Am I being a sucker?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Matthew West, May 2, 2001.

  1. Around the middle of February, I started playing with a second band. They were without a bass player (their old one left), and I offered to help them out with shows while they look for a new one. They still have not found a new bass player, and I don't think they're looking too hard. Thing is, they seem to be starting to view me as a regular member.

    Now as far as I am concerned, this is not my band. I don't make decisions, I play what I am asked, and while I'm pretty free to mess with the parts, I don't contribute with any songwriting. I go to practice every week, so forth and so on.

    Here is my question: I have played two shows with them so far, and have another on May 17. The first show I know they got paid around $180, and the second one probably between $50 and $100. Neither time did they offer to give me my cut of the money, and instead used it to pay rent on their practice space or fund the album which they are recording, and which they have asked me to do the bass parts for. Should I be expecting 25% of all money from playing out? I haven't asked for any, but they haven't offered either. I don't want to be an ass, but I kind of feel like I am being taken advantage of.
  2. BaroqueBass


    Jul 8, 2000
    Salem, OR
    you's a sucka foo!! either get your $$ or get the hell outta there. Don't jibba jabba wit dem geeta playaz.
  3. Have you tried discussing it with them? What were the details of your agreement to play with them?

    I think if the band is getting paid, you should be getting paid too, but I'm not in the situation, so I don't really know.

  4. Acacia


    Apr 26, 2000
    Austin, TX
    to me the number one question is are you enjoying it?

    if you know that the money is going towards practice space rent and funding a new album that you're gonna be on, then I would go with the flow.

    i mean, are you really losing anything?
  5. Honestly, not really. I blew off practice last night to hang out with a friend instead, and I'm sure I'll get the guilt trip later.

    FF, there really was no specific agreement. I just told them I'd help them out until they find a new bass player.
  6. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    This is an awkward situation, especially because the original arrangement was informal and no particulars were laid out about payment.

    I'd sit down right away with the other band members to have a clarification and negotiation of options, mutual expectations and future plans. You need to be clear on whether or not you are a fully participating member of the band or just a sideman. If you are a sideman, you should be paid and not be expected to share the costs of practice space and recording projects. Afterall, you have no input as to the music and other band decisions.

    If you are expected to share equally in band expenses, then you should be able to share equally in whatever decisions the band makes and should have input into the music (if you so desire.) Otherwise. you are becoming a Jason Newsted who is always perceived as somewhat of a second class citizen and less "equal" than the others. Also, most important, if you are sharing in the recording costs, you should share equally with the others in whatever the record earns...if it does.

    I know these situations can get pretty sticky, especially because some band members find discussions of money very uncomfortable. But these are nagging issues that need to be brought out in the open and dealt with before resentments begin to build and misunderstandings multiply.

    You have already blown off one rehearsal. Your band mates may have no idea why. I believe in open communication. Let the band know where you stand...the sooner the better.

  7. No, all this costs me is time, gas and strings. And FWIW, I have no desire to be a permanent member.
  8. Sounds like you should have worked out the details ahead of time! ;)

    As JO said, I'd sit down with them and negotiate. If the band is getting paid and you are subbing on bass, then you should be paid. Period.

    Even though they wouldn't be getting the full cut to pay for rehersal space etc., it's still worth it to them to pay you because without you, there'd be no gig and no money at all for them. :)
  9. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    IME subs get paid first. They're an expense, like rehearsal space and transportation. If you're not a full-fledged member, why share in the full-fledged expenses? ... that's the band's problem, not yours.

    This is a textbook example of why you should get this stuff straight before you pull your bass out.

    A local band/sweatshop asked me to sub on a few gigs for them. The pay would be $40-$50 (after expenses. I said no.

  10. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    You should work out a payment plan for future gigs and set a time limit on your stay. Give them X amount of time to find a new guy, when it runs out, quit. X being equal to however long you can stand to be there.
  11. ASR


    Apr 2, 2001
    Houston, Texas
    The band I just quit called and asked me if I could stand in for some gigs in Houston and Dallas until they find someone else. In my experience, that always ends up in an extended obligation.

    If they are getting paid and not paying you, you are getting shafted. Tell them what you want and how long you are willing to stay. If they don't like it, hit the road.
  12. Hategear

    Hategear Workin' hard at hardly workin'.

    Apr 6, 2001
    Appleton, Swissconsin
    Sounds like these jabronis are not looking very hard for a new bassist because they have a pretty sweet deal right now. You play bass for them, you don't force your opinion on them and best of all, they don't even have to pay you! I think it was said already (and I agree), give them a set amount of time to find a replacement and then walk out on them when that time expires. If these are "friends" of yours, expect them to have some hurt feelings and resentment toward you. In the meantime, make sure that you get your share of the cash. You wouldn't flip burgers at the 'King for free, would you?

    To Acacia: Your opinion is a good one if there was no money involved. If NOBODY was getting paid, I wouldn't think this situation would be as bad. When you know everyone is getting paid but YOU, you are being used and you are compromising yourself and that ain't right no matter what the situation is.
  13. Beefbass

    Beefbass Guest

    Feb 4, 2001
    Well, I'd like to offer my opinion on this matter.
    In a sense, this is costing you money, when you consider:
    The wear and tear on your gear
    The wear and tear on your vehicle
    Time you could have spent maybe working somewhere else(for money)
    Now, I'd like to share something with you. If you give these guys X amount of time to find another guy, they have no reason to guilt trip you, because you are extending them a courtesy. Under federal employment law(which you can check out under the Dept. of Labor's website) unless you have a written contract with them saying otherwise, you are NOT obligated to give them any notice under the "at will" system of employment. This should actually be easy: you don't get paid anyway, and since they dictate all terms about the functioning of the band, they are considered an employer. Basically, they're screwed.
    So what I would do IMO is;
    Tell them from now on you don't play unless you get paid-no exceptions!
    Give them a deadline, and tell them if they can't fill the spot by then, tough.
    You sound like a good guy to me. Don't let anybody screw you-it's definitely not worth it.
    Just my humble opinion.