THEM was an independent group, producing its own marketing, advertising, promotion, hiring of out-of-area representatives and contracting with customers.

As THEM's popularity increased, the Cincinnati Local #1 of the American Federation of Musicians, under the presidency of Gene Frey, a long-time name in AFM activities, contacted THEM about joining the Union. Without seeing a need or benefit, since THEM was providing all its own marketing and administrative work, the discussions went nowhere, but the communications relationship was opened.

With more THEM engagements coming to the attention of Local #1 and the AFM commitment to represent their current members by not allowing non-union groups to "take business away", Local #1 passed a bold resolution prohibiting THEIR members from working the same events as non-union groups in an attempt to prevent THEM's more prominent customers from hiring THEM, since those customers (debutante balls, cotillion parties, major social events) always hired two bands to trade sets: THEM for contemporary and Rock; Charlie Kehrer's Orchestra (a local music icon for decades) for Big Band Dance, and occasionally other Union groups.

The issue came to a head as described in this paragraph of the Local's Board Meeting Minutes for December 1, 1964, about Dave Brinkmoeller's Band playing an engagement, trading sets with THEM:


AFM Minutes

AFM minutes

Mr. Lazarus, of the department store chain bearing the family's name, now known as Federated Department Stores, posed the challenge to his family which was giving the party. DECISION: Hire THEM and tell the Brinkmoeller Band, "Thanks, but no thanks."

At Local #1, the guitar picks hit the fan.

After Brinkmoeller reported back that the Union Resolution was counter-productive to their objectives (and hopes, to say the least), Local #1 President, Gene Frey, called and said, "Look, this has gotten out of hand. We've put together a special plan we'd like to present and discuss with you (meaning "THEM")."

The reasons THEM had avoided union membership were several.

First -- and most important -- THEM members were paying their way through college with the income they were earning from their THEM work. The idea of paying national AFM dues, Local AFM dues, and per-job commissions for the AFM local processing just did not make economic sense.

Second, THEM was successfully developing and distributing its own marketing, advertising and PR, and these were services the AFM did not provide; any money that would have gone to AFM would have detracted from THEM's marketing, advertising and PR budget.

Third -- but tenuously as THEM became more popular -- THEM did not need a "Union Card" in order to get hired; its customers were not Union Closed Shops. THEM's customers were private individuals, parties, shows and events that wanted great music, not kowtowing to organization demands.

Even THEM's gig at Miami University as opening act for Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons did not require a Union Card. Frankie Valli wanted (1) a local area popular group that (2) would not "out-perform" the Four Seasons. Needless to say, with some regret, THEM delivered on both counts!

HOWEVER, certain economic incentives WERE appearing.

First, THEM was in the process of discussing performing on WCPO-TV, WKRC-TV, and WLW-T, all of which were closed shops; they required Union groups for regular employment.

Second, THEM was turning down more gigs than it was able to play. Friday's were tough enough -- 3:00pm to 6:00pm at The Mug Club; tear down; drive to next gig (Cincinnati, Columbus, wherever); set up; perform and head back home. Saturday's were demanding -- rehearsal each Saturday morning (no matter when we hit the sack from the Friday night gig); sometimes a Saturday afternoon special event (fashion show, public gathering, other); and a regular gig Saturday night. And, there were other gigs Sunday and the rest of the week. So, Stan and George expanded their "THEM" management into a new company called "A Jaye Entertainment", through which they booked other bands to play gigs THEM was having to turn down. A number of the bands A Jaye wanted to book WERE union members. In order to book Union bands to play other gigs, Stan and George had to be AFM members.

Third, in our meeting with Gene Frey, he presented a "new special plan and membership classification" the AFM Local #1 Board approved to offer to incentivize THEM to join LOCAL #1. (THEM joining the Union would again allow for other union bands to play gigs and trade sets with THEM, instead of being blocked by their own Union from playing the gig "with a non-member band".)

The deal was this:

  1. Local #1 created a new membership classification: "Rock and Roll Musician" (RRM)
  2. Initiation and month dues for RRMs were lower than for other members.
  3. The processing fee and commission were lower than for other members.
  4. Membership as a "Rock and Roll Musician" member would, nonetheless, deliver all Union and Local benefits and privileges.

As we all would learn to describe it over a decade later, "It was an offer too good to refuse."

Stan Hertzman became Local #1's "Rock and Roll Musician Representative".

So, that's how THEM became official members of
the American Federation of Musicians, Local #1...
as with all in life, due to an offer too good to refuse.