Skip to comments.Airline terror baggage ban hits a bum note: musicians
Posted on 09/10/2006 8:02:03 PM PDT by Westlander
A group of top classical musicians has warned of the threat to artistic life from a hand baggage ban introduced after police foiled an alleged bomb plot against transatlantic airliners.
Many performers refuse to let their instruments, often centuries old and extremely valuable, out of their sight when they travel on planes in case they are damaged in the hold.
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Ohh boo friggin hooo being an "artistic type' is soooo hard wah wah wah.
Dang it, now those Middle Eastern err, um, "bands" flying out to Vegas will have to go to Plan B.
Yea, fault the western musicians who don't want to sacrifice 300 years + of western christian music tradition based on muslim produced fear. I am all for these musicians.
Change careers to become contemporary artists by using your instruments as platforms to cover with elephant dung.
Terrorists disguised as "artists" will whine endlessly about the damage done to their art until the pilot, of his own free will, crashes the plane into the ground.
No need for box cutters or explosives.
Not a lot of chamber music gets to your trailer park, does it?
As a frequent flyer, I feel for these guys.
"Many performers refuse to let their instruments, often centuries old and extremely valuable, out of their sight when they travel on planes in case they are damaged in the hold.
smart, luggage flies meters when thrown, can have very heavy items dropped from above onto it, etc.
Well, it's stupid. I wouldn't let my hi-priced fiddle out of my sight, either. I've never minded checking Fender Gtars though, they're built like canoe paddles. If we'd just...I don't know, maybe...PROFILE, and make Muslims check their "centuries old" fiddles, we'd be safe enough.
So you prefer to have a ban on carry-on luggage as opposed to ban on terrorists?
It'd be safer to simply ban Muslims from flying...
...instead of allowing Muslims to fly, but banning anything that could possibly ever be used to fashion any sort of item that could ever be considered harmful.
I'm with the musicians on this one. When I played sax, no way would I ever let me tenor out of my sight. It was not worth anything near a Stradivarius, but it was irreplaceable and easily damaged.
I understand their concerns.
I knew a bagpiper who checked his pipes. When he saw the case come up on the carousel, he noticed that one latch was unlocked. Grabbing the case and flinging it open, he realized that his worst nightmare had come true:
Someone had put a second set of bagpipes in.
30K Cello, top dollar hard case...
Thanks US Air.
No comp., wasn't marked "delicate", "Fragile, Musical instrumant" not good enough.
LOL! Shame on you! For some strange reason, I love bagpipe music. I don't understand why people don't like it.
On a serious note, these instruments are how the musicians earn their living. A bang, a dent, can ruin a guitar as much as it can a concert violin. We need to get smart about airline travel and start PROFILING. Leave grandma and Yo Yo Ma alone.
Nice flame ....funny too! We who fly all have hassles now. Artists just whine louder and maybe have better tone than the rest of us out here.
I love pipe music too...and pipe jokes.
And I quite agree re the musicians - I play, and I'd never check an instrument.
Musical instruments are not the only ones at risk. Sometimes I travel with carefully calibrated electronic instruments. Having those bashed in the baggage hold would negate the purpose of the trip, even if the instruments weren't permanently damaged and could be re-calibrated once I got home again.
The idiocy of a one-size-fits-all bureaucracy. There must be a way to inspect and bond those instruments, especially when prior arrangements are made.
Who's more likely to have a bomb in their bag? A middle-aged professional cellist with the National Symphony en route to Europe or a group of 30 year old Arab males?
When I was growing up, my cello teacher had to purchase a separate ticket for her cello when she flew somewhere, because she wouldn't trust baggage handlers with the instrument.
FR has its share of anti-art conservatives too.
Then these folks need to resort to what has worked in previous days, a bus tour. There are plenty of folks out there who choose not to fly for a variety of reasons, and somebody with a (rare musical instrument|artifact|test equipment|cool NFA weapons) would do well to also become a "not-flyer" type. Hey, it works for John Madden, right?
Plenty of not-major-leage sports teams and not-quite-MTV bands live off of the ol' Bus Tour. Musicians and traveling performers simply need to coodinate their tours in a circuit that works with a travel-by-road schedule, that's all. Might lead to a less hectic lifestyle, too. Less stressful.
