Dealing With Other Bands
so this is part venting and part looking for advice:
i am a teacher as a day job and work as a bartender on the weekends. i also play in a couple bands around town. the main band i play in is a bluegrass band where my wife is the lead singer. being the more seasoned player in my band, i am in charge of booking gigs and working with bar owners and other bands and promoters. my policy in life and especially in music has always been "you get more flies with honey than vinegar"
ok that being said, here's the situation:
the bar i work at has music on the weekends when the college kids are out of town. next week is their spring break and the boss asked if my wife and i and our bluegrass band would play. of course i said yes because they get good crowds of locals who love to see music when the college punks are gone. we have played many shows there and are well liked. the boss said that there was a guy who plays in a band who has been begging him to let him play there as well. he agreed to let him share the bill with us.
i contacted the guy via text and told him that we were playing together and that we should discuss details about whose sound gear we should use and what times each band will be playing from. i told him he would play one set for 1-1.5 hours and we would play 2 sets for 1-1.5 hours each. he texted back asking about how much the pay was, why are they only getting one set, and that he plays in 2 different bands and that they are not used to opening up for other bands. :rollno: sorry, i didn't know i was texting keith richards!
i tried to keep things positive saying i'm happy to give more time and that he'd have to talk with the boss about payment because we have to play and work together. all the while i'm thinking, i've never even heard of you or your band! and you were the guy who begged to play here.....what's with this huge ego and rudeness?
now i understand that it's tough to convey your tone over text (that's why i am calling him tonight when i get home). it is also very easy to say positive things in text too. i even said things like "looking forward to it!" and "let me know anything you need"
anyway, i woke up this morning still upset about this interaction and being a teacher it bothers me when people are rude for no reason. what does this get you? i am proud to say that i have gotten to play many festivals and open up for some decent bands just because i am a nice guy and people like to deal with me.
so if anyone has had this same experience, i would love to hear about it and what you did. or any advice about how you go about dealing with these kind of people.
Definitely talk it out in person if possible. Hopefully it's just a communication misunderstanding...
If your boss booked both bands then it is his responsibility to sort all of this out both with you and with the other band. If he just kinda threw it out there to you both, then you're in the awkward position of trying to have the night be organized with no one responsible. If you're in charge then it's your gig you and are responsible for everything, sound, pay, set lengths, etc. You may need to have that discussion with your boss to clarify the situation ASAP... preferably before the night of the actual gig.
Be firm and clear in your discussions and keep in mind there are many egotistical/flakey people in this world who's view of their own circumstance doesn't match up with the rest of us.
Thanks!! I did call the boss after the second text that bothered me and we worked it out. The boss called the other guy and told him what the deal was. I texted the guy again to tell him we should talk sound equipment and that i was looking forward to the gig...and he never replied - so annoying!!
IMHO, if you were trying to keep things positive, you should have phoned him in the first place, rather than texting, and you should have asked him what his thought were on the number of sets, etc. Based on your description of the events, I'd think you were rude and trying to set things up for your own convenience at my expense.
ouch, tcl!! but i see where you or anyone could see it that way. the boss did tell this guy at the beginning that this was his first show and they were on a trial basis. he also told them they were going to be opening up for us. he just didn't seem to like it and took it out on me.
Generally speaking...musicians are a pain in the ass. Of course, I don't mean to exclude myself when I say that. Musicians trying to be discovered or thinking that they might or have "made it", the PITA factor goes up by 10x. If they are a "songwriter" or "vocalist", add on another 5x.
Seriously, we're the worst. One of the things that I love about playing jazz is the monogamy of it. You don't have to get too involved, or be around people who tweak you that way for very long, because there are just too many other people to play with.
I'm sure someone else would be glad to do it without the attitude.
If that guy (the guy trying to get his first gig there) would have said those things to the bar owner he wouldn't likely be performing there ever... You have (hopefully) learned a lesson on working with other acts. Either you are in control and make all the decisions or you are just another band sharing the bill, the bar owner can fix that really quickly. If you are the person in charge then I would report your situation to the owner and inform him you are dropping the other band for that night. He can try and get himself booked on another night if he can...
If you are not in control, ask the owner for more complete details of your responsibility and deal with it. I would not allow this guy to use any of my equipment after that and the club owner needs to be aware now.
Well I think his problem is due to using phrases like "you guys are opening for us". Regardless of how good the other band is, it's kinda condescending. If it's a double bill, just say so and don't say things that miscontrue what's going on.
It's probably moot at this point but - when the bar you work at has bands come in to play, are you usually the one who books them or makes the booking arrangements? If the answer to that is "no", then you shouldn't have been the one to contact the other group.
If you were booked someplace and somebody from another band called you and told you when you were going to start and how long you were supposed to play, would you just say "Sure, OK"? Or are you going to say "Well, I kind of need to hear that from the manager/booker with whom I made the arrangements to play this gig."?
The questions about backline, PA etc should have all been directed to the person who actually booked the bands. It's his responsibility, and if he delegates that to you, then he should make sure he makes that clear to all concerned parties.
If they self describe as an "artist" or a "stylist", x ... well the scale doesn't go that high.
First thing I do with a "diva" is fire them. It's bad for the band.
Here's how it ended:
Earlier in the day in Saturday when I was working at the bar the boss apologized for not directly voicing his specific expectations and putting me in the middle of it. Also the bandleader who we played with also apologized for coming off bad via texts. He said he looked back at the texts and he thought he came off like a d@&k and was sorry. We both had great shows and are planning a joint gig again.
Musicians are the best, just like I said, you have to be patient and give people the benefit of the doubt. :)
Glad for the smooth ending.
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