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Committing to a Band

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Mason Nagy, Feb 24, 2016.

  1. Mason Nagy

    Mason Nagy

    Nov 20, 2015
    Salt Lake City
    Hello TB fam.

    Something I am having a little trouble with at the moment is at what point to you agree to be committed to a band/artist?


    I joined a group on Facebook where people promote shows in my local area and there was a post that read: "In need of a good bass player for a show this Tuesday. Will pay $50. Inbox me for inquiries" or something of the sort. I reached out to the person and let them know I was available. This was Sunday night around 6:00 or so. I learned his 10 song set of mostly originals and some covers in about a day and ran through everything with him on Monday night. Just me and him. He dug my style and I will say he does have some chops and good original material.

    After the fact, we shook hands and when I got back home that night, my picture was on his website, as if I was now enlisted as a part of his backing band. He did mention he is fairly serious about becoming a successful musician and was booking festivals and other shows in advance which I understand. I just really needed that $50 and I wasn't expecting anything else to come from it. I played the show to basically nobody at a bar downtown and got my cut and went home.

    My initial thoughts are both good and bad. I am trying to weigh pros and cons. Some that stick out to me, they are not super organized with communication or show details. Also the drummer uses an electric kit exclusively and basically told me he is probably going to move out of state within the end of the year if this doesn't take off.

    I am in seek of any advice for a situation as such. I have been in a previous experience that involved touring musicians that were rarely paid, promised hotel sponsored accommodations and ended up sleeping on peoples couches and vehicle breakdowns that set us back nearly 6 hours or so. It ended up where everyone was fired about 6 months after takeoff because nobody would ever be paid. I am a bit paranoid about the whole situation but I am not currently gigging and could use some extra bread. Thanks you for your input!
  2. crucislancer

    crucislancer Supporting Member

    Dec 25, 2009
    Coeur d'Alene, ID
    My suggestion is that if he wants you to commit to his band ( and you want to as well), then he needs to make a commitment to a pay scale. Come up with something fair that both parties agree, draw up a contract with the stated wages and what happens if you don’t get paid, and both of you sign it. If he’s not willing to do that, then move on.

    On the other hand, if there’s disorganization going on at the gig level, you might not want to deal with this situation if you go out on tour, unless the tour is supported in some fashion.
  3. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    See what he is willing to offer, and decide if it is worth it to you. If he does stiff you, or you find something better, you move on.

    Bird in the hand and all that.
  4. brbadg


    Nov 10, 2006
    I have indeed been in this type of situation before.I'll just put my red flag out there-
    "not super organized with communication or show details". I just took a deep breath.
    LowNloud1, Winfred and LowFish like this.
  5. Mason Nagy

    Mason Nagy

    Nov 20, 2015
    Salt Lake City
    Yeah that is one of the biggest red flags. Also no vehicular transportation is kind of a big deal. He is super talented and a nice dude but it is hard. I feel like I have to ask the same questions like 5 times and some I still don't have answers to.
    brbadg likes this.
  6. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    It doesn't sound at this point like there's even a second gig, let alone a standing commitment. I would not worry about it until he does call you up again. Carry on with your life. Then take it as it comes if he does ask you to do more.
    s0c9 likes this.
  7. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    Based on my reading of 100's of posts like this over the years, one thing I've learned is that the world is chock-full of talented musicians who have chops, who seem like nice guys, and who are "fairly serious about becoming a successful musician" -- and who completely lack the discipline, organization, and communication skills to get a project off the ground.

    If you like playing with these guys, are available, and need the dough, I would suggest treating this as a hired-gun situation on a gig-by-gig basis, and avoid making any major commitment until you see evidence that the guy is really capable of making this thing go.
  8. Winfred


    Oct 21, 2011
    Be wary of any commitment to anyone in the music business. I agree with Lobster11. Treat this as a hired gun situation.

    You've proven you will show up, know the tunes, and play. You should get paid for that every time.

    Everything else is BS.
    brbadg likes this.
  9. whatizitman


    Sep 9, 2014
    I would be concerned if my picture showed up on an artist's site after what appeared to be one sit-in gig and no clear contract specifying otherwise. That to me smacks of either naivete or just general lack of professionalism. Major red flag IMO. If anything, that could at least be a good lead-in to a conversation on how things stand.
    TheBear, Joedog and s0c9 like this.
  10. Mason Nagy

    Mason Nagy

    Nov 20, 2015
    Salt Lake City
    A lot of good points here. I am actually supposed to be playing a gig with him two days from now. I have already learned 10 songs at this point and now he is sending me 10 more to learn in that time which isn't ideal but doable. He said the pay is better than the first gig but he still hasn't confirmed that or the show venue or address after I had asked him at least 10 times by now. All my intentions at the beginning were to sit in with him on a gig but at this point I might turn down his next offer because the communication between everyone is chaos.
  11. whatizitman


