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Gigs, Gigs, Gigs...

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by Russell L, Jan 22, 2012.


  1. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    Well, I dunno if it's the planets lining up, or what, but I have gigs all over the place all of a sudden. Five every month through March, plus most likely two more added each month with another band. And, one place has booked us all the way through December. It looks like it will remain five/month or more for some time. Mercy me, this time last year I had zip.

    Two good ones coming up. Jan. 28 I'll be at the Tryon Fine Arts Center in Tryon, NC (anyone close by to that area?) doing a duo with an old pal. We are on the bill with many other regional acts for the Chase Away the Blues bash. Jim Peterman, formerly with the Steve Miller band, is on the bill, too. He's a good friend of my bud, Tommy Lytle (who booked this thing for me and him). I've met Jim just recently. Very nice guy and awesome keyboardist. We'll all get to jam together at the end of this gig.

    The other really good one is for school kids in the Pinehurst, NC area at Owens Auditorium.. The gig is with Glenn Fox who is a super entertainer out of Rockingham, NC. Great guy, too, and friend. He's the most artistic person I know, and in a very deep way. He reminds me of Danny Kay, for some reason. Multi-talented. I've played with him for the past twelve years, when he has something. It's always a refreshing change of pace, and very professional show that includes many of the kids. We all always feel inspired after the show. Glenn takes us all to dinner afterwards at the best places, and pays us VERY well. (I mean VERY, VERY well). I'll be buying a new speaker with that gig money!

    So, is the economy picking up or something? I haven't had so many gigs all at once in about ten years.

    How ya'll doing on your own calendars?
     
  2. drummer5359

    drummer5359 Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 10, 2011
    Pittsburgh PA USA
    November and December were like that for me, I had two gigs on the same day in fact.

    I had a family emergency and had to get subs for several gigs. I'm just getting back into it and February and March look to be busy. I have six gigs book each month so far, and a few more that should pan out.

    I don't know if it is the economy, maybe. You mention doing a duo gig. I'm currently playing in a duo and a seperate project that is a trio. Duos and trios here in western Pensylvania seem to get as much work as we want. Larger bands seem to be struggling unless it's blues. Blues bands are doing well here also. Straight rock, jazz and country gigs seem to be scarce right now.
     
  3. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    At least in the duo I know I'll hear my bass, and get to be the whole rhythm section, too. I like doing that. My bud and I learned to play guitar together in '63. We had a band in high school, but have mostly just jammed in later life over the years. Played a coupla gigs at the Tea House in Tryon (now closed, dang it) as a trio. But, this will be a first doing a duo gig. We live a couple of hours apart and so play mostly with different bands. I'm looking forward to it.

    Yeah, I guess a duo can do well, considering what folks want to pay. One of my bands makes $100/man most of the time. But, it's because pub/restaurant gigs only pay $400. But, hey, we get more gigs and have more fun than most of the big bands. I've made more money playing for less/gig than I did with bigger bands. I have to play more gigs, though. So far it's not a problem. Once in awhile I get a primo gig that pays much more, but it's the little gigs that are the meat and potatoes, ya know.
     
  4. We have 37 paid gigs so far this year. The best part about it is that we didn't solicit any of them - the venues called us. We haven't started booking our summer venues yet.
     
  5. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    I hope this means that things are picking back up for all of us. It's been tough for too many years. For me, I am lucky to have teamed up with the guys I'm with nowadays, but I hope it's not just that. I hope it's that better times are coming worldwide.
     
  6. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    Glad to hear of some of you finding your business groove along with the music end. Cool times for you all I hope.
     
  7. MattyH

    MattyH

    Jul 20, 2010
    Long Island
    After February I'm fully booked through January 2013. All weddings, minimum 2 a weekend. I love my job!
     
  8. jaywa

    jaywa

    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    Good on ya, bro. Have fun, bank as much of the coin as you can against a future dry spell, and don't let up on your marketing even though your schedule is flush.

    My band's bookings are lagging a bit behind last year (especially in the spring months) but my BL has made it known he's adopting a "fewer gigs but more money" approach for this year so I've kind of been expecting that. We probably won't play as often as we did last year (50+ shows), but the dates we do play will be worth it. In other words, the 4-hour bar gigs to barely clear $100 a guy (that we played last year) are going away.

    A fair number of our gigs on the books are repeat clients from last year so not only are we getting hired back for more money, but we know what the gigs/venues are about and we know we're going into situations that are already "friendly" towards us.
     
  9. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    I played 44 gigs last year. Ten years ago it was more like 80, but times have changed. But, for manyyears it was more like 10-20. Granted, I'm playing for less on many gigs this year (and many last year), but the band is fun, so at least it's not a chore to play more often. There are still one or two "premium paying" gigs, too. I'm just thankful to have work. I also go to a local jam and another at a friend's, so I'm playing a LOT.
     
