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How picky should you be?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by thrash_jazz, May 7, 2003.

  1. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    Hi all,

    Starting a thread in my own forum feels a bit odd, but the "How to get out of a gig" thread made me think...

    Over the past several months I have received more than a few offers to join and/or play with bands. I make it clear that I am a freelancer and NOT interested in joining full-time, but it's plainly obvious that people are asking me anyway, hoping I'll change my mind.

    Thing is, sometimes I give an answer even when I don't want really want to play with them, whether it's because they aren't very good, attitude, etc.

    Am I taking a big risk, reputation-wise, by turning down these kinds of gigs? Some people will no doubt say that a gig is a gig (this is the philosophy I've been going by so far), but I hate wasting my time.

  2. ConU


    Mar 5, 2003
    La Belle Province
    If you don't need the stage experience,then be selective.Taking every gig is advisable when you're starting to see what the live thing is all about.But you should quickly hit a point where you want to be selective and take gigs that either are A)Fun and musically rewarding for YOU B)further your career C)$$.:)
  3. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    Yeah, those are the three rules I was going by before, actually! ;)

    I definitely don't need the stage experience (I've been at this for nearly 10 years). If these people were playing bigger places that'd make it worthwhile (fun factor!), but they aren't.

    I am also past the point at which I can learn anything useful from these types, except perhaps how NOT to do things.

    My point is, if I keep turning down gigs, is it likely that I might develop a reputation as a gig-turner-downer, which might spread to those I might want to play with?

    EDIT: I am not meaning to sound like a stuck-up ass here. I have just had enough of people who would pass themsleves off as professionals, but whose actions don't come close.
  4. ConU


    Mar 5, 2003
    La Belle Province
    No,I've never run into anybody who thought that way when considering somebody for a gig.
  5. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    They need you more than you need them. You can afford to be selective; plus playing hard to get makes you seem more desireable--not less.

    Anyway, you don't need the agravation of playing with musicians who do not and cannot make it worth your time and effort and might even diminish your appeal to better bands because they will wonder why you are "slumming" with inferior musical groups.

    I wasted so much time with half-serious bands. The only good thing I got from it was learning how to tell right away if a band was worth my attention.
  6. g,

    I don't blame you one bit for being selective. if you're not into the music, you can't put your heart into it, even if some jackoff puts a gun to your head.

    around 1989/90 I was trying to put a band together (top 40ish but not the same kind of material the other acts were doing at the time) and had some specific influences listed in it (not as anal as the musicians wanted postings and flyers I've been circulating of late, but I digress). only phone call I got was from some older cat in a bar band who needed a bass player and promised "we'll do some of that skid row and bon jovi stuff if you like" (punchline: neither band was listed in my influences then, before, or since!). I forget how many times I said "no" in the same five minute conversation but the guy wouldn't take that for an answer and was expecting me to show up for rehearsal the next evening and tried to give me directions to his practice pad before I told him "No" one last time and hung up on him.
  7. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    Trashed Spazz,

    Im a freelancer too, the only way I'll take a full time position is if they want to make a living off of playing music, I think they have the potential to make a living off of music, and if I really dig the music.

    I highly doubt that you'll get a bad reputation as a "gig turner downer" for not accepting offers. I probably shot down more offers than I should. (I really need the money but making $25 a night for 3 nights a week just aint gonna cut it.) They're all jerkoffs who either suck, play music that I cant stand and is unchallenging, or too stupid to realize they suck, their music sucks and have no clue what it takes to actually be semi-pro to professional and earn some sort of living at it.

    The more professionally minded/skilled players will understand you're point of view and probably wouldnt even offer you an audition unless they needed you to do sub work for them. If you were to audition for them, then they more than likely wouldnt offer you a permanent position unless they thought you would see eye to eye on material, goals, atitude, etc.

    So continue to hold out until you find something that would suit your fancy and make you happy.

