Adding to my already irrational hostility toward musicians, the city has recently installed “Musicians Priority Loading Zones” in front of various clubs in Seattle, which allow performing musicians to take up to 15 minutes (as opposed to three) to unload all of their precious equipment. The zones are currently at High Dive, Tula’s, The Crocodile, Showbox, The Triple Door, and Chason’s Music Bonanza, and may be expanded to others (like Chason’s Music Bonanza 2).
I know that you don’t feel outraged by this, but you should (it helps the article go by).
Look at it this way: Clown cars are able to unload instantly, NASCAR pit crews can replace all four tires within seconds, and Superman can completely change clothes in a phone booth without anyone noticing, but musicians can’t manage to unload a Craigslist guitar and a box of homemade CD-R albums in three minutes. Unbelievable!
15 minutes is simply too much allotted time. According to my calculations, the average-sized band has three-and-a-half instruments, usually a guitar, a small drum set, a bass, and maybe an oboe or wind chimes or something. And there is typically a member for each instrument, as tradition has it. So, if you accord each member a minute to take the instrument out of the car, and even take into account smoking and looking cool time, that is plenty of time to unload.
But Chason, you’re probably saying (my friends call me Mortimer), three minutes is not enough time to carry everything into the club. Fine. Then dump the instruments onto the sidewalk, and have your toughest band member watch the stuff while somebody moves the van. If you don’t have a tough band member, pay a homeless person to guard it.
Isn’t this unfair to other types of performers? Shouldn’t they also get their own zones? Magicians need time to unload their wands and doves and bounced checks. Burlesque dancers need time to unload their feather boas and sashes and whatever the hell else helps them be neither funny nor sexy (so unfair). And comedians need time to write a bitter joke about the musicians loading zones that they can’t use. I haven’t even mentioned a’cappella groups. I rarely do.
This is totally a slippery slope (I think that everything is a slippery slope). What if you have a really big band like Iron Maiden or Stomp or the Baltimore Ravens marching band? They will begin pushing for even longer unloading times, which will lead to unloading zone times that are even longer than the show itself. You might as well just have the show in the unloading zone.
Understand as well that by giving musicians longer times to unload their equipment, we are subtly encouraging them to needlessly add unnecessary members and instruments to their band, which ultimately hurts the purity of the original. Remember that apocryphal story about the time Dylan played with an amplified band at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival, and somebody pulled the plug? Who do you think did that? Exactly. I’ll do it again if I have to.
Do you realize how this could be abused, especially by abusers like me? Technically speaking, I could leave my car in one of these loading zones, go have a nice 15-minute lunch, and then head back to my car, and it would all be legal as long as I was carrying a harmonica the entire time, I think.
Yes, I know musicians have been getting tickets, and that they barely make any money as it is. But tickets can build character. In fact, you could even introduce one of your songs by saying, “I wrote this next song on a parking ticket that I got while unloading my equipment.” Keep the song introduction brief, though, because you guys take way too much time to do that as well.