Now is the right time to become an American Federation of Musicians member. From ragtime to rap, from the early phonograph to today's digital recordings, the AFM has been there for its members. And now there are more benefits available to AFM members than ever before, including a multi-million dollar pension fund, excellent contract protection, instrument and travelers insurance, work referral programs and access to licensed booking agents to keep you working.
As an AFM member, you are part of a membership of more than 80,000 musicians. Experience has proven that collective activity on behalf of individuals with similar interests is the most effective way to achieve a goal. The AFM can negotiate agreements and administer contracts, procure valuable benefits and achieve legislative goals. A single musician has no such power.
The AFM has a proud history of managing change rather than being victimized by it. We find strength in adversity, and when the going gets tough, we get creative - all on your behalf.
Like the industry, the AFM is also changing and evolving, and its policies and programs will move in new directions dictated by its members. As a member, you will determine these directions through your interest and involvement. Your membership card will be your key to participation in governing your union, keeping it responsive to your needs and enabling it to serve you better. To become a member now, visit www.afm.org/join.
September 2, 2014Bob Popyk - Member Local 78 (Syracuse, NY)
The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) held its summer show for the sixth year at Nashville’s Music City Center in July. NAMM is comprised of 9,200 member companies in 99 countries. It’s no small venue, and there were almost 450 exhibitors. There were more than 1,500 brands of instruments and accessories, and talent beyond belief. More than 12,000 people attended. AFM International Executive Board Member and Local 257 (Nashville, TN) President Dave Pomeroy and many other Nashville musician members did their part to make their presence known and create musical excitement.
The preshow opening party featured Vince Gill and The Players, consisting of Local 257 session musicians Brent Mason (guitar), Paul Franklin (pedal steel), John Hobbs (piano), Eddie Bayers (drums), and Michael Rhodes (bass). Each of them took turns telling about their most memorable, funny, and interesting gigs. It was a real kick.
Gill talked about opening for Kiss back in the early years when he had a fledgling bluegrass group. It was awful. During the first number the fans started booing. They wanted Kiss. During the second number, they started throwing beer bottles, and yelling, “Get off the stage!” After the third number, Gill mooned the audience and mentioned something about what they could Kiss. It was such a hilarious disaster that Paul Harvey featured the incident on his radio show as “Now, the rest of the story …”
John Hobbs talked about being in the band on The Joan Rivers Show, and being asked on-air to back up a singer, on the spur of the moment, without a chart. He had no knowledge of the tune but still tried to pull it off by starting with a few correct chords and then guessing. He was wrong and at that point the singer said she forgot the words.
Michael Rhodes and Paul Franklin talked about changes in the music industry, particularly in country music. Country music has changed, and Rhodes said you need to be a chameleon, or as he put it a “chameleon-aire.” You have to change with the times. Franklin also said the secret is to learn how to adapt. Amen to that.
Dave Pomeroy headed up the Basses Loaded 2014 show in the Davidson Ballroom with his All-Bass Orchestra, featuring many of Nashville’s finest electric and acoustic bassists, including Local 257 members Mike Chapman, Adam Beard, Don Kerce, Dave Roe, Dave Webb, Tisha Simeral, Charlie Chadwick, Roy Vogt, and Dave Francis.
They played tunes from his DVD The Day the Bass Players Took Over the World, and backed up guest bassists Local 47 (Los Angeles, CA) member Chuck Rainey, Bakhiti Kumalo, and Local 257 member Vail Johnson in an epic low-end jam session. You might want to check out a couple of clips from the DVD on Earwave Music’s YouTube channel or davepomeroy.com.
Later that same night, Muriel Anderson’s All Star Guitar Night featured stellar playing from Local 257’s Pomeroy, Bryan Sutton, Casey Campbell, Brent Mason, Anderson herself, Brad Albin, and Randy Mason.
Local 257’s excellent musicians were heard in a variety of contexts throughout the weekend, from the Top 100 Dealer Awards show band featuring Duffy Jackson, Evan Cobb, Roland Barber, and Joe Gross, to players demonstrating products on the floor. NAMM’s morning concerts were exciting as well, and the world music trio of Dann Sherrill (percussion), Jeff Taylor (accordion), and multi-instrumentalist Rory Hoffman on guitar were particularly outstanding.
Local 257 also had a booth on the show floor. It’s amazing how many people don’t know about the American Federation of Musicians. Staff and volunteers answered many questions and created a lot of buzz and interest in our union.
NAMM was delighted to work with Local 257, and looks forward to working with them again at next year’s summer show.