In the Mix – Part 5: A few more little snippets from life in the International Music Business – do let me know your thoughts:
Leaving on a Jet Plane: well, providing he has a Passport.
There is one in every band: the one who loses everything, is late for everything, and who lives in a world of their own. And they pick their moments to lose things and forget things. I was reminded of one such band member recently when he mentioned he’d been searching for his Passport and was in danger of missing a flight.
I should say that I am not picking on him, he was not the only one who used to do this. Sadly it was a frequent occurrence for several of the musicians we managed, and for one other artist in particular. More on that another day.
As I said, a musician from a band we managed way back mentioned they’d lost their Passport then found it again – recently – where they’d first looked and searching for it almost made him miss his flight.
He reminded me of a particular recording period in San Francisco with him and his band – not the musicians in previous extracts from In the Mix this time. We’d gone to Los Angeles to ‘hang-out’ with their record label – as you do, taking a break after the six week long session – and don’t get me started on what happened there (another story, another time).
Anyway, on the last day in LA we were to travel back to San Francisco, pick up their gear from the studio, then fly back home to England from there.
The best laid plans and all that.
The seven of us left the hotel on Sunset Blvd at the crack of dawn, in two cars, and began our drive back to San Francisco. We stopped for a short comfort break and then continued on, conscious of the time but sure we’d left plenty of it to make the plane later that afternoon without the need for speeding.
After about two hours on the road we stopped again and our young musician decided to get his bag from the trunk. He rummaged around and got back in the car with a novel to read on the trip, and we set off, with the other car following. After a few more miles a voice from the rear of the car casually mentioned he couldn’t find his Passport – no need to stress our musician reassured us.
We stopped the cars, searching both – nothing – it wasn’t in his luggage or on his person. Time was getting on and we had gear to collect and a flight to catch. Searching the other car and bags proved fruitless.
We decided the rest of the band should head back to SF and collect the gear, take their hire car back and meet us at the airport, and we’d return – at speed – to LA and, fingers crossed, we prayed the hotel had found the bag he’d left behind, with his Passport.
After missing all the rush hour traffic leaving LA, we hit it on the way back.
Eventually we got to the hotel – those were the days before mobile phones by the way, and there weren’t any call boxes out in the middle of nowhere. So returning meant taking a chance his luggage was still there.
Arriving back at the hotel we were amazed that after a lot of searching the staff found his bag with Passport still inside – a miracle – just where he’d left it; on the floor of the underground garage where apparently ‘someone’ didn’t see it when loading the car!
That ‘someone’ used to keep hold of all the Passports and plane tickets etc., to ensure none were lost, but after being accused of infantilising the band members, they were given their Passports back. That ‘someone’ had told each member to load their own gear into the boot of the car. No comment.
Back into the car after leaving messages at the studio in SF re the gear and the band, we sped off into the LA traffic heading directly for San Francisco Airport. We’d only gone about a mile when a voice from the rear of the car announced he’d left the bag on the counter in reception and didn’t have his Passport with him.
We raced back to the hotel and were greeted by the sight of the bag on the reception desk and two very bemused members of staff. We took off at high-speed to retrace our steps to SF with threats of imminent death if our passenger dared mention his Passport again. He, however, was ‘totally chilled’ he told us, and couldn’t see what the problem was! He stuck his nose in his book for the rest of the journey.
The long journey to SF was dramatic during which time we hit speeds of more than 100 mph and had to watch out for spotter planes (cops) overhead. When we got to the terminal they were boarding our flight. He ran off to join his band mates having rushed through the various controls at top speed, leaving us with luggage. We almost threw the hire car keys at an airline member of staff, with a huge amount of cash attached and barely managed to get through the departure gate as it was closing.
Sitting in our seats soon after take-off one of the band casually announced that they’d not collected their gear from the studio as planned, they’d forgotten it. It was not on the plane – I won’t go into what happened next. It’s not nice.
In future they travelled with their Tour Manager and Crew – much safer!
I hope you enjoyed this little snippet from In the Mix and that you’ll read the others and enjoy them. More to follow soon.