Compensated gig

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by Spent, Dec 10, 2013.

  1. Spent

    Spent Supporting Member

    May 15, 2011
    Upstate NY
    My band played a gig in a neighboring state at a new venue. Set everything up, did a quick sound check and started on time (we're big on that). Ten minutes into the first set the main amp starts faulting. We apologize, take a break and the singer talks to the owner while I'm disconnecting the sub amp to use for the mains. Takes about 20 minutes and we're back in action playing for the next three hours. While I was fixing the pa, the singer offered to refund our pay ($750 for a six man band), thinking we have to bail at this point, but the owner tells us not to worry and we can just comp the next gig, he already cut the check. This was before I got the pa going again. Fast forward to last Saturday. We arrive, set up, sound check and we're good to go. The owner "confirms" that this is a comp gig. We try to explain that we agreed to it assuming that we wouldn't have been able to perform. We did perform, the bar had a good night and on top of that, it's an hour each way plus we rented a uhaul. Doesn't matter to him, he's not paying. We're amateurs, but we act professionally, so we play anyway. It was a better night than the first and the manager tells us the bar did great. On top of that, they charged a cover for the band. At this point most of us want to cancel the remaining gigs. He has us booked all the way until next November, including the 4th of July and the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, claiming that we are the best band he's had for his business (we pack the dance floor). The manager actually agreed with us and tried to argue that he should have paid us, but he wouldn't have it. I told the guys that if we do play, we're charging $900 - $1,000 to make up for this one and if he doesn't like it, tough; we never agreed on a price and the $750 was our introductory price. Thoughts?
  2. mancefine


    Jul 7, 2013
    Endorsing Artist: Orange Amplifiers and Spector Basses
    IMO you have a pretty sweet gig getting paid that much. Granted I play in a rock band "for the love" and not for money and we are lucky to get $100 a show. $750 a show is good money and even though the owner was a dick in that situation it sounds like a pretty sweet deal. If it were me I wouldn't risk pissing him off and having no gigs, unless you can pick up the phone and get another $750 per gig lined up immediately. Again, this is coming from the perspective of someone that's not used to making anything so that would be my approach.
  3. DerTeufel


    Nov 11, 2011
    Wildomar, CA
    The singer should have kept his mouth shut instead of offering to comp the gig.
  4. Big_E


    Nov 1, 2013
    It sounds to me like a communication issue. It should have been made clear to the owner that you will comp the next show ONLY if you CAN'T play a full show that night. Have them repeat back to you what their understanding of the situations is, so you know he heard it the way you meant it.
  5. Luvie


    Oct 23, 2012
    Houston, TX
    I think the gig pays pretty good, and you have bookings with them through next November. I think I'd suck it up and play the rest of the booked gigs. Consider this a lesson in clear communication and learn from it for the future.
  6. Spent

    Spent Supporting Member

    May 15, 2011
    Upstate NY
    This is our normal price range, but we usually play closer to home averaging 2 gigs a month. I played in a hard rock band for years for little pay. I describe this band as talented musicians willing to play popular crap. I'm in an original project to keep me grounded. The original band plays a lot of free gigs. The cover band helps with (enables) my GAS.

    It's a long story, this is the readers digest version. He was trying to maintain a good working relationship.

    Two of us are teachers and ones a cop, so we're pretty good at explaining things to knowledge resistant people. The owner heard what he wanted to hear. The manager heard differently, he was with us.
  7. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    This. Free money to a club owner is like meth to a junkie. You can't hand it over and then expect it to be returned in the name of fair and reasonable dealing.

    It's a rare owner who looks out for musicians. Tell your singer that the owner isn't his friend or his mom. Think of the band's paycheck as the One True Ring and the club owner as Gollum.
  8. bkbirge


    Jun 25, 2000
    Houston, TX
    Endorsing Artist: Steak n Shake
    This is why contracts in writing are always a good idea.
  9. lundborg


    Apr 8, 2008


    Seems you have a pretty sweet deal anyhow. You won't get any money back without a massive loss in goodwill.
  10. Spent

