Musicians Bear Responsibility, Too 

On reading the Jan. 9 article concerning the in-process and upcoming changes at Bogart's ("Bogart's Closing, Plans to Reopen as Upscale Club," Street Talk) my husband, George Melvin, and I were very disappointed with the reporting.

George brought both piano and B-3 organ bands to Bogart's for nearly two years, and while some bands and some evenings resulted in a better draw than others, we could never suggest that Jim Bacas ever treated us badly or unfairly.

However, it was our business to get the band to start by the agreed time, bring or send no poorly qualified substitutes, take short breaks, miss no committed dates, always arrange any cancellations with fair notice, not expect the house to provide free food and unlimited alcohol, and treat the house and the wait staff with respect. This is simply good and fair business.

I wish that I could say that we had the same good business relationship with Richmond musicians as we had with Jim. Late arrivals, unannounced and less-skilled substitutes, slow returns from breaks, failure to tip attentive and helpful wait staff -- even an incident in which one musician verbally disrespected the house and management — were common difficulties we experienced during our time employing musicians from Richmond.

These things are very bad business. And if Jim Bacas is one thing, he's a very competent businessman. He's also a great guy when he's treated fairly, and surprisingly tolerant even when he's not.

We would have to suspect that the individuals and bands who reported "an unfriendly atmosphere for musicians" can almost certainly remember back to any one or more issues related to the "good business practices" noted above, and they would know exactly when and why the atmosphere became unfriendly.

George and Alfreda Melvin

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