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Becomming a fill in band! RANT.....

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by RicPlaya, Mar 15, 2005.


  1. RicPlaya

    RicPlaya

    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    My bandmates always book these gigs where eithier we play with 3-5 other bands in one night which we usually play last. Or bands call us at the last minute to fill in, or when they need a PA because we have one. I'm telling my band that it seems these bars and bands only call when they need something. Our last three gigs were like this. One gig we played we went on last of course and with a week notice so nobody really showed up to see us, we got no money. The next week we hauled 2 van loads of gear and PA equipment to play last again and made $95, after finding out the other band was trying to screw us, they tried to give us $60 at first, but $95 is still pathetic! And now we have a gig with another week notice, playing last with 2 other bands, which means we will get 45 minutes to play and make $30 again! If we are lucky!!!

    The last gig I booked we made $550 for the night, free beer and dinner! We have our own PA and can play over 3 hours of material. This is no way to conduct yourself! It's one thing to play a couple of these here and there for the fun of it but every gig? Why did we invest all this cash in our gear to bring it out and make $95 after almost fighting the other band and their groupies because they were skimming off the door?

    It's bad! I think what it comes down to is most bars won't book us for a whole show because our singer isn't good, and our drummer is weak. We made a demo and gave it to a few bars but we never heard back, the vocals were rough on the demo so I think that's obviously why. But I still book a few gigs and when I do it's always negotiated correctly and all the details are hashed out because I take the time to ask questions and get everything ironed out beforehand. An example of what I am dealing with I asked the singer who booked that last gig how much we are getting paid and what time we go on? He didn't know because he never asked! That's exactly how you get screwed!

    I think I will have to be the bad guy next time and say "NO"! IMO the way to go is book a gig for the whole night, make $300-500! Pay back ourselves for spending all this money on gear and Pa equipment. Don't burn our our friends on these 45 minute sets so they still come out and see us. Sorry for the rant, but maybe I need a new situation all together if this keeps up!!! Total mismanagment, now they only (bars and bands) call us if they are in a pinch, look what they created and what I let happen because I didn't want to be the bad guy!
     
  2. Rockgurl

    Rockgurl

    Dec 17, 2004
    CT, USA
    If your drummer and singer are weak, then the best thing you can do is get out and play as many gigs as you can, regardless of if it pays or not. For years I don't think I ever got paid for a gig...not once. If I did then the money went towards expenses, PA hire etc. I played out because I loved it and it made me a better player. I understand your frustration, but I think part of the joy of being a musician is to be able to pack up and run out and play at a moment's notice. The sheer joy of playing live for me is enough reward. Think of it this way...you're paying your dues the hard way, and earning your place in the scene. When your band is ready you will find that people ask you to play their venues instead of the other way around. That's when the money starts.

    My band constantly tours and sometimes we get really good money, and sometimes we make none. Occasionally we even pay to play if it's an important enough gig that we think we'll benefit from. The paying ones cover the cost of the ones we lose money on, and all in all we can afford to pay for flights and travel to play non-paying gigs in another state and get that good exposure. Stick with it and enjoy your time instead of worrying about money. We recently trekked to NYC to play at a big expo for 15 minutes. We were all bitching about going all that way for no money just to play for 15 lousy minutes. Well...it was the best gig I ever played in my life. The crowd went insane and from that show we got tons of other gigs...really good paying ones. You never know what it will be like until you're there.
     
  3. I've been gigging for a little over a year (I have a day job), and the most we have made is about $35 a piece (5 piece band). We are comfortable right now doing this, but are only doing so that things will change in the future. As far as I know, most bands with inexperienced players start out this way. If you guys fit that description, I would not be too upset about what is going on. Just get all the experience you can.

    It does suck that it seems that other bands may be using you for your PA. I would try to work out a deal with the bands who ask to use it, if possible. Flat fee per hour maybe?

    If you can book gigs on a steady basis that pay so much more, then you should be booking at least some of the gigs. I'm sure your bandmates would not mind the money. Just jump in there and book the gigs.
     
  4. QORC

    QORC

    Aug 22, 2003
    East Coast
    first, being a fill-in has worked for us! It got us into one of the best clubs in Northern Virginia 3 times! Huge stage several hundred people. I would've played those gigs for FREE, frankly.

