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Band Management [BG] Examining issues with band membership, interaction, politics, and management.


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  #181  
Old 01-10-2013, 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Muttleybass View Post
Spoken in sarcasm, but unfortunately there's a lot of truth to it.
Well the sarcasm must have been hidden really well though, I thought he was serious (and I agree with him but we don't have a bar band scene over here so it's not an issue for me)
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  #182  
Old 01-10-2013, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by BayStateBass View Post
Well, I have to agree with Factor. My experience is that most people who constantly have friction and problems with the vast majority of people in their lives are often the ones causing it.

You have to look at the one constant and eliminate the variables to find the cause.......
The one constant is that people are people.

For instance, some personality types just don't mesh together. It doesn't necessarily even mean it's either party's fault (ie they aren't "bad" people), but just not destined to get along smoothly and easily. And other times you might not get along with someone because you see through their BS and just don't feel like tolerating it. And then you have the fact that people with "power" (real or imagined), don't always deserve it or use it wisely.

So to say that if you ever have conflicts with people it's all your fault, is disingenuous at best. I agree, there are certainly people for whom they ARE the problem, but guess what, the rest of us have to deal with those people, as well as everyone else (and everyone has "off" days themselves too).

So it's a lot more nuanced than "it's probably you" and honestly, it's usually the people who want to gloss over the nuances that cause the most friction, because they often don't make allowances for unusual circumstances. And it takes 2 to tango, so how do you discern for sure who's the one bringing the baggage to the table, or if it's both, or even if it's just all situational and under other circumstances the 2 parties would be best pals?
  #183  
Old 01-10-2013, 03:05 PM
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Originally Posted by TRichardsbass View Post
Its always going to be symbiotic to work for everyone. I think though, that the original letter writer's point was that bands, at least many he has run into, seem to believe or portray that it is the bar owner's job or obligation to create a scene for the band and for the bar owner to be subservient to the music. Which is an attitude that is highly prevelant.

The bar owner provides you:

1. A place to play, including electricity and sometimes sound.
2. Some built in audience. I don't know any bar that doesn't have a few locals and regulars.
3. A venue that you can advertise as playing, and that you can use to build a following. Otherwise you are still in your basement or garage.
4. Some compensation for doing something you love to do.
5. Some advertising.

What you provide:

1. Entertainment for his bar/regulars.
2. Some audience/patronage that comes from your following.
3. Some advertising of the venue.

Just numerically here you bring less to the table to start. You also don't provide necessarily a product the patrons wish to consume (thrash metal band, for example, at a tiki bar)

Your band is your BUSINESS, and his bar is his BUSINESS. You both get out of it what you put into it.

If you actually draw, and draw well, and can prove it, bar owners will knock on your door and have you back a ton. And you can command a decent pay and get it. If you provide his only draw, you are even more in the driver's seat.

If you are counting on the bar to provide you an audience and draw, you have zero power and you can't complain, as they are providing you the place and the possibility of gaining an audience.

I have had some pretty tough run ins with bar and club owners over the years, including one that landed me in jail for a night (a story for another time.) But most of them are not out to screw you. They are trying to make a buck. When you consider that the purchase price of the average liquor license in NJ starts around $500K (you can find a few in crappy towns cheaper, better towns some over $1M) the bar owner already has a half years profit tied up before he can even serve one customer. Then he has to buy supplies, pay for gas, electric, property taxes, business licenses and fees, etc., and he has quite an investment.

So if a club owner seems a little disinterested in your bands financial plight, understand, he has already spent 100-1000 times what you invested in your little local cover band. So if he wants you to help him make $$$$, its clearly understandable.

Now, no club owner should treat you like crap, and bands MUST stand together and not underbid each other and also not play at bars that have screwed other bands. That way you can efffect the bar's pocket book if you do have a following he needs. If a bar can't find decent entertainment or ways to draw people in, it will become a money loser quickly and close, like so many, many do.

