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My Soap Opera...Just to make JoeNerve feel better...

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by ZuluFunk, Aug 2, 2002.

  1. ZuluFunk

    ZuluFunk Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2001
    I just described the details of the break up of my current band to a local music guy who was interested in what happened. I'll put it up here for your reading enjoyment.

    Now, I'll admit, I have the power of the pen so whatever I write is (not) biased. I know me perspective is only based on what I see.

    I might stop by.
    I wanted to pop by to see Alex on the terrace.
    It depends on what my girls want to do tonight.
    I was supposed to play with a latin group tomorrow, but had to back out.
    We have some party to go to now.

    Sunday, we have rehearsal scheduled.
    I was going to spend all of Monday at the fest since I'm getting a parking pass for playing that night.
    It's probably the biggest benefit for landing the M.F. gig!!!

    The band's pretty much on permanent hiatus other than Monday.
    I'll probably be putting out a classified add for a new band or to sell my gear!!!

    Here's an interesting story.

    I was asked to play with these guys last year, D. and S., by a guy at work who is a drummer.
    They were doing an acoustic duo a'la Leechboy and wanted to expand the sound.
    The singer sucked but the music was fun and they didn't tell me what to play, which is cool.
    The guitarist decides to tell us the band is now called Irma's Quest. Oy veh. Whatever.

    We played around here for about 6 months. Mostly at the Hoop in S-burg. We became regulars, every 3-4 weeks.
    The singer and guitarist are cousins. They fought all the time. The singer had serious LSD (lead singer disease). He'd show up 5 minutes before the show (after we called to wake him up). He'd get drunk by the third set, fall down, you know the deal, not help out at all, cry about his money.

    We went into a studio looking to make a demo so we could find a new singer and add his/her tracks so we could get a good submission CD to get different gigs. Anyway, we ended up firing the singer, even though he continued to do the duo stuff on Wednesday nights at a Mexican restaurant with his cousin. We planned to get demo, use that to have the prospective singers learn the material, then make a selection, start gigging to recover the up-front out of pocket studio costs to that point, then play a few more gigs to record the final vocals (with the new singer) do the mixing, mastering, and CD replication, before we got back in the black. I have an MBA from the University of Miami and a BS in International Business/ Economics. We had this all figured out with break-even points, and how many shows we'd have to commit to at a certain pay level, etc. It was a great plan.

    I did my tracks for 6 songs in about 2 hours back in December. Drummer's been done. Guitars done in January. In the studio, the owner/engineer said he'd be happy to do the reference vocal tracks just to fill in. He sounded great. Turns out he's this Brazilian jazz pro who came here after years of recording and touring the world and wanted to settle down. We all agreed that he'd be a great lead singer for us so he joins the band. He's got connections, he was on the xxxxxfair selection committee, Grammy voting board (blah blah blah, etc etc etc). He owns the studio, so you figure he'll cut us a break. He's also a great sax and piano player. As we get going on the CD, he gets sick for about 4 weeks and isn't able to do his vocal parts. Then he flies off to Brazil for a couple of weeks because his sister is really sick. Then he comes back and still doesn't have his voice back.

    To fill the time, the other guys decide to bring in a local piano guy as a guest musician and another guitar guy to do some solo stuff. All of this is on our tab, and I had no say in the matter. By now, it's almost March. Musikfest submission deadline is 1 March. We volunteered to do the vocals just to get the submission done. He said he'd get on it. He'd just been so busy. We're starting to get impatient. On the last day of February (day before the deadline), he tells us he has to fly to Brazil again because his sister died, he finally burns us a demo CD of three of the six tracks after we pay off what we owe to that point (remember, this is a demo for submission - it's to his benefit as much as ours). I drove the CD to Musikfest HQ just before they shut the doors.

