Tom Laskin's arts feature focuses on the realities confronted by local lounge acts including guitarist/vocalist Cliff Frederiksen, who is four years into a steady run at Quality Inn South. "When I left Fargo, N.D., to come here, there were 14 or 15 different lounges you could work there," says Frederiksen, 43. "Coming to Madison, where there were maybe five or six clubs that had any kind of entertainment - I'm talking that would pay a weekly guarantee - I was told by some pretty good people that I would not be able to make a living as a musician." But between gigs with American Jazz Express and at the Capitol Hill Supper Club and the Concourse Hotel, he was able to establish a career. As the room starts to fill on a Saturday night, his set list ranges from light jazz and George Strait to Creedence Clearwater Revival and Chuck Berry. "I've never considered myself an artiste," he says. "I do this for a living, and I would rather play music I don't like for people than sit at home alone playing music that satisfies me." Frederiksen now focuses on jazz: Recent gigs have included a series of Saturday and Sunday nights at Basie's and, with his trio, at Restaurant Magnus.