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Help me with music and my life

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Steve Clark, Sep 6, 2004.

  1. Steve Clark

    Steve Clark

    Jan 9, 2004
    London ON
    Hi all,

    I live in Canada. I'm 38 years old, married with a 10 year old son. For the past 12 years I have run non music related franchise. I recently restructured the company and work from home. I still own it but the day to day is being taken care of by another franchise.

    Over the past year I have picked up my basses and am playing around my small town of 300,000 people. People seems to like my playing and I am beginning to be offered work including a steady blues gig and a jazz duo gig.

    I met a guitar player over the summer and he just called to tell me about a gig in the States. I had a post running last week about demo tapes and did complete the tape and send it. This guitar player is now the musical director and feels that he has enough say that I could be high on the list. There 3-4 other bass players auditioning. A drummer flying in from California.

    Details of the gig would include 3 weeks of rehearsal in the States follwed by 6 - 8 weeks of studio time and who knows what happens after that. I would be on salary of about $600 US a week. That's less than I make running my company from home but that's not my main question. Does that sound like a great/good/ok/bad deal?

    What should I be asking the producer when he calls? He's supposed to be calling today or tomorrow. There will be an audition in a couple of weeks. The guitar player said I should pack for the duration not just the audition since he feels I am a better player than the other guys who are coming out.

    I plan to be totally upfront about my current experience. I haven't been on the road and have not done a lot of playing lately.

    The most common question I get is who will run the company? That is easily taken care of. The only problem is that I am not around to keep an eye on everyone. I do have a trusted emplyees to manage things as well as the owner of the other franchise who is currently running the day to day.

    My wife is supportive but I don't know what to think of leaving home for 2-3 months. Sure I could make some trips home but anyone out there with family and long distance issues?

    I suppose the hardest question to asnwer is "What do I want?" One answer to that is that my health dad had heart surgery last week and we almost lost him as a result of complications. So I could look at that as life is short and seize every opportunity or life is short stay close to home and enjoy family.

    I'll stop now. I would appreciate any insight and advice fellow TB'ers would have to offer. I think I should at least do the audition. I would hate to wonder "What if . . . " if I turn down the audition
  2. I'd say, if you want to do it, do it! It's worth trying because you might end up doing something amazing, and by avoiding it chances are you will have some regret in the future. If you feel like you can spend the time away from your family and business, it would be a great endeavour for you to try.
  3. Never live to say "I wish I woulda..."
    At least you can say you tried it! If it doesn't work out - or even feel right to you, then you have lost nothing, you still have a stable situation to fall back on.
  4. If its something you want to do, or you feel you have to, then do it. Your family should understand, its not like you go on the road evry 2 months?. take a lap top with you for your business, and make shure whoever is in chanrge sends through a daily report of whats been going on, vai e-mail. use the technology. your important clients can reach you by mobile, so you are still in contact. Man, I say do it!!! :hyper:

    Also get an itinery of every detail of the gig before you go.
  5. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    I hope you know that it's a rare thing to have a buisness that can run itself without you having to baby-sit it every day. Sounds like quite the opportunity to me.

    I'd just be afraid that your wife would say 'sure, that's fine' just before you accept the job, and then try to demoralize you, and sabatage your resolve as soon as you're commited to doing it, and then hold it against you somehow for years. If your wife isn't like that, then between her and your buisness you're unbelievably blessed in life.


  6. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Is it just me, or does anybody else think that $600 a week is kinda light? You got any kinda per diem, housing allowance, transportation costs? Who's buying your ticket down?

    6-8 weeks in the studio, doesn't sound like a jazz gig. What kinda music you doing? Out of all the bassists in the world, they could only find 5 to audition? Kinda reinforces the "lightness" factor to me.

    If this is music you feel excited about, if you feel like it is going to push you in a direction you want you should do it. What do you want to happen here? At the end of the session, you have a recording. What happens to it? Is the label going to want you to tour to support the release? You do the rehearsals, you do the recording and you go home. How have you enhanced your musical life?

    If all this is going to be is 10-12 weeks out of your life, don't you want there to be something other than money going ion here?

    300,000 folks isn't really that "small". If there is enough of a jazz scene (and it's what you want to do) I would suggest that there is a better opportunity for personal musical growth by getting a venue in your town to book you regularly and to hire (either the venue does or you and your bandmates do) people coming through (or nearby) on tour to come and play with your rhythm section. Before I moved to NYC I got to play with Clifford Jordan, Junior Mance, Bill Barron, Joe Sample, Fathead Newman all becasue these guys came through and used the rhythm section that I was in. Chris Fitzgerald (he's a moderator here over on the DB side) lives in Louiseville KY and
    gets to play with ALL kinds of world class jazz players (check out his profile) because they use the rhythm section he's a part of. You get to live at home, you get to play regularly and you are arranging to play with world class talents every chance you get. A couple of years of doing that is going to put you in a place, musically and psychologically, that doing a 3 month recording project cannot.
  7. Seems like a great opportunity to do something new and exciting... You obviously have no worries losing a job by being away for that long like I'm sure many others here would in the same situation. If the music is something you're into, I'd definitely do it.

