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How do I handle this hiring scenario?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Bassic Playing, Oct 29, 2013.

  1. Hi guys.

    So recently, a long time friend of mine, a guitarist whom I've been in a couple of projects with, and I, having been collaborating and written about a sets worth of originals. The plan is to get this project out there as soon as possible when the finishing touches are done.

    The issue is this: We are both multi-instrumentalists, so writing the songs for all parts is easy. We do, however, require a couple of individuals to play them live. We are not interested in sharing writing responsibilities, so these new members would essentially be hired guns.

    The only bands I have played in before have all been with previously known acquaintances, and so I have no idea how to express to new members that we require only their live input, and nothing else, without sounding like a jerk.

    Any advice?
  2. IPYF


    Mar 31, 2011
    This is simple. You provide them with money as payment for playing the music.
  3. Well the concept is obvious. But I see issues with anyone I hire attempting to encroach on the territory and then getting all butthurt when they are rebutted.
  4. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    Maybe or maybe not. If you pay enough, you'll get pros and pros should understand that they are hired guns.
  5. IPYF


    Mar 31, 2011
    When you offer them the money you do so on the condition that they have to do what you say. If with this knowledge in mind they encroach on your territory and get 'butthurt' then you send them byebye and you give someone else money as payment for playing the music.

    If you put it in writing it would probably be most solid, but usually agreed-upon remuneration is enough to keep most sensible musicians satisfied.

    The bands that go boobies up are the ones where a band commander wants good musicians to operate under their direction for no financial incentive.
  6. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    So then, sort of a Steely Dan arrangement, yes? :meh:

    Paying two musicians to act as ongoing sidemen would certainly give the two songwriters maximum control. Main difficulty is that start-up original music ensembles don't usually earn much at first. So if the sidemen's "loyalty" is based strictly on pay, that could present a kink in the business model, could it not?

    That's why most start-up original music projects usually depend heavily on a sense of esprit de corps, shared sacrifice & shared ownership, in order to get them through the initial lean times. The trade-off is...control - or lack thereof.

    Unless the project is seriously bankrolled with angel investors, or one or both of the songwriters just happens to have a trust fund, this presents a dilemma that is not easy to resolve.

  7. Ronbassman


    Jun 1, 2011
    Name the band "[You], [Your Friend] & the Hired Guns"
  8. Interview hired guns just like you'd interview employees for any other business/job. Tell them exactly what you expect/want. IE, the job description/duties, etc - and what you're offering for it. IE, paid rehearsals, expenses, salary, written contract, etc.
  9. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Looking for a gig around East Islip, NY!

    Jan 13, 2008

    You might be able to convince some poor schmo to do it for cheap, but you'll likely be sacrificing quality and/or dependability.
  10. Mmmm. It could be easier to hire a couple of people who are just keen to get into gigging, and will put up with having little creative input for a chance to get going. Wouldn't be so hard to find at this age I suppose.
  11. IPYF


    Mar 31, 2011
    Exactly. I was just deducing from the tone of the OP that he was protective of his level of control. If you want to retain control and maintain premium quality you have to pay the talent.

    Having worked in original acts that claim to be democratic when in fact they're anything but I can safely say that the most important thing to do if you're unable to collaborate is to make yourself very very clear.

    Perhaps if you're lucky you might pick up a budding cat who's got no interest in songwriting who may be keen to tag along for the ride as an unpaid sideman. These people do exist but they're usually found among contacts you already have (ie. Friends and acquaintances who will join in for fun) and may fail to exhibit the level of effort you need.

    The more common scenario will be as the OP fears: Initially the person hired might tow the line then try to gain a level of influence as they become more comfortable in their surroundings. I think many of us will be familiar with this. Hiring someone with money will be the only route you can take which will allow you to actually be in charge. Any other option will provide you with a political situation to balance.
  12. IPYF


    Mar 31, 2011
    Sorry for the double post dude but I just have to say don't do this. I'm not trying to be offensive to you but I've dealt with this in bands before and it's utterly horrid to be on the receiving end of this crap. If you get players in under the guise of being a semi-democratic act you'll end up naturally closing their ideas out because it's not really what you as the chief(s) want.

    Do yourself a massive favour and be honest with yourself and potential hires. Save yourself the trouble of running a sham. It's exhausting and I promise you it will ultimately fail. You want full control and you don't want other players to have any input. That's why you started this thread. Own it. Don't beat around the bush.

    I know it's tough when you want to be gigging and you don't have the required people to do it. But I promise you if you get things happening under false or flimsy pretenses just so you can get gigging your band will almost definitely fail. That and as someone who's had this done on him more than once, it's really really unfair.
  13. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    And therein would lie the rub... :meh:

    Players who are there just for the fun - even really good players - are likely going to bail just as soon as the project starts being "not fun", i.e. once the hard work of intensive rehearsals, arranging, and/or recording begins. (Although for the right band, I personally would find all of that stuff to be a labor of love rather than "work", I'm aware that many other players would not see it the same way.) Problem is, you wouldn't have any leverage over them; no way to keep them in place once things get intense. :eyebrow:

  14. Not offended at all, I am glad for the input. I have no desire at all to run a sham, or anything like that. I seriously want everyone involved to have fun. It's just that in the past bands I have run, it has been really difficult when everyone has sporadic bits of writing they want to throw in, even if it doesn't match the bands sound, or whatever.

    Whether that's something that is difficult because musicians my age (me included) don't have quite the maturity that older players do is the problem or not, it can be such a drag and usually ends up with the band going nowhere.

    I left my last band because, while it started off great, soon everyone tried to force their own genres on it, and it just fell apart.
  15. obimark


    Sep 1, 2011
    You pay them lots of money- more than you will get paid to play your "original" music, as that most likely will be zero $. So you pay people for hire for the privilege of spreading your music to the masses. IE PAy-To Play.
    Sorry, that's your only option, nobody wants to be told what to do and when to do it, and how to do it, without money. That's what we call a JOB.

    The bigger question you and ALL "original" bands need to ask themselves, is there ANY MARKET for what I am even playing?? The answer is probably not... unless you are REALLY good...

    Heck- I will play your original music on my bass, exactly the way you transcribe it (I am sure you have written charts out? Right...) for $400 ($500 if I have to drive more than 30 minutes) a gig if you are in Atlanta. I will give you are bargain rate of $40 per hour for rehearsal time, so sure I can rehearse 3-4 hours a time, 3-4 times a week even!
  16. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Are you holding off until you have 4 sets worth of original material or are you willing to gig with an addt'l 3 sets of covers or planning to do just one hours worth of originals? So many choices...and I have a different answer for each scenario.

  17. PaperbackRyder

    PaperbackRyder Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2007
    Maynard, MA
    You could
    1- offer them a fixed rate if pay per gig and if you find players with the right chemistry....
    2- offer them an equity position where they are minority members, not involved on the creative end. They get a voice in business decisions and a percentage of all earnings from gigs, royalties &merch. Best part would be a small percentage of earnings from publishing (where the real money is)
  18. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    Find some good students who are eager to play & pay them with beer.
  19. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    I am a good songwriter. And I wrote all my songs with just myself, and sometimes my writing partner writing all the parts for all the instruments. Then I went into the studio, and worked with pros. They started playing something like the parts I had written, and then it flowed into something else, and that something else was MUCH BETTER.

    Do yourself a favor and allow other players to have some input. You will have a much more DEVELOPED sound, more times than not.
  20. kikstand454


    Sep 28, 2012

    Option 2 is how I believe Jon runs Bon Jovi. Works pretty damn good for him and Richie.

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