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Open mic house band question

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by gearhead1972, Mar 13, 2014.

  1. gearhead1972


    Feb 21, 2012
    Kent NY
    So this open mic started 3 weeks ago. Run by a local guy that I have come know from around the music scene. After the first night he asked me if I would like to play bass in the house band because his guitar player lives far away and can't make it, so the bass player will move to guitar and I will play bass. I said sure, be a good way to build my chops and kind of thrown in the fire. I played last week, and tonight.
    Tonight I am sitting with another guitar player and he said to me, so your in the house band, must be getting paid. It never even crossed my mind to be honest, just happy to be playing. Not even 5 min later I see the owner walk over and hand him a fold of money, then I see him like sneaking the drummer some cash. Well I'll be a son of a gun I say to myself. Now I am waiting for him to offer me some cash, cause he saw me see him get handed some cash. I just sent him an email saying I saw you got paid what's up, why wasn't I offered any?

    So what would you guys do? I was gonna write a nice nastygram, but decided to take the high road, because it could mean a couple of extra bucks in my pocket every week. If I was nasty then the gig is gone.
    It really is a fun night 15 minute slots from 8:30 till midnight, and they all get filled, tonight I sat in on about 12 songs Including our 4. like I said nice way for me to get better.
  2. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    I would have inquired about pay - and satisfied myself concerning the pay issue prior to committing to the gig.

    Did this really not occur to you at all?

  3. gearhead1972


    Feb 21, 2012
    Kent NY
    No it really didn't, I haven't been doing this all that long. So I jumped at the idea to be able to play with a ton of excellent musicians.
    He just emailed me back and said hell call me tomorrow about it.
  4. The nastygram is momentarily satisfying, but overall counterproductive.

    It is OK to say "no", it is OK choose not to play without pay, and it is OK to quit, but always do it in a businesslike manner. You never know if you will want to play with these guys in the future. You never know who they may recommend you to for other gigs. Always leave a reputation of being someone easy to work with, even with people you have chosen not to work with.
  5. skwee


    Apr 2, 2010
    Yes. Inquire about what others are getting paid, and if you feel your time is worth the same, then you should be making the same money. But the key is to be businesslike, honest, and clear about your expectations. Be nice, because the business is about relationships.
  6. I'd wait to see how he responds to your email question and then take it form there - and honestly, its really your call, do whatever you want. My personal rule is, if anyone is getting paid, so must I.

    Please update us with what he says and how you handle it. Thanks
  7. lfmn16


    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    Sounds like you are getting what you wanted. This is a good lesson. In the future don't play a note until you know how much you are getting paid.
  8. GlennW


    Sep 6, 2006
    Do nothing, for now.

    The night of the next open mic, don't go.

    About 15-20 minutes after the next open mic is supposed to start, send the dude a text message saying, "I quit." That's it, don't elaborate.
  9. gearhead1972


    Feb 21, 2012
    Kent NY
    Yeah, at this point if they are getting payed I feel I should to. That will be the determining factor. All he has to say is how is this ( ) much and I will be cool with it. It is just the fact that I saw him get paid, then he was sneaking the drummer his pay in front of me. If he doesn't off me anything then I am done.
    But lfmn16 does have a point.
  10. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    I've gone to open mic and jammed onstage for free.

    I've filled in when the regular bass player was out of town, and I got paid.

    If you are committing your time between 9:00 and 1:00 on a given evening when you could be sitting in a hot tub with three naked chicks instead you should ought to get compensated.
  11. GlennW


    Sep 6, 2006
    He's probably getting $X for having a band there. He kept your cut. **** him.
  12. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    Pay would have been the first thing I asked about. I subbed once and was paid $50 but that was already talked about in his call to me.
  13. Use the experience for practice. If you're good, people will dig it and start showing up. If you can show you're worth it, you'll end up getting paid and if not you can use the open mic to network with people and start your own thing.
  14. Runnerman

    Runnerman Registered Bass Player Supporting Member

    Mar 14, 2011
    They call it the "fog of war".
    I think there must be a name for a similar type of phenomenon that occurs with musicians. We are just want to play so bad that all judgement goes out the window in the heat of the moment. Decisions get made based on emotions. Starving artist syndrome or something.

    Learn from it and let the business side of your brain be involved next time someone asks you to play/sub. And don't listen to the "burn the bridges" club here on TB. Hope your call goes well.
  15. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    you did not ask for pay
    and you did not get any.

    Well next time go there and make clear that if the other musicians get paid to play, so are you. Be friendly about it.
  16. Joedog


    Jan 28, 2010
    Pensacola FL
    Agree. I did the host band thing for years, and ALLWAYS got paid (equal cut). It was less than a regular band gig though. You are right it is a great way to build your chops and your ear, and also to make a lot of contacts. You were a bit naïve for not asking up front, but that is how we learn lessons in life. A tad bogus for him not to tell you he was getting paid and not you! I'd wait and hear what he says, then decide to stay or walk. Up to you, but that would leave me with a bit of a bitter taste, and a lack of trust. Hope it turns out well. Let us know how it turns out!
  17. gearhead1972


    Feb 21, 2012
    Kent NY
    So I just heard from him, he says yeah I am getting a little to host, but not as much as a full band. He then said what can I do to make this right with you, because your a good guy to have in my corner. I gave him a range of price and he met that in the middle. So I am good with that and all is right in the world again. Like you guys said a little naive on my part and a life lesson learned. I like the gig and it is a 1/4 mile from my house.
  18. GlennW


    Sep 6, 2006
    That's cool. You learned a good lesson.

    Talk about the money before you do any work.
  19. Runnerman

    Runnerman Registered Bass Player Supporting Member

    Mar 14, 2011
    Awesome....glad it worked out.
  20. Way cool - and thanks for the update. :)