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Is it better to just say "no?"

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Joe Nerve, Jan 16, 2017.

  1. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    Some of you might remember that I just landed a pretty cool gig. Highest paying gig of my life, the band is booked solid, and they have enough subs that I can still do shows with other bands, should I choose to.

    One of the guys I've been hired by for the past 5 years told me he's got a bunch of potential shows lined up for June. This guy gets some really fun gigs, and he plays with a legendary artist - so he often puts me in circles it's good to be in. I've gotten to play with a handful of well known musicians because of him. Point being that I don't want to burn any bridges.

    I'm on the fence now with what to do about these June gigs he's looking to book. My current band pays 2 to 3X what this guy pays me, and the money right now is important.

    My choices are:

    1. Shut up, smile, do the gigs with him and take the $$ hit to remain in the loop w/ him and his pals.

    2. Tell him I'm going to be needing more money if he wants me to continue.

    3. Tell him I'm not available.

    Should add that there are a lot of bassists who would happily jump into my spot, so... despite my awesomeness:) ...I can be quickly and easily replaced. He does however trust me more than the others, as I am the most dependable bassist he's ever worked with.
  2. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    tough stuff! my impulse: pass (this time) on the gigs so that you are not giving your high paying band any untoward impressions so early in the game. let your other guy know how difficult the decision is, but that you feel it is the right thing to do at this point in your relationship with the new band. let him know that things can be different in the future and not to 'forget' about your support for his endeavors. stay in touch with him.

    jeffbrown, shwabilly, NG51 and 34 others like this.
  3. Kelly robinson

    Kelly robinson

    Dec 30, 2014
    Hi Joe -
    I follow your adventures and always enjoy your posts but this is the first time I've felt like I had anything to offer so here goes . If I were you I'd do as many of the " better " artist " gigs as I could afford to do while not messing up the main high paying gig that pays the rent . The exposure from high prestige gigs has a great potential for your future career and might in itself lead to that magic gig that has both money and ' artistry ' involved . Sorry I can't do better advice wise but best of luck with the choices - Kelly
  4. pcake

    pcake Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2011
    Los Angeleez
    if you say yes to him and your new band needs you for shows on the same days, what would you do about that? to me, that's the big question. would he book you as the A team, but be willing to book the B team if you end up with a show for the new guys?
  5. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    So....what's the likelihood of getting to play with a "well known musician" vs the likelihood of getting paid 2 to 3x more than his pay?

    That's your answer.
  6. Ox Boris

    Ox Boris Banned

    Nov 23, 2015
    Can he afford it? If so, ask. If not, decide.
    DrummerwStrings and Joe Nerve like this.
  7. denhou1974


    Mar 6, 2008
    Has this networking circle benefitted you yet? If not then what's the use?

    I'd go with my band in this case. If he asks then tell him the money is not really there.
    96Brigadier, climber and Polfuste like this.
  8. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    These are both excellent questions, and a big part of why this is a tough decision. The guy can absolutely afford to pay me more, but he's been known to stick to his guns regarding pay, if someone else is avalable. The potential for exposure and a better gig... I honestly don't have a clue. He's a guitarist, playing bass for that well known artist now. If he ever lands the 2nd guitar part again in that band, there's a decent chance I can jump into the bass position. I am without a doubt a more proficient bass player than this guy.

    What's also interesting though is if I DID ever get that gig, it wouldn't pay a whole lot anyhow. The guy he's playing with does 5 or 6 shows a year at best. And I'd probably make the same (or less) on those gigs as with my current band. I'd be able to say I played with the guy though, which I wouldn't mind having on my musicans resume.

    @Kelly robinson , what you suggest is what I'm currently leaning towards.
  9. PauFerro


    Jun 8, 2008
    United States
    I would consider passing on some of the gigs from both bands. This keeps you in the loop in both bands, and puts you on the list of busy musicians who would do as many of the gigs as they could, but have unavoidable conflicts. As a BL I have no problems with that. In fact, it heightens their reputation as it shows me they are busy, in-demand musicians.

    It's when they reject a whole spate of gigs that I start considering moving them down the list in my depth chart.

    If that answer doesn't work for you, I have a decision process you can consider. Min-Max Regret. What you do is look at each decision alternative, and figure out the worst that could happen if that proved to be the wrong decision (the Regret). Pick the alternative that has lowest regret if the decision turns out to be the wrong one (negative impact).

    So, to apply this, answer this question:

    1. If you say "no" to the fun gigs in June, in favor of the high paying gigs, what is the worst that can happen?

    2. If you say "no" to the high paying gigs in June, what is the worst that could happen?

    3. If you ask for more money from the fun gigs guy, what is the worst that could happen?

    Which one of the two alternatives above has the most minimal negative impact (regret)? Consider selecting that alternative.

