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Is there a such thing as too many gigs? (originals)

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by GearHeadBassMan, Mar 25, 2009.

  1. hey, i play in an all-originals rock band, been with the project and out an playing for about 3-4 months now to good reviews and feedback, i'd say we're doing pretty well and have good rep among venues and other bands.

    When we first arrived on the scene, we planned on hitting our local areas hard and often, playing pretty much every day we had off. We're planning one last little week long trek through our local area to kind of solidify where we are as soon as school lets out.

    My question is, we're still playing every friday and saturday night, sometimes right through sunday. Our singer/band leader books like mad, and we're getting some steady show offers because bands are recommending us to venue owners. My schedule is chock full and I haven't had time to just sit back and enjoy myself.

    We've got the rep where we wanted it. Now we're trying to save up money to print our CD through merch sales (doing pretty good with that). Here's my question:

    Are we draining our local crowd dry? I feel like 3-4 gigs a month at this point will keep us in the crosshairs and allow us to maximize our earnings at the actual shows. My singer tells me I should be happy that we get to play so much, but his "always must play shows" mentality turns defensive when I ask him about maybe cutting back a little bit on the shows.

    Am I out of line? The band put me in charge of managing finances, I was able to make the singer demand we get at least gas money for every gig we play and venue owners usually slip us an extra couple bucks so we aren't losing money, I just feel like less is more.

    Am I wrong? Remember, not a cover band or a bar band. we're a band that has our eyes on the stars.:bassist:
  2. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    Song Surgeon slow downer. https://tinyurl.com/y5dcuqjg
  3. MonkeyBass


    Mar 22, 2009
    Denver, CO
    I believe you can, indeed, over saturate your local market. If you play all the time, then your fans start thinking "I'll stay home this time because they'll just play again next weekend."

    Also, if you're not enjoying yourself then why do it? When I was a touring bassist I wore myself out really quickly by playing every night. There is a point where playing bass stops being fun. And that's a tragedy!

    I've found that you actually make more money and get more people to your shows if you play only once or twice a month. But that's just my experience here in Denver.
  4. we don't play any free gigs anymore. we played a few to get some face time at bigger venues but now we get ~$50 per gig, i know, not that much for you pros but hey, it pays for food and gas and we aren't asked to sell tickets to get it. the only time we play for free is for benefit shows for a cause we support or something similar. I kinda feel like there's a certain change that has to come about when we start doing real tours, as opposed to weekend warrior stuff.

    oh and i love playing shows still. love every second of being on stage. it's getting off stage and knowing i have to find a way to write an essay and sleep in four hours because i've been with the band all weekend that I hate!
  5. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    My most quoted adage: "If you aren't appearing, you're disappearing.

    I don't think you can play too much. You're trying to get yourselves known.

    I do believe that you can saturate an area and do yourselves more harm than good by not expanding your horizons and playing the same couple of clubs in the same geographic area over and over and over......
  6. ChrisB2

    ChrisB2 Bass... in your fass

    Feb 27, 2008
    TalkBass > Off Topic
    ... and the same playlist...

    Man, your avatar freaks me out..... :ninja:
  7. afromoose

    afromoose Guest

    One thing I would be interested in to answer the question is:

    Is your band

    a) the type of band that people love to go and see where they are guaranteed to have a good time, can dance around, but might not describe your actual sound as being special, a sort of 'they're a really good laugh' or 'they're accomplished musicians' type of band, but not be able to remember or sing a tune that you've made, or describe the music as being particularly different or unique in style. The type of band where you can get your musical skills really honed, and don't have to worry about how a 'product' or a particular sound is going across.

    b) the type of band that has an original sound, that people that buy records might realistically want to add to their collection because it adds something new and different. The type of band that labels would add to their roster because the artistic merits of the music are so interesting in relation to the current zeitgeist and fans will want to get hold of it. The type of band that objectively if you heard your record, you or others would want to go and actually pay money to buy and repeat listen.

    If you're A and B, then I would say you're very lucky, but reduce the gigs to about 2 per month max in the same location. If you're A, then play as many gigs as you want, it's never going to ruin anything for you. If your just B, then you need to protect the exposure of your music and consider reducing the set time also as well as the type of venue that you play and the types of people you're playing to so that you generate as much credibility as possible and work hard on your product (your songs) rather than playing as many live shows as possible.

    Touring is a completely different kettle of fish and I'd say it's always a good idea, and as many dates as possible.
  8. I'd like to think we're type B, people seem to tell us they like us because we're a little bit different from whats around. I think we have a pretty newish take on things that have already been done.

    listen for yourself (real old recordings, our new stuff is a little more along the lines of Girls are Girls, not Toys and less Her heart was a ghost)

  9. You're talking about the 3 band shows, hour or so set...

    Yes, you can oversaturate your "market."

    There is a club in town that has a stipulation that you can't play 2 weeks before or after your show there.
  10. mccak287


    Feb 22, 2009
    New Jersey
    It's a tough call... It seems like you are more or less spread out as far as location is concerned. If you are keeping your fans happy and the club owners keep asking you to come play, I don't see why you would need to over think a good thing. The advice that has been given to me, which made sense to me, was that it's ok to oversaturate your home market at first as long as you have good songs people will follow you around. Just keep coming out with new material and eventually (hopefully) something might break you. You have to start with a strong following somewhere. Also, Pm me maybe we can do a show trade.
  11. prokfrog


    Mar 16, 2007
    new jersey
    only as far as your wife in concerned..
  12. kennydakid


    Jan 8, 2009
    Amesbury, MA
    I would suggest branching east a little more, There is a wealth of good oportunities you are midding in the Portland Maine, Boston, MA, Providence RI area. I know it is a hike for you guys and it may only work on a weekend jaunt. I know a bunch of bands which you might want to get in touch with to set up a show, feel free to dig through my bands myspace and find some compatable friends in our friends list. FYI i am sending an add request to you right now....

    also if you are interested in setting up a show this way send me a message and maybe I can work you into a bill or something... Our style is more on the Matchbox 20 side of pop rock, but our sounds might mesh.

