I’ve never made $1,000 all at once except in wages, so nothing easy there. But I did come close once in band days.
The assistant principle hired my band for their school’s spring dance. We went and gave him a set list and a contract. We told him that we would accept up to 3 special requests from the school in addition to one “theme song” if they had one. He and/or they could cross out any items on our set list they didn’t want us to play and asterisk any they wanted us to play for sure.
The terms were good for 72 hours — 3 days. All he needed to do was drop the signed contract in the mail along with the song list and we were good. The only thing we don’t allow, we told him, is cross-outs or changes in the contract itself. Any modification and the contract is null, the deal is off.
We get the contract, put it in the calendar and we show up on the Saturday night in question. It was a spring dance but the night had turned bitter cold. We were there an hour early (load in, setup … we had 1 “roadie” so we had to do most of the work ourselves). The principal meets us at the door with a “who the H3LL are you hippies? This is NOT your school, NOT your dance … get out of town.”
Noooo … we’re the band. He turns and screams at the assistant principal (the one we’d met) to meet him in the other corner NOW!!!! Meanwhile, we’re outside freezing our backsides off and time is ticking off. Finally, the A/P comes back over with a sheepish look.
“Boys, the principal said he’d have never hired you if he’d seen you and saw the music you play. I can’t apologize enough but I’m going to have to ask you to do as he says. Please just get back in your cars and leave town.” (At this point we noticed some kids walk into the gym with what looked like a record player.)”
I’m normally the quiet one but I say “We’ll be happy to, but there’s the small matter of the signed contract. You owe us $1,600 (of which my share was $500) and under the circumstances, I see a matter of trust issues. If you get our check, we’ll leave.:
He says “I can’t authorize that” and I say “well, someone must be able to unless you never planned to pay us to begin with. The contract clearly states that the check is due before we leave the venue. The contract also makes clear that we’re owed the money if we can’t perform due to reasons under your control. That seems to be the case here.”
He goes off and we can see a heated argument going on off on the other side of the gym. The Principal and the A/P are going at it … or more to the point, we can see the Principal ripping the other guy’s head off. Finally, the principal sends someone else off and a few minutes later, he walks back over to us.
“You delinquents would be in jail right now if it was up to me but I’ve been advised that you apparently have Satan as a lawyer and that your contract will hold up. Here’s your money now GET OUT OF TOWN.
The sheriff is on his way and I’m sure he’ll have a field day searching your cars when he gets here. I’d guess you have maybe 10 minutes.”
We didn’t need a second invitation and by good luck (this was a small village way out in the country), our singer was fairly familiar with the area. He said that it was a goodly 5 miles to the county line the way we came in. But if we turned down one particular street, it would be a fair amount longer home but it was just over a mile to the county line. We had no doubt the Principal had called the sheriff, so we took the quick way to the line route.
So on a “work” night, I made $500 for having a brief argument with a “real” adult based on a contract that I (not Satan) had created. And an hour later, instead of working, we were all sitting in a bar listening to some other guys working.
I was also at the bank when it opened on Monday morning. I had no doubt that principal would at least consider putting a stop pay on the check. Whether yes or no, I’ll never know because it did clear.