Man am I glad we didn't play at THIS place!!

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by Planet Boulder, Mar 4, 2005.

  1. Planet Boulder

    Planet Boulder Hey, this is a private Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2001
    6,482 feet above sea level
    I once had impure thoughts. Oh, and I pluck my ear hair.
    So dig - we were scheduled to play in May in Golden, Colorado, at the Buffalo Rose for their fledgling "Jam Band Wednesdays". Sounded like a decent opportunity and they were guaranteeing $250.00 plus more if 100 people or more showed up. Not a lot of bread, but hey - at least it wouldn't cost us anything.

    Anyway, my friend's band played at the inaugural Jam Band Wednesday this week and warned me, in no uncertain terms, about the guy who runs the place, saying that he started giving thema hard time the minute they walked in the door and held them reponsible for the low turnout. He told them he'd pay them $150.00 if they'd play a set a leave (the schedule is 9:30PM to 1:15AM, by the way), so they did.

    As a result of the low turnout on the very first night, the guy who runs the joint sent a broadcast e-mail to all of the upcoming scheduled bands, telling them that they would be paid $100.00 if fewer than 100 people showed and $250.00 if more than 100 people showed, thus backing out on the agreed-upon price (nothing new, i know - many of us have experienced this). Here was his e-mail:

    So i told my bandmates about the guy's attitude and about the lower price and we decided to opt out, per the ability to do so in the e-mail above. What follows is the succession of e-mails between me and the guy who runs the joint:


    Venue boss:


    Venue Boss:


    Anyway, I think I handled it pretty well overall. The guy is going to kill his newly-created "Jam Band" night in the first month it is scheduled to start. What an a__!!!!!
  2. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    Sounds like a bar owner that doesn't know what he's doing. At the very least he's unorganized and unprepared.

    Every bar owner knows that setting up an event is a risky thing and that it may take some time to develop a following for said event. Successful bar owners are willing to lose some money upfront when they start up something of this nature.

    Most music festivals lose money the first time and recoup it, if it's well planned out and organized, in future festivals. It just takes time to get the public to see it as something worth going to.

    He should have stuck with it for a few bands and see if it got better, stayed the same, or got worse before doing what he did.
  3. He's an amateur to be sure. Good luck getting past this guy and his inability to market his own brilliant ideas. Completely incidentally, a bar here in Buffalo is starting a Jam Band Wednesday here next week!
  4. Razor


    Sep 22, 2002
    This seems to be the going thing around Dallas...FWIW
  5. Feda

    Feda Screwed up pitch

    Jan 12, 2004
    Bergen, Norway
    Here in Bergen, Norway, there is no way a band would get any money for playing at a wednesday jam, no matter how many people you draw..
    Many club owners here think that they are doing us a favour for letting us play. In a way they are, but dammit, we are the entertaiment and should get payed..
    I just hate it when I loose money for playing a gig!
  6. Heres the painfull truth about playing in bars. The owner opens a bar to sell booze and some food.If having live entertainment helps him sell more booze an food he will have a band. If he has a trained monkey on a stool playing a bongo that brings in a crowd, guess what? Monkey plays every weekend and band stays at home. It's all about money and only money. There are a lot of other places to play other than bars, but bars are where most of us guys play and try to make a buck. The way that guy treated Plante B's friend wasn't too professional but he did give all the future band's a heads up on the new rules. Most places like that end up with a DJ before it's over with anyway. If you play in bars you are in the liquor business first and the music business second.
  7. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    we only use contracts

    if you don't use a contract, you have to deal with this stuff
  8. FUNKonthewall

    FUNKonthewall Nailing The Groove

    Sep 29, 2004
    Atlanta, GA
    Endorsing: Fodera Guitars, Aguilar Amps, Dunlop/MXR Accessories
    In a somewhat related story, my band played at a local club called "912" (which is our local area code, how clever...) on opening night. There was a pretty big turn out and it was a fun show. Then the owner called us back the following weekend because he couldn't find any other bands to play. We literally played for five people all night.

