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Booking Agent Trying to Pull One Over On Us!

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by FriscoBassAce, Oct 14, 2005.

  1. FriscoBassAce


    Dec 29, 2004
    Frisco, Texas
    Independent Manufacturers Representative
    My classic rock band played an "audition" gig at a biker bar on August 20th. We played 2 sets for free. We brought about 50 people with us who drank beer and ate food. After the gig, the booking agent told us "You guys played better and brought more people than any other band that's auditioned for us before!" She also tells our lead guitarist: "I'd like to book your band for 2 shows in October, and I'm even willing to pay more than usual. We usually pay $300 a night, I would be willing to pay $350 or $400."

    We told her that we were going to fire our drummer and get a new drummer (which we did). We then also lost our rhythm guitarist (Thank GOD!), and have since replaced him with a much better guitarist. Before we knew that our rhythm guitarist was going to walk, we had booked 3 gigs with her: 2 nights in October and one on November 5th. AFTER we lost our guitarist, we called her and told her what happened. Mind you, this was still in August, and our first scheduled gig wasn't until mid-October. She said, "No problem...I'll take you guys off the October schedule, but I'll leave you on for Nov. 5th." Great, we think. This will allow us the time to audition drummers and guitarists, find them, and then practice for a few weeks before our first gig.

    We posted on our website that we would be playing at this venue on Nov. 5th. We hired our guitarist two weeks ago. As soon as we did, we started trying to contact her to let her know that we were whole again and ready to play on the 5th. She didn't return our calls. Finally, I sent an email to her in a very upbeat tone letting her know that we were excited to play on the 5th.

    Today she sends me an email that said, in summary: "Glad you guys are back together...unfortunately I gave your gig away, although I have a vacant spot on Nov. 19th....but I can only pay you $200. At least I won't make you audition again."

    AAAARGGHHHH! What is up with this woman? She is totally screwing us around. Granted, we went through changes and cancelled two shows, BUT she told us when she booked them that if anything came up, she could work with us as long as she had one month's notice. We gave her much more than that. Now she's also trying to screw us on the money too. She did the same thing to a band that rehearses at our studios...they aren't going to play there anymore because they were told $350 before the gig, but were only paid $200 afterwards.

    I've read a lot of threads here about this subject and how to try and get written agreements, etc. This is just kicking my tail though.

    So would you accept the date (it's the only thing we've got on our calendar so far) and take the low pay? Or would you try to negotiate the amount with her and get it in writing? Or would you tell her "No thanks- we don't play for $200" and try to get another gig? We play in a major metropolitan area, and there are lots of clubs. But I don't want for our band to get or have a bad reputation right from the start.

    What would you do? Are we the bad guys here?
  2. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    Tell her that you are going to contract up for this, and make sure it's airtight. If she won't agree to that, then you walk. Be sure to tell any of your friends in bands to not ever deal with her. Maybe post in local music stores warning people about her.
  3. mikeboth

    mikeboth The last thing you'll ever see

    Jun 14, 2002
    Tallinn, Estonia
    Operator: prophecysound systems
    You aren't the bad guys - personnel changes happen, and it seems like you've dealt with them as best as you can. However, from what the other band says I'd be suspicious that she might have a 'scam' going with the "promise the moon, pay less" thing; it could be there are enough bands for her to pick from in your area that she can continually get a free audition gig, then one (or maybe more) 'ripoff' $200 gigs from each before moving onto a fresh 'sucker band'.

    If it was my band, I'd take the 'we don't play for $200' approach, otherwise you could well be seen as a group that will play 'on the cheap'. Balanced with this is the fact she could well just find another band that *will* play for $200 .. tough call, and I doubt there's any 'right' answer, you just gotta be willing to wear the consequences either way. Good luck!
  4. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Terrific Twister

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    Lot's going on here. First off, don't take the lowball offer unless you want to keep getting that amount. Once you sell out for that price, you'll be fighting for more all the time. Tell her "no thanks", and wait for better paying gig. Perhaps you can audition again with the new lineup? Why? Read on.

