Richard Flohil's 90 All-Purpose Phrases To Get You Through The Day

Richard Flohil's 90 All-Purpose Phrases To Get You Through The Day

By Richard Flohil

Every part of the music industry has catchphrases; fibs and lies and half-truths that trip off the tongue without thought. They are useful phrases, and the absence of any real meaning is still important to those who hear them―as well as extremely handy for those who utter them.

To be told the cheque is in the mail offers relief for the person who tells you this (as well as giving him breathing space and a chance to go to the bank); it offers solace to the person who hears it, even if they don't really believe it.

In the spirit of the beginning of April, we offer this handy selection of phrases for all occasions. Use them as you will; suspend belief if you hear them.


All-purpose phrases

  1. I sent the contract (wire, cheque, agreement) yesterday.

  2. Believe me, I know this business backward.

  3. I want to be totally honest with you.


  4. The possibilities in this business are endless.

  5. If you have any problems, just get in touch.

  6. Sorry, he's in a meeting.

  7. Appointment? Today? You're kidding!

  8. Look, I'm just a struggling composer (musician, agent, manager).

  9. We’ll check it out with Los Angeles (New York, Nashville, Toronto).


For music publishers

  1. Sure, I listened to the demo.

  2. It's a bit too country (rock, pop, MOR).

  3. It’s not quite country enough (rock, pop, MOR).

  4. Boy, you should have heard the cut Bryan Adams was thinking of covering. But, as you know, he usually does only his own stuff.

  5. I think I can get this one straight to Drake.

  6. Once we've listened to a tape, we always send it back.

  7. What? You want to split publishing?

  8. Look, we’ll guarantee you a record deal.

  9. Sign here.


They used to say this in record stores

  1. Frank Sinatra? Sure, two aisles back, to the left, where I'm pointing.

  2. Peggy Lee? Is she new wave?

  3. Fred, have you ever heard of a Benny Goodman?

  4. Classical? No, there's not much call for it.

  5. I'd like to order your record, but we're over budget (doing inventory, moving, changing the store layout, dropping independent product).

  6. We'll make a deal as soon as you get radio play.


  7. Hey, I like the record, but the boss hates it.

  8. We can't get any stock on it.

  9. We ordered it this morning.


In the recording studio

  1. It can always be fixed in the mix.

  2. My projects always come in under budget.

  3. We’ll record everything live off the floor.

  4. Can we have some quiet in the control room, dammit!

  5. Get me black coffee with three sugars, but for god’s sake don't put it down on the control board.

  6. That was just great. Now do it once more for safety's sake.

  7. The sound in this room is just fabulous.

  8. Don't worry, our engineer knows what he's doing.

  9. Look, George Martin never had to take this crap!


At the radio station

  1. I was just listening to it when you called.

  2. We're having our programming meeting next Wednesday, and it's at the top of the list.

  3. We're not having a meeting this week.

  4. Sorry, he's in the washroom and can't come to the phone right now.

  5. We'll wait and see if there’s any traction on YouTube,

  6. Look, we don't want to sound too Top 40.

  7. Hey, come on, we're not a hard rock station.


  8. Your song reminds of (insert name of well-known artist)

  9. My 14-year-old really digs it.


At the nightclub

  1. We got great dressing rooms for you guys.

  2. Now look, all we need is four 50-minute sets a night.

  3. I don't know about music—can this band sell beer?

  4. The male stripper does his thing between your sets.

  5. All this equipment takes up room I can put people in.

  6. Turn it down—my waiters are going deaf.

  7. Look, you're just not right for this room.

  8. Whaddaya mean, you're going to go to the Union?

  9. If only we could try strippers again.


At the concert hall


  1. We had it tuned last year.

  2. The house sound system is terrific.

  3. Of course, you'll need 16 IATSE stagehands.

  4. We're not Union, but there shouldn't be a problem.

  5. We can set up (load out) in less than an hour.

  6. Sure, we give the opening act a soundcheck.

  7. Give me 10 more minutes to focus the lights.

  8. You can trust the box office count.

  9. This hall always sounds better with people in it.


At the stage door

  1. It's okay, I'm with the band.

  2. I've got the guitar player’s strings.

  3. I freelance for the Toronto Star (Rolling Stone, NEXT, Pitchfork).

  4. Look I just need a quick word with the promoter.

  5. So where’s the food rider set up?

  6. Got any posters, stickers, badges, or T-shirts?

  7. I hitchhiked all the way from Montreal (Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton).

  8. Look, I know I'm on the guest list.

  9. These guest lists are getting completely out of hand.


With the manager

  1. I tried to call, but the line was busy.

  2. We're talking to all the big record companies.

  3. This tour will get you into the bigger clubs.

  4. They'll go with it in the States the minute it takes off here.

  5. Drake’s asked you to open for him if we can work out the logistics.

  6. Boy, just check out these reviews!

  7. Don't worry, you can sleep on the bus.

  8. We haven’t got the contract back yet, but don't worry.

  9. Look, I never said it would be easy.


Some final all-purpose phrases

  1. It’ll look much better when the American (French, German, Australian, British) royalties come in.

  2. Just wait till you see the video.

  3. I'm waiting for a Canada Council grant.

  4. The record company’s totally behind you on this one.

  5. Check the lyrics; they'll blow you away.

  6. The pressure’s killing me.

  7. Does anybody know a good lawyer?

  8. Trust me.

  9. Where do I sign?


A note from the writer: I originally wrote this for The Canadian Composer in 1988. Rediscovering it, I was surprised to find how very little revision was necessary. FYI will be pleased to print additional phrases you may have heard (or used) if you e-mail them to us. The sender of the best submission will get an all-expenses-paid trip to Hollywood. Honest.

Drake leaves the court after the NBA In-Season Tournament game between the Toronto Raptors and the Boston Celtics at Scotiabank Arena on Nov. 17, 2023 in Toronto, Canada.
Cole Burston/Getty Images

Drake leaves the court after the NBA In-Season Tournament game between the Toronto Raptors and the Boston Celtics at Scotiabank Arena on Nov. 17, 2023 in Toronto, Canada.

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