    (I am the drummer)
  13. BillyRay

    BillyRay Supporting Member

    Jan 20, 2008
    No, there isn't a thing as too many gigs, but there's a thing as too many "BotB, 30 minutes, 50$ for the whole band", gigs. Not that you will oversaturate the market, but you'll get categorized as this type of band by owners and bookign agents. Getting the good (or even halfway decent) paying gigs later on will be tough, especially since you are playing originals.

    I took a look at your calendar and that is a lot of dates. Not that it's a bad thing, good shows require people with a lot of gigging eperience, wich you will get in no time at this pace, but don't expect to get to the moon at this pace of strictly playing the 17:00 time-slot.

    But you're getting your name out there and that's always good, especially if you have "girl draw".
  14. scottbass

    scottbass Bass lines like a big, funky giant

    Jul 13, 2004
    Southern MN
    IMHO it is very possible to oversaturate a market. Why should fans go see the same band they saw last week when there's another band playing nearby? We try not to play in the same 20-mile radius more than once every 4 weeks, and we also try not to play the same venue more than once every 6 weeks. Our most diehard fans will drive 25 or 30 miles in any direction to see us at our next venue, and we are making more and more fans from a larger and larger area.

    Seriously, playing for $50 is still essentially giving it away for free. If you really think this is going to grow into being real professional musicians, you need to expand your audience base, tour and record. And if you want to make serious money, you will need serious professional management, not just a singer who loves to book as many gigs as possible.
  15. milothefultz

    milothefultz Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Portland, OR
    I'm a weekend warrior right now and I recently joined my band about 5 months ago. They started about 3 years ago and had to start in the crappy bars and shady clubs. They got paid almost nothing, but kept gigs to a minimum in the same venues timewise. Now we only play the same venue (at most) once per month. We have to go from Corvallis, Oregon to Vancouver, Washington (about a four to five hour stretch) for a four-hour bar gig, but after getting a lot better, more gigging experience, and a better reputation, the crappy bar gigs turned into good bar gigs by getting more pay, the players being more comfortable, and the bars receiving bigger and cooler crowds. It took about 3 years and 2 CD's to get where we are and I think it will be the same for really any band. If you are booked a lot within a few miles of recent venues, I don't think it's worth it. If you're looking for having fun and don't care about the draw of people/money, do it; if you're looking for people/pay (not excluding fun, just now there's less), you need to cut back or branch out more. You'll pay a lot for gas, and it will probably tire you, but it will make your crowds a lot happier and less bored.

    Also, It's not easy, but the hard work you put into making even the 10 person bar gigs seem like you're playing for 10,000 and for more money than they're paying you, people will notice and you'll get a better rep. Also, business cards. Band business cards help A LOT. Half of our gigs come from shows with people who got interested for a party/festival/their town for us to play in. So the lesson here is:

    A) Don't play in or around the same venues at the very least biweekly.
    B) Play like it's your last gig. ALWAYS.
    C) Always carry some kind of card.

    There's my rant. Sorry I floated a bit off tpic.
  16. the engine

    the engine Guest

    I have been in that situation, but not with one band. At one point I was playing in FIVE bands. Each band had to check my website before they could book a gig (to see if I already had one). I was playing some of the same songs in 3 or 4 different keye! It bacame impossible to do a good job for all of them. I was playing 5+ nights a week. They would call a song and I would say "What key do we do that in again?" Hands hurt. I was always tired. Etc. Not a good scene.
  17. Spinal Tapper

    Spinal Tapper

    Nov 15, 2007
    It's a great way to cut your teeth on experience, but after a while you'll start losing a draw - no one, not even your best friends will want to see the same band over and over for the long haul.

    Do yourselves a favor and try to play once a month at a reputable venue where you will bring a larger crowd than spreading it too thin for a bunch of ****** bars/clubs/restaurants.

    If you want to gain more playing experience and your crowd is slowly dissipating to your gigs, start playing out of town - even 50 or so miles away. Tell your friends/fans, "No big deal if you make it or not, because we've got this rocking show coming up at ___ in two weeks. That's the REAL show to check out".

    Yes, you can definitely play out too much...

    Good luck!
  18. bigfatbass

    bigfatbass Banned

    Jun 30, 2003
    Upstate NY
    Endorsing Artist: Karl Hoyt Basses
    Play as often and as hard as a you can. If you're not getting paid for it, you aren't even in the game yet. You are still riding the pine. Nothing impresses an agency more than a full road dog calendar, and most personal management won't even listen to your stuff if you haven't been pounding the pavement for at least a year on your own in the first place.

    If you REALLY want it, there is no such thing as sitting back and enjoying yourself. Not for a long time to come yet, unless you get EXTREMELY lucky.
  19. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    Song Surgeon slow downer. https://tinyurl.com/y5dcuqjg
    $50 a person or $50 for the band? No wonder all the clubs want to "hire" you. If you're bringing in people and making money for the club/venue owners, IMO, you need to be getting paid decent money.

    You're undercutting all the other bands in the area. It's easy to be popular when your free....kinda like a girl I knew in high school...:hyper:
  20. modulusman

    modulusman Banned

    Jan 18, 2004
    Gee $50.00 a show. After expenses you could add about $5.00 to the band fund. In a couple of years you might actually have enough money for merch or a recording.:rollno:

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