Common Practice Clause…………….#98 (the 60’s)

The three musicians began their forage for employment, but soon a sense of ambivalence was beginning to prevail,  the bay-area clubs hosting live music were mostly cataloged by music designation, country, blues, jazz, rock, Latin,    very few catering to a versatile band with a total inclusive repertoire.  A survey of several eastbay clubs distinguishing,  most were four piece bands with the basic two guitars, bass and drums, or if a five piece group,  an added instrument depending on the genre of the music.  Gary conjecturing it would be ambiguous to try and dislodge an acknowledged  country or top forty band with a confirmed cortege of followers,   but a struggling club might be open to a new musical venue.

It always made good business sense to have one individual represent the band,  as lounge and club managers preferred negotiating with a display of  leadership rather than a consensual group.  The Untouchable discovering two Eastbay  opportunities in Oakland presenting themselves,  the first in the 3200 block of East 14th Street,  and the second in the 94oo block on MacArthur Boulevard, both clubs laboring with four piece bands.

Jerry’s Ford once again journeying across the Bay Bridge,  the band members venturing to a downtown business district lounge on San Francisco’s Sutter Street.  The establishment was acknowledged to Sylvio Tognazzi,  Gary’s little known cousin by marriage, the son of his Aunt Loretta’s deceased husband Dino by his first marriage. His Aunt having ventured that the band might inquire with her stepson Sylvio, as his nightclub sometime frequented live entertainment.  Entering the club, the band discovering an interesting concept,  a small raised performing platform behind the bar,  a provisional area for entertainment.   A congealed  conversion with Silvio,  disclosing the club had provided entertainment during the busy afternoon and early evening hours in the past,  but by single or duo performers.  Gary thanking his cousin,   it was obvious the raised platform behind the bar lacked the stead to accommodate the band.

Returning to Oakland, Glenn readying his rehearsed trump card,  the  overall sound of five instruments, the club only having to compensate three musicians making up the  band,  the 2 Eastbay associations showing a definite interest.  An audition presentation for the East 14th Street  and MacArthur Boulevard clubs was in the makings,  but the band deciding to forgo the East 14th  club with its shot-gun bar, make-shift stage, and definite lack of atmosphere.    Audition for the MacArthur Boulevard lounge,  known as The Elbow Room was at `10 a.m.,  a time chosen to prevent disclosure of managements desire for a change from the current Latin band.

The Elbow Rooms street appearance was presentable,   the club having a luxurious mirrored bar on the south, the bandstand and dance floor on the west and able to seat 75 in a carpeted,  well decor atmosphere.  The band setting up on the dance floor to audition, Gary having mixed feelings about auditioning with the other bands equipment still on the bandstand,  and presumably unaware that they might soon be replaced.  It was confirmed The Untouchables would start the following Tuesday on an open-ended contract for five nights a week.

The Union contractual agreement signed by the club management that was filed with Local #6 of the musician union in reality didn’t correlate with the actual agreed upon terms.  The union contract imposing the union wage plus calling for an additional stipend amount if the band supplied a piano, a P.A. System and to compensate for the Band Leader position,  the Untouchables meeting this criteria.  Management offering a take it or leave lessor wage if they wanted the job, the owner advancing what he referred to as  a  ‘common practice clause’  in lowering the amount the band would receive,  asserting it was adherent of all the clubs in the Bay Area.  The union setting the contractual demands beyond what management would pay, even though a band was required to sign a receipt for the Union contract amount, Gary acknowledging a better term for the ‘common practice clause’ it was called  ‘kickback’.

The last time Gary ventured to the memorable  Lake Chabot golf course was in high school, the recollection of Hank Ball and him caddying on weekends and the many after school tee  offs indelibly etched in his memory.   Glenn and Jerry having never been exposed to the eighteen holes of challenge,  their expertise was limited to an entertaining past time called miniature golf, but this would soon change.   The three traveling to the  60018 yard par  72 course that opened in 1923, a five dollar rental fee provided a golf bag of used clubs enabling them to charge the fairways and hole the greens.

The scenic hill course a wonder, the feel of the clubs once again bringing back an awareness to the chapters of past events that had transpired.  Gary was absolute about one thing with introducing his friends to golf and to Chabot, its monstrous  673yard,  par 6,  18th hole, something that every golfer would remember, even these two novice’s.  Gary wasn’t at all surprised that once Glenn and Jerry experienced only what a golfer can, they would be hooked.

It was the unexpected of the expected.  Glenn’s wife June giving birth to a daughter named Kim and was in Lawton.  Glenn without hesitation making a decision to return by bus.   The club management somewhat unhappy about the short notice, but also the decline of the other bands regular following with the  change of music venue.  With Glenn’s departure, Gary was in a state of limbo, it was decision time, he could remain and return to the past, or venture on the uncharted highway of tomorrow.

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