~The Sideman’s By-Laws (A Guide to the Outside)~
1. Never recommend anyone who plays better than you.
2. Always suck up. (Leaders, bartenders, bride and/or groom, management, etc.)
3. If you don’t know it, play harmony.
4. Double book, then choose.
5. Always assume the leader knows nothing.
6. Always degrade types of music you can’t play or know nothing about.
7. Always bring your own business cards and solicit during breaks.
8. Never play requests (especially if you know it).
9. Never smile.
10. Always complain.
11. Save all high notes for warming up and after engagement.
12. Never show up sooner than 30 seconds before an engagement. (One minute if you have equipment to set up.)
13. Never leave a book in order. Whenever possible, write on music in ink.
14. Always play Trane or Parker licks during fox trots, tangos, waltzes, or anything in D minor.
15. Always open spit valves over music.
16. If the leader is not sure of a tune, always use substitute changes over his vocals or solos.
17. Always worship dead jazz greats.
18. Be negative about anything connected with the job.
19. Always bring drinks back to the band stand.
20. When a break is over, always disappear. If this is not possible, make a phone call.
21. If you’re backing up an act, talk when not playing. If it’s a comic, don’t laugh.
22. Always bum a ride.
23. Always wait until someone else is buying before you get thirsty.
24. Never bring your own cigarettes to an engagement.
25. Avoid tipping at all cost (waitresses, coat room, valet, etc.).
26. Always ask, “When does the band eat”, or “Where’s our table”?
27. Remember, it’s not your gig. Mingle with guests and enjoy yourself.