Monday, September 7, 2009

play today ... pay tommorow

I am doing a little gig tonight in New York at a venue called spike hill with a great saxophonist Ian Rapien
He's a bit younger than me and so is his band . Most of them graduated from the New School or Berklee college with master's or bachelor degrees in music performance within the last couple of years .
None of them have health insurance . I lived here for 7 years without it so I know cheap doctors which I have referred them to when they get sick .
After a brief chat during a break in the rehearsal I figured out that they collectively owe about $500,000 in student loans .
Some of the loans have an interest rate of up to 8%
They have been deferring payment due to " economic hardship" for a while but the "dollar will fall soon "

Doing the maths ( math for you Americans ) , just to pay the interest on $500,000 at 5% costs about $ 136.99 per day . The law in America also makes it impossible to declare themselves bankrupt in relation to these loans ( although the big car companies can do it ?? )
Tonight's gig is a tips gig . I reckon the whole band will get about $75 in the tip jar ( there are 5 other jazz bands playing on the bill tonight ) .
The guys cant even pay for the interest on their student loans let alone rent , food , insurance etc ...

Welcome to the jazz business 2009

post script : the band recieved $25 in tips in total :( . I estimated 50 people in the room during the gig . The guys in the band all live in the same house with other musicians who are also in piles of debt . Instead of going to university they could have collectively purchased their own house in park slope and built a jazz club in it .