Make money, or keep the band going?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Paulabass, Jun 25, 2019.

  1. Paulabass


    Sep 18, 2017
    I'm in two pro, but part time bands. I also have been doing front of house for 45 years.
    Problem- I've gotten so busy doing FOH that I'm not booking my bands when I could be. FOH makes me $100x more per year than playing live.
    Problem- My band guys are asking why I'm not booking them, but I am booking myself for the same blues festivals, and other events.
    Last Saturday my guitar player showed up at a Pride festival I was mixing. He asked why we weren't PLAYING this show. I didn't have a good answer, because we were asked to play the show.
    Is it time to totally re-examine my priorities, and maybe bow out of both bands?
    I love playing live, but dropping a playing gig to do sound for the same gig is definately conflict of interest. I did one where we played, and the sound co. mixed us, then I jumped off stage and mixed the rest of the festival, but that was just a lucky break.
    I wanna do both, but I think I'm letting my own guys down.
    Throw in the towel, or reach a compromise? Sit the boys down, and see if they want to continue, or fire me? I haven't asked if they are OK with playing less, as we have been doing, but I occasionally get an email asking if I have anything coming up for them.
    What's the right thing to do? BTW- They are both 'MY' bands. They work for me, I book, advertise, and pay them.
    Raulplaysbass and LowActionHero like this.
  2. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
    Sounds like a coffee clutch is in order.

    I understand where you find yourself. I have 99 problems and money solves all but 2 of them.
  3. Goatrope


    Nov 18, 2011
    Sarasota Florida
    Mr. Miyagi rule.

    "Either you karate do "yes" or karate do "no." You karate do "guess so," (get squished) just like grape." - Mr. Miyagi
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  4. Oddly


    Jan 17, 2014
    Dublin, Ireland.
    Initially I thought you're being very unfair to your bandmates, until I read the last line.
    If you are the BL, and they're just hired guns, then it's absolutely your call when to take gigs.
    However it'd be the decent thing to do to sit everyone down and explain your situation, and give them the option of moving on to busier projects.
  5. Paulabass


    Sep 18, 2017
    ^ Oddly, thanks, but as you know, BL or not, we bands share something much deeper than just BL>money. I of course feel an allegiance to these guys.
  6. Bodeanly


    Mar 20, 2015
    What about taking on an intern or apprentice? That way, you could book the festivals as FOH, and someone you've trained can run sound while you're on stage. The apprentice learns the trade, is grateful, and for years and years to come, may pop in and do sound for you while you're on stage at a show where you're also FOH.
  7. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Gold Supporting Member

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  8. This seems like a good alternative if possible. As a matter of fact, are there any colleges or universities nearby? When I was in college I had an on campus job of setting up systems for groups and performers that came to campus. Just a thought that there might be some people with experience that could help you in some situations for a little extra cash. That would free you up to commit to both things in one day if you wanted. Just a thought.

    Even as the BL it is easy to see how the other band members might feel it's a conflict of interest for you to take a sound gig and not book the band.

    I'm no professional and have only run sound on smaller systems around here but the joy of playing, even if it was free, far outweighs the experience of being the person at the sound board.
  9. If they are asking you why they aren't playing, especially if you were asked to play the show it shows that it matters to them.

    Let your band-mates find a replacement for you and then book them at the shows you are providing FOH.
  10. mrcbass


    Jan 14, 2016
    Sacramento, CA
    If I was a member of one of your bands, I probably would feel a bit neglected and wonder why you're working and I'm not. I wouldn't expect to match your schedule, but yeah if we could've gigged that show you FOH'd, I'd be a little miffed.

    I think the concept of hiring someone to help with your sound could be the solution. You still get a cut of the FOH gig plus you get to play and keep your bands working - not to mention train another body to be a capable FOH person. Win-win-win.

    Another option is to find a sub for your bass-self and get a little booking money while keeping your band happy. Move into a manger type role.
  11. Not fair to the musicians who are counting on you to book and play in their bands. Just bow out gracefully, show support, help them with a replacement, and turn over the reins to one of the more competent and motivated musicians in these bands. Sub when you can, pursue the FOH slot with a clear conscience. To thine own self, and thine band mates, be true.

    FWIW, there is no shame to making good money doing things musical other than being a performing musician. For over a decade I made a comfortable living wage as a mobile DJ specializing in upscale private events. I continued to work on my musicianship in my personal time.
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2019
  12. john m

    john m Supporting Member

    Jan 15, 2006
    100x more?
    If you make $1k per year with a band , that puts you at $100k doing FOH.

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  13. bherman

    bherman Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2009
    Grand Junction, CO
    If the money matters to you (ie you need the income from foh), or if you really prefer foh, then that's what your priority should be. Your offering to help the band-members find a replacement and continue on is a gracious thing to do. If what you really want to do is play, then that should be priority with foh as second-tier. Can't do both full-on.
  14. mrjp


    Aug 23, 2018
    forgive my bluntness it appears your only allegiance is to yourself. just sayin....
  15. tb4sbp


    May 9, 2017
    North East
    I think there have been some very good suggestions so far
    Here is my take
    As mentioned; get a sub or a full time bassist to replace you and go into manager mode or hire a helper with the FOH. Or make a choice between the two: Bands or FOH
    Those are the best options I can see you having
    If I was in a band that the BL put their own bookings before the band I would not be in that band for long
    It is not fair to the rest of the musicians in two separate bands

    Wow, I said 'bands' a lot!

    Best of luck to you
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  16. Spidey2112


    Aug 3, 2016
    Um... yeah. I'd at least give them a heads up, saying this is what you want to do, or have planned...

    ... before hand, of course. Then the 'allegiance' toward your bandmates could remain intact. If you were their main source of bookings, and you let several go, I'd be finding someone else to take over the reins.

    Nothing wrong with making extra bucks, but not at the cost of losing... allegiances.
    DrThumpenstein likes this.
  17. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    If you really want to do both, then do both. You just need to manage your time more effectively. Since you are not doing both, I don't think you really want to.

    Yes I think it's time to re-examine your priorities and cast of your delusions about what you want to do. You may want to continue performing, but you may not want to continue as a band leader responsible for booking gigs.

    Be honest with yourself as far as the type of commitments you can give to a band. Maybe you could serve as a hired gun, so you are free to turn down jobs when you have a conflict with an audio tech commitment.
  18. RichardW


    Feb 25, 2016
    near Philly
    I'd focus on FOH, stop being the BL of any other band you're in, and then participate in any gigs you can or want to that someone else is responsible for booking.
    alaskaleftybass likes this.
  19. ak56


    Apr 2, 2015
    Carnation, Wa
    If her only allegiance was to herself, I doubt she'd be asking the questions (of herself and us) she did in the first post.
  20. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    @Paulabass After 20+ years as a pro bassist, I actually have more fun running sound. Consider what you enjoy as well as what will make you the most money. Booking gigs is definitely not fun in my book.
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