Playing in bars where everyone smokes

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by slugworth, Oct 16, 2004.

  1. slugworth

    slugworth Banned

    Jun 12, 2003
    So. Calif.
    Last night my band did a gig in a bar where everyone was smoking. It's supposed to be illegal here in California, but either the authorities in the area don't care or maybe the club just pays the fines. We were supposed to play there tonight, but our singer woke up this morning and could barely speak due to the smoke. We had to cancel. I only sing about 6 songs, and my throat was sore and when went to bed last night I was wheezing and my left eye would not stop watering. It was terrible. I unloaded my equipment this morning and everything smells like smoke. Our booking agent got us the gig, and hopefully he won't freak out and stop giving us work, but it was unbearable. Anybody else ever have this happen?
  2. Either refuse to play where there's smoke - or get a sub.

    Reminds me of a sign I saw in a theatre here in New Hampshire:

    "Please do not smoke in this theatre. If we see anyone smoking, we will assume they are on fire, and we will take appropriate action to extinguish them"


    - Wil
  3. msquared


    Sep 19, 2004
    Kansas City
    I live in Kansas City, and in the midwest there are only a couple cities who have instituted a smoking ban that I know of. It's not done on a statewide level in any of the states I play. So I'd say I have maybe one or two gigs per month where I don't come home smelling like it.

    Most of my musician buddies smoke (I don't). When gigs get booked in cities where they can't smoke onstage, some will be irritated and others flat out refuse to play. Personally, I'm so used to it by now that I don't even think about it anymore until I'm in the car driving home. I always feel it the next day though, either my eyes or coughing up junk or both. Playing out is worth it, but I'm hoping that eventually my region gets with the times. This is Kansas though. We still have no alcohol sales on Sunday. :rollno:

    I always take incense along and burn two or three sticks at a time through the show so it's not as bad. I once got harrangued by a bandmate (with a smoke dangling from his lips) about how the smoke was bothering him. What incredible irony.
  4. 5stringDNA


    Oct 10, 2002
    Englewood, CO
    This has been a big concern of mine, with my recent joining of a blues band. Cig smoke irritates the tar out of me, yet 9/10 gigs will likely be bar gigs, and there are no smoking restrictions for bars in the Denver area. I coudl always buy a gas mask and pass it off as a gimmick I suppose :D.
  5. I feel your pain... Here in Ottawa we've had the no smoking bylaw for a couple years, but I've spent the last 6 months or so playing a lot of out of town venues and the smoke is omnipresent. Even my bandmates who smoke find it irritating.

    I get the itching eyes thing going on usually and my gear reaks for the next few days after a show. Not much you can do about it though other than suffer through it - the show must go on if I want to get paid.
  6. LM Bass

    LM Bass

    Jul 19, 2002
    Vancouver, BC
    Wow. This is like "memory lane" for me! :)

    I used to play all kinds of bar gigs, and my gear and clothes would just reek of smoke. I'm not doing bar gigs anymore, and here in BC the smoking ban seems to be working. I remember unpacking my bass at my teacher's once, and he said "What is that terrible odour?"
    (I guess it goes without saying that orchestral musicians are above any of this kind of stuff!)

    It's nice to see this as being "a thing of the past"!
  7. Why wouldn't you take a gig, even if the venue is non-smoking? Both of my bandmates smoke, but they just do it outside before the show. Makes sense to me.
  8. ERIC31


    Jul 1, 2002
    Maricopa, AZ
    I was just thinking that when I saw this thread. Cigarettes SUCK!! I'm so glad I never started that crap. Second hand smoke pisses me off so much. I was very glad when they banned smoking in clubs and restaurants in CA. Fortunately I have been lucky and not gigged anywhere totally full of smoke.
  9. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    i have a somewhat different take on this. I've been a smoker and a non-smoker. A smokey bar always bothers me regardless, especially when you're essentially "trapped" there from 8 PM to 2 AM. We had the smoking ban go into effect in April here in CT. On the plus side, the venues arent smokey. On the negative side, most bars report decreased buisiness anywhere from 30% - 75%. Any bar that can is putting up some kind of smoking area outside, but many don't have that option. The number of bars willing to hire bands has definitely dropped significantly. If you don"t have a huge draw or you don"t have an "in" at the larger clubs you are pretty much screwed.
    I'm of the opinion that the smoking rule ought to be up to the owner of the establishment. Both smoking and non smoking clubs would probably do just as well, and that would offer those who choose to smoke an alternative, and would let those of us willing to brave the poisonous fog an opportunity to gig more often.
  10. Absolutely.
  11. 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
    An anonymous phone call to the authorities might help.
  12. msquared


    Sep 19, 2004
    Kansas City
    Eh, who knows? They're guitarists. :)
  13. I balance an electric fan on the top of my stack, which has the combined effect of keeping me cool in the sweaty venues, and also blowing the smoke back into the audience. Not a perfect solution, but it helps.
  14. ERIC31


    Jul 1, 2002
    Maricopa, AZ
    That's a really good idea. I'll remember that one if I'm in that situation. For real. :)
  15. bizzaro


    Aug 21, 2000
    The stage is always strategically located where their is the least amount of ventilation and and air circulation. And the smoke eaters are always "OFF" !?
  16. slugworth

    slugworth Banned

    Jun 12, 2003
    So. Calif.

    >>> I was thinking the same thing. The county health department has a workplace safety hotline, and it does make mention of smoking zones and stuff. I was talking to one of the bar's bouncers; he also said that he can't stand it anymore...To think in this day and age, with all we know about smoking and it's hazards to people's health, that there are still a large percentage of people still lighting up and foolishly puffing away without a care in the world. They may not care what they suck into their own lungs, but I shouldn't have to be a second hand smoker. Smoking sucks.

  17. hammer2748


    Feb 22, 2002
    Hartford, CT
    Dittos top to bottom!

    Damn, no beer sales on Sunday here either!!!!!
  18. bmc


    Nov 15, 2003
    Switzerland guys have it easy. Everybody smokes here. Every bar is a cloud. When I get home from a gig, I have to strip down and leave my clothes outside. A shower, washing my hair is an absolute must. It's just gross. This part of the world is a long way behind North America.

    The chicks look look on the topless beaches in the summer though. :D
  19. inazone


    Apr 20, 2003
    Ditto!! And Im a nonsmoker and always have been.
  20. LM Bass

    LM Bass

    Jul 19, 2002
    Vancouver, BC
    I think the "lost sales" myth is just a myth. Sure, smokers take a while to get used to it, but things pick back up to normal after a few months. Also, more non-smokers will start going out = better for business.