Is this question offensive???

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Ancientangler, Apr 12, 2024.

  1. Whenever I'm first in contact with someone whose band is looking for a bassist, I ask this question: "In which venues have you played, or which venues do you consider to be good ones for your repertoire?" A few times, I've been told it's a weird question to ask.

    I ask because it seems there are people who haven't left their houses in years, so they have no idea if they're about to spend months rehearsing something which won't result in gigs in my particular town. Last night, a guy told me "I'm sure there are probably some clubs that'll hire us, but I can't name them at the moment." What???
    GlennRH, roccobass, geof_ and 46 others like this.
  2. I don't find it offensive. Seems that's important to know all you can about the potential band before wasting anyone's time with auditions.
    DirtDog, murphy, dbbltime and 46 others like this.
  3. bass12

    bass12 Have You Met Grace Jones? Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    Sounds to me like a good question to ask when considering which bands you want to play in.
    4StringDave, geof_, DirtDog and 28 others like this.
  4. Drkwdsman

    Drkwdsman Supporting Member

    Dec 3, 2004
    I think it is a legitimate question.

    I have seen recently on Craigslist and Facebook postings where bands mention their intentions upfront: garage/studio jam band looking to play around on the weekend or a band that has gigs on the books looking for a Bassplayer. You should know the intentions and expectations upfront.
    DirtDog, abok, murphy and 14 others like this.
  5. mrcbass


    Jan 14, 2016
    Sacramento, CA
    I wouldn't say it's offensive, but it does come off a little odd the way you phrased it. I prefer something along the lines of "what is the band's gigging history and what is the plan moving forward?" or "what types of venues are you targeting for gigs? clubs? bars? wineries? private events? etc

    Identifying specific venues really isn't important (to me), but knowing that they have gigged and what types of venues they are targeting is.
    Jimmy P., sludgetail, abok and 30 others like this.
  6. ronknor


    Mar 18, 2021
    Austin, Texas
    It's a great question! My guess is the folks who have taken offense are playing at venues they consider beneath them.
  7. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    Not weird nor offensive. Some folks are extremely vague for dumb reasons. I want to know the name of the band (so I can do recon). I want to see pics and video and full resume/website/Facebook page. And lastly....send me a songlist immediately.....not a week later when I've already lost interest!
    DirtDog, Dust2Dust, retslock and 7 others like this.
  8. Goatrope


    Nov 18, 2011
    Sarasota Florida
    Good question. :thumbsup:

    A nice, innocuous way to politely filter out projects likely to go nowhere.
  9. FullumMusic

    FullumMusic Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 13, 2022
    Queens, NYC
    Audio/Music software developer, contracted with a company you've heard of and deving my own stuff.
    Seems like a common question asked all the time for all sorts of reasons. In fact, i think most of my conversations with my musician friends, or musicians i meet socially pretty much go, "Oh! You're a [instrument player/musician/in a band/DJ/singer/electronic music producer]! What type of stuff to you do? Do you play out much? Where do you play? etc. etc." Like, not just me asking them but them asking me too. It seems like one of the most common questions when two musicians meet.
  10. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    I think it's a good question.
    Ofense often happens in the head of those hearing rather than those saying. Nothing I'd worry about. ;)
    retslock likes this.
  11. Beej


    Feb 10, 2007
    Vancouver Island
    I wouldn't be offended, but it strikes me as a bit standoffish. Then again, I'm canadian. :D I might preface the question with "I'm looking for a working band..."

    The names of venues would be less important to me than hearing repertoire, as I can also figure out what venues would be a good fit.
    Kuskah, retslock, ebo and 4 others like this.
  12. gln1955

    gln1955 Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ohio, USA
    It's a good question. If they have trouble answering it, they don't have a plan for gigging any time soon, don't know the area market and don't have the network. All red flags for anyone looking to play out.
    EdO., Barticus, Dust2Dust and 8 others like this.
  13. bigjames

    bigjames Player of Smooth Lines

    To me that is just as reasonable as asking:

    * How often do you rehearse, where, and for how long?
    * What is the ideal gig schedule for the group? Every once in a while? Once a month? Once a week? All weekend every weekend?

    These are reasonable questions to establish and manage expectations. The last band I had to step back from, my departure was due to a drastic shift in gig aspirations after our first gig: from one a month to twice a week. I could not commit due to family & work obligations.
    retslock and Gearhead17 like this.
  14. Bingo! Know the area market. My town has only 8 or 10 clubs which host full bands. It doesn't seem that hard to name one or two where someone has seen bands similar to the one they're creating.
    Barticus, retslock, covermego and 2 others like this.
  15. MegaSwing

    MegaSwing Your Obedient Bassist® Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 26, 2002
    Baltimore, MD USA
    My arch advice for anyone who cares to listen is, ‘Don’t get trapped in the basement.’

    Without a plan to gig out regularly, you’re just signing on as a placeholder in someone’s vanity band. Been there; done that; ain’t going back.

    Well played, OP. The answer to the question you DON’T ask is ALWAYS ‘No’.
  16. dune

    dune Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 5, 2019
    I think it's a perfect question. If they find it offensive, then you know they're not who you're looking for.
  17. InstantEctobass


    Feb 18, 2018
    What if it is offensive? Offended people have feelings, feelings don't go above valid questions or valid facts.
    Levent and dune like this.
  18. I think it's a great question. Unless you are a fan of ambiguity it's best to have a specific idea of what you are getting into.
    retslock and dune like this.
  19. kevindahl


    Aug 21, 2006
    IMO, perfectly fine question. I would ask the same thing. In our area there are definitely better rooms out there.
    retslock likes this.
  20. MultiScaleMale

    MultiScaleMale Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    Perfectly valid question, but as others have said you could probably phrase it a little better to avoid the band misinterpreting your question.