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Band problems involving doing a gig for free.

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Alan Vorse, Sep 16, 2008.


  1. I started playing in a cover band in September '05. Around February of '07, I told them I was leaving. At this point, the band was made up mostly of guys in their 40s with professional jobs who wanted to play out once a month. I wanted to do something original while I was still young(ish).

    After I filled in for them at a gig last Summer, we amicably decided that if they got a gig, they'd call and see if I was available and if the money was good, I'd do the gig, but not come to weekly rehearsals. Sort of an auxillary member.

    Between last Halloween and now, they have done one gig, however it was successful and now they want to get agressive about more bookings. In that down-time, I have moved up a few notches and now play in a total of 5 bands with a gig or rehearsal nearly every night of the week, plus fielding freelance calls.

    They want to play a charity gig that is part of a marathon (we play next to course the runners are on) in hopes of getting exposure, but it is for free.

    I told them about a month ago that because I was so busy and that the gig didn't pay that I was going to pass, but now I'm getting emails trying to persuade me to change my mind.

    They're nice enough guys and the material is kind of so-so (popular rock from the 60s to today) but I don't know. Would you take the gig?
     
  2. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    Song Surgeon slow downer. https://tinyurl.com/y5dcuqjg
    Pass.
    Unless they're going to be handing out promo material to runners as they go by. :rollno:

    Who's going to hear them? Actually, who will be the audience? The runners? The crowd? The organizers?

    Sounds like a bad gig, even if I was in the band.

    For you, since there's no money involved, which is not part of your original agreement, you can opt out w/o worrying about it.

    They should have a replacement by this time.
     
  3. You have five bands, better focus on the ones you have instead of being over-stretched.
     
  4. markkoelsch

    markkoelsch

    Sep 6, 2008
    Alan, considering you have 5 other gigs I would drop this one. Conversely, if the schedule allowed you to do this one last gig for charity I would do it with the understanding that you are done after that gig.

    Mark
     
  5. scottbass

    scottbass Bass lines like a big, funky giant

    Jul 13, 2004
    Southern MN
    It's completely up to you. Personally, I would do it, but only if it didn't adversely affect any of my better opportunities. But if I wanted to sleep late that day to rest up for - or from - a late night gig, I wouldn't feel bad about turning it down.
     
  6. Revvv

    Revvv

    Oct 31, 2007
    Georgia
    Sounds like you really need to prioritize a few things out.

    No one can answer this for you. We can only give you an example of what we would do in such a scenario.

    As for me; If I say no, there is no reason to try and pursuade me. No means no.

    I wouldn't burn a bridge though. You may need a couple side gigs to pull you through a tough time. I would recommend another guitarist in the area that is on par with your skill.
     
  7. Silaxian

    Silaxian

    Dec 16, 2002
    Charlotte, NC
    It sounds like you may have a personal conflict with not doing a charity event. If that's the case, you might consider that the marathon is the actual charity event and any bands that show up are just a sideshow. I doubt you're going to jeopardise the charity in any way by not playing it, the marathon itself will raise the proceeds.
     
  8. kraigo

    kraigo

    Jun 21, 2007
    Minneapolis, MN
    I'm not going to be too hard on the band - if one of my bands wanted to do it I'd do it with them. But, it's not your band. The promotional aspect isn't going to do anything for you. Even in that case, if the band were friends I'd consider doing it. I'm sensing that they're more acquaintances, but you'll have to evaluate that.

    Friends, great music or cash - yes, acquaintances who won't really lead to some sort of fulfilling work - no.

    KO
     
  9. Thanks for the responses people.
     
  10. tycobb73

    tycobb73

    Jul 23, 2006
    Grand Rapids MI
    I'd say no. What do you need another band for? There is a right time to do free gigs, this isn't it.
     
  11. jaywa

    jaywa

    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    The only place I play for free is my church.

    My only other recent "free" gig wasn't supposed to be free. It was a wedding dance and we stupidly didn't demand payment in advance and the groom took off halfway through the party and we never saw a dime. Then he said that since he had let us practice in his garage a few times he figured his wedding dance was comped.:rolleyes: Even my friends don't expect my band to play for them for free... they know we are good enough at what we do that we deserve to be paid, so if they can't afford us, they don't ask.
     
  12. The issue should be that you're busy - not whether the gig is for charity or not. I play MOSTLY charity gigs, so my position on that should be clear. It's one way I give back to the community.

    If you're too busy, that's sufficient reason not to do it.
     
  13. oldrocker

    oldrocker

    Feb 13, 2005
    Long Island, NY
    That's what I was thinking, they need to find a like minded bass player.
     
  14. standupright

    standupright

    Jul 7, 2006
    Phoenix, AZ
    Brownchicken Browncow
    is the marathon part of a charity event for a good cause? or is it just a race and you play to people running by?

    personally i will always try to make time for a charity event for a good cause (not charity as in play for free at this out door venue cause we don't wanna pay)
     
  15. DanielleMuscato

    DanielleMuscato

    Jun 19, 2004
    Columbia, Missouri, USA
    Endorsing Artist, Schroeder Cabinets
    I never play covers for free, unless it's for a charity *I* support (that is, I donate my fee). If it's for a charity I personally support, I still charge my fee, but simply donate it back, and get a receipt for the tax-deductible donation.

    If a charity (or a band playing for a charity event) wants me to play for them, and said charity isn't one to which I would personally donate an amount of money equivalent to my fee normally (if I weren't involved in the event), I just charge normally. It's not my charity, yeah?

    You should not ever feel obligated or pressured to donate to something you don't want to support. This goes for both your time and your money... because remember, they are the same thing.

    If this band wants to donate their fee, that's their call, but since you are a freelancer, that means the band pays you personally, regardless of their own income from the show¬ósame as any freelance gig. As a freelancer, it's the band who's hiring you, not the charity.
     
  16. mikeswals

    mikeswals Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    I don't see why the band can't pay you out of their pockets for your services.
    Who cares if the band isn't getting paid, that's their deal. But if they need a musician to fill a gig, hiring one in is what most folks would have to do.
     
  17. Wally Malone

    Wally Malone

    Mar 9, 2001
    Boulder Creek, CA
    AFM International Representative Endorsing Artist: Accugroove Cabinets & MJC Ironworks Strings
    +1 to what both "Mama" & "Caca" said above. If they want you they can all chip in.

    Wally
     

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