    I know it isn't popular, but I'll try and defend the booking agent. She isn't being a jerk, or trying to pull one over on you guys. She IS under contract with these clubs/bars to provide good bands that fill the rooms. She agreed to pay you guys under the lineup you auditioned with. Things have changed on your end, so she understandably may be concerned if she will be getting the same quality and sound as what she saw in the audition. I don't doubt your band still rocks, but she doesn't know that. I'd be nervous also to put you in a high paying room without hearing the new lineup.

  5. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    This is why you do not discuss personnel changes with clubowners and agents. You would have been better off just to find a sub and do the October gigs even if the sub wasn't quite ready. But since you told her you had personnel problems, all bets were off as far as she was concerned and she used it as an excuse to lowball you.

    Not your fault, but still, never ever discuss personnel changes with clubowners and agents. Who you bring to the gig is your business, and when you make it their business, they view it as a reason to screw you. And there was no reason you couldn't have replaced everyone who quit or got fired by October if you started looking in August. However, sounds like she'd screw you anyway.

    I would tell her to take her gig and shove it up her ass.
  6. FriscoBassAce


    Dec 29, 2004
    Frisco, Texas
    Independent Manufacturers Representative

    This is exactly why I love this site....great advice man. Thanks.
  7. Mickey Shane

    Mickey Shane what goes here?

    Feb 23, 2003
    Denton, Texas
    It's simple.

    Tell L***y at the T*******orse to **** up a rope.

    There's too many other GOOD places to play in this town.
  8. I agree with this. Had you not told her of the band changes, she might not have even noticed.
    But I think she's got the right to be skeptical about the new arrangement. After all, she did hire the band she saw, and replacing a drummer and guitarist is a fairly major overhaul, even if for the better.
    She got business-minded, decided she could (or should) check out your new band for much less than she had originally agreed on with the cancelled gigs, and offered it to you. She threw in the "at least I'm not making you audition again" as a consolation.
    Tough call.. If you took the 200 dollar gig, she might love the band and offer the previous higher pay.. but more times than not, they try lowball you to see if you'll do it again for that price.

  9. FriscoBassAce


    Dec 29, 2004
    Frisco, Texas
    Independent Manufacturers Representative

    I think Mickey's probably right on the money about the whole thing. I guess he's dealt with her before too.

    I think we're going to pass....there are many places to play, as he pointed out.
  10. Murf


    Mar 28, 2001
    Hell NO!!!!!! if you take that date for $200 it'll haunt for the rest of your gigging career..purely because if you try to get another gig with another promoter they'll say "but you guys did "such and such" a gig for 200$ so thats what we booked you for.

    When dealing with promoters/management dont take any s&*t these guys/gals are out for one thing ..TO MAKE MONEY....forget about "music" this is business.
  11. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    Once again, Jimmy has summed up my feelings, thus saving me a bit of typing.

    The only thing I would change would be to work the phrase, "Pound sand" into the conversation somehow.

  12. Amen. Best advice here, Jimmy!
  13. FriscoBassAce


    Dec 29, 2004
    Frisco, Texas
    Independent Manufacturers Representative
    So two things have recently happened in direct relation to the topic of this thread. First of all, we told the woman that we were going to pass and that we might consider negotiating something with her in the future. She has yet to reply.

    The second thing was we lost our vocalist just this past week. He had a job offer he couldn't say no to, and so he's moving to another state. We have posted ads but haven't told a club owner a word. Our calendar has suddenly filled up with private parties throughout the holidays! In other words, until we find a new vocalist, we're not gigging.
  14. Tell her you guys don't get out of bed for $200. That's nuts.
  15. Yup :D
  16. FriscoBassAce


    Dec 29, 2004
    Frisco, Texas
    Independent Manufacturers Representative
    I went to this club last night and watched another band that is fronted by an old buddy that my guitarist knows. We found out that they were getting paid $300, but had been promised a lot more....apparently this woman is trying to run everybody off. Too bad for her.

    We won't be playing there unless they fire her.