Seeking Advice - Female Bar Owner Behaving Badly

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by nixdad, Jun 14, 2019.

  1. nixdad


    Aug 15, 2008
    Los Angeles, CA
    Hey Everyone -
    My son's band is dealing with a challenge right now, so I thought I'd tap the experience of the TalkBass community to get some advice.

    Here's the background:
    My son plays in a popular classic rock cover band which performs over 100 gigs annually, and is booked most weekends throughout the year. Over the past 9 years they have established a solid local following, and are known as one of the better cover bands in the area. The 5 band members range in age from from 21-57. Most of the venues they play are restaurants and bars, and once they have played a venue, they typically get hired to play regularly for that venue.

    Within the past year a couple has befriended the band (he's in his 50's, and she is in her 30's,) and they attend most gigs. They LOVE the group. The wife sometimes attends on her own or with a few of her friends. Unfortunately, she has a tendency to drink too much (especially when her husband is not around,) and can be a bit touchy-feely at times. Most members of the band are married or have girlfriends who have also noticed her behavior. No one in the band is a prude, but they keep things professional and respect their relationships.

    As it turns out, this couple owns their own bar in a market about 40 miles away where the band had never played before, and they recently booked the band. The gig pays better than any of their other regular gigs. Their bar is located in a good part of the town, and has a built-in, steady crowd. The band performed there a few weeks ago. The place was packed all night long, and the band even received other gig offers their first time performing - it was a good night. The only issue is that the wife had too much to drink again (feeling very comfortable in her own place,) and once again got a bit touchy with some of the band members and even made some inappropriate gestures - nothing ridiculous, but definitely crossed the line.

    The issue now is that with this latest experience, one of the band members has suggested they don't accept any more gigs at the venue (this could be fueled by pressure from a jealous girlfriend who has witnessed this woman's behavior more than once.) Neither the lead singer nor my son (the co-leaders of the band) want to give up this gig, but understand that it's a delicate situation. On one hand they don't want to offend the bar owners wife and lose the gig (and another potential gigs they could gain,) but they also understand her behavior needs to be kept in check; on the other hand they don't want to blow off the offended band member and need him to know that his concern has not been ignored.

    The band does perform at times as a 4 piece without the "offended" member if he's double booked. However, on those dates the setlist and sound changes as the band is not at full strength. The goal is to keep the ban intact.

    What is the best way to professionally deal with this situation? Any suggestions are welcome.

    Last edited: Jun 14, 2019
  2. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Definitely take the gig, and just politely ignore the advances. The members should discuss it together, and agree that she is off limits, and a hazard they all will have to deal with. The band member should remind the girlfriend that he is a professional, and he doesn't play around on her.

    That's about all you can do.
  3. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    Your son's band can take a stand and let the couple know under what conditions they will play.

    The owner is leveraging her position for her own titillation by sexually harassing people, especially when she's drunk.

    You don't know what she's capable of. She may accuse any of you guys of a crime if she turns on you because she doesn't get her way.

    Drugged-up people are very dangerous.

    I've seen it and been dragged into it.

    Something's are just not worth the money.
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2019
  4. Biggbass

    Biggbass Supporting Member

    Dec 14, 2011
    Planet Earth
    been there. bar owner's wife is hot and hits on all the band guys.
    it's a touchy situation.

    if it bothers the band then just don't return.
  5. craigie


    Nov 11, 2015
    You’ve got to find a single guy to “take one for the team” ;)
    DWBass, logdrum, TheDayMan and 66 others like this.
  6. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011

    So either you get sexually harassed in her bar, or you get sexually harassed in someone else's bar? Is there a meaningful difference?

    You could turn down the work at her bar. You don't have to give a reason, but 40 miles out of the way seems like a convenient excuse.

    As far as the touching behavior, I agree this could be a dangerous situation, especially if the husband does not approve. I think it's important to avoid being in situations were she might feel even more emboldened; I.E. don't be alone with her.

    Usually I just brush off this sort of stuff and try to avoid being around people who make unwanted advances. But if they are overly aggressive, there's going to eventually be a confrontation, one way or another. Probably best if the confrontation occurs when and where the band has more control. There's a good chance this will damage the relationship and close some doors, so weigh her transgressions, the progression of her actions, and what you stand to lose accordingly.

    One final thought: If she's actually cheating and her husband does not approve, there's probably a good chance she is heading for a divorce, so maybe the problem will fix itself.
  7. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY
    Ignore the drunk, play your gig, collect your cash
  8. Lesfunk

    Lesfunk Bootlegger guitars : S.I.T. Strings Supporting Member

    Apr 5, 2007
    Florida USA
    One of you guys needs to step up and take care of this
    DWBass, gozbass, nixdad and 6 others like this.
  9. cxcxcx


    Mar 8, 2019
    I’d also advise powering through it, avoiding the possibility of impropriety happening, and clearing the hell out fast when it’s time to pack it up and move it out. Also, no bar gig is forever. Clubs change hands so often and close down so frequently that it’s hard to keep track of it all sometimes. This issue may very well evaporate in 6 months.

    Let’s be totally frank - the situation described here is something that female performers in the same circumstances have had to deal with since day one, and still do today. You just have to figure out graceful ways of not allowing these behaviors to occur.
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2019
  10. Welcome to the joys of the club scene. This has been going on for years, it's just one of the obstacles playing in establishments that serve alcohol.

