Home Culture Steady Gig

Steady Gig

By Deems Tsutakawa

For The North American Post

Over the years, I have had the good fortune to play many long running engagements. Most of the gigs have been at very respectable establishments like The Crowne Plaza, The Edgewater, The Executive Inn, El Gaucho, The Silver Dragon, The Tulalip Hotel and more recently, the Snoqualmie Casino 12 Moons Asian Bistro.

The weekly restaurant and nightclub gigs often lasted two or three years, sometimes more. The longest running gig that I have ever held, which is still going, is playing the concert grand piano at The Bellevue Collection. This gig has been going on for over a decade with no apparent end in sight.

In my business, steady is the operative word here as the vast majority of musicians in the world whether they play Jazz, Blues, Country or Hard Rock are by and large always looking for work.

I heard a story about an Irish Pub owner who went to Ireland some 30 years ago and actually brought an Irish Band over to play music in his nightclub. Legend has it that this band has been playing at the venue four to six nights a week for the better part of three decades. Most full time employees would consider 30 years a career and then retire after that much work.

The longest running engagement that I have ever heard of is The Society of Seven’s current engagement at The Outrigger Waikiki Hotel in Honolulu. The group has held down this job six nights per week for well over 30 years and counting. Even though they are a show band and specialize in entertaining tourists, that is by far the steadiest gig I have ever heard of.

I believe they should be considered for the legendary Guinness Book of World Records.

[Editor’s Note]

Deems Tsutakawa is a local Sansei musician. He can be reached at deemst@deemsmusic.com.

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The North American Post is a community newspaper that celebrates Japanese culture in the Greater Seattle area. Founded by 1st generation Japanese-Americans in 1902, the publication is one of the oldest minority-owned newspapers in the region. Today, with bilingual articles in English and Japanese, the publication connects readers with diverse cultural backgrounds to Seattle’s Japanese community. Our articles include local news, event calendars, restaurant reviews, Japanese cooking recipes, community interviews, and more.