Archive for August, 2010

R.I.P. Marty Fischer

August 23, 2010

(The following from Tom Thompson)

With heartbreaking sadness, I learned yesterday that Marty Fischer has passed. I do not have any other details at this time, but have reflected on the many years that we worked together especially with Pen Lucy. Listed below are some of the groups that Marty drummed with……

  • Mickey Fields and the Tilters
  • The Elegants
  • Bob Brady and the Con Chords
  • Pen Lucy

Tom T.

(More recently, Marty regularly played with Al Rossi and Al Rezeka. Marty died from complications of throat cancer on Sunday, August 22nd.  He was 65 years old.)

Marty Fischer at the drums

Marty Fischer at the drums.

One Lifetime Dream Come True (pt.2)

August 15, 2010

Remembrances of Dan Trinter …

How I went to Las Vegas

I had almost quit Si Zentner’s band.  I contemplated a return to Baltimore, or continuing with Zentner band.  Instead, my wife and I jumped off the band bus and moved to Las Vegas.    .

Las Vegas in the 60’s, 70,s and 80,s

Las Vegas in the middle sixties was just beginning to flourish.  The State Gaming Comission required Hotels to stay open 24 hours a day, maintain a Headline Showroom and offer Lounge entertainment 24 hours a day!  The Musicians Union was very strong and  very active.  Lots of work!

The day we arrived  we both joined the Las Vegas Musicians Union, Local 369.   Strings were in strong demand that summer.  My wife, a violinist, started getting calls to work the day we arrived I went to work within two weeks. We both got to play with all sorts of Musical Heroes that had settled in town.

By 1970 the Culinary Workers, Stagehands, and Musicians Unions united to negotiate a beautiful contract providing employees Job Security, Health Benefits, Vacation pay, Overtime pay, Rehearsal pay, and Pension benefits. SWEET!!!!   There was still a huge shortage of players – some musicians were working two or even three jobs a night!

For the next thirty years I enjoyed playing in the showrooms behind every big star imaginable: (Jimmy Durante, Jack Benny, Mel Tillis, Phyllis Diller, Bob Newhart, Tony Bennett, Barbara Eden, Danny Thomas, Bob Goulet, Fifth Dimension, Bernadette Peters, Marlene Deitrich, Lena Horne, Paul Anka, Trini Lopez, Julie London,  Jackson Five, Leo Sayer, Bobby Gentry, Jimmy Dean, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr…, and all of the other Vegas Headliners – just about all the big stars!).   Broadway?  I played Fiddler on the Roof, Promises, Promises, 42nd Street, Chorus Line… my brain cells cannot retrieve them all!  I played all of the big French Production Shows (Lido, Casino de Paris, Follies Bergere… usually with casts of over a hundred beautiful, mostly naked, women.  It was a really lucrative time for all ‘Vegas Musicians.  The Unions maintained all of the contracts and negotiated yearly raises and improvements in our work conditions.  Thanks AFM!

Dan Trinter

Dan Trinter

One Lifetime Dream Come True (pt.1)

August 2, 2010

Dan Trinter is a fine man and a mighty fine musician. We played trombone together at Parkville High School, went to the Peabody Conservatory together, and drank beer at Loch Raven together. He was a working Baltimore musician in the ’60s, a working Las Vegas musician and band leader in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s,  and President of the Las Vegas local of the American Federation of Musicians in the ’90s. In 2007 he joined Terry Fator’s band at the Las Vegas Hilton and currently works for Fator at the Mirage.

When Jere Stermer sent me his old Musicians Union Statement a while back I got to thinking about the union and working musicians, and that got me thinking about Dan. He agreed to write some of his remembrances and reflections from his unique perspective for posting here. What follows is Part 1 … with thanks to Dan Trinter.

How I joined the Union

I grew up in Baltimore, surrounded by many really talented musicians.  I knew guys from bands like the Poker Chips, the Majestics, Mello-Men, the Del Monicos, the Dynamics, the Echoes, and plenty of other bands.  By the time I entered High School I had decided to try to make it as a professional musician. (Thanks to Ivan Bowser, Ray Otten, and John Melick!)

In 1963 Hank Levy invited a few of us (Don Lehnhoff, Don Barto, Randy Fillmore, me and some others) to rehearse with his Kenton-style Big Band.   Hank had a concert booked for a Baltimore Jazz Club (The Eastwind?).  We knew little about the Musicians Union, but felt we should join as part of the Hank Levy experience, so we all went to Local 40 on N. Eutaw Street to sign up.

Victor Fuentealba, Local 40 President ushered us into his office, conducted a polite interview with us, then ceremoniously signed us up as members of Local 40 congratulating us for being proficient enough to play with Hank Levy.

I later learned that there may have been an age requirement that Victor “waived” for us to become members. Vic later served as President of the AFM from 1978 to 1987.

Thanks, Vic!

Dan Trinter

How I turned “Professional”

In 1966, I got a call to go on the road with Si Zentner’s big band.  Si was a famous trombone player with about 10 Gold Records, his most recent being “Up A Lazy River.” Brent Price,  one of the Hank Levy guys, was playing lead trumpet for Si and recommended me when an opening came up.   Thanks, Brent!

About ten months later the Draft Board caught up with me and demanded that I get a physical exam.  They needed me to fight in Viet Nam!  I made an appointment for my Army physical during a 5 day booking in Salt Lake City.  I planned to take my physical, quickly leave the band, return to Baltimore and try to join one of the Army Bands before they could put a rifle in my hands.

COLOR BLIND!!!  I was rejected by the Army because I could not distinguish colors to their satisfaction!  Sweet!!!