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Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by bassampegman, Nov 4, 2004.

  1. Heres something ive noticed during my regular visits to the forum. In the USA it appears you guys have far more possible venues to play regardless of the fact you have a chuffing great country.

    Ive seen references to bar gigs, outside shows, coffee house gigs, restaurant gigs, church gigs etc etc and it seems that alot of you bass players in the US tend to have gear suitable for that type of gig.

    Question : Do these venues / gigs etc have to have a music license ??

    In the UK we as amateur / semi pro guys play clubs / bars mainly pubs and some outside events in the summer, fetes motorbike shows etc, but the bars / pubs etc have to pay for a pricey music license to allow bands from 3 people up to gig live. The local music scene is declining due to lack of attendances and high costs of music licenses to the pub etc, we tend to lose more venues than gain.

    I have played on the same stage (local and small ) as The Darkness, Status Quo, Iron Maiden, etc etc and these small venues do really struggle to make any money.

    We Brits do also tend to play with bigger rigs as we normally can only afford one rig and most places do not give us PA support so you are on your own.

    Anyway just wondered how it is in the US , by the way if you rockers have heard of the Darkness, they were a small local band playing rock covers (AC/DC, THIN LIZZY ETC ) and played the local pubs etc.
    We do get paid for gigging but it only about pays for the fuel for the car and a drink or two and maybe a set of strings !!

    Please share with us Brits what its like in the world of amateur bass players.

    I was also amazed at the recent Bass gathering that Jorg talked about at Arlington Texas ?? and i saw the video clips etc, this is something you never see in this country which is a real shame.

  2. bigbajo60


    Nov 7, 2003
    Laredo, Texas
    Yeah bassampegman... my understanding of the "rules & regs" over here is that establishments that provide "live and/or recorded musical content" to their clientele must pay licensing fees to one or another of the ASCAP/BMI bunch.

    That said, I don't really have any way to verify how aggresively the ASCAP/BMI bunch enforces those "rules & regs".

    Anyway, as for pay; in my neck of the woods, a beginner muso can expect to play for about $20 - $30 bucks a gig at the clubs and bars... that usually translates to 3 hours of performance over a 4 hour period. Vets can usually garner $100 bucks apiece at those same gigs. Note, the venues 'round these parts tend not to provide PA or lighting, so the bands have to drag that in themselves. We may very well be getting paid more for the equipment than for our talent! :smug:

    Now, if you're in a band that plays weddings/special events... and that band splits the booty equally amongst all, oh-ho!!!... you're looking at making $300 - $400 bucks a night, depending on how big a band you're in. More bandmates = less of an individual cut, naturally. Those bands will still play club/bar gigs as a way of "advertising" their services.

    You've gotta know that as a "working stiff", I live for those big gigs! :D
  3. Mike Money

    Mike Money Banned

    Mar 18, 2003
    Bakersfield California
    Avatar Speakers Endorsing Hooligan
    The Darkness rules.
  4. In the UK the pubs and bars etc must have the license and often the problem is due to noise pollution. We suffer alot in the UK from venues being close to houses etc and the noise levels etc often mean refusal of licence.
    Most local bands in the UK ( well in my area ) get around £100 to £200 per gig for the whole band.

    In London area i believe that its the band that pays the venue so as to play ???

    It still seems that in the US your love of live music is greater than in the UK , the majority of young people would prefer to go to a club and listen to dance tracks instead of a live covers band.In the main towns the number of live band playing venues is decreasing, most of them are not suitable for bands in the first place !!

    I also agree the Darkness are great, saw them last year supporting Whitesnake, a year later The Darkness are playing to bigger crowds than Whitesnake.

    Good to see good guitar based bands again instead of manufactured rubbish.

    I was in the same band as the drummers brother from the Darkness !!

