After the gig, the group met to discuss what was going on with the funds and what was going to happen with the reimbursements owed for expenses that had been paid out of pocket (in my case, $1000 for the round trip flight to Europe). The general outcome of the meeting was devastating.. The financial situation was much, much worse than anyone had been told or had imagined. It was now clear that it would be impossible for the members of the group to be paid their promised fees. In the end, people’s expenses were covered, but the musicians were paid little more than one third of what they had been promised by the tour manager before the trip. It is a testament to the character of the individuals involved that, to a man, everyone decided immediately to take this economic blow as a band; the ensemble chose to weather this problem as a unit, then we’d move on to a better way of doing things in the future. On stage and off, the Tentet remains one of the most remarkable group of people I’ve ever been lucky enough to be associated with. After all was said and done, and the meeting came to a close, most of the group met at the bar and spent whatever francs they had left tying one on and using gallows humor to shrug the economic catastrophe off our backs.
The next morning brought us another long travel day, heading to Linz by train; it seemed to take forever. I think I read more that day than I have in years, pages and pages from “The Shape Of Content,” by Ben Shahn, “Radio Happenings,” conversations between Morton Feldman and John Cage from 1966 and 1967, “black mountain: An Exploration In Community,” by Martin Duberman, and “Agamemnon,” by Aeschylus; heady and inspiring stuff. The trip also gave me my only opportunity to have any kind of real conversation with Peter on the whole trip, over lunch in the dining car. Even so, not much was said. The frustration over the current circumstances, occurring at this point late in his career, was etched into his face. For the most part we watched the beautiful landscape move past as the train cut across the countryside. I wondered if this situation would bring him home to Wuppertal with the goal to do more artwork, to focus on the visual aspects of his creativity. It would be a tremendous loss for the music world, but after seeing what had happened over the last 10 days I wouldn’t blame him for making such a reasonable choice.
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