I'm Busy or A Day In the Life
Updated: Aug 11
by Stanton Kessler
You only see us for 3 or 4 hours while we perform.You have no idea what goes on behind the scene. Most people think that musicians sleep 'till noon and then sit by the phone, waiting for it to ring while they sip on cognac and read comic books. In my case, nothing could be further from the truth. I'm busy.
Usually, I'm up at the crack of nine, thus assuring that it will be light outside, even in winter. I carefully maneuver myself out of bed. Next comes the all important physical examination, checking to make sure all of my limbs are still functioning. Downstairs I go to enjoy a rich cup of freshly brewed, high octane, "wake the dead" coffee. Now I'm up and running....and siting at the computer. Can't wait to check my emails and the daily Kenny G blog. I've got my priorities straight.
Satisfied that the earth still spins, I let Willie the cat in. He's been out all night getting gigs. He gets twenty percent commission, but he does the work of ten cats, scouring bars for work at places I wouldn't send my worst enemy, drinking, fighting and looking for...well, you know. While on the porch, I scan the mailbox for that residual check that never comes.
It's now time for the endless string of errands. I prepare to leave the house. I must select the streetwear that best reflects my attitude, self-assured, focused, prosperous...busy. My favorite task is the weekly jaunt to the bank, depositing bulging sacks of small bills I've appropriated from other bands tip jars. Life is good.
By this time the morning is shot and it's time to feed the beast. I try to eat healthy as to counter my many vices. It's important to have balance in your life. That's why I choose the soy burger to consume with my third cigarette of the day.
Let's not forget that in order to maintain the high level of performance my audience demands, I must adhere to a rigid practice schedule. This is when Willie asks to be let out as he hates my playing. Everyone's a critic. Practicing doesn't help, but it kills a lot of time and therefore, makes me feel productive. The post-practice interlude often involves some teaching. For some unknown reason, a few lost souls have the idea that I have something to offer. I wouldn't dream of telling them otherwise. Teaching provides me with expendable income necessary to purchase movie rentals. I find that sitting on my ass staring at the idiot box provides me with valuable down time. After all, I've been really busy and I need to clear my head so that new, fresh ideas can germinate in my fertile mind.
It's now mid-afternoon and I am worn out from the frenetic pace I've been setting. It's time for a nap. Many years ago, I got in the habit of taking siesta before a gig. I wake up refreshed and eager to resume my quest for excellence, fame and fortune. I need all the energy I can muster in my tank ,for the life of a musician is fraught with danger and uncertainty. Besides, flirting with waitresses burns vast amounts of calories. You try holding your stomach in for four hours!
If a gig is imminent, I must be physically and mentally prepared for the battle ahead. I've got to get my game face on which requires shaving and a lot of lotion to hide the wrinkles. I'm starting to get that "rugged look" from too many late nights. I'm an entertainer, so my appearance is paramount. After the grueling task of choosing which ensemble to drape over my supple body,
I let Willie inside. His look says it all."Who are you trying to kid?" As usual, I ignore his remark and begin my warm-up routine. You guessed it, he wants back out. The warm-up is crucial and involves sounds that are not fit for the human ear. But, without it, I wouldn't radiate the confidence that allows me to fool the audience into thinking that I've really got it.
Not much time left, so I've got to get moving. I must have a meal that is fortifying, yet light, as to not slow me down. I have to get through the next several hours without fatigue. Another soy burger and cigarette should do the trick.
It's finally showtime and I look back on a full day, one I can be proud of. My Spartan regimen will pay big dividends at the gig and I will sleep soundly tonight, guilt free, with the knowledge that having an active lifestyle has earned me the right to hold my head high. Some say stereotypes exist because they're true. Maybe the proverbial lazy musician exists somewhere. I really don't have time to think about it. I'm too busy.