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Minors playing in bars?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Grizzly700, Sep 29, 2009.

  1. Grizzly700


    Mar 18, 2008
    Maryville, TN
    Well, to start off, I am 15, been playing bass for 2 years. I have had an offer to play with older people (college age) and I was wonder if you guys thought there would be issues if we gigged in bars, etc?
  2. Some places might not let you play.

    I would suggest that any time you are playing at a bar or whatever, you be sure to notify the club in advance and they might be able to make accommodations (if you need to be excorted around or something)
  3. Whenever I play 18+ (or 21+ for us folk) gigs, the general rule is, your allowed to go in and play, pack up then leave. But I'm in Australia, and there are probably different rules; so I would reccommend contacting the bar or wherever your going to be playing at and ask them what the go is.
  4. gweimer


    Apr 6, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    I believe that those issues are governed at the state level here, and possibly even by local ordinance. Most places have provisions for minors performing in bars. Our guitarist just turned 16, and so far we haven't had any issues. In Ohio, he just can't go up to the bar for any reason. He just gets pop on stage. It also helps that he's our drummer's son. Playing in a college-age bar might be a little tougher, but it's probably something that can be worked out. In some cases, it may be up to you to be very careful about what you do, and where you are. I'll agree with those who advised you to call ahead and make sure things are clear.
  5. DrewBud


    Jun 8, 2005
    I was in this situation when I was starting out. When the gig was booked we would let the club know that I was underage and would not be drinking. I let them do what they needed to signify that (large X on hands, etc.). There was usually never a problem during loadin or the show. The only time I ran into issues was if I left the venue and had to get back in through the front door.

    Bottom line...be straight up with the club at time of booking, don't try and get away with anything when you're there, and either stay in the venue or leave for the night when you're done.

    Funny Story....I was playing in SF when I was 19 subbing for a band from Boston doing a west coast tour. Someone ordered a round of shots for the band one night and the singer took the opportunity of the break to introduce the band. When he got to me he said "this guy only learned these songs yesterday...pretty kick a$$ for being 19 years old". I shot a look at the bartender who just laughed and obviously turned his back while we did the shots. Although....no more shots crossed my path that evening.
  6. billhilly66


    Aug 25, 2007
    Plano, TX
    Those goofy lights on their hats can be distracting.
  7. T-MOST

    T-MOST Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2004
    NJ via NYC
    I joined my first band when I had just turned 17. The rest of the band (with the exception of my buddy the drummer who was also 17) were all around 21- 23. we played plenty of bars that year. It was great!
  8. George Himmel

    George Himmel

    May 16, 2009
    The east coast?
    Former Manager, Bass San Diego
    The first gigging band I was in comprised exclusively minors, and our best gig was two weekend nights at a bar. It might depend on where it is (read: I don't know how lax things like that are in TN), but we never had any trouble. In fact, since we had to take our set breaks outside, the bartender used to send out appetizers as snacks to remind us we were still the bar band even though we couldn't legally hang around inside the place.
  9. Yerf Dog

    Yerf Dog

    Jun 29, 2009
    Carol Stream, IL
  10. One line up I play with (a Classic Rock three piece) the Guitarist/leader's son plays Drums for some gigs (although he's no chops monster, he's respectable and awesomely solid - not bad for 14).

    The situation around here is that it's pretty well up to the bar concerned - legally they can permit it as his dad is there also, but they're not obliged to and some just have a policy of "no minors".

    You've just got to contact the bars and make them aware of the situation and find out if they're ok with it.
  11. Our drummer was under age the first couple years we played. He was 18, though. We had more than a few problems with bouncers and such. We always did manage to play all of those shows, with our drummer.
  12. Like most have stated, if you're upfront with the venue manager and staff, and appropriate measures are taken to ensure you don't even touch any alcohol, it's usually okay. I don't know of any state that outlaws a minor being in an establishment that serves alcohol.
  13. Moe Monsarrat

    Moe Monsarrat Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2006
    Austin, Tx.
    Endorsing artist:Regenerate Guitar Works Carvin, Micheal Kelly Guitars
    I started playing in bars in Tokyo at age 13(I'm 58 now). Everywhere I went as a child performer I was allowed to do my thing & get paid. Obviously, there are things you will be barred from doing (drinking), but I never had any problems with not being allowed to perform because I was underage. Besides they made a big fuss over me at the geisha house after the gig. :)
  14. I'm in your state and from what I've seen, you should be able to go in and play and then leave. Most places won't let you hang out once you are done. A friend's band had a 15 year old fill in for one of their regular members and he had to wait outside until it was time to setup and play.
  15. dhomer

    dhomer Commercial User

    Apr 9, 2009
    Hickory Corners, MI
    Owner, Gigmaster Soundworks, Auth. greenboy designs builder, MI
    That evokes some memories. Back in '82 I was part of a rockabilly(ish) show band. The lead guitarist we picked up was all of 19. When he auditioned all he could do was Van Halen (well, I might add).. but he turned out to be the hardest working member of the band. By the end of summer he could play the Berry lines as well as the rest of us.. We all had stage names, and he became "Junior". We never hid the fact he was a minor, and we never had any issues w/any club
  16. Im in australia, it depends on the type of liscence the venu has.
    Im allowed to gig (im 17) but thats coz my dad is the singer in the band. But Venus are generally good about it, but you cant be in the bar area when ur not playing or setting/packing up
  17. BillyIVbass


    Sep 24, 2008
    Gear Reviews Guitar World Online
    All bars are different. Your best bet is to contact ahead of time. I remember 10 years ago when I was in your shoes, our guitarist's dad came to most of our shows and was considered a "guardian". Some places there was no problems, some were strict on the "play and leave" policy, others argued with us, but I don't think we were ever denied a gig.

    Good luck. It wouldn't hurt to read up on what is and is not legal in your state. Some states have rules concerning the time of day you're allowed in, others say you must have a guardian etc.

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