Hang in there, musicians | TheUnion.com

Hang in there, musicians

After reading your article concerning the fire at Friar Tuck’s and the impact concerning musicians losing their main venue to help keep the wolf from the door, I feel a little-known reality should be addressed.

Having spent 75 years pursuing music in all forms prior to rock and rap I feel qualified to espouse a musician’s life and hope for a career that’s elusive at best. Having started at the age of 15 during the Depression, opportunity was nonexistent and inexperience led to playing anywhere available for very little or no money, relying on gratuities, which were sparse. I managed to improve musically and through the advent of the amplified guitar, eventually became staff guitarist at CBS. Having reached the pinnacle of my profession, I felt secure. Guess what? Staff musicians were replaced by disc jockeys, and the music profession become packaged visual entertainment having little to do with musical expertise, mainly showmanship. In radio’s heyday people were forced to listen, but television changed that.

My point being that musicians, no matter how proficient, have little or no place to display their wares. An entertainer can be packaged and promoted through the many avenues the industry controls. There are some fine guitarists throughout the world unable to survive on their talent, so they must use music as an avocation. Musicians love to play, whether it be for the public or private get-togethers, so demand little in compensation. Although music is categorized as a luxury business, think about life with no music. I guess there’s still some blacksmiths in the world; perhaps they should unite with musicians and play the anvil chorus.

Hang in there, guys (I feel your pain).

Frank Haggerty

Penn Valley

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