    We found out a few days later that the club had closed. We were the only band to ever play there. The owner clearly had no clue how to run the place.

    I could understand someone opening a jam band club and trying to book bands like Phish or the like to play, but I personally would not waste an evening watching the jam bands from my city wank on their instruments for three hours. We sometimes have this local jam band booked to open for us and we get scared that they're gonna run the crowd off because it's so boring. It one thing to watch professional/talented musicians jam together. It another thing to watch local kids who are still learning to play their instruments attempt to solo over the same chord progression for 15 minutes. You lose interest on about bar 3.
  9. john flipcycle

    john flipcycle

    Oct 13, 2004
    Reading UK
    Partner, The Strat Shack
    I played a gig at a boxing club on Friday. The stage was the boxing ring!! (with the ropes taken down). We played to a very young and very drunk crowd of metal fans who didnt appreciate our style much!!! It got a bit nasty when our singer made this huge rant about obeying your parents and not doing drugs etc. It was hilarious!!!! Some of them got the joke and started to get into it but it was just the wrong band, in the wrong place on the wrong night. :bassist:

    Not going to forget that one in a hurry!
  10. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    Agreed. Back when I first started playing, I was happy to play for 100 bucks a night. Now that I'm a little older, I would never play with that type of money (unless I were donating my time/talent to a benefit gig). I understand where the bar owner is coming from; he doesn't want to lose his ass. Still, if a band backs out of a gig because of the new pay situation, he shouldn't get indignant. They are arbusiness too.

    Since this is also on a Wednesday night, I'm wondering if you guys are getting up for day jobs on Thursday morning. There's no way I would stay up until the wee-hours of the morning to make 100 bucks, and then go to a day job a few hours later.

    You handled yourself very professionally in the email exchange. That situation had the potential to become very explosive.
  11. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    I've learned that there are two types of jam bands: the ones that are really good and the ones that suck donkey balls. About a year ago, I was looking into joining this locak jam band. I went down to a bar to catch their show and get a demo of the tunes I was suppose to learn. I wasn't impressed with them at all, but they were playing 3 to 4 times a week. I was getting plans ready for college and could have used the gig money. It was just boring wank. I learned the demo material, but they never called me back. It kind of ticked me off - I'm not going to waste anybody's time, so do me a favor and don't waste mine.
  12. baba

    baba Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2002
    3rd stone from the sun
    Nice Job! Kill them with kindness, that's what I always say. This guy's a douchebag and if he's smart he learned a lesson.
  13. I don't really think the bar owner was that unreasonable. Maybe he underestimated the drawing potential for jam bands- whatever.

    First, you weren't in a "pay to play" situation, you're not losing money.

    Second, you were going to get paid. How much you got paid was proportional to the amount of people you brought in. Bringing the guys in your band and playing got you $100.

    Third, you opted out. He didn't hold this over your head, he just said 'if you can't bring 100 people- I can't afford to have you taking money from me.'
  14. He said all those things, but to me, he also made an attack on the band. The sad, very sad, and the "So you're saying there's no way you would bring 100 people?"

    Actually, put them together and you get "So you're saying there's no way you would bring 100 people?" "Sad, very sad."

    To me, that just sounds like he's saying they suck.
  15. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    +1 !!!

    There are so many amateur club owners out there, that are trying to blame the band for the lack of interest in their club. Well, at the end of the day, that says more about the club and the owner, than it does about any particular band. I'll just bet the guy water down his drinks, and charges outrageous prices for them too, right? :D If the only way to get customers is to hire a band with a pre-existing crowd, then that particular club will probably be out of business inside of a year. We've learned to stay "far" away from people like that. Fortunately, here in LA, there are plenty of great venues, and while there may be a bit of an "in" thing to overcome, once you've developed a reputation, there's no lack of work. Don't know how things are in Golden, haven't been there in fifteen years or so. :)
  16. John Herzog

    John Herzog

    Jun 14, 2002
    Schertz, TX
    I don't think club owners should expect a local bands to draw crowds, especially ones that play on a regular basis, say more than twice a month. Sure their friends will show up when the band first gets rolling but after a few months the friends get tired of it and find something else to do. There are exceptions to the rule where a few of the local bands have achieved local god status and always draw a crowd, but these bands are far and few between and usually have been playing all of the clubs for a long time. If a club does hire them, they are going to have to a pay a premium, and new clubs usually won't do this.

