"I've Got My Troubles", Paul Whiteman Avers

Joined: 12:06 PM - Mar 29, 2018

4:58 PM - Sep 29, 2018 #1

Morning Telegraph, April 10, 1927, p.10

Even the leader of an orchestra has his troubles.
"The public may think I am a very happy and contented person as I stand before my handsome orchestra beating time to tunes, but I have my troubles and they are not concerned only with matters of tempo, crescendo and jazz", says Whiteman.
"Most of my troubles concern matters of the heart. I have a temperamental orchestra. Indeed, I might go farther and say I have a highly sentimental orchestra. I was not so conscious of this fact until we joined Charles Dillingham's 'Lucky' at the New Amsterdam Theatre. Up to that time my life was comparatively tranquil and my men were all for business and musical skill. To be sure, one or two of them carried around a picture of a girl in his watch and some of them used to take time off occasionally and leave rehearsals to post letters to their girls out of town, but outside of giving me a touch for money for an engagement ring, or a valentine, sentiment seemed to be far from their minds. But how different now !
Most of them have lost their heads. Propinquity with stage beauties has been too much for them. Just before the show opened I gathered them all together and said, 'Now, see here, my good men. You're here to beat time, play tunes and delight the public, nit to break hearts. I will admit that my heart goes pitter-patter a bit when I see that lovely Mary Eaton with the golden hair dancing across the stage, but I have sense enough to know that divinities like that are made only to be admired and that I cannot afford to let my mind dwell on her long enough for me to forget to wave my baton.
But my warning did no good. The next day when we started rehearsing I noticed that every single man in the orchestra had a copy of her pasted on his music rack, and for Mary Eaton those highly impressionable gentlemen began to fall - for beauties in the Albertina Rasch Ballet, for the wondrous show girls and the peppy little dancers.
One man fell in love with a 'Lucky' beauty because she said she could die listening to the moan of the kazoo. Another spent all his salary on a girl who raved about the opera of Richard Wagner. Every day I am besieged by one member or another who wants time off to take some blonde out on a picnic, riding on a motorcycle, or to the Marriage License Bureau, and every day I become more agitated about the state of the hearts of my men.
Of course I will admit that the the music gets better and better, thanks to the excess of sentiment that makes their hearts throb, but from my own standpoint I must say that if a leader of an orchestra wants peace of mind he should never let a producer sign him up for a production full of so many lovely ladies as 'Lucky'.

Maybe Paul would have less troubles of this kind with Bix when the latter would join the orchestra half a year later ...