    To make a long story a little shorter, we start asking in April where are all these gigs he's supposed to get us using all those connections he told us about. I ended up scheduling some Buzz gigs just to get some playing time in. We were going to get back into playing with all the money going directly to him to pay off the studio time. He was pissed because he's a "Professional Musician" and all of his gigs have to pay a certain amount. Those minimum pay requirements were way above what we expected to get according to our plan to pay off the recording fees. He thought it wasn't fair for him to agree to play bar gigs that because it wasn't in his professional image and it felt to him like he was working to pay off our tab. He couldn't agree to schedule a $700-$1,000 3-hour show if it is going to cost him a $1,000 wedding gig he plays alone. The rest of us have jobs, so we pretty much play for the fun of it and to fund our habits. Anyway, barring any $5,000+ gigs (of course we're talking 1 hour shows only, all originals, with a supplied sound system, not bars - at choice venues, with bottled water) - we ain't playin'. He talks the other guys into this vision too, saying he can get us these super spots (which he never does). It's all about image. So now we are stuck trying to come up with the money we owe without the ability to play gigs to pay it off. Screwed - in other words.

    At this point, I'm telling the guys, who are a bit younger and naive, that this isn't working out and we should consider going back to finding another singer before it was too late.

    Then we get told we get the MF, WZZO slot. He doesn't want to do it because of the pay (lack of) for the show. I said let's do it without him. Find another singer and move on.

    By the way, where's the CD???

    OK, in the meantime, it's June. We are all done recording and editing and sit down to do the final mix. Remember, this is supposed to be a demo. He gives us this rule that he needs 8 hours just to get started and eq-ing etc, then it's a minimum of 2 1/2 hours be song, MINIMUM.

    O.K., $45/hr. He's in the freakin' band as the singer. I talk to the other guys and we figure can't pay what he's expecting (another $1,035 minimum). We weren't booking any gigs to help pay off because of him. We went into the studio and told him we need to find a way to keep the costs down. He flipped out on me, saying I was unprofessional and dragging the band down. I said I wasn't dragging the band down and that I knew of at least 5 other studios that could do the mixing for less money and less time, but on our terms. I'd been though the studio thing before when it was reel-to-reel back in the '80s, and the mixing took as long as the band needed, even if that was 30mintes a song. Set the generic levels, give us a cassette. We'll listen at home over the weekend then come back with notes on what to boost or cut and where. You do all the leveling while the tape is running then you master. Now, for pro stuff, going to an A&R rep, you're going to want to perfect everything. But there was no "minimum", it was up to the artist's satisfaction. And, being waaaaaayyyyy over budget at that point already, we had to get the cd burned, and we could always come back and re mix.

    He said that was impossible and I was just trying to fool the other guys, be cheap and make the CD sound like crap. I told him I just don't want these guys getting scammed. He said I was just looking out for my own interests. I said I was looking out for everyone's interests. He said I didn't even realize the words coming out of my own mouth. I said he didn't understand English well enough to make that determination.

    He kicked me out of his studio/house.

    Well, I tell the guys, we can get the unmixed files and convert them somewhere else and have them mixed, otherwise I'm not paying from that point. They decide to let him continue thinking it will get done quicker (even though I have no say in the mixing now and it's going to cost them 50% more each). Other than that, I told them any gigs we had scheduled, they would have to cancel themselves.

  2. ZuluFunk

    ZuluFunk Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2001

    They talk him into doing Musikfest (the gig he didn't want us to do). The idea was to make sure we sounded good so we could sell CDs at the Musikfest show, even though I had several singers lined up to audition and learn the leads to replace him. Even a couple of solo guys in the area who are big names on their own.

    CDs? What CDs? It's now almost 9 months later after we started the recording project, and they still aren't done. We don't even have anything to send in to reproduce. It's all on stand-by.

    I think I'm going to find myself a nice church gig or something. Maybe do like a solo thing. I'd really like to go back to backing up a soloist or duet just on a part-time basis when they need a bigger room filled.

