You know how you are in a relationship that you KNOW is bad, so you decide to break up? Then you get about a year away from it, get desperate one night, thinking there’s no one better for you, and decide to give the person another shot? THEN, at 4:00am, when your body is being devoured by mosquitoes every 7 and 1/2 seconds on the dot and you’re gulping any semblance of a breeze into your humidity-soaked lungs from a hole you’ve created through the useless mosquito net on the window, and your skin is covered with a film, like the goo left over after a label slides from a beer bottle that has been knocking around in a cooler full of melted ice water for three days, you decide, “Perhaps this relationship was not only terrible for me then, but, if it’s possible, even MORE terrible for me now.” and you flee your complacent, cheap, obligated, and boring lover’s sticky, smothering embrace and find an air conditioned shitty hotel room for $55 bucks and think, as you lay between the nicotine soaked walls of the sparsely furnished “Fosters Inn” in Montecello, Illinois, “Wow, I really dodged a bullet.”
Yeah. Me neither.
So, we showed up to the gig on time. By on time, I mean an hour and a half before we were supposed to start. 7 o’clock to 9 o’clock was our show time. We took our time loading in, got into show clothes, visited with some return fans from last year, got a couple beers, putzed around for a bit, then started. The whole room was full of people. It was way too hot to play outside, which is where we played last year and where they usually have bands play, so they set us up in the corner of their main drinking room. There was a food truck outside and a couple big parties had brought in food. Everyone was eating and drinking and having a nice time. However, they didn’t seem to notice that there was a band playing. We tried telling some stories and making some connections, but it was really too loud inside to hear any nuances of what we were trying to say, and we didn’t want to turn up anymore because then we would have been overbearing. When we took our first break we asked what time we played to. “8:00”, said the bartender. But it WAS 8:00 right now. “Yeah. You guys were supposed to start at 6:00, not 7:00. We wondered what you were doing.”
WHY DIDN’T YOU SAY SOMETHING???
We felt sooo bad. We were going to offer to play another day to make up for it, but then they said’ “just play til 9:00. We don’t close til 10 anyway.”
WHY DIDN’T YOU SAY THAT TO BEGIN WITH?!?!?
Ok. Back on track. Playing our show. Some people dancing. Some people tipping, buying merch. We’re good with the staff. Now the show is over. Let’s load up and get paid. “The $20 bill we put in your tip jar IS your pay. Sorry. We thought you knew.”
Oh man. So, last year, this was one of the places we said we didn’t want to play again because they didn’t pay at all, but let us play for tips and sales. They claim that the crowd is so big, most musicians walk with a “lot” of tips. Well, they are right. The crowd, both times we’ve been here is big. They are not right about the “lot” of tip money. When a business is making that much on beer alone (they don’t sell food) and they won’t pay their bands, (sorry guys, $20 is NOT OK) then, my assumption is that they really don’t want bands to begin with. When talking with a regular, he said the local bands won’t even play there anymore because the owners are so stingy. I get it. I really do. But don’t hand a touring band with a kid $20 for 2 hours of music, ESPECIALLY when such a big deal was made about us playing the full 2 hours. Or at least they could have said at 8:00, “Well, you started an hour late, but we’re only paying you $20. So, here are some beers on us, let’s call it good.” We even booked this one last minute, thinking money on the road was better than no money, but I think we lost money just driving there, then trying to sleep in “Mosquitotown” only to give up on the whole thing, drive further away and get a hotel room.
This year, we made another note in our records, “ Do not, under any circumstances, no matter how desperate you may feel, book this place again. Look for something better. It will come.” I just hope 2020 Jessi and Jared have better sense than 2018 and 2019 JnJ…
On a side note, Rudy had a blast getting physically buried by pebbles and playing with a bunch of kids! It almost made it worth it. ALMOST.