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Old 09-06-2007, 06:13 PM
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The Gig Triangle

The Gig Triangle
By Sean O'Bryan Smith | August, 2007

Greetings, I am here today to talk about the “Gig Triangle,” a concept created by a young singer/songwriter I toured with a few years ago. Her idea was that the perfect gig had three distinct features, or points. (Now, I am not talking about 7-string orchestral performances of Oklahoma! here.) The three points of the Gig Triangle are:

1. The quality of the music. Does it get me off, or am I about to hurl?
2. The amount of money. Can I buy another car, or am I going to have to pawn my lawnmower?
3. The “hang.” Am I going to knife the drummer when we are 2,000 miles away from home, or will it be okay?

Obviously, not every gig has all three of these points. So how are we sacred keepers of the one supposed to function in everyday society?

We all wish that every gig paid great coin, had the hippest tunes, and that everyone lived harmoniously. But be honest: When was the last time you were on that gig? Chances are, not recently. But don’t worry your heads, fellow groovers. If you can’t have the perfect gig, how about a good gig? To achieve that, just take any combination of two of the Triangle’s points, and there it is. Consequently, an okay gig has only one point. And if none of the points is represented, get your gear, get in the car, and get away from those mouth-breathing groove violators immediately!

A good gig may consist of a solid paycheck and a great batch of people, but the music may not “rock” you. Considering the formula “money + hang = nobody dies,” the gig may be worth taking. It’s also a heck of a lot easier playing a two-chord song all night if you know that it just made your house payment. (You know, I miss that gig sometimes.) The same principle holds true on the gigs we all live for. Those are when we’re out with our friends playing our favorite stanky groove, and we remember why we became a musician in the first place. Did you catch the two points there? Good music, and the most important one, hang.

I don’t care how much money I get or how good the music is on any gig—if the people truly suck, it’s a crap gig. Great players don’t necessarily have great personalities. I’ve been on tours with artists where I really enjoyed the music and the money was stellar, but for whatever reason, people refused to get along. Granted, we’ve all wanted to sneak up into the keyboard player’s bunk at some point and put a pillow over his (or her) head. But in the end, it’s extremely important to think about the hang before accepting any gig. It will save you a lot of heartache—and possible jail time later.

So remember, my grooving few, there are always good gigs and okay gigs around. With some understanding of the Gig Triangle, you may find it easier to stop and smell the groove on your way to that ever-elusive perfect gig.
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