    Anyway, don't spread the guy's name all over, but avoid XXXXX recording studio.
    Only one room, so you have to do all the tracks separate (i.e. no drums and bass playing together).
    He's all digital, but takes longer than any analog set up I've dealt with.
    He pretends to take direction, but spends forever fiddling around with stuff and doesn't tell you what he's doing.
    When he does tell you what he did, you rarely notice a change in the sound.
    You come to the studio and he takes 10 minutes just to turn on his gear, then 15 minutes backing up the files from the last session that he should have backed up then. All of this prep is on your $45/hour.
    He requires minimum times for editing and mixing, regardless of how much detail the artist wants.

    Plus, he breaks up good bands.

    So, that's the story. We have one more practice this Sunday. I happened to ask the drummer what the deal is with the CD today. He said he's all paid off, but the guitarist is totally broke, as in can't pay the rent, eating hot dog rolls for dinner, playing without an E-string, duct tape on the end of the strap, broke. The drummer's all amazed and pissed.

    All I had to say was "Oh, well. You guys could have gone to another studio like I said for the mix down and I'd be able to be involved so I would have contributed. But you guys said it would be quicker this way."
  3. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    Damn! Your Jerk may even beat mine! Perhaps we'll have a battle of the jerks! Is money the root of all evil, or is greed? If I were in your situation (and if I understood the story correctly) I think I'd take whatever he had on tape (unmixed), figure what his percentage of the bill is (since he's a band member), and pay off the balance whenever I could. If he has a problem ya can all work it out with Judge Judy. Great promo for your band, great revenge for his ethics.
  4. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Right... you could take both of your jerks and have a ...

  5. Gabu


    Jan 2, 2001
    Lake Elsinore, CA

    I hate when that kind of crap happens. Good luck to you man, I hope you get your CD... and the band back too.
  6. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Just one question from a total gear-head. How much recording equipment could you guys have bought with the money you've paid to that clown?
  7. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    Man, this guy really needs to get in touch with reality. What place is going to pay a band 5 grand for a one hour set. Most places wouldn't pay a band that to play all freakin day. And what's this about minium mix times he's talking about. I've recorded in studios where I cut 7 tracks and walked out with a fully mixed CD in an 8 hour session.

    And that's pretty crappy that he would charge you to use his studio when he's part of the band.

    My advice, once you get the CD done, just spread the word on what a jerk this guy is. Bad news spreads like wildfire in the music community. Espcially if it's news about a band getting screwed over by someone.

    I really hope this situation works out for you. I believe in paying musical dues, but this is more than what's called for. I guess you'll come out of it more savy. It could happen to anyone really. I just hope your guitarist does alright.
  8. ldiezman


    Jul 11, 2001
    Man.. what a crappy way to lose alot of money..

    I hope everything works out for you man, that really sucks to hear about... and all along you tried to tell everyone... but your words fall on deaf ears... you should just say " I told you so" and walk out...

    best of luck
  9. I think we need to find at least two more jerks. One jerk makes a dot jerk. Two jerks make a line jerk. Three jerks make a triangle jerk but with four or more you can have your classsic cirlce jerk:)
  10. ZuluFunk

    ZuluFunk Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2001
    It's a shame!!! I think we ended up paying him at least $2,500 up to the point where the fit hit the shan as we started mixing. With the MINIMUM charge for mixing, total bill would come to around $3,500-4,000 for a FARGING DEMO!!!

    We would have gladly played 7 or 8 shows with no take home for the rest of us just to get that payed off. His prima-donna attitude is what prevented that.
  11. whoa. my band's got the drum and bass tracks down on our demo, and all we've spent so far is 10 bucks for some fuses. hooray for borrowed equipment!
  12. Phat Ham

    Phat Ham

    Feb 13, 2000
    In this day and age home recording is definitely the way to go if you are on a budget and are just making a demo. Heck even if you are making a cd to sell you can still make some real good recordings. Victor Wooten's Yin yang cd was done entirely on Roland VS recorders.
  13. Gabu


    Jan 2, 2001
    Lake Elsinore, CA

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