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.