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Booking gigs for free? What's your opinion on this situation?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by kazamamaster, Mar 11, 2009.


  1. kazamamaster

    kazamamaster Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2005
    Richmond, VA
    I've got a situation where my band is playing next week at Richmond Convention Center. It's supposed to be a pretty big even from what I'm being told. Now, I along with one other guy are the co-leaders of the band.

    In this situation, our drummer had booked a gig for us. He's not a co-leader. Of course he books it well ahead of time. However, he doesn't know exactly how much we're being paid, how long we have to play and what time we're supposedly starting the downbeat. Eventually he tells us that we're opening for a major local act, and that we're being paid a substancial amount (granted he doesn't know for sure how much.) He also finds out that we only have to play for 20-30 minutes.


    Well, fast forward to this past Sunday at rehearsal and I'm trying to finalize the details of the gig as he hasn't told anyone anything. Well, come to find out, we have to play for 2 hours. And on top of that, the gig is no longer paying. So, he says since he and this guy we're opening for are good friends and if it goes well, we should be opening for him and getting paid in the future--not only that but he wants to use this opportunity to record us live.

    The problems I have with that are that 1) it's not a definite we're going to be opening for this guy and 2) I've asked for 3 months now to do a live recording since we couldn't afford a studio recording. Our drummer has pro equipment to record us live in his house mind you--but he didn't want to do it, stating a studio recording would be better, and he was to have one of his friends record us, but it never happened.


    Also, keep in mind, since this gig is for 2 hours--it's also at an inconvienient time--5PM. Which means most of the band has to take off from work early, which is ok for some of us, but others of us aren't getting paid for taking off work. I'm upset about that. I also found out from the other co-leader that the gig was potentially going to pay $1500.00.

    Am I in the wrong for wondering what exactly happened with the money on this one? And also, am I wrong for wanting to know why the drummer booked the gig and didn't tell anyone until just now we weren't getting paid, and also if we weren't getting paid, why didn't he ask us if we still wanted to do the gig, knowing we wouldn't be paid?
     
  2. Toshiro

    Toshiro

    Jul 21, 2004
    We've discussed this topic on many occasions.

    Try a search and see what turns up.
     
  3. What happened was that the drummer got stars in his eyes and said, "Sure, that sounds great!" without getting any details. By the way, nobody gets paid $1,500 to open for a local act...even a "major" local act. I wouldn't touch it with a 10 foot pole but, as always, YMMV.
     
  4. modulusman

    modulusman Banned

    Jan 18, 2004
    montana
    It may be too late to get out of the gig now. Tell your drummer he is a douchebag. Next time get a contract. Oh and chances are your live recording will sound like crap. You would probably get better results in your basement.
     
  5. Lefty Geek

    Lefty Geek

    Feb 13, 2006
    NYC
    2 hours for no pay? No way!

    I have no problems playing for free as long as there is no cover. I do this when starting out with a new band since only friends show up, and who wants to charge their friend a cover?

    But 2 hours? Bad time slot? Someone else making money and not you? Run away and tell your drummer to make better friends. No "friend" should be running this scheme to another friend.
     
  6. OtterOnBass

    OtterOnBass

    Oct 5, 2007
    Michigan
    I think there's a problem in the band. It's wrong to sign up bands and not tell them what they're doing, or even knowing yourself. He's ruining the band's reputation - or rather, setting it right.
     
  7. AlembicPlayer

    AlembicPlayer Im not wearing shorts

    Aug 15, 2004
    Pacific Northwet, USA
    please use contracts or performance agreements
    please run your band like the business it is
    please don't let employees run the business

    use the search feature and input performance agreements, contracts, band riders

    that is all!
    cheers!!
     
  8. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    When I was a young man, I would believe what the guitar player at the time said about playing for "exposure". Out of all the times I've exposed myself for free not one single paying gig has materialized as a direct result. (I did get to expose myself on the radio once, and I found that to be enough fun to warrant not getting paid)

    If someone has a genuine need and I'm playing a benefit, then by all means I will donate my time and services.

    If I'm expected to play for 1,000 people who all paid to get into the event I'm playing at, and it's not a charity event, Then B**** best have my money!
     
  9. mambo4

    mambo4

    Jun 9, 2006
    Dallas
    It bears remembering that "exposure", in financial terms, is generally considered something to avoid :)

    your drummer should have gotten the details and communicated them as early as possible.
    I am a big fan of everything financial being transparent. A successful cover band I know had one guy doing all the booking, and by telling the band they were making $X while charging clients $Y he embezzled well over $30K over several years...

    If your band is stuck with a 2 hour no-pay gig: use a fake name, claim to be last minute replacements, and and give them what they paid for.
     
  10. lawsonman

    lawsonman

    Dec 19, 2005
    NW IL
    That's why no one books our band for anything except me.You avoid a lot of hassles by having only 1 person booking all the gigs.
     
  11. 1.ask your drummer for the money
    2. Tell the drummer to give you your $$#$&*$ money
    3.Fire the drummer
    4. do the gig,and have a great time.
     
  12. tycobb73

    tycobb73

    Jul 23, 2006
    Grand Rapids MI
    There is a time to play for free. I don't think this is it.

    Your drummer made a mistake. I've done that. Have a group talk about how to book gigs and let the person who is best at it lead it. Then forget it and move on. If you can't get out of the gig chalk it up to learning experience on the drummers part.
     
  13. RustyAxe

    RustyAxe

    Jul 8, 2008
    Connecticut
    I agree that so-called "exposure" only rarely results in paying gigs. Any prospective venues will not value the band any more than the band values itself.

    Just a comment on playing a benefit. In many cases it's better to be paid (handsomely) for the gig, and to donate the entire proceeds back to the charity. At least there's a charitable contribution tax deduction for the performer(s), it costs the charity nothing, and is perfectly legal and ethical.
     
  14. smogg

    smogg

    Mar 27, 2007
    NPR, Florida
    I'm not crazy, I'm just a little unwell
    Is the drummer is pocketing the bread? Run away as fast as you can.
     
  15. Skarekrough

    Skarekrough

    Aug 7, 2006
    Oh drummers....is there anything that won't do?
     
  16. Steve

    Steve

    Aug 10, 2001
    Classic bait and switch BS.

    I'm affraid I'd have to dump a load of buzzkill on that fiasco.
     
  17. Joel S.

    Joel S. Reserved for future witty use...

    Jul 9, 2008
    I couldn't help but laugh hysterically after reading this and looking at your av (yea, I know who it is.)
     
  18. modulusman

    modulusman Banned

    Jan 18, 2004
    montana
    Long live the Warthog! :)
     
  19. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008
    WI
    You guys should suprise your drummer with an intervention.

    Get a spot light, shine it in his eyes and have him go over every detail of the gig history, who he talked to and when, what was discussed ect. Really drill him on the money stuff.
     
  20. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    I have a passing resemblance to the warthog (Hedgehog), with one glaring exception. :ninja:
     

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