Introduction: The Tao of Gigging

Gig:

[gig] Show, IPA, noun, verb, gigged, gig·ging. Slang . noun

  1. A single professional engagement, usually of short duration, as of jazz or rock musicians.
  2. Any job, especially one of short or uncertain duration: a teaching gig out west somewhere.

Verb (used without object)

  1. To work as a musician, especially in a single engagement: He gigged with some of the biggest names in the business.

“Learning is the beginning of wealth. Learning is the beginning of health. Learning is the beginning of spirituality. Searching and learning is where the miracle process all begins”

  • Jim Rohn

 

“It started like most gigs. Some mid sized hall in some nondescript American town in northern California, in the 80’s, playing for a large crowd of kids who hadn’t decided if they were punk or metal yet, and they all looked like Billy Idol.

By the end of the night, 2 police cars and 1 FBI car were demolished, as we were ambushed by 20 local and federal agents carrying a dozen semi automatic weapons, nuzzled on our heads, and it was a major 4-vehicle pile-up, triggered by a speeding 18-wheeler driven by the first meth crazed white Rastafarian I had ever seen, and which culminated with, a ruptured fuel tank that blew, raining fuel down on all of us, and all because of a case of mistaken identity.

We all made it back home in one piece. I’ll never figure out how that happened”

– From The Gigwarrior’s journal” By Piero Amadeo Infante

On behalf of  my teachers, fellow band members, crew people, and on behalf of all my musical heroes who have passed on, I come to you here, as someone who has played and performed his entire life, to welcome you, and greet you on this road that was built by those who came before us, these people who brick by brick built the world we travel and gig in, and those who often are unseen in this calling, who work tirelessly, with no awards, no fame,  and no recognition. They do it out of a love of the craft and the people in it. Many live and die here, and it is therefore literally a life and death matter for a lot of us.

We all form a chain. The links go back thousands of years musically, socially, and politically to the very origins of the human species. There has nearly always been music, and to those of us who have traveled the road our entire lives, we regard it as something of a spiritual calling, a path we chose because it feels right, and because we are those people that a teacher of mine once called “those kids who just can’t stand still”
You might be attracted to the life for the same reasons as me. It’s exciting. I feel like I have made a small difference in the world. I have traveled a lot, experienced some of the best things the world has to offer, (some of them things I could never once afford) and was welcomed at nearly every table, because I, was a musician.
It opened all doors for me. Through it I learned languages, science, technology, philosophy, history, and critical thinking. One of the blessings of being a traveling musician is the people you meet and the things you learn.
I have met highly placed politicians, courtesans, and non-profit workers who wanted to save the world,

And some of the greatest authors of my time, (I did have the advantage of being from the Oakland Berkeley area) major sports figures, some famous criminals, spiritualists who started movements that would sweep the world, cult leaders, homeless street people, famous models and actors, dancers, cooks, and fashion designers.

I’ve played gigs before thousands and as few as 5. I have played in 110 degree heat, and sub-zero cold. I have traveled to my gigs by plane, train, auto, boat, ship, subway, sled, and on foot, and have stayed in over 1000 different hotels, and that’s not counting the chains. I’ve played love-ins, raves, rainbow gatherings, tribal festivals, religious rites, and harvest and farming community festivals, bar mitzvahs, bas mitzvahs, Santeria ceremonies, Mob weddings, Buddhist gatherings, and biker club parties.

I’ve also seen some disturbing and astonishing things. I have seen people die, and be born on the road, get married and divorced, become best friends for life or sworn enemies, and I have witnessed social phenomenon like riots, crowd panics, and tramplings.  On the kinder side, I have seen people meet at my gigs who would later go on to have children no less than 41 (at last count) times. Several non profits were started by people who met at my gigs, and the careers of at least one well known politician, all began in the volatile, crazy, beautiful, messy, and unpredictable world of live music, all at gigs.

Music that I composed somehow found it’s way into commercials, television, movies, dance productions, and martial arts schools, and any time I wasn’t touring with a band, I always picked up another skill that related to music. I have been a tour van driver, a bodyguard, a club manager for two of California’s busiest rock clubs, a studio engineer, a concert promoter, I have run security details as big as 500 men, and given vocal lessons, and also been a drum tech on several occasions, a roadie, a background vocalist, a personal assistant, a producer, a DJ, an on-air radio personality, an actor, a cook, a door person, and a babysitter.
These are all gifts. I didn’t create, or make any of them happen, and I am grateful that I was so fortunate to have experienced them, and at times, felt undeserving of them.
Now, they are a part of my history.

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