    Spent Supporting Member

    May 15, 2011
    Upstate NY
    That's where the split is. Half the band feels that way, half says screw it. Our next gig there isn't for a while, we've got time to mull it over.
  11. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    Sometimes you eat the bear, sometimes the bear eats you. If you don't need $750 jobs and have something better to do then cancel the rest of your bookings. Otherwise, suck it up and realize that sometimes you get screwed. And the singer to STFU next time.
  12. +1

    You were ambiguous, the meaning of those comments could be taken two different ways, the bar owner interpreted it the way that favored his wallet the best. No surprise there. Learn a lesson in business negotiations, suck it up, and move past it like pros. I wouldn't forsake a paying gig and risk the bad reputation that could follow. and I wouldn't artificially jack up your rate to compensate for what is essentially your mistake. Bar owner is obviously pretty savvy, he'll catch on and won't appreciate it.
  13. BawanaRik


    Mar 6, 2012
    New Jersey
    This is very true.

    Always let the other guy make an offer and never make a deal before the cards are on the table.
  14. GlennW


    Sep 6, 2006
    Don't cut off your nose to spite your face.

    And I agree with the others' thoughts on the singer.
  15. Tony B. Filthy

    Tony B. Filthy Supporting Member

    Oct 25, 2007
    Filthydelphia, USA
    Why not just cancel one of your upcoming gigs at the last moment? Then when he freaks out remind him exactly of how he stiffed you for an entire gig based on 20 minutes of uncertainty. If he's going to pull that "business is business" lack of ethics with then I think he deserves the same thing handed right back to him. He clearly took advantage of your singer's conscientious gesture and I think it's despicable.
  16. Spent

    Spent Supporting Member

    May 15, 2011
    Upstate NY
    I've been an independent businessman (two brick and mortar stores) and business is business. But, the manager agreed with us and the owner collected a cover charge, which to me seems disingenuous. As a business owner, I was very much aware of the concept of loss leader. Getting the upper hand in the short run can cost you in the long term. And, as many of you are aware, talented doesn't matter, it's how well the band keeps the crowd. This band has a good reputation and we don't have any trouble getting gigs. There is another band that frequents this venue, great musicians, but they don't pack the dance floor like we do. The manager likes their music better (as do I), but from a business perspective, we are better. If we had gotten the door, which was a fraction of our normal fee, we would have been happy. This cost us over $100 with gas and rental so it would have most likely been a break even gig.
  17. 1958Bassman


    Oct 20, 2007
    If nobody told him that $750 is the introductory rate, don't expect to get $900 for the next one. Also, someone should have either waited to offer the refund until it was known that the PA could/couldn't operate. He could also have asked if you could pro-rate the gig or give a discount for the next one, rather than comp it.
  18. Spent

    Spent Supporting Member

    May 15, 2011
    Upstate NY
    It's our policy to quote all first time gigs that way. Gives us room to negotiate. For the record, besides this one, we often get tips of $20 per member from club owners. I thought this was bizarre the first time it happened. My original project is lucky to get $20 per man.
  19. You can look at this however you like, and you can justify your frustration and feel victimized. That doesn't change the fact that if you want to play this room, you're at the mercy of an obviously shrewd and savvy manager. If you pussyfoot around with details, he will take advantage of the ambiguity. If you feel ripped off, break off the relationship now, cancel the gigs, and write it off completely and don't look back because I doubt that manager will forget you cancelling on him. If you think you will be able to slant your negotiations and pad your future fees and compensation to make up for your feeling victimized, I would not expect a warm reception from this particular bar manager. He will bust you flat, and it will only tarnish relationships further.

    Your only chance at this point, rather than try to cleverly and clandestinely make up for the perceived wrong, would be for the most diplomatic and articulate member of your band to have a good heart-to-heart with the manager, state the facts plainly, and then ask him if there is some way to proceed in a more fair fashion. And even then, you are still at his mercy. Frankly, I don't think the guy did anything wrong, you made yourself vulnerable and he took advantage of it, and despite what so many musicians seem to think, the vast majority of bar owners are all about dollars and cents. Bottom line, period.

    Proceed as you see fit.
  20. fourstringdrums

    fourstringdrums Decidedly Indecisive Supporting Member

    Oct 20, 2002
    I'm confused why the owner would agree to comp at all. From the sounds of it you had a 20 minute down time and then played for 3 hours. Why on earth would that 20 minutes cost you an entire gigs pay?