So before so many of you get on your high horses here, also remember that the money you let the bar owner pay you was agreed upon. And you make squat, because you are all competing against each other and under pricing yourselves. Also, like the bar owner said, you better be bringing your A game at all times. Not just musically, but professionally, Dress like a band, put up lights and banners like a band. Act like a band someone would want to see. Make sure you carry yourself in a manner that says professional. Otherwise, you will always be under bid by the local hobbyist and guys who just want to play for fun and are happy to walk out of a bar with $50 in their pocket. And there are TONS of them.

There is a band here called LifeSpeed that has been packing Bar A for about a decade now on Tuesday nights, even in the winter. They not only are an amazingly good cover band, they have worked with the bar to come up with integrated promotions. They get paid about three times what the average band does here for a weekend gig, and they get it for a Tuesday. They are always dressed in "costume". they always put on a show, and they are always good with the fans at Bar A, so it reflects well not only on them but also on the bar. Basically they are worth every penny.

Can you or I say that everytime we play a gig, that everytime we walk into a bar or club, we are truly worth every penny? Have we really done EVERYTHING we can and should? If you wore shorts and a T shirt even once, I'd say no.....
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  #184  
Old 01-10-2013, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by SquierJazz72 View Post
Still not comfortable with the band as alcohol pushers.
This sums up my thoughts while reading this thread. I'm no teetotaler, but I'm also not a big fan of alcohol "culture" and the damage it does. What a shame it is that we (non-touring-level) musicians seem to have the choice of being either booze pimps or proselytizers if we want to play in public.

This in no way invalidates what the bar owner wrote. I'm just saying it makes me depressed.
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  #185  
Old 01-10-2013, 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by pkstone View Post
This sums up my thoughts while reading this thread. I'm no teetotaler, but I'm also not a big fan of alcohol "culture" and the damage it does. What a shame it is that we (non-touring-level) musicians seem to have the choice of being either booze pimps or proselytizers if we want to play in public.

This in no way invalidates what the bar owner wrote. I'm just saying it makes me depressed.
This is certainly a valid emotion.

And those of you who feel this strongly about being used by venue owners to help them sell the product that keeps them in business, you folks should not be providing entertainment and playing music in venues that sell alcohol.

This may sound harsh, but your discomfort in no way changes the paradigm or business model these venue owners are practicing.
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  #186  
Old 01-10-2013, 03:34 PM
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If you don't want to be in the business of indirectly selling drinks, maybe your future holds a wedding band, a theatre pit, a contra dance band, a jazz jam, etc. It's a big world, still more than half-full of music.
  #187  
Old 01-10-2013, 03:38 PM
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Originally Posted by electracoyote View Post
This is certainly a valid emotion.

...

This may sound harsh, but your discomfort in no way changes the paradigm or business model these venue owners are practicing.
I think it's pretty clear I was saying I've accepted it. I don't, however, have to like it, and my goal (as a subsequent poster mentioned) is to find ways of playing venues that make me happier. For the time being, I love playing out so much, I'll deal with my qualms.
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  #188  
Old 01-10-2013, 03:39 PM
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Originally Posted by derrico1 View Post
"H.I. The sun doesn't rise and set on the corner grocery." --Gale Snoats

If you don't want to be in the business of indirectly selling drinks, maybe your future holds a wedding band, a theatre pit, a contra dance band, a jazz jam, etc. It's a big world, still more than half-full of music.
Right on. Thanks for reminding me.
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  #189  
Old 01-10-2013, 03:40 PM
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Originally Posted by pkstone View Post
I think it's pretty clear I was saying I've accepted it. I don't, however, have to like it, and my goal (as a subsequent poster mentioned) is to find ways of playing venues that make me happier. For the time being, I love playing out so much, I'll deal with my qualms.
Yeah, I got the gist of your post. I find it hard to understand someone doing something they don't like if they don't have to.

I hope you can reconcile it in your mind well enough to enjoy being an entertainer. You and your audience deserve it.
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  #190  
Old 01-10-2013, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by electracoyote View Post
Yeah, I got the gist of your post. I find it hard to understand someone doing something they don't like if they don't have to.

I hope you can reconcile it in your mind well enough to enjoy being an entertainer. You and your audience deserve it.
Life is full of compromises. As I said, I *love* playing out, and I'll deal with the downsides in order to do it. I think (hope) my love is evident to the audience.

I guess I should be glad we're not relegated to playing wh*rehouses, like the old days!
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  #191  
Old 01-10-2013, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by pkstone View Post
I guess I should be glad we're not relegated to playing wh*rehouses, like the old days!
Doesnt sound too bad...
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  #192  
Old 01-10-2013, 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by MatticusMania View Post
Doesnt sound too bad...
Makes for distracted audiences, I'm guessing.
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  #193  
Old 01-10-2013, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by MatticusMania View Post
Doesnt sound too bad...
Ditto.
  #194  
Old 01-10-2013, 04:11 PM
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Originally Posted by pkstone View Post
Makes for distracted audiences, I'm guessing.
Audiences in bars are often distracted as well. I think it could possibly be a bigger distraction to the band, though I could deal with it.
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  #195  
Old 01-10-2013, 04:24 PM
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Come to think of it, Louis Armstrong seemed to enjoy it a great deal.
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  #196  
Old 01-10-2013, 06:16 PM
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This is certainly a valid emotion.

And those of you who feel this strongly about being used by venue owners to help them sell the product that keeps them in business, you folks should not be providing entertainment and playing music in venues that sell alcohol.

This may sound harsh, but your discomfort in no way changes the paradigm or business model these venue owners are practicing.
It's not really that kind of discomfort, for me. I just haven't ever felt, or seen it be true, that the bands primary job was to peddle booze. I fully realize that we do contribute to people buying and drinking by providing the entertainment. And that, to me, is our primary job. Entertainment. Do that well(ie keep the women sweaty, and the men paying), and the rest should take care of itself. Unless, forgive me, it's a lame bar before the band even gets there.
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  #197  
Old 01-10-2013, 06:24 PM
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Originally Posted by SquierJazz72 View Post
I just haven't ever felt, or seen it be true, that the bands primary job was to peddle booze. I fully realize that we do contribute to people buying and drinking by providing the entertainment.
Agreed, but it's not much of a stretch of the imagination to realize that you are being hired by the venue owner to attract people into his establishment for the ultimate purpose of selling them alcohol at around a 500% mark up.

Justify it anyway you want to, but you are helping the establishment peddle booze, either covertly or overtly, take your pick. And for most of these club owners, if they don't peddle enough booze, they stop hiring bands and look for an attraction that helps them peddle booze better, or they close shop.
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Last edited by electracoyote : 01-10-2013 at 06:38 PM.
  #198  
Old 01-10-2013, 06:55 PM
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but you are helping the establishment peddle booze
Quote:
And for most of these club owners, if they don't peddle enough booze, they stop hiring bands and look for an attraction that helps them peddle booze better, or they close shop.
I fully understand both. Not trying to dispute that or justify anything. I just have a slight difference of opinion, perhaps, as to how much the DIRECT peddling of alcohol should be on the band.
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  #199  
Old 01-10-2013, 07:02 PM
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Originally Posted by SquierJazz72 View Post
I just have a slight difference of opinion, perhaps, as to how much the DIRECT peddling of alcohol should be on the band.
Really, I don't think it involves anything demeaning or that compromises your integrity. You remind people about the drink specials. You remind them how good your cold beverage tastes at the moment. You remind them how hard your wait staff is working.

It's not like you have to wear a neon billboard and be an alcohol huckster. It can be done in a very subtle and dignified way spread out over the course of the performance.

Or, not at all. And if your immense charisma and musical skills don't do the trick, and not much alcohol moves across the bar, and if your employer isn't cool with that, he might choose to not hire you again, especially if he has other bands at his disposal who are willing to help him move alcohol.

Your choice. There's nothing to debate here. That was the spirit of the letter in the OP, and it's what I hear from the majority of venue owners I work with.
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Last edited by electracoyote : 01-10-2013 at 07:22 PM.
  #200  
Old 01-10-2013, 07:28 PM
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Really, I don't think it involves anything demeaning or that compromises your integrity.
I don't recall saying it had to.
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