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Let's hear your stories about agents/promoters/managers

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by jive1, Oct 27, 2004.

  1. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    Let's hear your humor or horror stories with the non-musicians of the music world.

    Here's a recent one for me.

    We had a gig last friday for a club that used to be represented by our booking agent. The booking agent lost that venue from his clientele, and the club decided to use a different booking agent. The club was also going to stop having bands, so they figured they would have us as one of their last bands since we do pretty well there.

    Keep in mind that we have no exclusivity agreement with our agent, or any type of signed contract. The guy books us gigs and nothing more. Anyway, he gets word that we were going to play at the before-mentioned club and freaks. He talks to our guy in the band in a tizzy, and tries to get us make the bar sign a contract with his agency as well as us signing a 6 month exclusive contract. We agreed to a contract for the club we were going to play at, but wanted to talk at the negotiating table if there was going to be any exclusivity contracts and what not. Just seemed like the wise thing to do. The guy then tries bullying us by threatening to cancel all future gigs, to drop us from his roster, and the old "You'll never play in this town again!" spiel. Yeah, whatever.

    We play our gig as usual, except that we did not pay commission to the agent, which we would have done if the guy wasn't being such a pr!ck. So later on we get a call from the agent stating that he wanted us to finish the gigs out for the rest of the year, and that he'll see about talking to us to work things out.

    I hate agents, but I hate dealing with club owners and managers more.

    Let's hear your stories
  2. secretdonkey


    Oct 9, 2002
    Austin, TX
    There's one booking agent in our little town, and all of the locals seem to hate them. In large part it's a "sour grapes" problem because they bring in a lot of out-of-town bands that are generally much better than the local wannabes (don't try to tell them they're not as good, however!). That's not to say they're not evil - some of the good local players hate them too, and I have my own stories...

    One band I used to be in (file under local wannabes) booked a gig directly with a venue. When the agent found out, they claimed that the venue was their turf, and demanded a commission payment even though we booked the gig directly (and had no idea they had any association with the venue at the time). Of course, we had little choice but to pay, if we wanted to play the "real" venues they had a lock on. Felt a lot like extortion, to me. We paid, but our reluctance was enough to blacklist us. That band later played a private party at one of "their" clubs, and they used every tactic at their disposal to prevent us from getting the gig (at least according to my bandmate who did the bookings). We got the gig, despite their best efforts to derail it.

    I'm playing with another band now that has a good relationship with them, so I have to smile and keep my mouth shut when I'm around them. That became especially tough after talking with a promoter who wanted my band to play a charity benefit, but got the idea nixed by this agent, who had us booked somewhere else the same weekend and didn't want to dilute our crowd's showing at the *paying* gig.

    Heck, I probably ought to watch my mouth here, even! Last weekend one of the partners in the agency was at our gig and called me Secretdonkey all night. Probably from seeing my posts on a local board, but ya never know...

  3. jondog


    Mar 14, 2002
    NYC metro area
    I do most of our booking direct, but I do use one agent. He has not returned my calls for over 2 months. The basic impression I get is that we are on his B list. His A list bands are not playing the Shore now because it's the Fall/Winter season, so they're in the venues we're usually in. He has exclusive booking power on 2 big clubs, and some of the bands in there now are represented exclusively by another agency. I think the deal is that they make so much money that there is enough to pay both the club booking agent and the band booking agent.
  4. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta (Grant Park!)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    I hate crap like that! Luckily, I've never had to go through that, but I feel sorry for the bands that do. Man, we just wanna play, not be pawns in some lunatic's godfather fantasy!
  5. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    Amen brother! Preach!
  6. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    My band before The Nerve! was "discovered" by this guy who claimed to be a huge pop star in europe and a lawyer - now getting into management in the states. We checked his credentials and he did in fact have some success. We also liked some of his ideas, and was elated that someone finally noticed us.

    I at the time had a small digital recording studio in my place and he asked if I wanted some business with this other kid he was producing - acoustic stuff. Sure. He wanted to use some of his own equipment though, so he brought over his monitors and some other stuff to work with this guy. I was only charging him about $20 an hour becasue he was doing some work with my band too. After each session he's say something to the effect of, "Is there a bank around here? Do you want to pay me now, or just run up a tab?" Naive me of course said , "You can pay me when you have it." Cool. $400 into the project I think it's time he pays up. As if I were on LSD or something he says, "I thought you were doing this for free?" That was soooo clearly not the case, we had talked about money at least 5 times, he knew I was cutting him a break and he knew I relied on that money to pay my bills. I said, "No way! You owe me $400". He said, "No way! I'm not paying it!" I said, "Screw you, I have all the files that you worked on, PLUS your moniters and you're not going to see them again until I have $400 in my hand. His lawyer friend who was part of our deal tried to save him with threats, but soon realized that the guy was insane and took my side. She was new to working with him.

