The Sad Story Of Dave Valentin

This appeared in the NY Times about two weeks ago:

Now, he is mostly alone in his home. A stroke during a gig in March 2012 left him paralyzed on his right side, unable to walk, talk or lift his playing hand. Though he has recovered about 85 percent of his abilities, several fingers on his right hand are numb, and he cannot hold up his flute for long. Instead, he spends his days in a rented bungalow in Harding Park, a warren of twisty streets along the East River in the Bronx.

The sad truth is that we aren’t immortal. Playing music as a career is totally rewarding, but there is no safety net. No pension. No retirement package built in. Unless you, the artist, put those safety nets in. It’s easy when you have “a real job” because a lot of this stuff is taken from your paychecks before you get the final amount.

I’m not blaming Dave. I’m totally guilty of this too. If I had some life altering thing happen, like a stroke, I’d be in a way worse boat than him. I don’t have the accolades he has. And Dave is only 61, hardly retirement age for a top notch musician nowadays.

So, what can one take away from this? Plan ahead. Get some sort of retirement or savings happening now. When you get that $100 gig, put 10% or more of it away into some sort of account that you can’t readily access. Having SOMETHING to fall back upon is better than having absolutely nothing at all.

And best wishes to Dave. Still one of my favorite flute players.

2 thoughts on “The Sad Story Of Dave Valentin”

  1. True! Following music as your career has some downfalls. But I guess no musician should step back from following his heart, just because he won’t get any kind of financial help from the firm he worked in. Instead, we should save from the beginning to support ourselves when we’re old.

  2. Here is an update. Although Dave still cannot play, he has moved into a beautiful facility with the help of his longtime friend and manager, Richie Bonilla. He often has company with many musicians visiting him and calling him.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *