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8 gigs in one month

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by eKay, Jun 2, 2014.


  1. eKay

    eKay

    May 8, 2014
    Thus begins June, the busiest month of my musical life! I have 8 confirmed gigs with a 9th possible. Admittedly, I won't be playing bass for all of them, but I thought it could still be interesting to write about. (There may even be a slight chance it turns out to be interesting to read as well.) The other times I'll play sax, percussion, and even some acoustic guitar. Oh, and I'll be providing the PA and mixing from the stage for some shows too.

    The first show is this Wednesday, a one hour set as part of the featured band at a blues society jam. I'll be playing my trusty '78 Jazz through the house amp, a nice little SWR which I have used many times (I never remember the model). I've played with this particular band twice so far, both 3+ hour gigs, the first of which I had almost no warning. I got the call for that one in the morning, just in time to grab my bass and amp on my way to work! I've yet to rehearse with them, but it was a list of pretty familiar tunes, and the guitar player called the changes out as needed.

    I'm pretty excited and I keep looking at my calendar in disbelief. I'm sure there are a lot of pros or semi-pros out there who wouldn't blink an eye at 8 or 9 shows in a month, but it's a big deal for me, especially since I just jumped back into music about 2 years ago.;) Thanks for listening.
     
    Remyd, adi77, Winfred and 2 others like this.
  2. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Congratulations! I hear stories of the good ole days when cover bands could play three or four gigs a week- now we're lucky to get that many a month. Is this going to be a steady pace for you, or just the one month?
     
  3. marcberez

    marcberez Supporting member

    Jun 23, 2012
    Tampa, FL
    I know it is a personal thing, but I would be interested to know what different people around the country are making on cover gigs. I used to work 5 nights a week in Miami Beach back in the 80s and make just as much, and often more than a regular job. Today?.....You're lucky if you can get gas money. Too many open mic nights that let club owners get free entertainment.
     
    ImNotJoel likes this.
  4. modulusman

    modulusman Banned

    Jan 18, 2004
    montana
    In July I have 14 gigs booked so far with 2 different bands. My pay ranges from free to about $550.00. Total pay for the month should be around $3100-3200.00. Unfortunately I am only this busy about 3 months out of the year.
     
    BassCliff and marcberez like this.
  5. marcberez

    marcberez Supporting member

    Jun 23, 2012
    Tampa, FL
    that's a pretty good month. I think the key to making money is to be as versatile as possible. Don't turn the gig down if you have the ability to do it. Even if it is music you don't care for, it may open up other doors.
     
    heynorm likes this.
  6. eKay

    eKay

    May 8, 2014
    Definitely not a steady pace, at least not yet. Summer time around here is when we start getting busy, so I know come winter things will quiet down some. I've not been involved in more than one group before, so we'll see how things go!
    It also really helps to play multiple instruments.:D
     
  7. Dave W

    Dave W

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    We just finished up a 10 gig May. With 3 of them this past weekend. It would be 11 gigs if Sunday was in May...and 12 if one of them didn't get cancelled.

    Good luck and have fun!
     
  8. Kmonk

    Kmonk

    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg , Conquest Sound
    In today's environment, 8 to 9 shows per month is very good. Enjoy it.

    In the early 80s when I was in a cover band, we played 5 nights per week for 4 years. About 13 years ago, I joined a touring blues band that sometimes played as many as 11 shows per week. We did a lot of shows at fairs, motorcycle rallies, bike week, etc. Some venues would have us play every day of the event and sometimes 2 times per day on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. We once played in New York City on a Thursday, flew to Nashville to play on Friday and flew to Boston to play on Saturday. Lot or travel but also a lot of fun.
     
  9. BassCliff

    BassCliff

    May 17, 2012
    So. Cal.
    Hi,

    For us "weekend warrior" types, 8 dates in a month is good. I range from 3 to 15 dates a month between my main band and sub work. Summer is our busiest time. But we also pick up a lot of parties around the holidays. Those usually pay pretty well.

    Yes, I used to work 4 to 6 nights a week. In the early 80s it was for about $50-$75 a night doing club work. In the 90s it was about $65-$80 a night. I have since stopped playing so much since my youngest daughter came along. She's 14 now. Most of the clubs I work these days pay around $100-$125 a night. Events and private parties pay more, sometimes substantially more, 2 or 3 times that. It depends on where you're working. Some clubs pay a lot less. You can't live on it but it's my "mad money". ;)

    Thank you for your indulgence,

    BassCliff
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2014
    eKay likes this.
  10. Smooth_bass88

    Smooth_bass88 Groove it

    I'm always psyched to hear that other musicians are working alot. In this day and age it's tricky to keep it going but it is possible to eek out a career playing music. Keep on movin'!
     
  11. Kmonk

    Kmonk

    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg , Conquest Sound
    In the early 80s my band was getting a minimum of $500 per night on a weeknight and at least $1,000 per night for Fridays and Saturdays. Since we gigged 5 nights per week we each made about $600 per week. Not bad money 30 plus years ago. I've been fortunate to play in bands which have been good enough to get a decent night's pay. About 10 years ago when I was touring with a blues band there were weekends where I made enough money to cover my mortgage for 2 months. I also did a show where we got $2,500 to play 10 songs. Now I'm playing in a tribute band mostly in New England. We typically get anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000 per night. We just played a casino and got $1,500 plus meals for a 1 1/2 hour set.
     
    heynorm and BassCliff like this.
  12. BassCliff

    BassCliff

    May 17, 2012
    So. Cal.
    Hi,

    That's terrific!

