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Band Management situation/overstepping

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Shimmi, Apr 5, 2016.

  1. Bass'd on a true story

    Bass'd on a true story

    Jun 28, 2015
    A band has to be a family on some level. You can't have members bring blatantly disrespectful like that Brad guy sounds to be.

    The sound guy grabbing your managerial duties is truthfully no different than the singer grabbing the guitar out of the guitarists hands during a show. You are adults. Everyone knows what everyone else's job is.

    I would confront him 1 on 1. Tell him he needs to cut the crap. If he's that desperate for money, tell him to get a day job. This story seriously makes me angry.
  2. Duder


    Dec 6, 2014
    Sub'd. I'm very interested to see how this turns out. I'm rooting for you, OP.
    Shimmi likes this.
  3. rob2966


    Oct 19, 2006
    Vancouver, BC
    Sounds like you need to define, in writing, what the share of duties and money is.
    - promoter role (yours): find gigs, advertising, etc. This is usually 10-15% in my experience as well.
    - sound: this can vary show to show (does venue have sound, sound person?, can you run your own, do you need to rent any equipement). We usually decide what needs to be spent for sound/sound person on a gig by gig basis, then that comes off the top; either way, this needs to be decided upon.
    - band members share what is left.

    Main thing here is to decouple the promoters role from the sound/PA role, they are (should be) unrelated.

    Sometimes the best way to show your value is to walk away (politely). Often once they see how work was being done for that share they are happy to bring you back (assuming you don't "fire bomb" that bridge on your way out :) ). This is true for promotion and sound.

    And yes, it sounds like "brad" is gunning for your job :).

    JMacBass65, Shimmi and wintremute like this.
  4. wintremute

    wintremute mediocrity at its finest

    Oct 16, 2014
    Endorsing Artist: Langstrom Carrot Farms
    Like everyone else says, get it in writing. If you want, put up a rough draft in here. I'm sure you'll get a lot of constructive criticism (which is a good thing).
    Shimmi likes this.
  5. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Sure he does, he just wants to make more money by taking it out of your pocket.
    Shimmi likes this.
  6. This thread is getting some good action. Congrats brother! That being said, I want you to read my comment with an open mind, because I'm in no way attacking you or your band. But it sounds like your whole band needs a retool. And new policies IN WRITING. Foremost, you need to get back on the stage and out of the background. This system is madness and it's broken from top to bottom. You need A basic business strategy, and this ain't it.
    A few notes...
    1.) 30+ songs isn't that many for a working band. That's what..? Just barely a traditional 4 hour set (also 2 breaks is standard policy for 4 hours, so don't pat their backs too hard for "only taking 2")? That means you're playing the same songs every night for very different crowds, which limits draw AND marketability. Do you never book full weekends at the same establishment? If so, I doubt they're ok with the same songs every night. As manager, that should be your first concern. Limited appeal does not get you a call back. And that's less money for all of you to fight over.
    2.) This band does not need a manager. It hasn't reached the level of a demanding business status until you're all making $200 a person per night (before merch and bar splits). If I'm not mistaken, you said you were making roughly $300 a night and splitting it (one way or another) with 7 people. I don't have to break out my calculator to know that's not enough money for any of you to worry about.
    3.) In the beginning, merch should sustain your band fund. Profits from said merch should be used to replenish what you sold and to maintain the band (ie buy new equipment, a van, a trailer, gas, hotel, etc). When you sell hundreds of dollars worth of merch a show, then you can worry about splitting percentages. You're just making extra headaches. When I hire a designer he gets a flat rate when the design is complete. Nothing more goes to him when we sell a shirt with his design. Which brings me to my next point.
    3.) Trim the fat in all areas. If there are 7 people, you're not going to be making real money for quite some time. A washboard player? C'mon man... I'm from the Appalachian Mountains. We both know a child can make those sounds by running their fork over a table. And there's no need to even think about having a sound guy. You're not at the level to need one. There's already a shortage of cash. Why add another mouth to that? TRIM THE FAT.
    In closing... It seems to me that no one in the band is interested in the money aspect. Because if 7 people can't see you're cutting off your own hands before trying to feed yourselves, then nobody is paying attention. Let's be honest. This band doesn't need a manager. They need initiative. Offer 10% off the top to whom ever booked the show you're playing. If these pickers are as money hungry as you describe, that will eliminate that aspect of management straight away. Stop paying for anything out of your own pocket. Make the band split all costs until it's self sustained. Because it's obvious you're not getting back what you expect when you put money in.
    I don't expect any of this to change your strategy. But it's definitely a few things to think about.
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2016
    Seanto, MattZilla, Strung_Low and 3 others like this.
  7. Me too...but truth be told it sounds like Brad is not so slowly trying to usurp your deal and basically push you out of the picture. He's already tried to snake your contacts and his push for more money because of the PA while still using some of your gear. Seems like he doesn't appreciate the fact that without you there already he might not have even got a finger in the pie.
    Soundguy should make flat rate IMO and experience. Alot of venues have house soundguy and PA...does he insist on something then as well?
    Sorry man, but my gut tells me this doesn't end well. Circle your wagons while you can and be prepared to "tuck and roll" when you jump ship....or to have to have an altercation with Brad. He already doesn't get , or doesn't care, that he's stepping on toes so I'm not optimistic regarding his agenda and being sensitive, and sensible, to your part in all of it.
    Good luck and I hope it works out the way you want.
    Shimmi and The Funkapotamus like this.
  8. Chuck King