    Rock On dudes
  5. bmc


    Nov 15, 2003
    Most gigs in Switzerland pay an average of $250 or more per guy.
  6. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Here in Burbank there is a "noise permit", which is hard to get, not because it's expensive, but because they don't like giving them out. We were shut down once when we tried to play a birthday party for one of the local club owners. But Burbank is an anomaly, in the greater Los Angeles area things are different. We've played spontaneous outdoor gigs at the local public parks, with nothing more than a verbal agreement or a handshake. Generally speaking, outdoor venues are better regulated than clubs and such. Indoor gigs are subject to local noise ordinances, which means the bobbies don't care as long as no one complains. There's a hierarchy of local club gigs, ranging from the rankest pay-to-play at the bottom, to corporate sponsored party gigs at the top. Pay-to-play means you have to buy a bunch of tickets from the venue, at a discounted price, and sell them to your friends. Up and coming original bands sometimes do one-setters, where they book three or four bands on the same night, so the total gigging time is around 45 minutes (that's almost as bad as pay-to-play). At the other end of the spectrum, corporate parties can pay upwards of several thousand dollars a pop, depending on the nature of the event. Y'r average blues band or classic rock cover band can expect to make somewhere between 50 and 200 dollars per person, for a four hour gig on a Friday or Saturday night, plus tips. More than that is possible, but only for name acts. Some of the best gigs are sponsored by the city, meaning they'll book you into four different venues on four successive weekends, ranging from the Marina to ethnic festivals and so on. Weddings are my favorite cover gig, you get to eat and drink, meet a variety of beautiful women, and on top of all that get paid for the privilege of having fun. :D
  7. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL
    wow, didnt know it was soo hard in the UK.

    here in NYC, there's NO chance of being able to play my bass rig other than in a sound ordinanced club. :rolleyes: course, it does get one motivated. ;)
  8. Yep life as a musician is real tough in the UK which maybe accounts for the gritty down to earth acts that come out of the UK. Well not so many nowadays ( not including the Boy band girl band singing acts )

    Most of us who play live do it for fun as the money is so little, which i think tends to make us appreciate every gig we can get.

    We have thousands of bands trying to get gigs in pubs and clubs every week, not for the money but more for the chance to play out live, if you cant gig then whats the point of playing !!

    Its so difficult in the UK as live musician type bands are being squeezed out in favour of dj's , Karaoke, Duos, solo acts or people singing to recorded tracks etc.

    It does appear that the US has so many gig outlets, what are these coffee bar gigs all about, wouldnt happen in the UK.

    Church bands and gigs, very un cool and wouldnt happen in the UK normally ( unless you talking Gospel )

    Outside events are also a problem as we have more than our fair share of rain and even in the summer we find outside events cancelled due to weather etc.

    Played a gig ( party ) in the grounds of a Castle, a real castle, from the days of King Arthur and all that !! not a modern gimmick or anything, the weeks before were hot and sunny, the eve of the gig it was dreadful rained all night !!

    You US guys are very lucky to have more venues, more interest in live acts and most of the time decent weather.
  9. the dude

    the dude Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2004
    Then again, it's not all "band nirvana" here.

    Some of our biggest local clubs in my town have just recently (in the past year or so) started having more live music. They make a bet having a band. If the patrons don't show, they don't sell drinks (they sure don't make money off of the cover charge) so they have been choosing - for the past several years - to play recorded music. Lately, there has been a surge in live music in these venues, so it's been better.

    Still, all in all, it sounds like there are more opportunities to play here. Just thought I'd point out it's not always that way.
  10. zoran


    May 10, 2002
    me to, be strong, don't give up. :D :D :D .
  11. Basspolizei

    Basspolizei Pseudo bass player/collector

    Jun 23, 2004
    Buy basses and lots of guns before it's too late! You have been warned.
    Hello Ampeg brother.......I must say that I'm impressed by anyone having played the same stages as Steve Harris.
    I am also impressed with the unique sounds from The Darkness. That being said and being a member of the Polizei brotherhood in the US, I will attempt to shed light on the practices of most cities and towns in our country. In my area, there is no required permit for playing live on private property such as bars (pubs), clubs, churches, etc..Government (municipal or state) owned property is only different in that they usually require a permit and a rental fee to throw tunes through their air. This is usually to pay for the upkeep of that specific property and/or the cost of electricity. Because of the constitution of this country, we have the right to listen to and play what we want. The downfall to this is that having rights also extends to persons not admiring our loud, boisterous rock and roll. This means that those that oppose our volumes, whether it be public or private property, can make one phone call and cause the bands to submit to the desires of one miserable individual. This is due to local laws or ordinances titled, "Disturbing the Peace." Usually the band will get warned and asked to turn down. If another call is received then the officers may be forced to cite the property owner with fines running from $200 to $400. Sad but true....
  12. Yep you guys are very lucky, nobody is supposed to perform live music in the UK in public venues without the venue having a performing music license which is very expensive and involves visits from health and safety / fire dept etc.

