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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Question and Answer With Band Leader

What are your thoughts about live animals being used in launches? i had quite a problem with the birds at TRIBE's launch and was even more disturbed when i learned that the zoo was involved. is this not crossing the line where we would do anything for the sake of entertainment?
Having the zoo involved is a plus. These people are experts in the care and handling of these birds. The use of animals as entertainment has a long history, even a zoo (and personally I don't like zoos) make money by exploiting animals. I have always disliked caged animals.But I also understand sometimes the need for these animals to be caged, as in those raised in captivity. They can not be released to the wild for they have no idea how to survive.And hopefully the money raised by zoos go to benefit and protect wildlife. In my eyes the birds at Tribe's launch were no more exploited than they are at the zoo.Once they were not mistreated, I have no problem.

Quiksilver I totally agree with you re: animals, its amazing what people can get away with in T&T due to a lack of regulation.I think it was Gandhi who said 'The greatness and morality of a nation must be judged by the way it treats its animals'. In this respect Trinidad saddens me.

I agree, but what saddens me even more, is how this nation treats it's poor, and homeless. I love animals, but I love PEOPLE more.

Why is it that costumes often look fundamentally different from what is presented in the booklets? are these booklets printed long in advance of the final touches?
They sometimes are, but nothing excuses costumes differing greatly from the prototypes displayed. I am assuming here we are talking about the costume you collect being of lesser quality than the prototype. As I have said before sometimes components (for whatever reason) may be unattainable and a replacement is used. Trust me for a band leader to make such a change,is something we do only as a last resort, after exhausting every avenue possible to acquire the desired component. But once this decision is made, then all masqueraders in the section would be contacted and informed of the change and given an opportunity to swap for another section if they choose. Anything less than that is unethical.

What is your take on live (band) music vs. DJ's while on the road?And also for Road March, do you as a band leader help make the decision as to what your band will cross the stage too or is it in the DJ's hands?
Unless there is some kind of choreographed performance requiring special music, pretty much it's up to D.J The only requirement is that whatever is played the crowd responds to it.It's important they enjoy themselves on stage so that it reflects well on the whole presentation.

Why is it the costumes advertised and the costumes collected/bought are heavily different costumes...esp the headpieces? I can appreciate the exaggerated marketing at the band launch, but the costumes advertised on the online registration, don't seem to match what I get in the box (more so the head piece as that is what I base my decisions on).
I addressed this in the question before ,but also be careful when you are registering that you know precisely what you are booking. The costume that is on display is normally the more expensive option, and all bands offer a cut down version i.e. smaller head piece, no back piece, less appliqué or a cheaper version. Be sure to check over your registration carefully, some times people complain and say that's not what they ordered only to find out that they made a mistake on registration. This happens a lot online If not , then you are being taken advantage of.Don't stand for it!!!

How do they select the order of the sections on Monday/Tuesday? Do they just do a random draw or is there some "strategy"?
Normally the order of the sections cross by color you want the contrast of colors to make an impact. Sometimes if they is a specific story line this might be factor in the decision as well.

Is "Monday" wear important to them? Only a few bands seem to care whilst others just leave you stranded.
Of course bandleaders would like masqueraders to wear their costumes on both days. And enough so the security can tell them apart from outsiders.But ultimately it's up to the individual masqueraders.We can't really force them.

Dear Bandleader,
I would like to see more bathing suit options modeled at the launching and on display at the mas camp and online. For example, if a tankini, whole piece or corset option is available, what does the detailing on and overall presentation of these pieces look like in comparison to the bikini option? If a boy short is available as an option, what does the belt look like with it?
Usually with the different options like boy shorts, tankini, wholepiece there is no difference in the belt, skirt or fallpiece. There maybe variation in how the tops are decorated, mainly because of cup size. Larger cups require more attention and more decorating. Which I already know is a sore point with women with larger cup sizes

It would be nice to have all the options on display. But to be honest it would be quite difficult to facilitate every section with a display of every option. If you are curious as to what a bath suit may look like i.e. cup size , takini , wholepiece or any other option there are. normally samples available at the mas camp.

Just a thought more than anything else really :-
Do you think that there is an over-emphasis on frontline costumes more recently, and insufficient focus on the detail and showcase of regular costumes? Especially as the backline is by far the majority, and I imagine where the biggest profit margin is.I suppose it could just be the case that they make for better photos?!
Yes I do, especially this year. With all the rivalry between bands they want to put their best foot forward, even though most of what is being displayed the average masquerader can not afford. They are beautiful but will be verrrrry expensive. And yes you are also right, the backline is the meat. But we bandleaders like to make an impression, especially to show up our rivals.I have to admit though, it's fun.

