Alley Audio Clip and Transcript
Interviewer: Alex Walsh
EA: As I said, I was a contractor. I became a contractor.
AW: What does that mean?
EA: Well, I’d hire a band — big bands would play for...
EA: When a big show came here and they wanted a contractor to contract for the show...
AW: I understand, yeah.
EA: And I had to get the band together.
EA: I was good at math and Jim Schlicht helped me a lot, getting the musicians together, because he helped me a lot in that category. But I was good at math, so I knew how to figure. So I was good at things like that. Being a contractor, I got a number from the government, so I could contract work for Gene Kelly. Gene Kelly wasn’t in the show (Clown Around), but it was his show. So I met Gene Kelly, I met Nelson Riddle and Tony Bennett…
AW: So, shows in the theatres downtown, those shows, or concerts?
EA: Concerts, just [those] coming around.
EA: I did stuff for Gladys Knight and the Pips. I did stuff for Tony Bennett. I got a picture of Tony Bennett and me here. I met Tony Bennett. I did stuff with Jack Jones.
EA: Allan Smith was a contractor, and I contracted him. Sammy Davis, Jr. (Both laugh briefly) So I met some pretty powerful guys in show business for a guy (laughs) that wasn’t a full-time musician. (Laughs)
AW: Yeah. How did you – did that mess with your head at all?
EA: No, I was pretty sharp. I have to say something. I was pretty sharp. I mean, I had a lot of help from some – by my friends. Jim Schlicht helped me get a lot of musicians together. He was a lot of help for me. And he also played with me. So he benefited both ways, too. (Laughs)
Working a Day Job
AW: So – did anyone, I mean, did they care whether you had a day job or not, or was it just like, “Oh, that’s what you gotta…”?
EA: No – no, no. No, it didn’t interrupt my day job.
AW: ‘Cause people now they look back and they think those are the golden days.
AW: But, yet, here you had to have a day job in order... Could you not have?
EA: Yeah. Do you know how much I was making from my day job when I got married, which was [in]… 1938… I was making a hundred and ten dollars a month.
AW: And you couldn’t...
EA: I got married on that! So that’s why I red-capped down at Third and Townsend and played music on the side. I had to.
EA: How you gonna live on one hundred and ten dollars a month?
EA: Yeah. Although that was...
AW: I mean, back then, I dunno...
AW: Was that a lot? I don’t know.
EA: It was different, yeah. But I red-capped down at Third and Townsend. I was a Red Cap. I’d go down and red-cap early in the morning and then went to the Metropolitan [Life Insurance Company], run elevator, and on weekends, play music.
EA: You had to do all those things. But it didn’t hurt me. I’m ninety-two years old. (Laughs a long time)
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