Archive for September, 2010

One Lifetime Dream Come True (pt.3)

September 7, 2010

This is the final installment in Dan Trinter’s reflections of a Las Vegas musician from Baltimore.

Las Vegas in the 90‘s – Life as a Union President

1989 produced a huge strike between Musicians and the Hotels.  Almost a year later the Hotels replaced over 700 showroom musicians with taped music.   A major tragedy!!  In 1992, three hundred of the best players in Vegas drafted me to serve as President of the Musicians Union.  For the next eight years I was the President of Local 369 of the American Federation of Musicians.   I worked on every possible problem musicians run into, administered tons of therapy for lots of musicians that had never before been unemployed, and in general worked to salvage what jobs still existed for players.

During those years I dealt with a bunch of good stuff and even more bad stuff.  In the end the Hotels collectively decimated the old Las Vegas Entertainment scene.  They started charging higher prices for shows that were accompanied by pre-recorded tracks.   Musicians in “The Entertainment Capital of the World” were reduced to weekend gigs and weddings.

Dan in Las Vegas in the 21st Century

In 2000 my service at the Union ended.  (It was kind of a relief for me.)  I tried early retirement, but after a few years I got a call from Wayne Newton to finish off a 3 year contract at the Stardust Hotel.  (I had authored that contract for him when I was Local 369 President!) I took it.

In 2007 Terry Fator won the million dollar prize from “America’s Got Talent” and came to Las Vegas to try to get a showroom gig.  Terry Fator’s talent is awesome and quite evident.  Lucky me, I got the call to be a part of his band.!

We worked 3 days a month at the Las Vegas Hilton for about a year, ending when Terry landed a full time gig at the Mirage Hotel: one show a night, five days a week, for five years with a five year renewal option. I am currently 1 ½ years into that Mirage deal, enjoying playing my horn as always.  Sweet!!

There’s an old story about Dan that I heard 2nd hand. It starts with Dan being asked by a casino manager why they paid him so much as a musician and band leader. In response, Dan grabbed the lead trumpet part off the stand and, while both sight reading and transposing the trumpet music, played it flawlessly … up an octave! “That’s why.” was Dan’s answer.

I thought it would be good to conclude this musician’s tale with a sample of Dan’s playing. He sent me this little clip back when we first started doing the Jams. It’s just Dan in his basement, with a few electronic friends, playing a trombone solo of the great Ray Charles (and later Joe Cocker) hit “Sticks and Stones.”

click bar

"Sticks & Stones" — Dan Trinter, trombone