    It seems to me the more sucessful clubs always draw a crowd, no matter who plays, but they also make sure to hire good bands and occassionaly the local gods.

    This was at least what I have experienced in the last year or so here in San Antonio. When our band started we drew in around 80 or so people, but they where mostly friends and co-workers. After a few months of playing 2 times a week the numbers dwindled sharply to where we were only playing to the die hard locals of clubs. A few of the clubs got ticked off and no longer hired us. Fortunately the experience has gotten us some better gigs a bigger clubs that always have a crowd. We're not playing as ofter right now, mabye 3 or 4 times a month, but I've spoken with musicians in other bands and they say this a slow time of year for everyone. Things usually pick up after Spring Break.

    Last of all, $250 seems to be the minimum around here for a band, which doesn't go far in a 5 piece after paying the booking agent 10%. The bigger clubs pay more.

  17. If you had a contract, you'd be able to hold him to his original deal. Other than that, I can't blame him for changing the terms. If nobody shows up, then he loses money. Of course, that could partly be an advertising deficiency on his part, also.

    Well, it's better than what happened to a place over where I live. Basically they don't pay you anything, and leave you to collect cover charges from people. So you have to bring a roadie to stand by the door and get the cover charges. You also have to pay the venue $2 per person in the audience. Not cool. What's more, you have to guarantee at least 100 people, otherwise they won't let you play there.

    Who do they think they are, Yoshi's? The only good thing about that place was that you could get easy gigs there whenever you wanted. Now you can't. I looked at their calendar and hardly anybody plays there anymore.
  18. If you are collecting the covers, and they are not paying you, why should it matter if you bring less than 100 people? Sounds like you'd have to be desparate to agree to play there.
  19. I think a club owner has a few obligations. Provide a nice place to play. Provide a good PA. Provide good advertising. The draw is dependent on the band- you can't blame a venue for your lack of ability to draw a crowd.
    By opting out, what's the band telling the club owner?

    I'm not baggin on Planet Boulder, I don't think you acted rude or any way out of sorts. It's your choice not to play. But by saying no, you've effectively said "we cannot bring 100 people." When called on, you didn't refute it.

    Then why are you playing? Why would a bar pay good money for someone to play if the people are already going to be there? If you dillute your audience by playing x amount of times a month and you're not drawing good anymore, maybe you should think about why you're not drawing.
    Doesn't LA pretty much work on "pay to play?" Every place we asked about, the 3 times I've played out there, they all had a "pay to play" policy.

    Two years ago we played at a LA Music Awards showcase event at the DragonFly. We had to pay the $400 for the tickets for the event, and attempted to sell them. We sold exactly Zero. We gave away a bunch to most anyone we could find. Hotel staff, waiters, people at the mall. A band from Wisconsin nominated for Independent Single of the Year. We played to crickets. All the bands that played were nominated for a category, but no one except the band members were there. The night before the club was packed for an 80's cover band that dressed like "nerds." What does that say about the DragonFly? Nothing. Our lack of audience was directly proportional to our lack of success in selling our tickets which was partially attributable to our lack of reputation 2000 miles away from home. It had nothing to do with the bar.
  20. QORC


    Aug 22, 2003
    East Coast
    you'd have to be nuts to play under this kind of arrangement. How many bands can draw 100 on a wednesday night?

    We make it pretty simple. We don't even talk about a gig that guarantees less than $600.

    Even playing for $250 is for chumps. You gotta be desperate to do that, or not at all care about money.