Why is it that at the launches you don't have models of various shapes and sizes to truly replicate what would be seen on the road? Or is one type what you want in your band.
We tackled this question last week. And to cut a long story short, slim and sexy sells. I know it's unfair but true.Look at your average Fashion Magazine all the models used represent maybe 1% of the female body type, but women buy it. So it's up to as well, if you have issues with this, take it up with the band you play with. If we want things to change we must do more than complain.

I am not sure I can phrase this right but I'm going to try anyway.

My question for the bandleader is "What do you hope the masqueraders will take away from your band? What do you hope they will remember most after their time with you?"

I understand that mas is as much (or more) business than pleasure. I look at the bikini'n'bead offerings and yes, I'd love to look like the glam models. I understand that I'm being asked to put up a month's rent on a costume that for two days will make me feel that I AM a glam model.

But then I see ideas like Brian McFarlane's concepts which seem to be something "more" instead of "less" so I wonder if being sold on glam is actually cheating the experience.

Which is a very long winded way of asking what do you think is the most important part of mas. If you had to pick only one or two things that you wanted the people in your band to walk away *feeling* about the experience, what would it or they be?
The most important thing is that you have a good time. Celebrate the differences between bands. Not everyone can be the same, or will want to play the same type of mas. Some prefer to push pan, some jouvert, some vintage mas like robber and sailor. What is most important is that you have a choice to celebrate your carnival the way you want. The rivalry is good, but we must not take it too seriously. I want you to play mas with me, but if choose to play somewhere else, fine. I am just glad you PLAY MAS.

A lot of people work out really hard hitting the gym at all ungodly hours of the morning.If they want to show off and decorate their bodies, they have maybe more right than anyone to do so. I am not a slim person, but I admire the hard work, dedication and sacrifice it takes for these people to look their best. They would think it ridiculous to cover up. So they might judge you the same way. Who cares?? play where you feel comfortable. Most importantly like I said just PLAY MAS!!!!!!

Similar to Jady Lion's questions

1. I would like to know what do you think is the real meaning and focus of playing mas.

Having Fun Your way

2. As a bandleader are you seeing the importance of our culture perpetuated and highlighted year after year in Carnival presentations?
We need to preserve our culture but done via incentive like more prize money for vintage mas presentations, rather than censoring certain types of costumes or presentations

3.In your opinion is mas becoming/have become a mere commercialization of our culture.
Yes it has, But you can not fight progress. I have said before carnival is a living spectacle and like all living things it must grow and change.

4. Coming out of T&T's Carnival heritage do you think the true elements of 'what is' Carnival is present today? If yes in what form?
Once people are having fun and enjoying masquerading, then are achieving the whole essence of what carnival is. Carnival is about the freedom to be something or someone you are not for 2 days of the year. No one can define carnival for anyone or impose on people their definition of carnival. That in itself would destroy Carnival.

5. (We can all answer this question ourselves but I would like to hear what said bandleader view is)

*What is the difference between playing Mas with a band like Mac Farlene and playing mas with a Bikini band.
None. That is like asking the difference between having fun or enjoying yourself. Just different ways of doing the same thing.

Thanks again for another week, talk to everyone soon.


Ms. Licious said...

animal lovers should check this post from wuzdescene and the attached comments as well:

dajewel1982 said...

"How do they select the order of the sections on Monday/Tuesday? Do they just do a random draw or is there some "strategy"?
Normally the order of the sections cross by color you want the contrast of colors to make an impact. Sometimes if they is a specific story line this might be factor in the decision as well."

I thought the sections with dignitaries and celebrities are usually one of the first??

"slim and sexy sells"???? LMAO!!!! this bandleader needs to have a paradigm shift!!!! since when is full-figured NOT sexy????

MsGray said...

dajewel1982, I interpreted differently. I may be wrong, but I didn't interpret it as slim is the only sexy, or that full can't be sexy. I thought he meant the slim version of sexy as opposed to the fuller and full versions of sexy.
I like to give people the benefit of the doubt and I'd like to think that is what he meant.

ms. hershey said...

msgray... i think he meant exactly what he said. as archaic as that may sound in this day of thick & fit sexy women, i believe that many of the band leaders and designers still have this idea in their heads that only a size 2-4 is sexy when it comes to mas. it's sad, but true.

Saucy aka "The Sauce" said...

Jewel not all bands have celebs and dignitaries with a truck load of security and not every year the section they are in might be first. The president was in Black Magic this year, that section was not first.

