I've been bitching about booking pressures lately. Tonight, I wasn't the boss, I was just a sideman, so I didn't feel responsible for the turnout, which was nice. It was, by far, the smallest crowd I've ever played to. 5 people, including bartenders at one point. They were appreciative and clapped and all, but man, that's an empty room! The guy I was playing for is established at this bar. He's been playing there for 15 years, and ran the open mic for 8 so everybody knows him. The last time I saw his band play in February, they were great and had a decent crowd. The old bassist, who is very good, took on a new project so they asked me to come on board. I spent 3 weeks learning a bunch of '80s tunes, and not normal ones but cool and relatively obscure ones from bands like the Knack and the Tubes, and I chipped in to rent the studio for 1 rehearsal. *Nobody* was there tonight, so I got paid 50% of what I was promised. I'm not positive, but I don't think the leader took any money so he could pay me and the drummer a bit more. So all in all we took a big loss on this. It's not going to kill me or anything and I had fun, but man that's an empty room! My drummer says he's played to 5 people several times, but it was my 1st time so I'm venting to you about it. I'm hoping he'll hire me again so I didn't learn those tunes for nothing. I'm also hoping the leader will practice more before the next show, just because you're established someplace doesn't mean you can not sing for 6 months and expect to jump right back into things. Also, the opening band skipped out on us!!! They're an original band on tour from GA. They met my drummer as he was setting up, and then left without a word. What a crock! No, we won't pay our dues by playing on slow nights we've booked in strange cities, we'll drive off in our RV and drink some beers while you guys rock the micromasses. Vent over, good night!