Quiz: Are you a bluegrass diva?

Chris JonesThe concept of bluegrass “success” is a subjective one, especially in a world where the majority of bluegrass professionals hold at least an off-season day job (for what it’s worth, this was once true of professional athletes, too). Last week, I suggested that you can consider yourself a success if you’re making enough money and earning enough perks to stay one step ahead of your own ever-evolving fussiness while on the road.

I’ve prepared a quiz below, which will assist you in determining just how much of a road diva you’ve become:

You’re eating at a mid-priced restaurant while on the road, and your iced tea order arrives. You do the following:

A. Politely ask them to exchange your tea because you had ordered it unsweetened

B. You accept it and say nothing, even though you had ordered coffee

C. Swirl it a few times, take a sip while closing your eyes, identify it as a poor vintage Lipton 2015, then send it back and make them brew up a fresh batch

An event producer has put you and your band up at the local “Econo-thrift Hotel.” In the morning, the breakfast offering consists of Fruit Loops, stale coffee, and yesterday’s doughnuts. You react this way:

A. You opt to walk across the road to the IHOP

B. You eat what you can, remarking that when you first were on the road, these kinds of places never offered breakfast at all

C. You don’t react at all. You’re still sound asleep in the 4-star hotel you decided to pay for because the “Econo-thrift” was unacceptable

Your contract rider calls for the following:

A. Hotel accommodations, water and food backstage, 1 guest pass per band member

B. That page is blank. You’re just hoping to get paid something (this time)

C. A cappuccino maker and a ping pong table in your dressing room, a full meal delivered from the nearest vegan restaurant, gluten-free chips, a case of blood orange flavored San Pellegrino sparkling water (freshly-cut flowers for the dressing room optional but strongly encouraged)

You are being provided ground transportation from your hotel to the venue. The van arrives on time, but it’s not large enough to accommodate all equipment and band members comfortably. You do the following:

A. Squeeze in as best you can, knowing it’s a short ride

B. Volunteer to walk the two miles to the venue if they’ll transport your instrument . . . or you can also carry it yourself, you don’t mind

C. Show up 20 minutes late for the ride, then call for a separate vehicle to come get you, reminding the driver of your contract requirement forbidding any driver from engaging you in conversation or looking at you

When flying, you make sure your travel agent . . .

A. Gets you an aisle seat, in “economy plus,” if it’s financially feasible

B. Your travel agent is you, and you fly on those airlines that charge an extra fee for the seat belt

C. Books you first class, with a separate seat booked for your instrument. No layovers under 50 minutes or over an hour

Answer key:

If you answered mostly “A”:

You’re still pretty easy going, but you have acquired some professional standards. You can get by on a mid-level (i.e. scant) bluegrass income

If you answered mostly “B”:

You may be too easy going, bordering on being a pushover. You may find yourself talking promoters down instead of up. You can get by on almost no music income (and have), and you’ll sleep on a lot of couches, floors, and in back of Bosnian truckstops

If you answered mostly “C”:

You’re definitely a bluegrass diva. I’m hoping for the sake of your finances that you have a 6-figure asking price, and a manager who calls people “babe”