonight. You gotta pay for that. Like I said, I'll even it out to 15 for you boys." 

I flashed back to the attractive waitress earlier with the large breasts in the tight low cut top. 

"You idiots! You f'ing idiots!". They had no idea. "How much beer did you morons drink?! How many times did she ask you if you wanted a beer?!"

Scott went from me to the owner. "We thought it was on the house. We're the band! It was on the house, right? For the band?".

"On the house?! A bar girl! She is a bar girl! Do any of you idiots know what that is? She uses her brain to get jerks like you guys to buy beer while you stare at her big boobs! That's her job! On the house! F'ing unbelievable! Take it off the 32."

"What?!" Paul exclaims, "That only leaves…" 

"That's right" as I interrupt, "because you guys drank 15 worth of beer while staring at her boobs!" 

My job as manager lasted three months before the band fired me. Scott quit about a month after I was fired. Paul took over lead vocals and continued with lead guitar, until Mike became lead vocals and bass player. Paul couldn't sing and play guitar at the same time. Peter left the band, and was replaced with Rick on drums. Then Mike decided he had enough. The band folded. 'Stock Footage' was no more. We all moved on to other things. 

The old band members and I still see each other once in a while, and there is the talk of "getting the band back together". Maybe we will someday. Stock Footage is the only band we know of that plays with two drummers. That could be an attraction.

© Trevor Dailey


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