    Personally, I would not give up the gig. It seems to be a great stepping stone into another area, with it definitely paying off with other gigs. In other words, it's a valuable gig.

    We, as musicians, are at time held in a different light in clubs, and get hit on, felt up, or other situations that a regular club goer might not be subjected to. It's just part of the biz. The bands I play in (which often include female members) just laugh about it, it's not a huge deal. The best way to handle it, is just don't put yourself around the offending parties as much as possible. Some people are just touchy feely when drunk, the filter shuts off, simple as that.

    If the offended party is a girlfriend/wife/husband, etc. they need to realize that is going to happen sometimes. If they can't handle it, they need to stay home. The band is a business, and built around making money, and furthering the bands business prospects.

    I personally would not cancel the gig, or even give it half the thought the op did. If I get hugged, grabbed, or a quick smooch on the cheek by a fan, especially if they are intoxicated, I smile, and move on. After all, I'm going home to my wife. My wife is attractive and gets hit on occasionally when going to even the grocery store, but it doesn't keep her from shopping at the store.

    Just my opinion, but I've been down that road many, many times.
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2019
  11. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Inactive

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    I've been doing this for over thirty years. Women (and men) have been making "offensive gestures" toward me the whole time. I never cheated on my first wife. (She cheated on me.) I never cheated on any girlfriends. And I haven't/won't cheat on this wife.

    This kind if thing just comes with the territory. No, don't let her grab your junk. But, if she licks her lips at you, just smile and go on about your business.

    I've literally had BRIDES make oral sex gestures toward me at their own wedding reception. I had a bachelorette offer to sex me up in her car during a set break at her bachelorette party. We all likely had bras and whatnot thrown on the stage.

    People get crazy sometimes. Live music and alcohol go hand in hand. Alcohol and inappropriate behavior go hand in hand.

    Tell your son to stay classy and keep on playing. Tell the jealous girlfriend to stay by her man's side during set breaks and learn to deal with women making gestures at shows. It happens.

    If they refuse to play every venue where inappropriate gestures occur, they will be limiting themselves a lot.
    logdrum, pjbassist, Mr_Moo and 29 others like this.
  12. bearfoot

    bearfoot Inactive

    Jan 27, 2005
    Chittenango, NY
    Avoiding an alcoholic wife getting ready to cheat on her husband is good advice.

    Unfortunately, your son and the other bandleader have made repeated mistakes in this regard, so it will not be very easy to set it straight. But they have to cancel the gig, and shun the alcoholic wife at all costs. Do not allow her to be "touchy feely" with the band. The flak they take for that will be nothing compared to the giant $$$$storm about to explode in their faces if they allow this to continue.
    Mr_Moo, Glenn Mac, Evil Funk and 4 others like this.
  13. Williethump


    Sep 10, 2017
    Give me three steps, give me three steps mister, give me three steps toward the door...
  14. Clark W

    Clark W Just Say No To Tort! Supporting Member

    Aug 26, 2018
    Suffer through it as best as they can and use it to get more gigs at other places. Use it for all its worth and as they get more gigs they can book there less often until they are too booked to book there at all.
  15. Slade N

    Slade N Supporting Member

    May 28, 2005
    portland, or
    the gig is a job, we all have to deal with other people and their BS at our day jobs, no difference. take the gig and be professional, tactical, tactful and careful.
  16. BZadlo

    BZadlo Supporting Member

    Mar 4, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    This is what bands are for. Members need to run defense for one another. Help each other out of tough situations and get ahead. No one needs to get abused but everyone does need to learn how to deal with drunks.
    I don't think there's a rule but everyone has to draw their own line.
    Glenn Mac, hrodbert696 and nixdad like this.
  17. SgtHulka

    SgtHulka Inactive

    Mar 29, 2019
    I see this as a great situation. No one in the band wants action? If not, bring one of your good looking best friends to flirt with her, and keep the nice gig and everyone's happy!

    Sounds like my kinda girl. There has to be someone you guys know that wants to hook up with her!
    Eric66, gozbass, Evil Funk and 5 others like this.
  18. swafran


    Nov 6, 2008
    Paris, France
    Your son is experiencing what most women musicians experience daily. It’ll be ok. The guys need to learn to keep horny advances away without conflict, the girlfriends... are just at the beginning of their jealousy if the band continues to do well
  19. someone should just bang will bring the situation to a natural resolution
    Eric66, swafran, moreblues and 7 others like this.
  20. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown

    Feb 16, 2011
    A crusty old bar band veteran told me long ago if you want to be in a band and have a lady friend, get the band first. Girlfriends and wives who can’t trust their SO can be a serious problem no matter if that mistrust is justified or not. That said, if they are averaging twice a week getting paid to play they have the luxury of declining any job that fails to meet their standards so if the prevailing opinion is keep the band intact, then the only logical conclusion is to decline jobs that cause discord among members, which like it or not, extends to the SO’s of band members, unless of course you are touring the country in your car with your mates laser focused on making it. Metallica proved it’s possible, but if you just want to get paid to perform occasionally then other things non music related must be kept on an even keel.
    Oh and we have a place here with a female co owner who gets too tight and insists on sitting in with the band, playing flute on Summertime, badly. If you indulge her it’s a few minutes of surreal music mashup, but if you put her off or decline it’s a night of stinkeye and insults. While not a too touchy feely situation it is rather off putting.