The Yiddishe Cup method

I’ve sent out two versions of my band, Yiddishe Cup, on a single night.  Not often. It’s hardly worth the logistical contortions: Yiddishe Cup in mitosis. I name the groups the A Band and the B Band.

I should probably call them the red unit and blue unit, like Ringling Bros. does, so there are no bruised egos.

I’m lucky, I always wind up in the A band.

I tell my customers up front what the story is. I say, “We’re booked but if you really want us I might be able to pull it off.” Then I try to steer them to another band, but if they keep insisting, I’ll do the B Band routine.

I didn’t try the A and B band maneuver until I was 15 years into the biz and had a full stable of subs who knew the Yiddishe Cup Method.

Tip: bandleaders, don’t play the A/B game without being very experienced and upfront. If you’re a liar, you’ll encounter what the New York musicians call a “screamer.” That’s a bar mitzvah mom screaming, “Where’s your bandleader? I didn’t hire this band!”

About the Author
Bert Stratton is a musician and landlord in Cleveland, Ohio. He is an occasional contributor to the New York Times, Jerusalem Post, Cleveland Plain Dealer and City Journal. Byliner chose his essay "The Landlord's Tale" as one of the best magazine articles of 2012. He blogs at "Klezmer Guy: Real Music & Real Estate."
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