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Band members who play in other bands

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by PauFerro, Mar 5, 2013.

  1. PauFerro


    Jun 8, 2008
    United States
    Just wondering what others think about band members who play in other bands.

    I find that when they join other bands they are not available for the gigs I book. I have to scramble for a sub and sometimes the music quality suffers. Meanwhile, they are out earning money and I still have to do all sub-arranging for nothing or maybe a small commission -- a commission that was supposed to be for booking the gig, not arranging subs because they are out earning dollars.

    The band I'm talking about earns between $300 and $800 per gig. Most of the gigs are between $300 and $400.

    Any thoughts on this? I do have a list of subs for most positions, but it usually means one rehearsal at least if the guy hasn't played with us for a while. Often I have to get charts, and often the repertoire suffers if the regular guys have learned non-standard tunes to differentiate ourselves from other groups.

    What is your philosophy on this? How do you deal with the fact that members often join other bands simultaneously and leave their underpaid leader with a headache to deal with?
  2. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    I've had times I've been juggling two projects. I know guys who juggle more. A lot depends on the goals of the band and the relationship of the members. Frankly, I can't blame guys turning down $300 gigs (which I assume means $60-75/player?) if they have another project that's paying $100 or $120 per player. However, I think it is a matter of professionalism to let someone know ahead of time what their availability is so that you know before booking a gig if you'll need a sub or not. Ultimately, if someone is just not available enough for the band to meet its goals gigging, it's time to let them go and find someone who does have the availability. But if they can juggle the schedule, I don't have a problem with it.
  3. Peace Cee

    Peace Cee

    Feb 9, 2011
    It sounds like you are in a "working band" situation. If it is a regular source of income, maybe you should have a discussion with them and make your expectations clear. They can explain themselves, or they can chose to stay or go. I play in an originals band that does well, and that is first priority. Because we are all musicians, we welcome other playing ops; however, the band comes first. The lead singer is a dj, so sometimes we have to work around his sched., which is a hassle at times. But, he is an excellent front man, so we compromise. I guess it depends on the impact that you want to make.
  4. Biggbass


    Dec 14, 2011
    Planet Earth
    Depends on the situation and if band members are relying on playing music to earn a living, in which case most of the players I know play in more than one, sometimes more than two bands. Those who play music casually and have day jobs don't scramble to find multiple bands to bring in the paycheck. But if the player makes it known, going into a band relationship, that he has more than one musical project in the works, and everyone can manage that, then I see nothing wrong with it. Personally I play with 3 bands but none of them are so busy that it has ever been a conflict. And it is understood among all that booking any of them is handled on a first come-first served basis.
    One of the bands I play is has two attorneys, each of which is a partner in their respective firms. No schedule juggling I could ever create even comes close to their scheduling conflicts. But I knew, going into that band relationship, that the schedule of that band would revolve around the schedules of those two individuals. One of them handles legal affairs for a couple of rock stars so he is busy, when he's busy. Thankfully he has underlings to take care of much of his business so he can play music, but he has to travel back and forth to LA a lot.
    That same band has a fiddle player that depends on playing music to make a living, so she plays in multiple bands as well and it is understood that her dependence on the music is a priority for her so we work around her bookings when we have to. She's a damned good fiddle player so it's worth it. Like I said, it all depends on the situation at hand.
  5. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2008
    I'm in three groups right now. One is more of a studio group at the moment, but the other two gig fairly consistently. What I've had to do is make my schedule painstakingly open and obvious to every band so that once I book a gig they know that date is taken. I try to book myself at least a month in advance so every band has time to work around me.

    My guitarist and drummer in my main group (see my sig) are in multiple bands too, and they have to do the same stuff to make it work - and it does. It just takes everyone acting at a very mature and professional level to make it happen.
  6. Where I live, good musicians are hard to come by. In most situations, in my experience, the kind if people who have enough clout in the scene to be double booked are catered to, if they sucked the answer would be clear, just dump them and move on. I realize it hurts to have a member cancel gigs that are already booked, because there has been time spent on developing material and chemistry, especially if the cancellation was short notice. Have a talk with that member to see what his/her intentions are to continue working together. If their dedication is wavering, make sure you ask that the sub be provided by them (the absentee), not you. Ask them if they think it is fair for them to train the sub to play the parts (you play a different instrument, its easier for them to teach the parts, bla bla bla) Nothing like asking someone to train their replacement to put things in perspective... If it doesn't work out then remember, the music "business" is a meat grinder, no need for grief.
  7. Richland123


    Apr 17, 2009
    Since I handle all the bookings, I control the schedule and I only do fill in gigs with other bands if it does not interfere with my main band bookings since they can't play without me anyway. The drummer in my main band only does fill in gigs if we are not booked and our guitar player never does gigs with other bands.
  8. 4001

    4001 Inactive Suspended

    Sep 29, 2004
    Lake County, IL
    If their other bands gigs dont interfere with ours then I dont care but if their band's gigs cause our band to lose a gig then I get quite irritated. I dont care if that is how they 'make a living'. I've invested a lot of time and money to learn the material and to have good equipment so we sound good and dont expect some dumb-azz party rock band to step on my band.
  9. phillybass101


    Jan 12, 2011
    Artist, Trickfish Amplification Bartolini Emerging Artist, MTD Kingston Emerging Artist. Artist, Tsunami Cables
    Sounds like you're dealing with guys who play full time for a living. A lot of Jazz cats I know do this as Gospel and will double and triple book if they can. I know If I were depending on gig money for my existence I'd be the same way. Money talks and ya know what walks. I laugh when I say this, but most Jazz gigs/bands are just covers anyway. I guess if you play the same songs for years, and I mean years, every gig is a cover gig.
  10. PauFerro


    Jun 8, 2008
    United States
    None of them do it for a living -- they do it as a part-time hobby business. I have them gigging one or twice a month lately. I put in more than anyone financially and with my own labor. The bands gets bookings because I have experimented with all kinds of promotion methods and have found things that work. I even pay to advertise so I can coach bar owners what to do -- I look for the long-term.

