Dave Pomeroy is President of the Nashville chapter of the American Federation of Musicians (Local 257), and is a member of the AFM’s International Executive Board. But it’s not “all work and no play” for Dave—you can hear him throw down on Three Ring Circle’s Brothership [ResoRevolution], which features Pomeroy alongside dobro player Rob Ickes and fiddle/mandolin player Andy Leftwich.
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Dave Pomeroy is President of the Nashville chapter of the American Federation of Musicians (Local 257), and is a member of the AFM’s International Executive Board. But it’s not “all work and no play” for Dave—you can hear him throw down on Three Ring Circle’s Brothership [ResoRevolution], which features Pomeroy alongside dobro player Rob Ickes and fiddle/mandolin player Andy Leftwich.

WHAT DO ANTHONY JACKSON, WILL Lee, Michael Rhodes, Neil Stubenhaus, Jared Followill, Edgar Meyer, Ron Carter, and thousands of weekend warriors have in common? All of them are members of the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada, commonly known as the “AFM,” or simply “The Union.” With more than 80,000 members working in all areas of the music business, from studios and pit orchestras to bars and clubs, the AFM is the largest organization representing musicians in the world. Founded in 1896, its biggest chapters are in New York and Los Angeles, with Toronto, Montreal, Chicago and Nashville being the next largest.

After many years of working the road, gradually making the transition into studio work, I became involved in the business of Nashville’s AFM chapter first as a board member, then as President of the Nashville chapter of the Recording Musicians Association. (The RMA represents recording musicians within the AFM.) In December 2008, I was elected President of Local 257. We have made many changes to modernize and improve services for the AFM members of Nashville, including developing a new scale structure for home studio overdubs, which has now been adopted as a national scale.

Being a member of the AFM has given me the opportunity to protect my recorded work and intellectual property. For example, an Emmylou Harris track that I played on in 1989 was used in HBO’s The Sopranos a few years ago. Because that record was done on a Union contract, I received a New Use payment of nearly $300 from HBO for work I had done over 15 years earlier. Pretty cool. This is because the AFM has negotiated contracts with the major record labels, as well as the movie, television, and jingle industries for many years. These contracts have enabled many thousands of musicians to be paid fairly with benefits including pension contributions and New Use payments.

Over the years, I have done a lot of Union work that has paid into the AFM-EP Pension Fund for my retirement, and have shared in the Special Payments Fund, a once a year royalty check from the record labels for musicians who have worked on Union sessions in the previous five years. There is also a Film Secondary Markets Fund royalty for players who work on movie soundtracks, which pays these musicians (and their descendants) a percentage of post-theater revenue every year as long as the film makes money.

Of course, not everyone is a session player, so you might ask, “What can the AFM do for musicians who mostly play live, either full or part time?” For starters, the AFM establishes fair minimum pay scales for a variety of different gig scenarios and offers free contracts to AFM members for booking live shows. A verbal agreement works most of the time, but it never hurts to get it in writing for times when a handshake is not enough. Best of all, if there is a problem, you are not alone—the AFM has your back, and will go after your money with free legal services provided if needed.

I have been an AFM member for 32 years, and it has worked very well for me in all the different phases of my career. However, like any organization, it is not perfect and is only as good as its members make it. A few years ago, many of us felt that our leaders had lost touch with working-class musicians and saw the need for the Union to change. All over the country, we began to organize and worked to transform our Union. This resulted in a sweeping change that occurred at the AFM Convention in June 2010, where the delegates elected a new President, Vice President, and four out of five International Executive Board members. I was elected to the IEB, and we have already made great strides in bringing the AFM up to date and into the future. It’s an exciting time to be a AFM member, and we would love to work for you in these challenging times for professional musicians. For more information, check out and We can do more as a group than we can ever do on our own. Let’s stick together!


Retro-Rama : 1940 Kay C-1

 This bass belonged to Music City legend Floyd “Lightnin’” Chance (1926–2005), and currently resides in the Musicians Hall of Fame in Nashville. Chance was one of the top acoustic bass players in the Nashville from the early ’50s until his retirement in 1988, and he played on records with everyone from the Everly Brothers to Marty Robbins to Hank Williams, Sr., including Hank’s final recording session in 1952 that included the classic “Your Cheatin’ Heart.”

Retro-Rama: 1984 Steinberger XL25 5-string

HARD AS IT MAY BE FOR SOME OF US to believe, it’s been almost 30 years since the Steinberger bass turned the electric bass world upside down with its unique look and hi-tech tone. Coming to the bass world from a design background, Ned Steinberger arrived armed with a vision to reinvent the basic concepts of creating an electric bass. The first Steinberger bass hit the scene in 1980, and was an immediate sensation—and subject of debate— among bass players worldwide. Appearing at the dawn of the MTV era, the first wave of Steinbergers seemed to be everywhere throughout the ’80s. The Dixie Dregs’ Andy West and reggae bassist/producer Robbie Shakespeare were two early players of this innovative instrument, giving some indication of its global reach.

Larry Knechtel 1940–2009

LARRY KNECHTEL, A CHARTER MEMBER OF LOS ANGELES’S famed “Wrecking Crew” team of studio players, passed away in Yakima, Washington on August 20th, 2009. His extraordinary talents on a variety of instruments were surpassed only by his humility and love for his family. A Grammy winner for his piano playing and arranging on Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” Larry also played bass guitar on a phenomenal range of records, including The Byrds’ “Mr. Tambourine Man”, Simon & Garfunkel’s “Mrs. Robinson,” and The Doors’ selftitled debut album, which included the breakthrough hit “Light My Fire”. His melodic lines, fat tone, and unique phrasing made him one of a select few who defined the art of recording the Fender Bass in the ’60s. Larry was a soulful, earthy, and brilliant musician, and was all those things and more as a person. He is survived by his wife Vicki, and children Lonnie and Shelli. Rest In Peace, brother.

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The 100 Greatest Bass Players of All Time

What is it about lists? People love making them, reading them, and listening to them. Lists bring order to chaos. They help us remember things. They’re easy to scan. They promise instant knowledge. And they give us an opportunity to disagree.