    I got my $400, he got his monitors and recording, and there were some VERY tense moments in between the transactions. He doesn't like me anymore.
  7. buzzbass

    buzzbass Shoo Shoo Retarded Flu !

    Apr 23, 2003
    Hmmm, sounds like Stevie boy @ Starz. That guy is the scum of the earth and I hope he dies a slow horrible death some day. I can hook you up with someone else for the jersy shore. email me offline if you want the reference.
  8. When I was working in Florida in the late 70's, we had a booking company named "Designs of Music". Pretty good guy -he took his booking fee as the deposit and we got paid the night of the gig. We never had a problem with bar or venue owners. He booked all of the military clubs in the area and there were plenty enough to keep working steady.

    Towards the end of my stint with this band, he booked us into a club in Ft. Walton Beach called "Cash's Bachelor One" - a typical downtown beach bar. The place was run by Cash, a local bigwheel - you know the type - big rings, big cars, big mouth, he had it all. He also sent out the cheesiest Christmas cards with him on the front, posing with his dog and an assortment of jewels, clothes, and expensive furnishings in front of the hearth of his palacial mansion. Before we were to do this week long turn at Cash's, our lead singer and biz manager were in the office to talk to our agent when in walked a DEA agent. They had an office down the hall in the same building and he was borrowing some copy paper. He spied the Christmas card tacked on the wall and asked "Do you know this guy?" Our BA says "Sure, I've worked with him for years booking bands into his clubs. How do you guys know him?". The DEA agent smiles and says "We've been after this clown for years now. He's a big smuggler but we haven't been able to get the solid goods on him, yet!"
  9. msquared


    Sep 19, 2004
    Kansas City
    The Music Cafe in Columbia, MO. Never play there. Every band I've been in who has played there (and a whole lot of other bands) have gotten screwed at least once, either when we've shown up in town and found that the gig is cancelled or when we haven't gotten paid despite pulling in a decent crowd.

    But it's a great town to play in if you can find somewhere else.
  10. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
  11. Mike N

    Mike N Missing the old TB Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2001
    Spencerport, New York
    We worked very briefly with a booking agent in one of my former bands. This guy seemed to only want to book us in places we could book ourselves. The singer thought this guy was great, and I thought otherwise (and I was the only one in the band that had the balls to speak my mind on the matter). I wasn't going to pay someone for something I could do myself. I wanted the agent to help get us into bigger places we couldn't get into ourselves. He wouldn't/couldn't, so I (very politely) thanked him for his efforts and cut him loose.
  12. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    So did they ever nail him?
  13. Wow, that was so many years ago that I would assume they finally did.

    They usually do you know. :bag:
  14. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    Actually my singer was talking about doiung a show this dude named Cash asked us to play. I think its in the same area too! Aparently he's a guy who just has a lot of money and pays people to play at his house parties.

    I wonder if its the same guy.
  15. SkoMule


    Nov 16, 2004
    -worked with booking agents twice. This guy out of Cincinnati who booked alot of metal bands throughout Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky. Nice enough fellow and came up with lots of gigs - but they all sucked - didn't pay well and where some far away in the boonies we called the Cow and Fowl Tour. I mean this guy never had set foot in any of these places - he just picked up the phone and booked us in - not a great experience.
    The next booking agent I felt bad for because he only booked us in one club and he felt proud about it (we paid him his cut every week although he didn't do any more work). After several weeks of record crowds for this place of friggin' Sunday nights I ask the owner for a raise. The guy said he couldn't do it - he wasn't making money. I said, "bull we're fillin' this place ever week!" He did not deny but said we draw too many black people. (I'm not black but that pissed me off)! I told him we wouldn't be back. He then replied he doesn't have it in for black folks they just don't drink. I watch the crowd the rest of the night - he was right, they where very polite, ordered Cognac and sipped it all night. We quite the gig anyway out of spite - we where a friggin' blues and old RB band - I guess the bar owner would rather have some Lynard Skynard copy band and drunks fighting - at least they spend money.