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Docked pay for taking a break?

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by jumblemind, Mar 14, 2013.

  1. jumblemind

    jumblemind I also answer to Bryan Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2011
    Played a gig this past Saturday at a place in the 'burbs we venture to every once in a while b/c it's good pay and doesn't cross into our regular city folk market. There's a new manager we hadn't dealt with before, and he had called us at 6pm asking if we could get to the gig an hour before we usually do and start earlier, as it was DST that night and he wanted everyone out at 2am instead of 3am per some weird way the alcohol law gets interpreted on clock change nights. We say cool, we'll be there, no problem.

    We do our normal gig, the same thing we've done for 10 years and for the past year at this place: 4 hours with a 15 minute break somewhere near the middle. At the end of the night we go to get paid, and this new manager says "Since you guys took a break tonight and we lost customers, I'm only going to pay you..." what amounted to a 20% dock to our pay. He said if we really needed to break for the bathroom or whatever and still get our full pay we would have to leave someone on stage playing acoustic guitar.

    lulz. We ended up getting the full amount, but this was so ridiculous. I've actually heard of this happening at some places, the idea that the band can never stop playing over 4 or 5 hours. Hard times when musicians have to agree to this kind of b.s. just to play out and make a paycheck.
  2. jgroh

    jgroh Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2007
    1 break??? 1? We take two 20+ minute breaks, depending on how much schmoozing we are doing.
  3. Plucky The Bassist

    Plucky The Bassist ZOMG! I'm back from the dead! Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Ridiculous, tell him he can go up there and play acoustic + sing if he thinks he's losing that much business in 15 freakin minutes. Just craziness, good thing you guys stood up and got paid the full amount....kudos to ya'll
  4. I 15 minute break for a 4 hour set is stupid and I wouldn't agree to that. I have a contract drawn up which I send to people seeking to book my bands. It includes breaks every 1.5 hours and that we are free to partake in refreshments provided also for guests. Of course, we put break music between sets and we will play for longer without a break if people are really dancing as we don't want to stop a party. But I've stuck with those conditions for ages and people mostly accept them as reasonable.

    That manager had another think coming.
  5. kcole4001


    Oct 7, 2009
    Nova Scotia
    You should have asked him if he took any breaks during his shift, and if so how much pay was he docked!
    40 min on and 20 min off is standard operation.

    That's the dumbest thing I've heard in a while.
    Tell him to GFY.
  6. shoulda punched him in the mouth
  7. Luvie


    Oct 23, 2012
    Houston, TX
    That's bull. We do 45 minutes on and 15 minutes off.
  8. hearnow


    Feb 17, 2011
    Boulder, CO
    +1 - especially a 3 or 4 hour gig
  9. eb3mike


    Nov 5, 2010
    Same here.
  10. Biggbass


    Dec 14, 2011
    Planet Earth
    You need to explain to him that the standard is 45 min music/ 15 min break
    and enforce that arrangement. Otherwise, if it were the case with my band,
    I'd cease playing there. Rest assured the other bands will follow your lead.
  11. smogg


    Mar 27, 2007
    NPR, Florida
    I'm not crazy, I'm just a little unwell
    LOL...Playing four straight hours without a break? Well that's just silly. Never have never will! Now if a band is trying to take a twenty minute break every forty minutes; that tells me either lazy, or not enough tunes, or both.

    For a normal bar gig we usually do three sets at seventy minutes (give or take) with two fifteen minute breaks. This covers a four hour gig just right and leaves time for an extra tune or two if requested.

    PS: Just to clarify; I'm talking standard cover gig with one band. Not multy band events where you need the time to switch out bands . Then it's usually 40 on 20 off
  12. klokker


    Jan 7, 2009
    Steele City, NE
    Never run into that before. On a four hour gig we usually take 3 breaks, but we don't have a 45/15 rule or anything like that. Sometimes we play 2 hours straight and then take a longer break, a couple of shorter sets or whatever.

    No one has ever docked us for taking breaks. Lame. I guess from now on you'll have to check and see what the expectations are at your venue.
  13. A band playing constantly for more than an hour and a half without a break will make me want to leave a venue
  14. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    BS I would refuse to play that place unless this "new manager" gets a clue quick. Tell him that when his staff has to use the John, smoke etc, that he better make sure all his stations are covered..I highly doubt they are.
  15. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    Good point! This is not a concert this is a live music venue, nightclub and bar. I also would not want 4 hours of music all night even if it was freakin great.
  16. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    Are you serious? I hope you were getting paid $2000+ a night for that kind of effort.

    The rule of thumb here is 3 1 hour sets with 20-30 minute breaks between or 4 45's with 15-20 minutes breaks in between. I thought that was pretty standard.
  17. jumblemind

    jumblemind I also answer to Bryan Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2011
    Lots of good points here. For the record, 4 hours with one short break isn't the conditions of any place we play, it's just how we roll. We get excited and just keep playing, which is one of the reasons we do well and the bars do well the nights that we play. That's why this situation was extra absurd, because no one plays as long as we do to start with.

    This place is part of a regional chain, though, and apparently this non-stop-live-music thing is more of the rule for them. The only reason we play this particular place is that they have never gone by that. The other location in town does, and we never play there. So while we would never agree to something so stupid, apparently a lot of bands do.
  18. jumblemind

    jumblemind I also answer to Bryan Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2011
    $1k. This is a small place in the burbs; but like I said, it doesn't negatively impact the draw at our regular venues, so it's kind of bonus money and still a lot more than many bands get for similar gigs. It's a long time to play, but honestly I'd rather be up there playing than standing around talking to people.
  19. dude, i'm in knoxville. where was the gig? i'd like to know so one of my bands doesn't end up having to deal with this crap. that's pretty lame!
  20. bherman

    bherman Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2009
    Grand Junction, CO
    For us, I've found that the key is to keep the breaks short (10-15 minutes) so that people stick around. Long enough to pee, cool off and get some fresh water.

    Any longer and I get antsy anyway.

    BTW, we tend to do 45-60 minutes on, 10 off.

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