    Sep 9, 2014
    OP, have you asked point blank what the arrangement is? If you have, and he's still giving you the runaround, you probably then need to reconsider any further gigs. At least until things get clarified and in writing, etc... It sounds as if he essentially wants you on retainer, but without the upfront. Not a good position to be in. But from what I read on TB, this happens far too often. Don't be afraid to be firm. Polite, but firm nonetheless.
    Mason Nagy likes this.
  12. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    I'd be upfront and ask for venue name and location, and what it's paying BEFORE I start learning any new songs.. and tell him that you need that info BEFORE you start learning songs.. or you're not interested.. (if you're really not)
    brbadg likes this.
  13. Mason Nagy

    Mason Nagy

    Nov 20, 2015
    Salt Lake City
    I have directly asked, "Where is the gig and what time?" just like that and they just dodge it for whatever reason. They use an online site called Uptempo or Onetempo to store their setlists and such which I thought was convenient at first but they keep saying the details will be online. I don't understand why they can't just give me an address and time. I have work that day and I need to plan accordingly which I mentioned. All seems weird to me.
  14. whatizitman


    Sep 9, 2014
    If you want to be a paid professional, you have to treat any working relationship as professional from the get-go. If they can't get their $hit together, that's their problem. And when bands (or really any business entity) clearly doesn't have their $hit together, you can reliably predict that the manner in which they treat other professionals is also for $hit.

    Don't wait around for them to get it together.

    Dear Guitar Artist Guy;

    I'm a little confused about our arrangement. I was under the impression that I would be paid for by session only, and not a contracted member of the band. Is that still correct? If so, I need to know exactly when/where the gigs will be and the exact amount. Otherwise, I cannot commit to playing any further gigs. I will need to know by XX day/week so that I can schedule accordingly with my other commitments. If I don't hear from you by then I will figure you no longer require my services. Thank you.

    Mason Nagy
    Mason Nagy likes this.
  15. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    I can't think of a single reason why they wouldn't answer your direct question about the address and time -- other than that there is not yet a confirmed address or time. This is not looking good....
    hrodbert696 likes this.
  16. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    TheBear and brbadg like this.
  17. BassCliff


    May 17, 2012
    So. Cal.

    I play in several bands on an "as needed/when convenient" basis. I do have one main band that gets a priority commitment, but I'm more or less "committed" to all of them as it comes to the effort I put into making them sound good. The other bands are used to fill my calendar or just get out of the house and have some fun with friends while making money. If any band or gig is not fun, or too far away, or doesn't pay enough, or I have other (family) commitments, etc, I turn it down. I'm open and honest with my communication, treat others as adults and with respect. I still get calls from bands that I've turned down just because they like my professionalism and the way I play to fit their music.

    If your guy has gigs and you want to play them, go for it. If it gets to be too inconvenient, too much work for too little pay, gigs too far away, whatever, then let him know what your time is worth and see if he agrees. Don't sell yourself short but don't price yourself out of a gig if you really need it. There's a balance. His lack of communication concerns me. It's less than professional. It seems you'll have to ride this pony for a while to see if it is any good. I wish you all the best.

    Thank you for your indulgence,

    Last edited: Feb 25, 2016
    Mason Nagy, s0c9 and Kragnorak like this.
  18. Kragnorak


    Sep 20, 2008
    I occasionally play with a fellow that wishes I was committed but understands that he can't pay me enough to be 100% available. And he has some good connections in the biz which is great for opportunities but the communication is not always great because he's negotiating behind the scenes and does not make premature announcements.

    So it works like this: He'll say "It was great working with you on x, I'd love to be able to have you in my corner so to speak." My response will be "I support what you're trying to do, I like you and your music, so you know that if I'm available I'll do my best to represent you well."

    But recently after a conversation like that, he offered me a gig that sounded great, but with only two days notice. The gig involved travel and canceling another band's rehearsal. The next day I got a text that made it sound like the need for my services was up in the air. When I requested clarification, I found that there were negotiations taking place. At that point I said that I needed to know soon because I didn't want to last-minute cancel on my other band and leave them stuck with a cancellation fee. I waited a good amount of hours before pulling the plug on the gig. I was disappointed when I saw a couple of days later that he ended up performing with my favorite vocalist that I've been a fan of for years, but I felt like I made the correct decision under the circumstances. Scheduling is difficult enough, and it is very important to have clear communication.

    Even now, with another group I am playing a show on March 16th and still don't have a set list. Getting vital details from musicians is like herding cats sometimes!
  19. I don't commit to anyone until after several dates and maybe one or two weekend getaways together.
  20. wmhill


    Aug 20, 2012
    upstate NY
    MTD basses endorsed artist Bartolini pickups emerging artist TECAMP bass players gear endorsed
    your first impression is usually spot on.....
    kentiki and Mason Nagy like this.

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