Yidisher soldat in the trenches

Gigging is all about not forgetting stuff. I’ve forgotten my clarinet.  A band is a platoon going into battle: mics, cables, axes, tune books, jackets, instrument stands, capos, neck straps, amps, monitors, lights.

My drummer — long gone — once showed up without sticks.  He cut up curtain dowel rods to use for sticks.

When I forgot my clarinet, I played a lot of harmonica and clapped.  Thirty minutes into the gig, the rabbi asked me, “Where’s your flute?” (Some old-time Orthodox rabbis don’t know the difference between a flute and clarinet.)  I said I was saving my flute.

My singer’s wife drove my axe to the gig — about 30 miles.  I paid her.

(“Der Yidisher soldat in di trenches” is a famous —  make that semi-famous — klezmer tune by Naftule Brandwein.)

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."