    We too suffer from noise pollution and nearby people complaining about it to the venue and or police, if they lose there license they cannot have acts any greater than 2 people.

    I was a bit dissapointed when the Darkness bass player stopped using Ampeg in favour of Mesa Boogie, maybe it was a better endorsment package !!

    Its very difficult for small bars and pubs to survive with live bands as the license is costly, they need to pull in loads of extra people to justify the costs who hopefully will drink more so as to pay fot the bands fee and leave a profit as well.

    Someone in the UK should look at shaking up the live music scene / venues otherwise in the UK we will be left with crappy karaoke pubs or disco nights and Will young and Gareth Gates ( who the f*ck are they )

    Keep on rocking as nothing else matters,

  13. uglybassplayer


    Aug 24, 2001
    New Jersey
    Contemporary Praise music has seen a growth in popularity here in the Northeast U.S. (New York, New Jersey & Pennsylvania) over the past few years, no doubt in part due to the success of a NJ based radio station that covers the tri-state area (WAWZ 99.1 FM). Concerts featuring well known Christian artists have also been doing quite well. Churches are using coffee houses, contemporary worshop services and COW (Concerts of Worship) as tools to get more young people involved.

    I'm currently playing in two praise bands. One doesn't get paid and plays only for the joy of playing and praising God. The other (which is gigging fairly steadily about twice a month), does charge in most cases, but we use most of the money to support local mission work/causes. The remaining money covers the maintenance and updating of the PA gear, and if there's any left, it goes toward travel expenses. We play at youth retreats, coffee houses, COWs and assorted outdoor events.


  14. I think it's like that in most places these days. The number of kids going to clubs here outnumbers those who go to live music. The clientele for most of my gigs is definitely the older crowd more than the 20 year olds.
  15. Luckydog

    Luckydog Supporting Member

    Dec 25, 1999
    "Most gigs in Switzerland pay an average of $250 or more per guy."

    hmmm, maybe I should move to Switzerland. Hard to see a bar paying $1000 for a 4 piece band around here. You guys must be on the pro end of the scale.
  16. r379


    Jul 28, 2004
    Dallas, Texas
    Kinda makes you wonder about the "cost of living" in Switzerland.
  17. Well it does cost about $10 dollars for a cup of coffee in Switzerland!!
  18. r379


    Jul 28, 2004
    Dallas, Texas
    That's what I figured.
  19. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    It really depends. Here in central Ohio, my schlokky cover band gets between $750 and $1000 on average for Friday or Saturday night bar gigs, and private events usually fetch around $2000 to $2500 (more rare). I play pretty much every Fri and Sat nights, some Thursdays. There are many bands in the area that don't make as much in the same clubs (we attract people to the bars, other bands perhaps not so much), and we steer away from the venues that pay $400 or $500 a night, though we're fortunate that we can stay busy and still avoid those bars.

    The money is there, you just have to be in the right band, in the right city, with the right musicians, playing the "right" material.
  20. csholtmeier


    Feb 8, 2004
    omaha, ne
    This thread is making me feel much more appreciative of my local scene in Omaha, NE. On Halloween night there was something like 8 live shows just in Omaha, running the gamut from alt-country, rock, hardcore, metal, rap and electronic. I don't know if anybody has heard of Saddle Creek Records, but they are a local label that are getting national attention. They are in talks right now to open a new venue.

    So the next time I hear someone criticize our scene I will have to say that we need to be more appreciative because there are many other bands who don't have it so well.