    But when they overbook themselves and leave me hanging, it irritates me.

    I make a point of hiring only guys who do music as a part-time thing for extra cash.

    Because they are not dependent on the money (although they like it) I am thinking of this. If they join my group, and are not available because they are playing in other bands, then I will find a sub, but I get a piece of their next gig's pay to compensate myself for the extra rehearsal and hassle in finding someone. Basically, if they are out making money at my expense, then I get a bigger piece of the action. Plus they have to put in the time of updating their schedule on our private online calendar so I don't have to phone five guys to book a gig that pays me $75 like everyone else.

    There are enough solid musicians in this town, and few gigs, so if they don't like it well....you can fill in the blanks....
  11. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    I play in multiple projects ... my country band is very regular gig, most of the year's dates are known in January, but stuff comes up. They get priority usually. Just today I was asked to do a gig in mid-May, and I asked if I could wait a few weeks before committing as my band's May calendar wasn't known yet. No problem. The BL of the country has no problems with finding a sub ... and I'm always sure to give him PLENTY of notice (2-4 weeks, usually).

    I agree with the post that said that musicians who are booked up pretty tight usually get cut some slack ... it's too hard to replace 'em. Seems there are two options ... deal with the absences or find new players. Press the point too hard (or extort money out of 'em as you suggest above), and you'll lose 'em for sure. And if word gets around how you deal with the situation you'll have nothing but entry-level wannabe's in your band. Finding subs is part of the role of band leader ... you're already compensated for that.

    - Edit - I should note that I NEVER cancel on a gig I've agreed to play ... that's unprofessional.
  12. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    Is the problem that your primary players are not available on dates you want to book, or that they agree to dates and then back out?

    I wouldn't expect players to be available for whatever date you might book if you're just booking once or twice a month. However, using Google calendar or somesuch will help with booking, as you can see everyone's unavailable dates.
  13. dannylectro


    Aug 2, 2010
    Atlanta, GA
  14. sleeplessknight

    sleeplessknight Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2002
    This +1000

    Backing out on previously-committed dates is lame and unprofessional, IMHO. When I've had to do it (hey, never said *I* haven't been lame/unprofessional before) it's been for STUPID money (like, pays-my-rent-this-month stupid). However, I make a point to find a sub for my bandleader FIRST, that way the conversation goes something like

    If they're just not available when you book, a shared Google Conflict Calendar (that you have sync'd to your phone and check religiously as you go through the booking process with a given client) will make your life significantly easier.
  15. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    I'm currently splitting time among three bands and in every one of those bands at least half the members also play in at least one other band or have a side project going. It really hasn't caused a lot of problems. Like a couple of others have said here, IF none of the bands in question is super busy and IF they all book out well in advance and IF everyone has their personal poop together enough to communicate conflicts in advance, it's not that hard to pull off.

    OTOH if you are going to be demanding "exclusive" access to players in your market -- especially the better ones -- you had better be making it worth their while financially and on a very regular basis or it simply won't be happening.

    The topic of multiple band membership comes up for discussion here on TalkBass at least once every couple of weeks so there is probably a solid weekend's worth of reading archived here by now and available via Search. Have at it!
  16. Devo-lution


    Jun 24, 2009
    I'm someone who always winds up in more bands than I can manage. I guess I just can't say "no".

    At this moment I'm in three bands. I also have a solo project and a job that steals away about 12 hours a day. Next to that, my girlfriend gets annoyed if I don't see her at least four evenings a week.

    No booking or rehearsal problems, but I'm having a hard time managing to schedule rehearsals and finding the motivation to go out rehearsing and/or gigging three times a week. Secretly, I'd like to quit all bands but my main band. Problem: one of those bands I'd like to quit is led by the guitar player of my main band and the other by the drummer :').
  17. Part and parcel of managing a band.
    Arranging fill ins or seeking replacements if its an ongoing concern is part of the MO for a manager.
  18. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Here's the thing. If you are only doing $300-$400 gigs, how do you expect people to stick around and/or be loyal? That's just not enough dough to commit, even if you are doing pretty much every Friday and Saturday night. If you want to keep players, especially good ones, you have to up your game a little bit and make more money. If you "can't", then perhaps you should take a look at your set list, your show, or even just the clubs you are playing and try something different that allows you to command more respect, which equals more dollars.

    However, all that being said, I used to be in FIVE at one time. I had a web site that all bands had access to that allowed them to see when I was where. But to be honest, the bands were "ranked" according to money. If I got a shot at playing a wedding that netted ME $600 (just me), I wasn't going to turn it down because another band had booked a tiny pub that payed the whole band $400 and I netted $75. That's just bad math. (In case you didn't do the math, it would take me EIGHT $75 gigs to equal ONE $600 gig. No thanks.)
  19. JohnMCA72


    Feb 4, 2009
    Having multiple gigs is what the better players do, & I certainly want to be in bands with the better players. I also want to be one myself.

    The more different people you play with, the better you get. You learn something from everybody you play with, and what you learn from X, you bring back to Y & Z & make them better.

    You've got to be up-front & honest with people about what you're doing. Common group schedules are a big help.
  20. Factor88


    Jun 21, 2011
    If there are not that many gigs in your area, how are these guys getting all these sub gigs?:rollno:

    I'm down in SOFL and have plenty of muso firends in the central Florida area...good musicians will always find plenty of gigs there. So try out your plan of "docking" them when they take sub gigs and let us know how it works out...it would be an interesting experiment.

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