Well, there is talk of banning electronic devices from aircraft. Laptop batteries have been known to catch on fire and cell phones can be used as detonators. It's just a matter of time until those items will be prohibited from aircraft, too, even as stowed baggage.
Probably just a matter of time before the two choices for flying will be nude and conscious or clothed and knocked out with an IV sedative.
It seems to me they could make an exception for bona fide musicians. It's not that hard to x-ray a tuba or bass, after all.
And Willie Park, a piper at the College of Piping in Glasgow, said he knew of Russian and Japanese pipers who had posted their instruments home rather than putting them in an aeroplane hold.
And how did the postal system get the instruments to their destinations? Did they perchance ship the mail via cargo aeroplanes? In the hold perhaps? Hmm.
I read all the posts and I'm with the musicians on this one. There must be a way to drum (no pun intended) into all real Americans' heads just how difficult it is to be an American because it's more important to accomodate somebody with a towel on their head.
... with a piccolo, maybe.... (ok, she could get away with the headjoint....
P.S. I meant I play guitar-family instruments. I don't play bagpipes - my hands are too small.
In 1987 the Chicago Symphony came to my town.
Early on the day of the concert, the large instruments were being hauled by a semi from the previous city on the tour. It overturned on the interstate in high winds, a couple hundred miles from us. Orchestra management scrambled to arrange for another truck and driver to get to the scene, with help to salvage the cargo and bring it as quickly as possible to our venue.
The concert was delayed for hours. When we heard that the alternate truck was finally arriving, my friend and I wandered around to back dock of the concert hall.
We watched as the cases were unloaded. Some of the larger instruments hadn't fared too well, despite their elaborate packaging. I remember a few busted basses and cellos in particular. These were replaced by loaners from the members of the local orchestra.
As the unloading begain, I found myself standing next to a tall, gray-haired older fellow who looked vaguely familiar. I said it was a shame about all those big, beautiful, valuable instruments. He said he was glad he could travel with his instrument as a carry-on.
His name was Adolph Herseth.
I forgot to mention his instrument. He is now the world's Dean Emeritus of orchestral trumpets.
The bureaucrats would probably get mixed up and give us the choice of conscious and clothed, or nude and drugged out.
I always thought that was why I couldn't play the guitar. I tried lessons years ago, but found I just couldn't imitate my favorite rock and rollers. I consoled myself by taking flute lessons a la Ian Anderson from Tull.
I do play classical piano and don't think my hands are particularly small, but when you look at the finger joints on male guitarists, they seem very long compared to those on women. I had no idea that you needed large hands to play the pipes.
This reminds me of a story I read about the Chicago Symphony Orchestra travelling to Vienna back in the '20s or '30s...the violinists were refused entry to their hotel because of the fact that they were carrying violin cases, which all the movies of the time showed Chicago gangsters carrying around to tote their tommy guns!
They can lie about being Muslim, you know.
One could always be a pianist. They never have to ship their instruments.
Maybe they can post larger containers (thus better padding) than routine airline flights can handle through their baggage systems.
I dont know about that i tried to take a bus to europe once and almost drown. I decided then and there to fly across oceans. Maybe these musicians feel the same way?
Did you try one of those Cuban sea-cars?
Have these guys ever heard of the simple concept of insurance?
They're able to somehow afford instruments worth thousands but can't afford to insure them? It must suck to be that stupid.
"Then these folks need to resort to what has worked in previous days, a bus tour. There are plenty of folks out there who choose not to fly for a variety of reasons, and somebody with a (rare musical instrument|artifact|test equipment|cool NFA weapons) would do well to also become a "not-flyer" type. Hey, it works for John Madden, right?"
For some, yes, this is an obvious answer - a lot of the big rock and pop bands travel by bus, and stow their gear in trucks and haul it around.
However, this does not address the issue of international performers. Many artists, especially in the classical and jazz field, travel around the globe without a full band as an entourage, and need to bring their intruments with them. I would'nt check my $300 Ibenez guitar when I traveled (before the ban), I can completely understand why the musicians are upset.
