Real Music & Real Estate . . .

Yiddishe Cup’s bandleader, Bert Stratton, is Klezmer Guy.

He knows about the band biz and – check this out – the real estate biz too. So maybe he’s really Klezmer Landlord.

You may not care about the real estate biz. Hey, you may not care about the band biz. (See you.)

This is a blog with a gamy twist. It features tenants with snakes and skunks, and musicians with smoked fish in their pockets.

Stratton has written op-eds for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post.



I never report my music income. I’m a klezmer clarinetist and blues harmonica player, not a tax guy. I don’t give a shit about taxes. I play music eight hours a day, and in between I wait for the phone to ring for gigs. I have no life except music, and I’m proud of it.

I owe some people money. Big deal. That’s standard in the music biz. My go-to line is “Can you lend me five dollars to get home from the gig?  What’s five bucks?” (I often get paid by check for gigging.)

blue eyed soulOne musician yelled at me, “Five bucks is pathetic! At least ask for twenty!” He gave me a twenty. Nice.

I occasionally hock my instruments and show up at gigs with student-level gear. This, too, annoys bandleaders. Charlie Parker hocked his horn; I’m in good company! A bandleader once told me, “Tools, man, where are your tools?” I have tools — cheesy student tools, which I  play better than you! I once asked a priest for gas money at a wedding, and he gave it to me.

I have bad habits. I’m flawed. What about you?  Are you perfect?


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1 Ken Goldberg { 10.04.17 at 9:43 am }

Must be true – ‘doesn’t say otherwise. You poor thing!

2 don friedman { 10.04.17 at 10:57 am }

Bert, you sound like a shill for the IRS. They are paying you to uncover those of us who also do not report our music income. You will do anything for money. By the way, how do you become a shill for the IRS? I can use the extra guilt. I mean gelt!

3 David Rowe { 10.06.17 at 8:01 pm }

I’m not perfect but at least I’ve got a banjo that stays in tune.

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