Should a fill-in be asked to rehearse

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by troy mcclure, Jul 14, 2013.

  1. I recently had my cover band disband and have been asked by a few people to do sub work. This is not high dollar high profile stuff pretty much biker bar stuff we can play in our sleep.
    1 band sent me there 125 song list I picked the 85 I knew and then they said we need to schedule 2 rehearsals.. I said go ahead, I will see you at the gig. It is a 1 night $100 gig.
    It is their gig, but honestly I have played so many pickup gigs like this, I really don't feel I would need to rehearse.
  2. If they’re paid rehearsals, sure.
  3. Do they play the songs the original way? Have they changed the arrangement or key?
    It would suck if you went to play a song and they had changed it totally. If so, it would be in your interest to maybe do 1 practice.
    Otherwise, they should pay you. THEY may need the practice and need a bass player to get through it.
  4. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2008
    Lots of good points already made.

    IME, it's always best to clear that stuff up before taking any gig because some bands really don't feel comfortable playing without at least one rehearsal in. These are usually more inexperienced bands, but sometimes they are bands who do songs differently than the recording (be it a key change, structure change, tempo/mood change, whatever...). You always need to ask if any of those things exist before assuming they're all songs you've played before because they very well might not be. However, if you hear the songs are the same as the originals then do whatever feels best to you. I personally offer one free rehearsal with any gig I take on just because most bands tend to appreciate it and because it gives me a feel for the band. After that, however, I start to charge.
  5. pacojas

    pacojas "FYYA BUN"

    Oct 11, 2009
    i just quit a band that had a habit of hiring subs sans rehearsal. great players trying to "wing it" left alot to be desired. i work too hard trying to be excellent to be dragged down by anyone.

    AAMOF, said band did a live radio broadcast yesterday. they sounded TERRIBLE!!! i hope my friends don't think i was playing bass!:(
  6. glocke1

    glocke1 Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2002
    Screw that...Unless they are paying you for your time and travel...

    If it was a bigger, higher profile gig Id say go for the rehearsal even if you don't get paid, but a biker bar? Cover tunes you already know? fuhgettabout it.
  7. Big John66

    Big John66

    Feb 12, 2008
    Biker bar+pickup gig+cover band+$100= no rehearsal, at least for me. If the band has a string of gigs booked that they want me for, I would be willing to rehearse a time or two just for their comfort. I really don't need to run over "Pride and Joy" again so the guitarist can work out the ending.
  8. PauFerro


    Jun 8, 2008
    United States
    I would say, yes -- one rehearsal so they can get comfortable with you. You know your musical acuity, but they don't. Also, if they are on the ball, they should have recordings of themselves available so you can learn any nuances without rehearsal.
  9. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    This is one of the reasons a working cover band might want to stick close to the structure of well-known or widely available recorded versions. There's no real need to rehearse a competent sub on the album version of "Born to Be Wild," etc.

    BTW, how long is this gig? If the songs are even 3 and 1/2 to 4 minutes long, 85 of 'em gives you b/w 5 hrs-5:40, not counting breaks. That's a whole lot of gig for $100.
  10. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2008
    Agreed. IME, knowing 55 songs is usually enough for most 4 hour gigs with one or two breaks thrown in. Of course, it is nice to have a number of extras on hand to mix up depending on whatever the crowd is feeling.
  11. zephyr_words


    Aug 12, 2009
    For $100 I would have no interest in rehearsing. I'd barely be interested in the sub-gig at that price.

