Monday, May 21, 2012


A little break from mani’s right now. I thought I’d write about one of my more “amusing” gigs playing bass. wasn’t at the time..and no, I didn’t get beat up by some rogue athlete.

In 1998, I was living in Houston, Texas, basically doing what one does in Houston, sleep, work, eat out and shop. I swear, coming from Houston, to Florida..the food quality dropped DRAMATICALLY!...However, I’m writing about music today.

So, through my Texas pickin’ guitar picking buddy Brennan Nase, I got hooked up through the local Houston music scene/network and occasionally got the stray gig, here and there. Since I wasn’t a member of the Music Union, nor made music my primary living (thank God) income, I didn’t pimp to hard to get gigs, and when I was asked, I could be picky. Whatever cash I made, was gravy.

So, I got a call from the music director for Julio Iglesias Sr. to play a one night concert gig at the (then) Houston Summit arena. I was contracted to play cello in a 42 piece orchestra for 325.00. I showed up to one of 2 scheduled rehearsals and saw why I was called up. The other musicians were all Hispanic. I’m like oh..well…now I know why whenever I would get off a plane and walk through one of two Houston airports..the first question I would be asked would be “do you speak Spanish?”…”NO”! But..I got used to it but no, never learned to speak the language. Oh..back to why I was called up for this gig? Because I LOOKED Hispanic, or rather…in Texas, I was another person of color more than likely to BE Hispanic. I guess the Hawaiian part was enough to throw me out of the ASIAN category and throw me into the HISPANIC stereotype, at least until I opened my mouth.

So, I show up to the rehearsal with a cello in hand (had to borrow it as my cello is home in Utah…unless Ryun has stolen that too and carted it off to my other instruments he could steal) but when I sat down, the conductor asked me if it was true I played the bass guitar. Of course I do..he then offered me 450.00 if I would play bass guitar in the main band, behind Julio Iglesias. Ok,..more money, but those of you who know me, know I HATE being onstage, and worse..being front center. I declined, but then he offered me 650.00. 650.00 bought A LOT of sterling silver jewelry in Houston in those days, so I thought, what the hell. Its not like anyone I know will SEE me. So I had them go out (since I had brought only a cello) and rent me a Fender Fretless Jazz Bass (since MY vintage Fender Jazz Bass is safely hidden from my thieving brother with someone in Utah)  for the next 2 days. Hey, I was already stuck with a borrowed cello!

I finished the rehearsal and the dress rehearsal with no problems. The music was easy to read, standing right in front of me, and pretty straight forward. I didn’t really speak to any of the other musicians around me, as one of my personal idiosyncrasies is to not speak to people I didn’t know, as I’m not the most OUTGOING person when meeting new people.

The backup band and orchestra were ok..again, the music was I went home confident in the fact I’d have 650.00 in 24 hours, and I went and bought some sterling silver jewelry for myself on QVC.

I showed up for the concert, tuned up and sat with the other men in the backup band/rhythm section. There was a keyboard player, 2 guitarists, a drummer and an auxiliary percussionist besides me. I remember briefly silently acknowledging the rest of the rhythm section. We were set quite away from the orchestra, but I was already thinking ahead of more things I could buy on QVC.

Lights up! Concert ON! Julio Iglesias came out and was speaking to the crowd in Spanish, which wasn’t a problem, because I had the music in front of me. As he was chattering away, all of a sudden, all the musicians started rearranging their music! Crap! He was changing the order of the music and I couldn’t understand a word he was saying, nor was I familiar with any of his “hits”. I turned to the drummer and asked him what the changes were. He looked back at me blankly and I’m like oh..yeah..well..its a drummer..I grew up with one in the house..and they ARE rather dimwitted I turned to one of the guitarists, without looking panicked. which I was getting there. I asked the guitarist what was the order of the music change and he looked at me as said “Que?” FULL BLOWN ANXIETY ATTACK!! NO ONE in the rhythm section around me spoke ENGLISH! And of course, I didn’t speak Spanish. Sooo…what was supposed to be an “easy” 650.00, turned into a MAJOR PSYCHIATRIC EVENT for me!

Oh..I made it through the concert, but it wasn’t without my typical “Maile performance anxiety drama” that I had tried to avoid. The worse part was trying to surreptitiously leaf through the music trying to find the right song in the music score, while everyone else was playing, while I was using my ear to listen to the music being played around me and my left hand to play the bass while I was leafing through the score with my right hand. I guess no one noticed, because I was paid 650.00 and asked to play the next gig, in AUSTIN! HELL NO!

That’s all for today!

1 comment:

  1. HOLY CRAP MAILE!!! I would have totally completely lost it! You rule!