    Hey, we got exposure too. nuttin' wrong with that.

    But yeah I was annoyed that the owner didn't give us any regular bookings after. Very annoyed.

    Money? we don't play for less than $600, and are often making $800 a night - after paying our sound guy and agent (And yeah, you NEED an agent to get good bookings. Just circulating a CD won't do it around here), I net $75-$110 a night. I can live with that.
     
  5. RicPlaya

    RicPlaya

    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    It's not really the money. If it was I wouldn't be doing this in the first place. But I would like some compensation for lugging around 2 van loads of equipment and running sound for other bands with our gear, that's only fair. I don't mind getting home at 5 am and unloading gear with a sore back if at least I get free beer or a burger out of it.

    My main concern is how we are viewed by other bands and bars. We may be creating a negative name for ourselves. It's to the point now where it's the only gigs we get. We have been together for over 2 years, played a lot, I mean a lot of these kind of gigs. I understand and know it has helped out the weaknesses in our band. We do these things to open doors and get us into different venues etc., but it seems to maybe have backfired because now we are that band that has a PA, and will play for free all the time and get the last time slots to play on all these gigs. We will never make the transition to headliner band if we allow ourselves to be used like this IMO. We need to manage this a little better and make sure we are climbing the ladder and these things are worth doing one way or another.

    I know I sounded like it's all about the money before but how many times and how much money can we spend to keep doing this and not getting anything out of it besides a little practice, which should be done at home anyway? Hey if we were headlining by now, doing more of our own gigs, at least getting something for provididng a PA to these other bands I would be very happy. But now I am afraid we are pidgeon holed into this type of band and we are not getting anything from it that is positive.
     
  6. QORC

    QORC

    Aug 22, 2003
    East Coast
    I'm not sure where you live or what the situation is there, but where we are you MUST have an agent to get good, regular gigs. Most of the bars have exclusives with agents - eg, you must be with the agents to get in. There is no other way.

    I feel for ya. Our band was there in the beginning. Peddling a good press kit/CD and getting nothing but $350 gigs at crummy bars.

    Since the agent, our price has doubled and our exposure is huge.

    So you might explore it. They take 15% here, but gosh, we are booked 6 months in advance and have our choice of venues. it's fantastic.
     
  7. RicPlaya

    RicPlaya

    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI


    Good point!
     
  8. MichaelScott

    MichaelScott

    Jul 27, 2004
    Moorpark CA

    This doesn't really seem like a discussion point. Next time a random band/bar calls you up to play and wants to use your PA you tell them you want $500.

    If they don't bite then it is no skin off your back. Don't work for free.

    Don't work for free.

    Don't work for free.

    Now... PLAYING for free is different. I love to play and would do it anytime. Sounds like you are getting the old bait and switch "Hey can you guys PLAY one set and then WORK/RENT your PA to us for 5 hours?"

    Just say no or ask for cash.
     
  9. RLT

    RLT

    Jul 10, 2004
    South Central OH
    So if I understand this right, you are paying these bars/bands 5 hours of PA/sound tech costs and the cost of a filler band to play?
    Check out PA/tech rates in your area. Thats how much you are saving these people and you are losing. Try running those numbers and see if it's worth while to "you" to be trapped in that position.
    The last time I ran the numbers I was shocked.

    Rusty
     
  10. RicPlaya

    RicPlaya

    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    No we are not paying. We have dragged our gear out for free before. But usually the band that books the gig pays us around $80-100 to bring out the gear and play a set or two. But we are stuck hauling our gear around and running sound the whole night for all the bands, and they make the same or more money.
     
  11. RLT

    RLT

    Jul 10, 2004
    South Central OH
    I think I may have worded that wrong. What I mean is Look at the rates for PA rental /Sound tech hourly. Figure out how much this is. This is what you would be making renting out the system. Also in some areas the fill in bands are paid a higher rate for being available to "save the show".

    So you are not getting paid for the sound system rental. This is effectively money you are giving/paying to the bands/bars since they do not have to pay it out. Plus you are working at a reduced rate. This is also money they do not have to pay out.

    In these ways you are, by barter, of your services "paying" them to play.