    Chuck King Supporting Member

    Dec 15, 2006
    At the very least, you should separate out the different services you provide to the band. It sounds like at the very least you are (a) booking and promoting gigs, and (b) providing gear. Those should be separate line items on the band budget. If Brad or whoever wants to provide the gear, that should be a separate analysis and negotiation and not tied to your percentage for booking gigs. Also, you should get a flat fee for providing gear, not a percentage.

    Figure out what you can provide and how much it would cost for them to rent equivalent gear on the open market, and offer it to them for half or two-thirds of that. If Brad can talk them into paying more for his gear on the theory that it's better, more power to him/them, but make sure your cut comes off the top before expenses like that get paid.
    Shimmi, Remyd and The Funkapotamus like this.
  9. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    Yep. Brad is definitely trying to do an end run around you and (I'm strongly certain) trying to gradually squeeze you out as well.

    If the sole lady in the band is currently siding with Brad as opposed to the rest of the band, that doesn't bode well either. (Care to guess why?)

    Got to hand it to the guy. He hits the challenge from every conceivable angle. Real go-getter that one. Good luck dealing with the situation he seems to be so artfully engineering. It's an old story:

    This guy is a friend of yours?
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2016
    Shimmi and Billybladez66 like this.
  10. RichSnyder

    RichSnyder Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    Be careful about depending on a 75% rental discount. Your friend could quit or management decides that he's stealing a customer since the discount is supposed to be for him, etc.
    Remyd and Shimmi like this.
  11. gumtown


    May 7, 2007
    New Zealand
    Is there really that much gear and gig big enough that you need a sound guy?
    Either the band as a whole, or allocated to each member, bring/buy gear needed, and have the band do a stage side mix, you can tweak it yourself if required.
    You don't need "Brad' to be clipping the ticket too, each other member can step up to at least one extra task, every thing needs to be transparent too, so every one involved knows exactly how much effort and cost the others put in.

    My band is a 4 piece, which has been successfully playing for 28 years now.
    There is only the four of us, each with a task/responsibility, we do our own promotions and management, have a 10KW P.A, computer controlled lighting show with backdrop video projection, do our own stage side mix, setup/down and transport every thing our selves, with a starting rate of $1200 for local gigs. We own all our own gear, no renting, renting is just dead money wasted.
    So we get to take home an equal share of the whole amount each gig.
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2016
    Billybladez66 likes this.
  12. Shimmi


    Jan 28, 2015
    Well when I was active in a band we had a 20 song setlist(all originals) and it took us over a year to get there.

    This current band has only been gigging/practicing 6 months, so in that aspect they are moving remarkably fast. I'm not concerned with crowd appeal because they switch up the setlist every gig most cases with 4-5 new covers and 3 new originals so it's quite a buffet. Not to blow smoke, just giving credit where credit is do.

    Secondly, Im the band manager. So I'm not really sure if that was suppose to help me or if you're telling me to just quit while Im ahead.

    In my biased opinion more bands need band managers than don't. If majority of musicians were good at it they'd be a lot more success stories in this industry.

    I know the $300 isn't the greatest but the band is still new(only been at this 6-7 months) and if the performance keeps up we can be making twice that in no time in 2 years who knows.

    I do hear you on washboard player. Honestly she was only cut in a few shows, I'm not sure what she got maybe gas money?
    The Funkapotamus likes this.
  13. Shimmi


    Jan 28, 2015
    Actually they do need a sound guy. Every instrument is acoustic and the ones with pickups are sensitive and need to be tweaked. We have 2 banjos, 3 guitars, a mandolin, violin, and bass. Also a cajon and washboard but those are easiest to preset. We're working on getting the setlist to compliment the instrument change ups but it something that needs to get tweaked, although, honestly I never got complaints when I did the sound either.
    Howlin' Hanson likes this.
  14. gumtown


    May 7, 2007
    New Zealand
    Cut out the middle man, and do the sound mix yourself?
    Sounds like (to me) that "...Braaaad..." muscled his way in anyway.
    I think "....Braaaaad..." is going to elbow you out.