    If they press it again I suppose you could agree for $50 and on the time of your choosing.
  12. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Inactive

    Feb 21, 2010
    St. Louis
    Really? I don't really know, as I have and would never use a sub, but it seems to me that as a sub bassist you would pretty much just have to bring your own crap, set it up, play for 4 hours and then leave. That's $25/hr. As long as I dig the music they play it's a no brainer.
  13. 4 sets, the guys know I can play... more they need to rehearse I think.
    I told them to make sure the guitarist gives me a list of any key changes. I played with these guys before about 4 years ago and I was the original bassist 6 years ago for about 9 months. I gigged more in the last year than they have in the last 5 years since I left the band. One of those bands that only rehearses when they have a gig and they gig infrequently. I may pass on the gig if they require more than a 2 hr rehearsal. I am only 15 mins from their rehearsal space and the gig is 20 mins away.
  14. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Inactive

    Feb 21, 2010
    St. Louis

    Do they no longer have a bass player? It might be nice of you, assuming these cats are your friends, to rehearse with them. They probably want to play.
  15. If they did change the songs a bit to how you knew them, YOU would sound like the fool who didn't know them.
    So if they add in a stop, change key in the middle of the song, would you feel like a dick on stage by not following and making a very noticable mistake?
    People seem to be only worried about the type of gig or the cash. :rollno: Who knows who could be in the crowd? Could this affect you getting future gigs?

    I for one HATE to feel like a fool when I play, I want to make sure I know my parts, the songs, structure etc so I don't end up looking stupid.

    If you are only concerned about the cash - then don't practice.
    If you care about your professionalism and not wanting to look like a amateur by playing through a stop, I'd go to one practice
  16. That sounds reasonable - I wouldn’t lose any sleep over it either.
  17. g4string

    g4string Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2002
    Melissa, TX
    Depends on where the rehearsal was, and how long. 1 quick 1 hour, close to home, meet/greet/run through a few songs....kinda like a pseudo audition, maybe? Also assuming you knew all of the songs and did not need to do any "homework".

    If its a typical 3 hour rehearsal 15+ miles away from home, and no other shows agreed upon to sub again, I would charge for the rehearsal. I would charge $50 a rehearsal. If they wanted to rehearse 2x's, the show will cost them $200. I mean, hey, its not your fault their band has lost there bass player.

    Once you slice the cheese, a "typical" gig takes up 6 hours of your time with travel, set-up, performance, and tear-down. A typical rehearsal takes up 4 hours. They want 2 rehearsals. If you do two rehearsals, your getting awfully close to investing close to 15+ hours of your time for 1 gig. Thats about $6.66 per hour for your $100 show. My time is more valuable than that. If you have to learn extra songs at home, add that time to your clock as well. Pay keeps getting crappier ea hour you invest.

    Just like anything in life, you pay a premium for things in times of desperate need. Why should a band be any different? For the life of me, I dont know why bands think it is OK to pay $100 for sub-player of any type (assuming the sub player is of high quality). If it were me, I would charge a min of $150 if the gig was close to home and I did not need to learn an abundance of material. If I had to spend time learning material and/or rehearsing, $200+.
  18. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2008
    My rate is $125 + the same deal with rehearsals as g4string (if it's close and just for an hour then sure).

    I had a semi recent gig that I had to decline after I had already invested 8 hours into the thing because the band needed to rehearse that much. They were friends and I didn't want to leave them high and dry, but once I realized I had already spent that much time, on a gig that I still had yet to play, I realized I was getting screwed on my hourly wage. Gotta give yourself some standards and really do the math behind what it really costs you to do a gig.
  19. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown

    Feb 16, 2011
    While I'm sure it would be like falling off a greased stump for you, perhaps the rehearsals are more for them and not so much for you.

    Maybe they just want to make sure you pass the smell test or maybe they want to make sure you can in fact haul your own water.

    Either way, unless it's going to put a major crimp in your schedule, what's the harm in showing up for at least the first rehearsal?
  20. g4string

    g4string Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2002
    Melissa, TX
    Unless you're friends with the hiring band or are trying to pay it fwd in life....I see no reason why a hired gun needs to give up his/her time for free in order to make the hiring band "feel better" about hiring you. If a band needs to "feel good" about hiring a sub, they should audition or have heard your playing prior to offering you the gig.