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Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Joe Nerve, Jul 19, 2005.

  1. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    From time to time I place ads on the internet. BASS PLAYER AVAILABLE FOR PAYING GIGS ONLY. And then I give a few details about myself. I have my own band, I play in a couple of other bands, and I'm simply looking to pick up a few extra bucks for anyone who needs someone responsible in a pinch and is willing to pay.

    WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY do I get emails every week from people asking if I'd be interested in joining their NEW project, that rehearses 3 times a week, that's guaranteed to take off because they have REAL label interest, or a manager, or an uncle who once worked with someone who once knew someone who's brother did sound for KISS.

    It's getting really difficult for me to stay nice when I get these emails - they're really starting to get to me. I feel like responding with a simple, YOU ARE AN IDIOT. LEAVE ME ALONE.

    That's all. Vent over.
  2. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    In my humblest of opinions, ads do work, but what is more important is networking. If you want to find paying gigs, I suggest a different route. You're in NYC, there are, I'm confident, many many gigs waiting for the right bassist, if that's what you're looking for. Knowing you Joe, the advice I give won't be new, but what the heck:

    - play open mic blues and jazz jams. Not the ones with flowery girls reading poetry while strumming two different chords on acoustic guitar. You're ability to play blues or jazz on the fly will attract interest. The people at these open mics are not bandless musicians that are bored, generally they're musicians that are gigging, that know other musicians, that know others .... Impress them, shake hands, make contacts, hand out cards.

    - Never burn bridges. Musicians are a small network, and while honesty with one another is important, there's no need to destroy relationships to prove a point. Always play it safe.

    To me, being able to land successful gigs is about playing in the network of musicians, being known for being talented and dependable. I have a rolodex that's sorted by instrument. Trumpet players? Hmm, let's go to "T" and find who's around.

    Ads can be frustrating for this reason. My most successful endeavors have occured because somebody, at some time, which I wasn't aware of, lost their bassist, and said, "Who do I know that I can call, so I don't have to place an ad, that I think will work?" Then I get a phone call or email.
  3. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    Thanks. I agree, and hadn't thought of going to the open mics and stuff. In MY humble opinion that was all very good advice. :)

    The thing with this post that gets me however isn't the idea that nobody is contacting me for paying work, it's that they're annoying me with their non-paying work. I don't care if I get work or not (hope that doesn't sound lame or egotistical). I'm pretty busy with music and other things and I'm not desperate at the moment for money. If the right paying situation came along, I'd take it, but I don't need it and my ads are more like - if it happens cool. If it doesn't, equally cool.

    To derail my own thread now, ever notice how just about every single band looking for a player is honestly convinced they're going to be the next huge thing? We're all crazy like that. :D
  4. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    I know how that could be very frustrating. Just remember, none of these people know that you have recieve umpteen other e-mails asking you to join their projec, which they probably have a lot of faith in. But just be direct without being a jerk. Tell them you are looking for a gigging band that is established, but needs a bassist.
  5. pointbass

    pointbass Jersey to Georgia Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2004
    Acworth, GA
    Endorsing Artist: FBB Bass Works
    I am a hired gun, probably 90% of my paid playing is in the role of a "for hire" bassist. I stopped advertising my for-hire status about 3-4 years ago for just the reasons you stated, Joe ..... everybody wants to rehearse and rehearse and rehearse with no gigs in sight because their band has the connections/label interest/demo/agent all lined up as soon as they're "tight".

    I don't know why these bands expect professional players to be a part of this incredible B.S. There is always somebody ready to tell me to:
    1) Quit my day job
    2) Cough up a couple of grand to help pay for the demo
    3) Play in clubs for nothing because it's good exposure
    4) Play more like (insert well-known bassist name here)

    To all of them I say "*** is wrong with you people?" Bring me a signed contract that guarantees me a 5 year paid gig for double what I make now, has a good medical program and an a** kickin' 401K, then we can talk!

    After well over 20 years of full time playing, the last 15 as a part-time bassist have been wonderful, I have more security than ever and I can pick and choose my gigs. I'm actually extremely happy .......
  6. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    If you pass up any gigs (except for jazz) within an hour of where I am, feel free to pass them my way. I will promise not to disappoint anyone who's sent my way, nor embarrass you for the referral.

    I'm networking. :D
  7. pointbass

    pointbass Jersey to Georgia Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2004
    Acworth, GA
    Endorsing Artist: FBB Bass Works

  8. cheezewiz

    cheezewiz Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2002
    Joe..I gave up the ads just for the reasons you mentioned. I'm too damn old to "join" a new project that rehearses 3 times a friggin week to MAYBE get a pay to play gig in a year.
  9. 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
    Your end of the converstaion: "Is it a paying gig right now? OK, no thanks." No stomach acid, and you wasted only 5 seconds of your life.
  10. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    I'm convinced that 95% of the musicians out there don't have any idea how this business works.

    The fact of the matter is that I highly doubt any new band, unless it's a boy band put together by a producer, has management lined up, endorsement deals and they definatley don't have label interest. Music industry people aren't interested in new bands. They want established acts that have gotten where they are by themselves and have proved themselves as a valuable commodity.