    Time to have a serious band meeting (2 meetings one without Braaad, then one with Braaaad) and see where everything fits, if everyone is happy, and define boundaries.

    At the end of the day it's really going to come down to You or Brad,
    and whether the rest of the band think marketing and promotions are as important as just the sound.
    Hahaha and Billybladez66 like this.
  15. GhettoBrassGuy

    GhettoBrassGuy Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2002
    Simi Valley, CA
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull, Lakland, Aguilar, JH Audio
    If I'm reading this right and you're just managing the band and not playing in it, there's no need for Brad. You do sound and manage the band. Tell them you'll keep your cut of booking and take less than they pay Brad for sound. More money for you and less money for the band to pay out. It sounds like you're doing half of Brad's job anyway, right?
  16. I'm aware you are the manager. And I mean no disrespect. I am definitely trying to help. I just feel you are wasting your time and resources with large plans (merch, sound, booking, lights, etc) managing guys who are making $30-40 a night per person. After all, you're bringing a lot to the table. I just think you're bringing it to the wrong band. Obviously they are unappreciative or Brad wouldn't be a pain in your ass. It's not that you seem like a bad manager (just the opposite in fact). I just think you got into a no win situation with the current arrangements. And $300 a night for a whole band!? You guys are getting SERIOUSLY reemed. If they are playing for that kind of $, I just don't see them being very good. I live in Knoxville, TN. Around here a decent band makes a minimum of $100 a night per person for a 4 hour set. And the only way I'm dragging out my Eden and jazz bass for $100 is if I personally have a relationship with the venue, or if it's a good cause. Are these band members professional musicians? Any of them go to school for music? Because I sure wouldn't be wasting my degree for less than $150 a night. And as a manager, I would be looking for bigger fish to fry. You said yourself people compliment your work (designs, merch, sound, etc) everywhere your band goes. So why are you letting yourself be sold short?
    Mind if I ask where abouts are you playing brother? City and state?
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2016
    Shimmi and Billybladez66 like this.
  17. Nev375


    Nov 2, 2010
    Usually this is the point when you call in Big Ralphie from Chicago.

    "Brad, my friend, it's just business you see." "Break a leg pal."
  18. Wot? You found some musicians making original music and took over? Seems like you said you will be BL and BM and soundman and gear provider. But Brad is still BL amd BM in his mind. This is a clustershag.
  19. Hahaha


    Sep 26, 2003
    Olympia, WA USA
    :cigar: :spit:
  20. sketch


    Oct 16, 2013
    Tacoma, WA, USA
    SO much good advice from other posters to the OP. Contracts, improving the band/set, and working with people

    So, you don't need that Brad guy in any way, and in fact didn't ask for his services. Lesson for next time, "No thank you."

    Big red flag to me. Brad is neither a band member nor manager nor soundguy. That was your opportunity to specify the duties, responsibilities, and pay of each member of the team. Written would have been best.

    He's given himself a raise. I see this is taking money out of the band, and your, pocket for unneeded and unasked for services.

    I would absolutely cut him out immediately. I would even call up that customer and go around Brad to re-take booking.

    So, he is not great at running Sound.

    Side note, I was designated Soundguy in two of my previous bands. WIth my wireless, I'd walk to the desk. I had memorized the 'general' setup of each channel (Player A uses this EQ setting, example); it took 5 minutes to plug everyone in and have a starting point, and another 10 to tweak for the venue.

    If I'm reading correctly, Brad is getting more money than you, and possibly more than some band members? (300 x .15 = $45, vs Brad = $60). Pretty clever for a guy who is completely unnecessary and was never asked to join.

    Do you have similar PA needs, gig to gig? I'd use merch to fund any lacking elements in the PA you already have and own it all outright. If there's a particular mic the violinist loves, buy it yourself. I would cut Brad out completely at this opportunity. Point out that you've been doing sound at gigs anyway.

    Agreed 100% with the other posters - make a written contract. In this contract, you need to define terms - including who the band is (the instruments & players, manager). Define the duties and responsibilities of each, and include something for dealing with substitute musicians, guest musicians (if $$), sound, and booking agent's cut. In my bands, we do like one of the other posters above and delegate each member to handle a task: like booking, sound, driving/transport, or merch. Keeps it all in house - more opportunity for band members to earn money, more personal investment of each member. Since you are handling these, specify and define your duties in the contract. A clever move would be to put yourself in the contract doing all your original management duties AND sound; write a clause for booking agent fee - if Brad wants to give out his phone and book gigs, he can, but will still have to confirm through you for dates & money. Whatever cut a booking agent manages to get, the band (&you) always get your normal pay.

    I would also agree that, as manager, you should be encouraging the band to up their repertoire & such, but not "micromanaging" it. The last three cover bands I played in each had 200+ songlists for bar gigs, just 1 or 2 months after forming.
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