    I will say this, I don't like it when people complain about pay to me. I am always doing the best I can to get them the gigs they want. And when they complain to me about pay, it brings back all the horrors of non-appreciation for BL's I've written so much about. And it tends to make them slip lower in the depth chart. If the supply of good bassists makes it a buyer's market for the BL (you implied there is an oversupply of good ones), I'd think seriously about taking the "more money" route. The other thing to remember is that if he's got a price already fixed with the client, any extra money paid to Joe Nerve may well have to come out of his own pocket. I wouldn't like that. It also makes it awkward if other members find out you got more than they did. And then as a BL, I have to deal with that. Can Open -- Worms Everywhere. That alternative has the maximum "regret" in this little decision model. I'd avoid that one like the plague.
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2017
  10. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    It's benefitted me as far as I've gotten to play some awesomely fun shows, and hang in the right circles with people I'd otherwise have no access to.

    Not that this was anything that could really further my career, but we did some shows last summer with Black Oak Arkansas, and hanging with those guys for a weekend was an experience I could write a second book on :). Got to hang and play with a bunch of other, more well known musicians that weekend, also. Did it do anything for my music career? No. Would I have paid money for the experience and the memory... probably. I had an awesome time.
  11. Bodeanly

    Bodeanly Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2015
    Option 3. Since you're still relatively new to the high paying gig, I would tell the dude that you can't do it this time around. Use all the standard "next time for sure" and "thanks for considering me because you know I love you" verbiage.
  12. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    Ya know... just thinkin out loud right now...

    These "right circles" I think I'm hanging out in might actually be the "wrong" circles, keeping me from what really are the right or best circles for me.

    5 years with this guy and the best gig I've landed I got through a cover band I played one show with for less than $100.
  13. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    I read the other thread when you got the $$$ gig. Sounds like gig A pays better, but gig B is more fun, and gives you more contacts to get other gigs.

    Unless you need the money, and are content with playing that kind of material long term (including miming playing on at least one tune), I would take the second gig. Talk to BL2 and tell him that you would like to do the show. Explain the $$$ discrepancy, and ask, rather than demand, if he can do something to help bridge the gap. Tell BL 1 that it is just for a few gigs, but is an unusual opportunity. Get subs that are good, but not too good ;).
  14. kikstand454


    Sep 28, 2012
    Op, while I have no practical knowledge of the enviable position you're in, I do have 2¢ to add.

    If it were me, I would mix and match the shows, and not favor one gig over the other. Both band leaders know that you are working other gigs and you're in demand, and if you do it now, June is well within the bubble for them to cover those shows with little to no stress.
    I would split the difference on the amount of shows, and give popular artist gig the majority. 3/5 or what have you. Your steady band should understand, and if you're playing with a major artist, it could even be a draw for them in future bookings/ local rep.

    Last edited: Jan 16, 2017
  15. DirtDog


    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    No can be a pretty empowering word, but it's just so black and white!

    I'd get the list of dates for the June gigs, pick and choose the ones you are available for and pass on the rest. You can't be in two places at the same time.
  16. Wow! BOA! I saw them in concert when I was a teen. That was a great show.
    pacojas and Joe Nerve like this.
  17. Gab124

    Gab124 The path is greater than the destination

    Dec 30, 2006
    I think it depends solely on what you want you future to look like. Most bands fold after a certain time and then you want to be able to find more work. Knowing people and being in the right circles helps that dramatically. I would always choose the right circle over temporary higher pay, assuming I can impress that circle enough to be regularly called. I wish I had your problem right now, cause the circles I want to be in are hard at the moment to penetrate. Count yourself lucky to have this problem.
    DirtDog and Joe Nerve like this.
  18. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    Those guys are insane, and IMO the very definition of R&R. Or at least how I used to define it. How they're still doing what they're doing and still alive was inspiring, albeit in an odd way. Doing shots of moonshine before hitting the stage :)! Gotta love it, despite the fact that I haven't touched alcohol in decades. And no, I didn't do the shots. Just watched, with a huge smile on my face.
  19. brbadg


    Nov 10, 2006

    More than 1 way to skin a cat. How much can this famous person help you if he only does 5 or 6 gigs?
    Your guy could help you whether he's playing with you or not.If you are good enough,he will remember you.
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2017
    Joe Nerve likes this.
  20. Wow! I guess there's something to the saying, What doesn't kill you...
    Joe Nerve likes this.

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