Lady said...

Sauce and others ...I could attest to the fact that when bands have any celebrity the will put them in the section that will be first. Secondly fit and sexy sells... that may be true but are you'll willing to put up with people who regard you as an after thought if you're full figured? That's the real question here. Interpret it how you want but don't play with a band if you don't feel comfortable.

Anonymous said...

3.In your opinion is mas becoming/have become a mere commercialization of our culture.

Yes it has, But you can not fight progress. I have said before carnival is a living spectacle and like all living things it must grow and change.

the word progress needs to be examined mr.bandleader, does progress mean making more money per costume so we must be evolving? this is not progress,or is it progress when tomorrow'sgeneration decides that the entire costume thing is just a bad idea? this is not the progress of carnival, you want to see progress in carnival, take a look at nottinghill, that is progress, but what we are doing to mas here? not progress at all

blandemaskine said...

Regarding your response about the usage of the birds at Tribe Band Launch 2009 that they were no more mistreated than in a zoo, I must respectfully disagree to the highest. Birds of that nature in a zoo, are not subjected to loud booming fete music, hoards and hoards of people and fireworks. The fact that the zoo was invloved has no bearing on any legal liabilty that TRIBE may incur as a result as a violation of any Act of Law dealing with wildlife in Trinidad. Bottom line: animals are not decorations and should not be used as promotional tools

band said...

Carnival in your eyes may not be progressing because you may not like the direction. But this is about everyone, Carnival has grown and continues to, so we must be doing something right. And yes costumes are more expensive but they cost a lot to produce, and band leaders make money, but they also take big risks and gamble everything they have. so why are they less deserving than any business to turn a profit. And by the way more people especially the young generation are playing mas in costume than ever before. So if you think it's so so easy to bring a band put your house up for collateral to the bank, go without sleep and deal with the stress, and bring your own band next year. and don't forget you can not turn a profit.

TriniVice said...

OK...a couple for the animals, I wasn't there so I don't know how they were treated but if you're only talking about exposure to loud music, people and fireworks, then how is that so very different from animals in a circus? In a zoo there are hoards of people pokin in the face of animals everyday, so I'm sure the animals are used to plenty people being around.

With the bandleaders comment that "slim and sexy sells"...I'll be the devils advocate for a moment and say lets be realistic people. Everyone talking about a full figured woman modeling the costumes etc. but when you get excited about that costume on the runway do you think you would like it the same if it was displayed on a large woman? I'm by no means slim, and I do not condone these hungry lookin females being the only models but to some extent bandleader is right...slim and sexy does sell..Y? because we'll go buy that costume then workout from now til feb. so we can be just that, slim and sexy on carnival tues. And, from the pics of Tribe all the girls didn't look like a size 2-4 or was that my eyes lol..there might have been a 6 in the mix somewhere lol

blandemaskine said...

I was actually referring specifically to BIRDS, who are by nature, extremely sensitive to noise so obviously blaring DJ music will have an effect on them. And I might be wrong, but the last time I visited the zoo, DJ Jus Jase wasn't playing and I have never seen parrots in a circus. But my bigger question is, even if they are not affected, (which they are)why use them in the first place? What was the point of it all? If Tribe wanted us to learn something about exotic birds, put up a poster or something.

blandemaskine said...

And another thing: if your argument is that animals are mistreated in one place (for example in a zoo or in a circus), does that make it ok, for them to be mistreated in another (as in a fete)???

Anonymous said...

band it seems I upset you a bit, all I am saying is that it seems more important for a profit to be made more than it is to preserve any kind of heritage as far as mas is going.

you said costumes are more expensive, but the costumes get tinier and tinier, you think you want to tell us exactly how much an average costume costs you to produce? i bet not.

No one says not to make a profit but the mark up is ridiculous, you know it, I know it everybody knows it.

and if a wart on your neck grows you call that progress?

I am sorry but I love mih mas as everybody else,I play mih mas like everybody else, but it is certainly not my opinion that mas is progressing, mas peaked years ago when the people actually struggled to say something,anything.But now is party, party, wine, wine, nobody is blaming you so don't get so defensive.

You do not sound like a silly person so I am sure you only mortgage your house because you were pretty certain you could add some extra bedrooms and a swimming pool after the markup we are being charged.

If I lie come clean, what is your cost to produce a costume?

nobody did not say not to make your profit, but OHHHH GODDDD! have a little heart for the people nah.

Anonymous said...

and yes more young people playin mas in costume, is only because it hardly have costume left

band said...

