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The insouciance of “got a gig”

You know, just like, walked in:

By his mid-teens he had dropped out of Dobbins High School in Philadelphia and teamed up with Gamble as the singing duo Kenny and Tommy.

Finding little success, he made his way to Harlem, where he got a gig in the house band at the Apollo Theatre, backing visiting singers such as Sam Cooke.

Yes, yes, I know, there were more showbands and backing groups around then. But still, that’s quite some gig to just “get”.

3 thoughts on “The insouciance of “got a gig””

  1. Be decent at what you do, know/befriend the right peeps, get given a shot. Sink or swim.

    It’s not that hard to get a gig like that.
    I started my run as a techie in professional theatre for what’s now part of the Endemol blob that way, back when.
    Old friend already worked there. Got the chance to “work with” a show backstage to have a Look-See.
    Next up they needed a followspot monkey, and it seemed I impressed the stage manager enough to be given the chance on that one visit..
    Thus I ended up with “Professional Theatre Technician” on my resume, with Les Miserables, Evita, West Side Story, and some others as padding to prove it. And Stage Design/Production creds to my name for some Other Stuff.
    Not bad for a biologist…

    Now.. keeping that gig is quite another matter. Turnover is pretty high, and you need actual skills/talent and the ability to work through the Lower Ranks while not being Offending against Nuggan.
    Showbizz is… really harsh. At all levels.

  2. I once got a gig as bodyguard to a stripper. Be there, be large, be able to affect a menacing Glaswegian growl.

    (I also used to be able to affect a Louis Armstrong singing voice but never found a way to profit from it.)

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