    On a side note, there is only one person Ive heard tell me to quit jerkin people off and jam with who ever should offer me a position. Its my closest friend. Who has only played 3 gigs in his entire 13 or 14 years as a drummer. One of which he even rented the hall to play at and all of which were unpaid gigs. He refuses to drive more than 30 minutes away from his house. In short he's pretty much only known by friends in this town that he's a drummer, and will more than likely never see much more than $20-$25 for a gig. Yet he wants to make decent money playing drums :confused:

    He's like a brother to me and I love um dearly but maybe that side note can give ya some insight on anyone that might try and knock ya for holding out.
  8. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    Cool, thanks to SUPERNOVA and everyone else for the responses. :)

    The thing that is frustrating, in a sense, is that I frequent several open stages and jam sessions. It seems that a lot of people are going there just to "scout out" the players, and I frequently get asked if I'm looking for a band, usually by someone who didn't even go up to play.

    The reason why I have become so wary of these sorts of people is that, more often than not, the things they say - about their music, their abilities, their gigs - turns out to be exaggerated or even total BS, just as BOSSANOVA said. Many of them are of the acoustic singer/songwriter type (EEEK! RUN AWAY! ;) ) Sorry, but playing some slight variation on I-IV-V in every song isn't something I want to do.

    So... thanks again everyone!
  9. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000

    I forgot to ask/mention this to you in my previous post.

    I dont know much, well anythig about Ottawa, Canada.

    Do they have cruise liners or any type of party ships that set sail on daily or extended cruises? (Alot of them have live entertainment.) If they do have something like this there then maybe you should give them a call and try to arrange an audition. If they like you, you can easily become one of thier on call guys.

    It might not be that steady but when you get called you'll get paid well.

    I dont know you're religious beliefs, but you can also try and obtain sub work at churches. The smaller ones dont pay or pay very little, but the bigger ones will pay ya decently for filling in.

    They also give ya a chance to play a broad spectrum of music. Granted its all religious and usually covers but the entire set can vary. One song could be funk, the next jazz, reggae, rock, r&b. Another little perk at least for me was, that you can totally revamp the original bass line and play whatever the hell you want. So it gives you the opportunity to explore your creative side a bit. They're also usually top notch musicians.
  10. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    All you have to say is "I'm not available" and leave it at that. If you turn someone down often enough they'll stop calling you, eh?
  11. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    True in the case of most, but some of them put you on the spot by saying "well, why not?" and I don't have a good excuse.

    I try to be fair - if the people have a gig coming up, I'll go check them out - but after a while you get a feel for what sort of thing isn't going to work for you without having to hear their stuff.
  12. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    These two work well. But the 2nd one is a bit more insulting. "Im not interested in playing that type of music" "Im sorry, but you're not the caliber (sp) of musicians that Im used to dealing with"
  13. Although it's kinda snobbish, jam with the band to make sure they're gonna make you sound good.

    (and being a musical whore is fun...)
  14. no4mk1


    Feb 21, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    You know... My band is in the opposite situation.

    We had been looking for a drummer for quite awhile before finding the guy we are currently working with. The system we worked out was simple.

    We met for a beer and talked about music... What we were into, the direction we wanted to go, etc. It cut out a lot of the bull****, because either we clicked and tried playing together, or we finished the beer and wished each other well. Maybe it's because I am not a twentysomething anymore, but life is too short to be in a situation that doesn't fit with your musical personality.

    I guess my point is that it's O.K. to be picky and to be honest about it. If you aren't into it you won't put your heart into it, and thats kind of the point isn't it?

  15. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    I'd second the idea of meeting people in a non-musicial situation first. It's a lot of work to lug your gear somewhere and set up to audition and then find that either you don't like the music or you just don't get on.

    A chat on the phone is good, but face to face is even better. It's what happened to get me into my present band - meeting the manager for coffee and chatting over a few things. A couple of days later, as promised, a CD turned up in the post and so when we met a week or so later, we all had a starting point, even though none of us had played together before.

  16. If people ask you "why not?" ask them why they need to know! Puts the ball straight back in their court, and will almost always make them back down! Might be worth a try!
  17. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    Now I just say I don't have the time for it.

    It's really quite amazing - I seem to get propositioned every week! Must be an acute bassist shortage 'round here...