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Pay to play

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by Joe Nerve, Dec 8, 2000.

  1. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    Around the end of the summer my band played a "pay to play" club in our neighborhood. Early the next morning I wrote an article to purge myself of the nights events and to warn others about such establishments. If you're interested you can read it at The Nerve website. The link will take you straight to the article.


    Sorry, don't know how to create a clickable link here. Anyone wanna tell me how. I'm hoping god creates it once I submit this thread.

  2. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    A sobering story!

    Name the club on as many sites as you can. Spread the word verbally to all your friends. Advertise the facts in the local papers near the club.

    I'm going to have to go and have a lie down now.
  3. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    That is really an appalling story about some sleazoids who take advantage of bands wanting exposure to the public and wanting practice and experience with actual gigs. In other words, the sleazoids believe the bands need them more than they need the bands. I wonder, too, if the club isn't just a front for other activity, so the sleazoids can be as unpleasant as possible, because it doesn't really matter to them anyway. Better luck next time. What a bad experience!

    Jason Oldsted
  4. 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
    A lot of magazines, including Gig and our own venerable BP have ranked on the Pay to Play thing. They universally say don't do it. Period.

    That's one of the great things about being a part-time, or "hobby" band. I'd just tell 'em, well, looks like we're going to be refunding our friends and you ain't gettin' a dime from us. Screw you. Yeah, you have to eat it a little from your friends, but it beats financing a crooked owner.

    Twenty-some years ago we played a bar that said we got a percentage of the bar. They had an automatic drink shooter that tallied the drinks into the cash register ... all of 'em except the beer, that is. Almost everybody drank beer because the prices were in outer space. The beer never got tallied and we ended up with something like $22 for the whole band. Live and learn, eh?
  5. JWC

    JWC Banned

    Oct 4, 2000
    Club Owners, on the whole, are among the lowest forms of life you will ever encounter. I think there should be a legal, Kill A Club Owner Day, every month.
  6. To Everyone on this thread,keep spreading the word about these horrible club owners.The public needs to hear this and hopefully fewer and fewer bands will do business with the sleazy jerks.
  7. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    what's the name of the club? i read the article you posted on your site and i didn't see anything

    you need to make public the name of the club, so that others don't get sucked in too.

  8. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    I can completely understand your feelings. Maybe you can relate an experience I had- When I was just starting out in the Midwest club circuit, we had a gig at a club quite far away, (not airline distance). The money stunk but it was a chance to be on the bill with the headliner, a band named Fuse, (who later went on to become Cheap Trick). In fact, we were losing money because we brought our own sound and lighting guys. We knocked ourselves out for this because the odds were high that A&R people were in the audience. Afterwards, the club owner asked to see our union cards. We didn't need them in the state where we normally played, so we weren't even members. When we told him we didn't have cards, he said he wasn't going to pay us. Our options were limited at the time because the club's security guys looked like serial killers. However, if you're the vindictive type, you might take a cue from what we did: We called their state's "T.I.P." (Turn In a Pusher), hotline and anonymously said the club was infested with big time dealers. As it turns out, the place was raided and shut down while the club owner was under indictment.
  9. Jennifer


    Jul 31, 2000
    Erie, Illinois
    Man, that article is almost like deja-vu. There is a club in Clinton, IA just like that. Too bad too, cause it's a neat place to play. They were going to have this big thing with some name bands and local bands. Part of our band wanted to do the pay to play thing, but part of us didn't. I was of the opinion that I am not a girl scout selling tickets for these people. We got in a HUGE fight about it, but we didn't do the gig. Of course, the name bands cancelled, the local bands got stuck being the bad guys. So glad we weren't in on that one. The excuse I hear all the time for those pay to play things is "that's the way they do it in the big cities, so we are too".
  10. brewer9


    Jul 5, 2000
    Avoid anything where you are required to sell tickets.

    Dont enter any "BATTLE OF THE BANDS." These battles are always ticket-selling-ripp-off-schemes. Many of these events require a prepayment of tickets (which you then supposedly sell for profit but never can), others give you the tix but you have to pay in advance of the event. THEY ALL SUCK!!!!

  11. Paying to play is not much different than paying your employer for the "privelidge"to work for him/her.It doesn't work for most people.Unfortunately for L.A. bands,it was the rule and not the exception,years ago.
  12. LowfreqB


    Nov 10, 2000
    United States
    Los Angeles places that "have" required ticket sales this year. The Roxy Theater
    The Whisky a go go

    Someothers clubs like the "The gig" who dont require tickets (and have the best industry reputation) will make you promise a certain amount number of people will come for your show. If you dont deliver, then you are banned from that club and any other club that the booking agent deals with.
    This is a fair deal IMO, the clubs have to break even or make some money. If you want to play out without the hassle of dealing with clubs. My advice is the throw a raging house party, and play a set their. If you spark interest in your band then these people will want to see you at the clubs. Play lots of partys if you can, try to book your band at other partys. Build a following and then move it to the clubs and bars. When a new band at a your bar has a huge crowd grooving, its easy to suduce new crowds to dance to your stuff (mob mentallity) Big crowds attract lots of attention to your band, GOOD ATTENTION, unless your the who.
  13. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    I purposely didn't mention the club's name for several reasons. I wanted to get the article circulated as much as possible and I knew some people wouldn't publish it if there were names involved, AND I didn't want it to seem as if I just wanted revenge on the club (although I do). I feel the message behind the story is more important than the naming of the club. We do name the club at our website however, on the news page if you're really curious.

  14. Here in Portland, Oregon there was a club owner who used to do the play to pay scenario quite regularly. As it turned out, he was implicated in a ticket scam. It seems when some of the larger acts came to town, he would have extra counterfeit tickets made and pocket all the cash. When things started to unravel he tried to get another guy to take the fall. When the guy wouldn't do it he ended up missing. This happened in the early '90s and it was only this year when everything came to light. One of the club owner's employees ended up doing a plea bargain and implicated the the owner in the murder. They never found the guys body but the club owner and employee are in prison now for murder.

    Moral of the story: Club owner's can be even scummier then you think so watch out!

    [Edited by Bassin' on 12-13-2000 at 09:17 AM]
  15. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    Oh yeah, that was the other reason I didn't mention the club.
  16. Harry


    Dec 12, 2000
    Man, I thought the whole "pay to play" thing was DEAD when the LA scene sorta croaked. I remember friends doing the whole Madam Wongs / Garzaris / Whiskey thing back in the '80s, but this is 2000! What kinds of misguided muscians are still doing this? There must be some - you know, supply/demand... It's hard to blame a club owner if some dim-bulb players are willing to fall for the scam...(no, I'm offering no defense of owners, but like any product, if folks are willing to buy, even bad products...)

    As far as I can tell, there is NO pay to play places here in San Diego... The closest thing to it would be the Belly Up Tavern, and they just want you to REALLY have a crowd (not entirely unreasonable, I suppose...)

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