Add on top of that, you cannot LOCK checked baggage, so you add the risk of theft to the issue. When you have a $100,000 dollar violin, you do not want to imagine one of the thugs at JFK at a pawn shop asking 'How much is dis wort?"
I work in the music industry, and this ban HAS effected many musicians negatively. Tours are not going forward, peformances are being canceled, and top notch musicians are choosing to sit at home rather than risk their priceless and necessary tools of their trade to the gorillas that load and unload airplanes.
"Plenty of not-major-leage sports teams and not-quite-MTV bands live off of the ol' Bus Tour. Musicians and traveling performers simply need to coodinate their tours in a circuit that works with a travel-by-road schedule, that's all. Might lead to a less hectic lifestyle, too. Less stressful."
Again, that's fine, if you just play in THIS country. Any rock or metal band of any repute plays the festivals in Europe, or just Europe in general. In this modern world, such circuits are virtually impossible with current state of bookings and schedules - very few performers can simply pick a date when they play, it's set up months in advance, and even then, booking musicians of ANY genre is one of the hardest jobs in the industry. Sometimes, you just HAVE to fly.
Some bands solved this problem years ago, by maintaining seperate sets of equipment - one for the US, and one for Europe/Japan.
As for less hectic...have you ever been on a tour bus? Words that would NOT describe the conditions is "less stressful". Unless you're Madonna or the top 1% of the industry, you share a bus with 12 other people. Your bunk is about 6'-7' x 3 x 3. It's noisy. It's stale conditioned air. Everything and everyone is on top of each other. If several people don't bathe, you can tell, quickly. A groupie or fan threw up in the WC? You get to smell that for 10 hours. Oh, and rule #1 on tour buses - you NEVER, EVER, under any circumstances, use the toilet on a tour bus for anything but liquids, and even then, try not to.
Tour buses are also expensive. Many bands simply cannot afford them, or have two bands, crew, and management on one bus.
Traveling by tour bus is not like RV living. Trust me. The first thing people do when the bus hits the next destination, is they get OFF the buss for as long as possible.
Also, many musicians, who work in the classical and jazz fields, also travel for more than just performance. Often, they go from LA for studio work to NY for a performance to London for a symposium to Vienna for more studio work back to NYC to perform again and meet with the agent...it's not that simple for them, to just travel by bus. In this modern music industry, you MUST diversify, and travel is very much part of the job. We're not talking about a once a month inconvenience, we're talking daily.
Also, when you work as a musician, you are an independant contractor, most of the time. To get gigs, you have to travel. Sometimes your gigs are on opposite sides of the country, or in other countries. This ban is effecting people's livelyhoods, especially in the jazz and classical fields where they make virtually no money from album sales or merchandising or ticket sales.
"One time at band camp..."
"Have these guys ever heard of the simple concept of insurance?
They're able to somehow afford instruments worth thousands but can't afford to insure them? It must suck to be that stupid."
Do you understand that most of the insurance companies WON'T insure them? Or, if they are willing, charge so much that the musican cannot afford it?
And insurance matters little if the viola was made 200 years ago and is irreplacable - even IF they'll insure it for 100% of the replacement (very rare), the odds or replacing it are slim to none.
If you don't understand why they use these instruments, and why it matters,you have no business in this thread.
Try and have a little knowledge of what you speak of, before you call people stupid. Most insurance companies won't insure run of the mill rack mount stuff for average rock musicians, let alone priceless classical instruments. Talk to road managers about securing and keeping insurance on a band's equipment sometime, and be prepared to listen to some horror stories.
It's very simple. A quick check of a $100,000 violin in the airport line that would take all of 5 minutes TOPS, or insurance you cannot afford - and you STILL have to check it, you might as well smash it yourself, the loss of a valuable instrument, and the loss of income from the damaged or lost or stolen instrument.
I don't think they're the stupid ones here.
I suppose they could do like Tom Paxton did when the airlines broke his guitar - he wrote a little ditty and sang it at concerts for awhile after the incident. All I remember of it is the first two lines - I think the airline is now bankrupt - who knows, perhaps Paxton was helpful in their demise.
"Thank you, Republic Airlines
For breaking the neck of my guitar."