    Everyone thinks that their act is awesome. It doesn't matter how established you are as a musician or what you put in your ad, chances are you're still going to get pummeled by every Joe-Blow about how you should come audition for his garage band.

    I'm not knocking ads either; I've found myself in a lot of gigs because of them, especially when I was first starting out and nobody knew who I was. All of the best gigs have been through networking. I think why networking works so well is because you actually know the people your networking with personally. They aren't going to BS you and you're not going to BS them. I know a soundman isn't going to recommend me to a crappy band; a guitarist isn't going to recommend me to a band unless he's confident that I'm a good player; a manager isn't going to tell me to an audition for a band unless he knows that they're going to be able to be a gig-worthy group. ect.
  11. xshawnxearthx


    Aug 23, 2004
    new jersey
    or, when i make an ad saying.

    bass player available for HARDCORE band. back up vocals as well.

    and i get people asking me "oh hey, you wanna play rock music?" or, "we want someone who can play and sing lead"
  12. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    Because they have a different concept of paying gig. From their point of view it *will* be a paying gig, they just need to "pay their dues" to get there. There is no doubt in their minds they will make it.

    And always be nice, you don't want to burn any bridges.
  13. +100000!

    Because once they do make it big big big!, they may need a sub bassist sometimes.


  14. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    Speaking from personal experience, it's really hard to find pick-up paying gigs in NY for pop-rock bands.

    As everyone notes, most bands are delusional in thinking that they'll get signed to a big record label. ("Label interest" does not mean the Sony intern that you slept with once!) But they hold that delusion out in lieu of cash payment, hoping that you will share their dream.

    Those few acts that *are* successful and are making some money from playing music have done it largely without label support -- or with indie label support -- but they still demand all-in commitment from the people in the band, including shared expenses. Rare is the successful indie band that will offer more than $20-50 a gig, and that's when they're desparate. That'll just about cover your cab and beer.

    Bottom line is that I think you have to put up with a certain amount of non-paying BS if you want to play pick-up gigs. Like everyone notes, even without pay, they can be valuable networking opportunities. Let the other acts playing that night know that you aren't a band member per se and that you're available.

    And check out Marty O'Brien's forum. That guy was somehow able to turn pickup rock gigs into a paying career.
  15. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    Thanks guys, and I'm in total agreement with everything said here. I especially agree with what liquid midnight had to say about label interest. I guess I can be a little more tolerent realizing that most people really don't understand what it's all about. I am by the way very nice to all people who respond to my ad. It's just rough sometimes.

    I feel I'm learning something here, thanks to you guys too. When I was reading whatever whoever wrote about not getting gigs from ads, I immediately thought, "That's not true! I've gotten just about every paying gig I got through an ad!", but then thought a little harder. I don't believe I've ever landed a single paying gig from an ad that I posted. :) Any side gig I ever got i got from responding to ads that others had posted. It just might be that people who have it together tend to simply put ads out as opposed to looking for mercenaries who post ads on bulletin boards. Whenever we needed a drummer, even if we were willing to pay (which we were), we still put ads out because we'd much rather find the right guy than pay someone. Hmmmm....

    Who's Marty O'brien and where's his forum?
  16. barebones

    barebones Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2005
    Denver, CO
    In the words of my wise old father-in-law, "It's always easy to take the longview." Meaning, anyone can say anything about the viability of future success. It's meaningless. What's on the table now is what counts, unless you're really into speculative business ventures, i.e., "Dude, we're going to be famous someday!"

  17. cheezewiz

    cheezewiz Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2002
    The "has connections" "label interest" etc, always cracks my butt up. It seems as if every teenager who posts here has a connection that is going to get them on the next Warped Tour.
  18. xshawnxearthx


    Aug 23, 2004
    new jersey
    you joke, but i know a lot of bands who got onto warped tour, hellfest, and surf and skate because they had connections.
  19. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    Joe, not to kiss ass, but I always enjoy reading your posts. We always seem to be on the same wave-lenght about most issues about the business. I think it's because we both have the same goals: We're not out to do world tours, but we're in this business to make a decent amount of coin.

    Anyways......Another thing concerning ads - I often read the band/musicians wanted posts on my local music scene's board, and I'm constantly astounded by how little information people provide in their ads. They won't post anything about career goals, whether it's original or cover music, what former bands the members have been in, what area the band is based out of, even some of the ads don't have what style of music they are playing. When I read these ads, I'm going to assume that the musicians aren't very serious. A well-written ad that delineates all the previous points I mentioned is going to grab my attention. I've even seen a lot of online ads where the poster uses formating on certain headings and different colored fonts throughout: These ads are going to spark my interest even more. Another thing, and it may sound like I'm being anal, is spelling and grammar. It's a lot like a job application: I'm going to judge how serious you are by how you present yourself to me. If your typing looks like crap, I'm going to assume that you don't take enough pride in what you're doing to at least take a few minutes and make sure that everything is properly spelled and puncuated.
  20. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Terrific Twister

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    I know a guy who used to be a bouncer at the first club Pearl Jam ever played at. He met one of the Pearl Jam roadies one time. He even had a chance to let Eddie Vedders cousin into the club. He's looking for bands who want to go big time. He for sure has some ties to the big labels. :D