Fill In Gig: Charge More or Equal Cut?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by john_g, Aug 30, 2018.

  1. john_g

    john_g Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2007
    So the guitarist in my cover band also plays in another cover band. He asked me if I could fill in for a gig in just over a month as their bass player cant make it. I filled in for a fundraiser gig a couple months ago for them, but that was only one set because it was a multi-band event. I only had to learn a handful of songs for that so no big deal, but this upcoming gig I will have to learn at least half of their 3 set setlist. The songs arent really hard, but I just got the full setlist and it hit me that its going to be a fair amount of work.

    They said pay would be an even cut, just like any other gig, but Im the one cramming to save the gig. I told him I would do it (before getting the setlist), so I dont want to back out now, but would it be wrong to ask for a few more bucks? I dont want to be petty but in other bands I have been in, when we had to get a sub, we payed them more.
  2. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    i think your first task is to learn the material --- be ready to play it! play the gig for equal cut and 'wow' them with your abilities. they will want you to sub again because you did so well. tell them your fee for subbing...everyone knows you're worth it. play and enjoy.
  3. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
    Did they happen to mention how big the pie everyone is sharing will be?

    If it’s a high paying gig it may not need re-negotiation. If your equal end is $40 then get your ass back to the table.
  4. john_g

    john_g Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2007
    Just gave me a "pay is equal cut". So its not $40...but not a high paying gig either. I think as I looked over the list it hit me how much Ill have to do and wondered what others have done. I always come prepared so thats not an issue.
  5. oldrocker

    oldrocker Supporting Member

    IMO, you should have considered this before agreeing to do the show at equal pay. For me, once I agreed I would not try to renegotiate the deal.

    Again, for me it would be if I could learn the songs in time for the show, the extra $20 or $30 I may be able to (re)negotiate would not really make a difference.

    IMO, a different and very acceptable story would have been if you had said upfront that you would do it but you need an extra $xx due to work you need to do to learn the set list.
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2018
  6. john_g

    john_g Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2007
    I dont want to give the impression this is a huge deal, its not, just wondering what others have done. I may have worded it incorrectly in my OP, I should have probably said "do you charge more than an equal cut for fill in gigs?" and not "should I go back now and renegotiate".
  7. TomB

    TomB Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2007
    Where I come from, the BL determines what a sub gets paid. The sub can then say yes or no, or negotiate. What the rest of the band makes is their business. Of course, I admit to being from the old school.
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2018
  8. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
    I have no doubt that you will do your best, but I think your take away from this should be “How many dollar bills?” before you agree to take a fill in gig.
    Spearsy, MDBass and pcake like this.
  9. filmtex

    filmtex Commercial User

    May 29, 2011
    Annsman Pro Audio Dealer
    For me-equal cut. Always. Including tips. That's my standard. If I find out that the amount paid to the band is more than what I was told- that's my last sub for them. Everybody gets treated the same. And I do a fair amount of sub gigs every month. YMMV.
  10. How much is your time worth? I charge $400/hr. with a four hour minimum.
  11. john_g

    john_g Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2007
    Well, in a way, this is where Im coming from. I own and run two different businesses, and these days my thinking, where work and time are involved, get monetarily qualified (is that a real term lol?). In all reality, if I dont do the gig (which I already said I would) they dont play the gig. And like I said earlier, part of my OP may have been a slight overreaction to the work involved. At one point I wanted to get a ton of fill in work, now Im not sure its worth it for me unless it was with a bunch of bands all playing the same stuff.
    SuperTwin likes this.
  12. I did a sub gig in 2012, had to learn 25 original tunes. I got equal pay. I've still got the gig too, but I'm not a sub anymore. Equal pay on good paying gigs now. Cheers.
  13. Slough Feg Bass

    Slough Feg Bass Supporting Member

    Sep 28, 2007
    San Francisco
    depends on the situation, since you are already in a band with the guitarist, then you are really just doing him a solid favor on this.
    However, if this was a band that you didn't have any other relationship with, then I'd charge them a bit more. Like if it was learning 1 set, with no rehearsal, then set a price, maybe $200. But if you are learning 3 sets worth of stuff, then I would up it to $300 - $400 to sub.
    I used to sub on some blues rock gigs, 80% original material, it was pretty good.
    Longer gigs, I cost more.
    They complained once and I just looked the BL right in the eye and said, "Well then why did you call me if you think I am too expensive?"
    He gave me a big sigh and handed over the cash.
    I don't need the gig, I got plenty of my own gigs, so it better be worth it for me to spend extra time learning your songs and doing them justice.
    BrentD, Smooth_bass88 and jgroh like this.
  14. pcake

    pcake Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2011
    Los Angeleez
    i'd fulfill my agreement with a great attitude, learn some songs that might be useful in the future and put on a great 3 sets for the band i'm subbing for. next time, i would ask about the money and check out the songs in advance to decide if it was a gig i'd want to negotiate for and maybe decide not to do, but would i would never do is try to change an existing agreement.

    on the other hand, i might agree to do it for an equal share as a favor to the guitarist. it makes him look good to have a good sub ready to go when needed, and that makes you look good to him. that could mean subbing with other bands he plays with and recommendations.
  15. Matt R.

    Matt R.

    Jul 18, 2007
    Huntsville AL
    Equal cut. No question.
    bumperbass and bassbully like this.
  16. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    Once you agree to something, there should be no re-negotiating, unless the other side tries to change the deal. At least that's how I would do it - once I say yes to something, it's a done deal - my word is my word. If someone said yes to me, and then came back later and tried to renegotiate, I'd stop doing business with them - permanently.

    Should you maybe have asked for more? Maybe, but it's too late this time. Next time, you can discuss it, but you've agreed. Honor your agreement.
  17. tradernick


    Mar 19, 2008
    Yes, it's wrong.

    First off, you mentioned that you realized after taking the gig that it would be a lot of work. You need to make sure before you say yes.

    Also, I have never been in a situation where a cover band paid a sub more than a regular cut, either as a sub or as a regular member, but I'm not subbing very much in situations where the style is totally foreign to me and don't know the 'standards' for that type of band.

    Last, as had been mentioned here, doing a bunch of homework and then showing up and nailing it is a great way to get more gigs.
    EatS1stBassist likes this.
  18. If you do sub gigs, you have to establish your expectations well in advance. There is no objective "right" or "wrong."

    I know some subs who will come to a rehearsal or two, show up for load in, stay for load out, and only take an equal cut (I am personally on this very fair and generous end of the spectrum).

    I know some subs who take an equal cut and won't attend a rehearsal or lift a finger to help the band load the P.A. in and out.

    I know some subs who will attend a rehearsal, but they will only play songs they have learned and played before, so they put a slight limitation on the available songs. And some of those will also have a flat fee they expect, which is sometimes more than a typical cut depending on the fee. If the total fee takes the cut to above their minimum, they expect an equal cut.

    The trick here is to establish your parameters, discuss them up front, and stick to them. If I like the band and the money is good, I'll be more generous with my time.
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2018
  19. john_g

    john_g Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2007

    And, I will show up prepared and do my thing at the gig as that is just me, but going forward, I think I would be asking for a little more to be honest to make it worth my while. If my intent was to get tons of fill in gigs, it would be different, but I really am doing this as more of a favor so they can keep the gig.
    oldrocker and Slough Feg Bass like this.
  20. oldrocker

    oldrocker Supporting Member

    ImO, the answer to this is a big yes. In my area fills ins make at least a set amount. My band once payed a sub guitar player his set fee for a benefit show we played for free.
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