Longform

Musicians Day Jobs

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Meanwhile, he slings 'scripts at a WalMart. "I have no problem with the `drugs' thing," Kornicks reports. "I don't play any games. Hanging out with the R&B crowd, what I've seen is very few people with drug problems. There might be one or two guys with problems, but most people know to stay away from them."

A more pressing problem for Kornicks is the lack of opportunity for a Miami-based, rock-oriented percussionist. "I never planned on making a living with music," Kornicks says. "At 34 I have no illusions." But he is a bit disillusioned. "Anglos down here don't hear percussion in their music," he complains. "And the pros have an attitude of, `He has a day job so he doesn't need money, we can get him for nothing,' which is cool if it's a happening band. Others won't ask you to play for free because you'll be insulted. And then there are club regulars who get into what I'm doing, tell me I should be playing out all the time. But the club owners won't pay. I never wanted to do the tuxedo thing. I like playing and sweating. I guess I have one big illusion: getting discovered by someone who could take me away from my day job."

Rian Gittman
Vocalist
One

The occupation most would perceive as weirdest is held by Rian Gittman of hard rockers One. His band possesses all the musical strengths to score stardom - a solid album in Black Is Black, a positive reputation as a provocative live act, a bulging fan following, and absolute dedication to their art. They don't sing love songs or espouse social commentary, nor, thank God, do they blend those two approaches. One chooses to denounce and pronounce on another level, part raw anger and part inducement for members of the public to wake up and smell the bullshit around them.

Gittman has pulled his pants down on-stage, loudly denounced local awards shows as politically motivated hogwash, and stuck out his middle finger at virtually every other aspect of the establishment, musical and otherwise. All of these factors, combined with Gittman's New Yawkish accent, provide One with an identity as urban - slick, worldly denizens of pavement environs.

"What I do," Gittman says, "is collect reptiles."
Nearly four years ago Gittman arrived here from New York, where he'd been driving to the country during summers to catch snakes and lizards. He did not choose South Florida for its abundance of reptilian wildlife, but instead traveled here for musical purposes. "I was supposed to come down with a band I was in," the vocal vocalist explains. "But they were junkies, one guy came to a show all coked up, or something, and that was it, I came down here alone, just blind."

Gittman was delighted to find more than compatible fellow musicians to work with. He found plenty of snakes and other reptiles. Two years ago he opened his business, the Reptile Service, now with offices in Davie and Deerfield Beach. His is not a small-time operation. "I buy animals off the immediate importers and sell them to wholesalers," he explains. "My minimum is ten or fifteen on up. I've sold baby iguanas in lots of 500. I'm a middle man and I'm also a breeder. I don't have enough time or animals to satisfy my customers, much less to go hunting as much as I'd like. I could make another $500 or $600 a week collecting."

Self-taught, and a veteran of fifteen years of reptile gathering, Gittman knows a number of ethical and productive ways to corral scaly critters. But the most fun way to gather snakes is called road cruising, which involves driving slowly along back roads at night, spotting the serpents, jumping out and snagging them. However, One practices six days a week, five or six hours per night, and because the other members also have day jobs, those rehearsals must take place in the evening. "Having to practice every night eliminates road cruising," Gittman laments. The abundance of snakes here, however, has alleviated that disappointment. "Before I came here," Gittman says, "a Florida king snake made me go, `Wow!' Now I can catch a dozen a day. I find so many I can't keep them all."

John Sorter
Guitarist
Mr. Twister

There are other ways to pay the rent via the great outdoors, and local musicians have found a number of ways to spend their days in the sunshine (or rain). John Sorter, guitarist for Mr. Twister, works on a golf course. As a diver. Several days each week, Sorter dons mask and snorkel and dives into the water hazards at Doral, from which he retrieves misfired golf balls. He is employed by a concessionaire who has worked out a deal that allows Sorter and his colleagues to clean the lakes (to Doral's benefit), then sell the used balls to a retailer (for profit).

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Greg Baker