I have answered this question before average of 20% some times a little more sometimes less, you make more on cheaper costumes, . And once again you don't know how much costumes cost. Yes only an idiot would not way the possibility of losing their investment, but many have miscalculated and lost badly. this is a high risk business. And with every new band that comes out,this risk gets worst. So in business there is nothing sure. I have put my money where my mouth is. stop complaning and do the same, lets see how much you sell costumes for.
Bigger cock than you crow.
Your lack of knowledge shows when you also associate more with better.
1 Pheasant tail a grade 36" $100 USD
1 Ostrich Plume a grade 28" $48USD
When you have to dye feathers special colors they are more cost. Freight, duty and Vat and don't associate these with the same feathers you get in town those are standard colors and lesser quality and come from China. Where you cannot import from anymore since bird flu. Which by the way pushed the price of feathers up tremendously. Braids, bugle beads, appliques and bathing suits. are all expensive, just go online and look for your self, Labor on each costume In the hundreds to do one. then there is security on the road $300,000. Music Average depends on the Band or DJ $150,000 PER TRUCK,x at least 6. Rent for mascamp year round, insurance, vat, The alcohol for bars as well as the trucks and labour.,bank charges 3% merchant fee on C/cards and the list goes on. I have written all about this before, you are not the first person to ask this question. OHH GODDDD have a heart for people who working hard for their money nah.

squeezle said...

Bandleader, I really have to thank you for your patience in answering these questions, especially the ones that get asked over and over again.

It seems that nobody will be happy until all bandleaders 'confess' that they are making monstrous profits year after year, bathing in champagne and lighting their Cuban cigars with hundred dollar bills.

Next week yuh go have to roll out yuh balance sheet for the world to see. LOL

Anonymous said...

1 Pheasant tail a grade 36" $100 USD
1 Ostrich Plume a grade 28" $48USD

and you would have me believe that these are the feathers you use, only a grade?

i have a suggestion for you, SAMAROOS, I was there today and they told me that those prices are absurd at best

Anonymous said...

EXTRA LONG Pheasant Feathers

Lady Amherst Pheasant Tails, 30-35" per each
Our Price: $6.00

Lady Amherst Pheasant Tails, 35-40" per each
Our Price: $7.00

Reeves Pheasant Feathers, 30-35" - per each
Our Price: $10.00

Reeves Pheasant Feathers, 35-40" - per each
Our Price: $14.00

Reeves Pheasant Feathers, 40-45" - per each
Our Price: $16.00

Reeves Pheasant Feathers, 45-50" - per each
Our Price: $20.00

Reeves Pheasant Feathers, 50-55" - per each
Our Price: $24.00


I'm just saying, you should be honest to the people.

Anonymous said...

band said
"then there is security on the road $300,000."

mas-ah responds

a security guard makes about 200 a day for two days that would be 400

300000 divided by 400 is 750

so are you telling me that you have 750 security guards on the road? but that is a whole band by itself!

come clean nah man, I could continue doing this but i am going to leave it severely alone because this is not the forum for that. and I have a feeling saucy must be getting fed up of me causing trouble on her blog!!

but be honest to the people!!
we not stupid

prince namor said...

I just saying here "wheyyyyy boy!! FIGHT!!"

Hey, I have tried to open many a business. From transport to food to entertainment. If ever sauce say about how the "entertainment business" was.... well, I have learned one thing... It is easy to say and easy to calculate...
it all looks good on paper...hell it starts off real sweet sometimes... but longevity and living. God, one bad day and you play catch up constantly...All i am saying is that unless you in it and really in it you would never is NOT easy. On family, on health, on peace of mind. Now to do whatever you want to do and think it is for love. Well, the almighty dollar fixes that eh.

prince namor said...

And when you sacrifice and YOUR FAMILY sacrifice...more than you cause they didn't ask for it. And your wife and children and mother and father real suffer under your hands. Neglect, abuse, taken for granted...and then you finally, finally start to make something. You don't think it was deserved? It is very easy for the rich to give but they had to start somewhere AND get rich in order to give. Start giving too soon or too much and you get nowhere...everybody gets nowhere...

I always say the only way you could help others is by getting strong yourself...A strong, wealthy mas fraternity begets a strong industry...A strong industry and you could find $$$ for the arts etc. (taxes and the like) For all the good utopia and socialist ideals get you a fully working and successful model has NOT been me the best way is making the $$$ and then you could turn to bodies and committees to "fight" for the "small man" or the "masquerader" or the like.

prince namor said...

so getting vex and such for PEOPLE or BEASTS that ABUSE or EXPLOIT the MAN don't make sense to me. YOU wanna prove something then instead of standing on your soapbox and shouting...DO


dougla_1 said...

prince namor, man you spit some lyrics dey! Well said!