    Add up these amounts this is the amount you should be making for providing these services. The difference between these two numbers amount of pay for what you should get if paid correctly and what you are paid. This is the amount you could be said to be paying to play.
     
  12. leanne

    leanne

    May 29, 2002
    Rochester, NY
    This $ is for the whole band???? Or for each person in the band? $35? $95? ???
     
  13. RicPlaya

    RicPlaya

    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI

    Exactly what I am saying, we are getting the short end on this deal!
     
  14. RicPlaya

    RicPlaya

    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    In my case the whole band.
     
  15. RLT

    RLT

    Jul 10, 2004
    South Central OH
    If I may ask what are you playing? Origionals or covers?

    I know "I" wouldn't be providing free sound support plus entertainment for the amounts you are giving. Playing on the cheap to get established is one thing. But, providing the sound system for everyone for no return?

    I guess what really bugs me the most is the fact they expect you to provide the sound for everyone. And for some reason I don't really see this changing. Once you get typed it's hard to break out.

    Rusty
     
  16. RicPlaya

    RicPlaya

    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    We play both.

    We only get calls no at the last minute to fill in, or if someone needs something. My bandmates don't see this as a big deal but I am starting to see a trend. If I start saying no to these little adventures the phone my never ring.

    The bad thing is IMO is when our singer gets these calls he never sees these things as a big deal and never makes arrangments for payments etc ahead of time to avoid confusion. He just lets things unfold once we arrive and that leaves the door open to get shafted. I don't mind doing these things, if everything is negotiated and all parties are compensated and treated fairly for their amount of involvment. For example if it was a two band gig I would be happy to split the take and charge $50 extra for PA costs, that's only fair for all the effort it takes to bring out 2 subs, 2 mains, 2 monitors, 4 amps, the board, the snake, and to carry all that stuff and run the sound to boot. This makes sense when we could get a gig at a bar play the whole night and make a ton more cash, have the whole stage to ourselves, and play 35-40 tunes. We get way more practice, get more time, don't have to break down between sets, make more money, and it's a relaxed atmosphere. We have fun, which is why I do this. I don't like haggling for money, negotiating at the bar 5 minutes before the gig with some drugged up other band, getting all stressed out before I play because I'm hauling around a ton a gear to play for 45 minutes and arguing with idiots that try to scam us out of money, and want the best time slots to play.
     
  17. The Nanny

    The Nanny

    Dec 23, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    People will treat you in the way you LET them treat you. It applies to bands, as well as relationships. To get respect, you have to respect yourselves, and working for free and giving out your PA system to bands on a regular basis doesn't demonstrate self respect...it demonstrates desperation, and nobody likes desperation.

    I'm not saying you are desperate...but its all about optics, and my guess is that the bar managers and other bands view you as desperate. Tighten your sound...deal with your singer and drummer issues, put together a package that people will pay to see (not directly...just pay the bar for beer while they watch will do), and quit whining about lack of respect. Respect yourselves, say NO to these leeches, and politely demand fair price for your product. If nobody is willing to pay you that, improve your product.

    Good luck mate!
     
  18. RLT

    RLT

    Jul 10, 2004
    South Central OH
    +1,000
     
  19. RicPlaya

    RicPlaya

    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI

    Too bad I am not a one man band. The problem is three other guys in my band don't see the error in this.

    I don't think I come off as whiney, but I will come off as a jerk to my bandmates if I out my foot down, which needs to be done. I think you said it best as far a putting out a good product, maybe some of my bandmates are desperate because they don't say but know these kind of gigs are easy to get compared to having a good enough product to warrant booking gigs easily, but that's a whole other rant. If the product was at the level it should be for the amount of time that has been invested this wouldn't be an issue to begin with.
     
  20. MichaelScott

    MichaelScott

    Jul 27, 2004
    Moorpark CA
    Put your foot down dude. Isn't the PA yours? Aren't you the bass player?? You hold all the cards man. Just flex your muscle. The worst thing that happens is that will find another band that will treat you better and respect you more. The Nanny's advice is probably the best comment this forum has ever seen. Do a great job playing bass and managing your equipment, expect your bandmates to treat you right, and leave if they don't.

    In other words: get a pair of balls or people will push you around for the rest of your life.