    On New Years Eve I will often make $1000-$1200 but that's usually my best paying gig of the year.

    I salute your success! There was a time for me, many years ago, when I was making more playing 4 nights a week than working 5 days a week. Such is not the case now. It's great to hear that bassists can make a decent living in the biz. I wish you continued good fortune.

    Can I give you my number in case you ever need a sub? ;)


    Thank you for your indulgence,

    BassCliff
     
  13. jjk2007

    jjk2007 Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2008
    Austin, TX
    Endorsing Artist: DNA
    I think if my band really promoted ourselves, got a good booking agent and wanted to do some light-medium travel, we could probably be playing 3-4 nights a week. That said, we're all happy with the 1-2 gigs per week due to day jobs, family, etc. This month will be slow for us as I leave for vacation for a week tomorrow and our guitar player is taking the end of the month off. 3 gigs this month. I believe we have about 5 lined up for July and 8-9 for August. We get payed anywhere from $75-150 per man plus tips usually. Some occasions we'll "hit it big" but those are rare for us. Anyhow, it's good to see fellow TB'ers out there gigging and doing what we love!
     
    BassCliff likes this.
  14. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    Minneapolis
    I spread the word around, and a bunch of us are coming to Montana to find you, and kick your ass.
     
    modulusman and eKay like this.
  15. BassCliff

    BassCliff

    May 17, 2012
    So. Cal.
    Hi,

    crackup. rofl1. :D

    That's quite a compliment! ;)

    Thank you for your indulgence,

    BassCliff
     
  16. eKay

    eKay

    May 8, 2014
    It's the end of the first week, and three gigs have gone by. The show on Wednesday didn't go all that great, we just didn't play that well as a group. A friend and former bandmate came, as well as a colleague from my day job which was cool. My friend said I was the most solid part of the band, which was a nice compliment since it was only my third time playing with them and still no rehearsal. I think the reason was we just couldn't hear each other. There was another band that had pre-loaded their gear on the stage for a show the following Friday, including a drum riser and lighting rig, and it was just too much stuff. The blues society has a modest setup with their own back line (30 watt amps) and drum kit which is pretty decent, and plenty powerful to be way too loud in a smallish room with massive reflection issues. The drum riser kept the bass and guitar amps too far apart and blocked the sound just enough to cause problems. The Friday night band had enough gear to rock a stadium. (sorry for the crummy pic, my old phone doesn't take good pics in low light) You can see the little 2x10 SWR amp I was using on the far right.

    14344186576_d15cfb6262_c.

    Both my friends didn't care for the singer, but I think she's a pretty good performer overall and she's very nice. I have a good time anyway, and they get gigs. What would you do?

    The same night I talked to another friend about possible gig #9, turns out that was cancelled. However, I got asked to sub on the 20th for yet another band, so I'm up to 9 after all.

    Anyway, I just woke up after crashing from last night's gigs. First one was opening for Shana Morrison (Van's daughter), so that was pretty cool. We got a number of comments that we were actually better than her band! Easy gig, great sound system, pro sound guys, 45 minutes and we're done (and we got paid!).

    Gig #3 was the after party for gig #2 at a little bar-n-grill nearby. I made the mistake of loading my PA into their store room before gig #2 so I'd have more time to watch the show, but it ended up being a waste of time. It would have been easier to load from the street, straight in and 20 feet to the left. As it was, we had to haul it all from the back, through the kitchen. We also had to wait on the people who were still eating before they cleared a space for us, which shortened our setup time. I felt pressured to get everything hooked up and a lot of my cables got tangled, despite everything being carefully coiled up. I also HATE getting massive feedback as I'm dialing in the sound. Oh well, lessons learned. The place was packed, lots of lovely ladies, including a former cheerleader who was demonstrating her impressive high kicks (sorry, no pics). We had a great response, but it always feels weird as the place starts to empty out. By about 1am there were about 3 people left and we called it a night. Packed up and drove 1 1/2 hours home, got in by 4am and managed to stay alive.
     
    jjk2007 and BassCliff like this.
  17. pbass888

    pbass888 Supporting Member

    Jul 8, 2009
    New York, NY
    Rare for me I had 5 gigs this past week... Monday tues night a two different restaurants and a quartet setting. Saturday a social mixer for a company. Sunday noon big band and Sunday night octet at a gallery here in the city.... All with my trusty 64 jazz and gk mb 150.
    The cats I dig (Paul chambers, bird, Mingus , monk) used to play 6 nights a weeks for years. I'd be happy with six steady a month.
    Good on you.. Hope more gigs for your future.
     
    jjk2007 likes this.
  18. Space Pickle

    Space Pickle

    Apr 15, 2013
    sweet tapdancing christ what kind of gig requires 2 sets of 4x12s????
     
    eukatheude likes this.
  19. Good for you! I'm having the first gig in more than a year this sunday. And another one two weeks later.
     
  20. MrLenny1

    MrLenny1

    Jan 17, 2009
    N.H.
    Grab them while you can.
    The dry spots are rather long.
    Have'nt gigged in 4 years.
     

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