  10. jaywa

    jaywa

    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    For a weekend warrior like myself, there is definitely a "sweet spot". Not enough gigs, and I start to get cranky. Too many gigs, and the wife does ;) So at my age and life stage, the trick is to play a manageable number of gigs and have most or all of them be good-paying with extra perks like free food or whatever. Between my main band, side projects / sub jobs and my church worship band (unpaid) I played out a total of about 80 days last year and that felt about right. I'm not seeing quite that busy of a year this year (24 paid dates booked so far, a few more verbally confirmed and we're still working on the 2nd half of the year)... but it's still early.
     
  11. bmc

    bmc

    Nov 15, 2003
    Switzerland
    Interesting thread. In the fall of 2010, we bought a country place in France for weekends and holidays. I had gigged myself out and was looking forward to friday and Saturday nights in front of the fire with a nice pinot noir with my sweetheart.

    Two months after the purchase, I got asked to do a regular Monday night gig at a small pub. Tell me if this isn't appealing: small living room sized gig, requiring only a small combo. Two sets: 7:30-8:30 and 9:00-10:00. Six miles (10km) from the house. It's a trio of two acoustic guitars and bass. Here's the kicker. I'm not the bass player. Last March, I started to learn acoustic guitar after 40 years on bass. Often times, the bass player can't make it, so I play bass on those nights. I often travel as well, so the guys carry on just fine.

    On top of that, I met a French singer/songwriter near our farm, who has released a lot of stuff and we get together once a month and will be working up a duo of alternating guitar/bass.

    On top of all of that, I've done five recording sessions since July.

    I really thought my music days would be winding right down. But, I'm actually busier than I've ever been. Up until the end of 2010, I was doing a more than adequate 10-15 gigs a year.

    By the way, I can't put the acoustic down. Just loving it.
     
  12. jthurston

    jthurston

    Nov 22, 2011
    Houston, Texas
    Man, we have like ONE gig booked so far - maybe two. Both premiums, but still...the bars and clubs just aren't booking right now in this area, or else they're already booked out.

    So far we've played one gig in 2012, and that was a makeup date for a double-booking back in December. Really hoping things pick back up quickly.
     
  13. We played 41 last year all paid gigs.We had to back off towards the end of the year due to illness of our Keyboard players son. 2010 we played 54.
    This year we just started booking after taking off all Jan and Feb. taking it slow no Friday and Sat back to back till we can be sure he is back full time so far 12 for this year. 1st show March 2nd itching to play live!
     
  14. jaywa

    jaywa

    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    February is totally dead for my main band. 0 gigs. The thing is, around here, the only paying gigs a band can get in February are bars and they're either already booked out or they're not willing to pay what my band needs to justify taking out a full P.A. and light show in the cold and snow.

    The good thing about that is though that we're losing our drummer at the end of January so that gives us some downtime to get a replacement on board. I'm hoping to pick up a sub gig or two at least also but nothing solid yet. Then mid-March things will start picking up for us again.
     
  15. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    I just got a call for two more dates in Feb. for a total of 6 (or is it 7?). I must thank the lead singer, it's his band. He just happens to be popular, and he's very good. Some of these dates come from his doing a solo act. He brought the band in on a solo gig last week (we agreed to come do it for free), and then the club owner decided he liked it so much he wants us once a month all the time. We still got $75 apiece from the tip jar.

    Another good thing for us is that there are only four of us, so we beat the price of some other bands. The old 8-piece I used to work with isn't doing anything at all. I'm lucky to have gotten in this band. And, I'll say it again, if I have to play more gigs to make the same money, it HAS to be an enjoyable experience---and IT IS.
     
  16. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    Hey dude, your life sounds really nice. Tip o' the hat to ya.:)
     
  17. jaywa

    jaywa

    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    That sounds very similar to my situation. My band's lead singer also does a duo act on the side and he does a great job of promoting both of them. Our band has gotten some very good paying gigs (mostly corporates) because the client liked his duo and then he "upsold" them to the band.

    In fact we have some outdoor summer gigs already on the books where the duo is going to be the "opening act" and then the band headlines. It's a lot of work in one day for our lead singer but he charges for both of them so it's all good.
     
  18. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    Yes, we've come in several times after his solo gig. I dunno how he holds up to it, especially outdoors in the summer.

    Oh, and I forgot to mention that 80% of these gigs are local (within 25 miles). Even the out of town gigs are within a couple of hours, so far this year. Last year that was the case, that is.

    Another reason I have had more gigs is because I have gotten out more. Going to the regular blues jam downtown got me a couple, with the promise of more, I hope. Then, I went to sit in with an old friend's band just for fun one night. Now, they want me to come more, and are trying to get me a full cut (that's good as long as it doesn't take away from any of them---I have said that they could pay me only if they booked for including an extra player).
     
  19. 2011 was such a horrid year on so many fronts, including gigs. I only played a small handful, and even the notorious Chicks at Shows threads slowed down considerably. 2012 is off to a good start, with a big one already under the belt, and 2 coming this weekend, but they are both shorter "acoustic" affairs, where my Shuttle 3.0 combo and J bass are the only things plugged in, besides the mic's. Got a couple of full band dates for February, and 3 for March, not even including St Paddy's.
     
  20. bmc

    bmc

    Nov 15, 2003
    Switzerland
    Thank you. I'll take that compliment. :bassist:
     

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