    The family thing I can understand though for sure... I think that's the major decision point.

    Just out of curiousity, where in Ontario are you?
  8. Davehenning


    Aug 9, 2001
    Los Angeles
    If you are really into the gig, then those are the first questions to ask. And keep your receipts! Hotels, taxis, parking, supply costs(strings, parts, etc) Those small costs can really add up.

    And since you are Canadian and the gig is in the States, be sure you are aware of any applicable taxes and have the proper work permits. Learning about those things now can save you from a huge headache later on.

    If your business can be run by trustworthy employees in your absense and your family is understanding, then I say do it if your heart is set on it. The road is not for everyone. You might love it, you might hate it.

    Hope this helps and best of luck!
  9. Steve Clark

    Steve Clark

    Jan 9, 2004
    London ON
    Thanks everyone.

    Here's what I know so far:

    I will have to negotiate with the producer for my salary.

    Accomodations will be provided for rehearsals.

    I have to pay my own way there. If I get the gig then travel is covered but to what extent I don't know.

    There are 4 bass players and 4 drummers and everyone will play with each other to find the right combination.
    Its original material presented in a raw form and its up to the 'band' to creat their own parts and get a songwriting credit for that effort.

    There are a couple of LA session guys coming out as well. Even a drummer whose website has supportive comments from Peter Erskine and Greg Bissonette of all people He is bringing a bass player who he has worked with a bunch. Obviously much more experienced players than I currently am.

    Producer will call this afternoon. Any last minute advice from TBers.

  10. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    If I were you, I'd go into it head first, give it my best shot, and let it go at that. If they like it, cool, if not, oh well, I tired.

    In any case though, I entrust you'll make the decision that's right for you, and go through with it. And in whatever you do, I wish ya the best of luck man.

    Take care,
  11. Steve Clark

    Steve Clark

    Jan 9, 2004
    London ON
    Hi all,

    Talked to the producer tonight. It sounds like the real deal alright although I suppose that's what a producer should make it sound.

    You only live once. I will go to the audition on Saturday and the worst that can happen is they choose someone else. What a great experience to hang out with the 'cats' from LA. Hell, I might just get the gig.

  12. Steve Clark

    Steve Clark

    Jan 9, 2004
    London ON
    Hi all.

    Thanks for the advice and insights. I got some advice of site as well from a bass player and retailer in Toronto who was extremely helpful. Thanks Dave. Mr Fuqua, I think you hit the nail on the head. Thanks to you as well.

    So what did I learn . . . .

    I asked more pointed questions: can I be sent a copy of the contract? I was told I could not be sent one but was given verbal details. For example, I would have to sign for 2 years at $700 USD, with a rollover for two more years at $700 USD if signed to a label. 2 years is a long time. A suggestion was made for an escape clause but I somehow don't think the terms would be negotiable.

    One of the band members said that I didn't have to sign this weekend but I had asked in 2 emails prior to that that I was under the impression I would have to sign this weekend. Seems to me to be a waste of time to come and to the audition, rehearse for 3 weeks while discussing a contract before hitting the studio. Seems ass-backwards to me. Or is that how the 'real' music biz works. The producer never said I didn't have to sign only that he could "not have his lawyer draw up a contract for one person and there were others coming from much further than you". Surely the contract is something basic they churn out of a Word file and just change the names. So at that point I started having second thoughts.

    Anyways, don't interpret my words as being bitter in any way. Maybe someone can pcik up some tips from my experience. If I missed the point anywhere let me know. I am perfectly happy to stay home with the family and go to the blues jams and keep working on my jazz chops with the Jamie Aebersold Band ;) ;) ;)
  13. Davehenning


    Aug 9, 2001
    Los Angeles

    Not get a copy of the contract? That sounds a little off to me. I don't know who you are dealing with, but IME, whenever you do a written deal, you should get the contract looked at by an entertainment attorney. Especially if it saves you from being an indentured servant for 2 years!

    If they are serious about you being on the gig, tell them to FedEx you a copy of the contract so you can have it looked it over. That is standard business procedure. It sounds like this guy might be pinching pennies by not having another contract drawn up.

    hope this helps