It's easy to beg for corn, but the more industrious survivor plant dey corn, take care of the garden, reap the harvest with lots of sweat, then the meal can be made and enjoyed. Sometimes there is some to share, but to make sure everyone eats, each must tender their own garden.

band said...

Lady I would not order a dead rat from those people, shows how much you know. Obliviously sub standard. You have no Idea what you are talking about. And Yes I use A GRADE. I guess your band won't. Where you living? a security cost$700 each for 2 days $300 Mon and $400 Tues. and 200 security? What are you going to secure with that. Sounds like you have a friend with some kind of small band that feeding you bad info, from feathers go back. Again what quality security are you hiring? You have displayed all this knowledge. I DARE YOU TO BRING A BAND. YES? we will talk. NO! Then stop complaining. Nuff said!! I have a band to produce. Do the same if you have the GUTS

band said...

Bye the way I did make a mistake, I meant it was 72" pheasant tails. Sorry, tired. But I do own up to my mistakes.

Anonymous said...

pheasants do not grow tails 72 inches long that is six feet, has anyone EVER seen a 6 foot pheasant tail anywhere in carnival. but band I will leave you alone because it seems that you are only willing to answer questions to other people bringing out bands, so best of luck to you.

and prince namor, the mark of good communication is simple effective language all the psuedo philosophical rambling boils down to someone more interested in sounding poetic than really effectively communicating.

dougla_1 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dougla_1 said...

But mas-ah is it fair that you ask the consumers of decadence to pay attention to the cost needs of the masses? The origin of our marvelous Trinidad Carnival was the lowely masses mimicking and saterizing that very same decadence. I see Trinidad Carnival coming full circle where some feddup minds from Laventil, San Fernando, Arima, La Brea,... wherever taking our mas to a next higher level of relevance. They will DO this by CREATING something FROM NOTHING again! Yes, since the dawn of the smallest elements of "society" money (wealth as define by that society) talks, but absent of a bullying strong armed protectorate for the "rich" it is the artists free from the shackles of "wealth" who encourage and lead us to live free with their creations.

Like prince namor says, JUST DO IT!

band said...

Wendy Fitzwilliams Miss unoverse costume had 72" pheasant tails

Saucy aka "The Sauce" said...

Here is a photo of Wendy in Costume... that Pheasant had some long tails boy!!

Saucy aka "The Sauce" said...


squeezle said...

Papa yo!!!! Pheasant in yuh pweffen!!!!

Anonymous said...

ok so we found one and i still doubt that those are even 72. so fine charge what you will, we will pay what you will and voice will never be given to fair pricing.

You know what bothers me? everyone complains about pricing but i take it up with the bandleader and everyone running to find 1 picture of long pheasant tails.

a people gets the mas it deserves yes.

prince namor said...

Mary had a little lamb ,
Its fleece was white as snow;
And everywhere that Mary went,
The lamb was sure to go. He followed her to school one day;
Which was against the rule;
It made the children laugh and play;
To see a lamb at school. "Why does the lamb love Mary so?"
The eager children cry;
"Why, Mary loves the lamb, you know,"
The teacher did reply.

bammykake said...

the band leader lost me when he said "slim and sexy sells" and that women buy it..unless regular women are going to walk around naked then we have no choice but to buy. i was asking my friend the same question as to why the models were so small, the reason i was in "like" with the "hummingbird" was because the model who was in the frontline had thick thighs that looked like mines. matter of fact it was her thighs that made the costume stand out to me and all my friends because our bodies look more like hers. if you look at saucys facebook album 2 of the tribe lauch you can see the "hummingbird"model the frontline. she was the biggest model there and i must say she made the costume look nice. so i don't know what the bandleader is talking about.
i'm honestly shocked because carribean people have always been know for like women of all sizes i'm a bit disappointed... well no matter when they see me and my friends and all other "thick and sexy women" in our costumes frontline or backline they'll realize that it's the curves that steal the show.(this is by no means to disrespect slimmer women)

bammykake said...

sorry correction

"carribean people have always been know for liking women of all sizes

bammykake said...

sorry everyone it's album 3 where you can see the frontline for hummingbird but here's a good pic
clearly you can see that the model is a bit thicker then the other's and she's wearing the costume well. and she stands out

Anonymous said...

bammykake do not waste your time the band leader will just tell you to start your own band!

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