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Should I be Upset?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by victobass, Jul 15, 2004.

  1. victobass


    Nov 27, 2003
    My band just played our first weekend club gig last weekend and the response was fantastic. We were stoked that people liked us so much. Our next gig was scheduled at the same club the last weekend of the month. Well, on Wednesday I receive a call from one of our guitar players and he tells me we have a gig this weekend at another club in a neighboring town. My reply was " You know I have to work nights this weekend!" to which he replied, " They called ***(our singer) and said they needed a band this week and they had heard about us so I told her to tell them that we'd do it." I asked him what he would do about a bass player and he said they would get someone to fill in for me. I told him they should tell the club owner thanks for asking but one of our band members can't make it.

    Background: All of our band members have normal day jobs except for me. I work rotating shifts(days and nights) and we're open 24/7. The pay is good, however. When we formed this band from two bands back in April we were going to try and play two weekends a month and try to work around my schedule. We all have decent jobs and aren't really doing it for the money. Well, I knew there was one scheduled weekend in October that I probably couldn't make so while I was on vacation last month the band had two bass players come by to a practice. I know one of them but never met the other.
    Back to the story: The guitar player tells me that the bass player that I know is out of town so he'll call the other one. Then he asks me if the guy can use my rig for the gig! I told him absolutely not! I don't know him. If he's good enough to play he ought to have his own rig. I'm sure the guitar player thinks I'm being a jerk. Oh well.
    My two concerns are this:
    From a business standpoint, we're trying to get exposure and they want to do gigs with a bass player who doesn't know the material that well and that they're not used to playing with.
    From a personal standpoint, It's going to kill me to think about my band being on stage without me. I've been playing with 2 of these guys for 10+ years and the others fo 8 months. We have a great playing chemistry that Is rare.
    Am I wrong to be upset about this?
  2. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    Nope, if they agreed to work around your schedule and did not make it clear that they would use fill ins from the start I'd be pissed too.
  3. Agreed.

    And hell ***king no they shouldn't ask to use your gear. :rolleyes:
  4. John Herzog

    John Herzog Supporting Member

    Jun 14, 2002
    Schertz, TX
    I'd be pretty hacked off too. I definately don't lend equipment to people I don't know. I won't even lend equipment to people in the same band unless it's something cheap becuase they have a habit of not knowing how to operate it properly.

    Hopefully they will learn their lesson, if the guy doesn't know the material the gig will probably be bad. People generally underestimate the role the bass plays until it is missing or is played badly.

  5. 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
    Strange. When I can't make a gig, I hope aainst hope they can get a sub. It's like you're saying, "If I can't be there, then the rest of you can't make any money either." Keep it up, and one of the subs will supplant you. On the gear thing, you're right. The sub needs to have his/her own.
  6. victobass


    Nov 27, 2003
    I knew that I'd have to get a sub sometime, but I didn't think it would happen coming off our first gig! And like I said, I don't know this guy. I hope it all goes well. I think I'm just upset because this band has such great potential and I feel honored to be a part of it. We have really good equipment and we all know how to play. I've always felt that each individual member is unique and makes our band what it is and to think that some of the others feel that it's so easy to replace someone worries me. I guess I look at it as more like a family than a business.
  7. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    I agree here. If I can't make a gig, I want the band to get a sub. I want the band to continue to get exposure, make money, promote goodwill among our clientele, and entertain audiences. It will only make the band better when I return. The band and I both want the sub to be capable, because if the band sounds like crap with the sub it hurts all of us in the band. If the sub is competent it helps all of us in the band.

    In your band situation, because it is new, you'll need to generate exposure and goodwill. Because of the short notice, you're doing a favor to this club by providing entertainment. Hopefully this translates to more and better work from this venue. This benefits you.

    As far as the gear, I wouldn't lend it out. It's perfectly reasonable not to. It does make me wonder about the sub, if the guy doesn't have a stageworthy rig. If the guy can't come up with a rig, someone better come up with a DI box.
  8. Hollow Man

    Hollow Man Supporting Member

    Apr 28, 2003
    Springfield, VA
    There's no reason to be upset. The band's not divorcing you. Your bandmates found a good opportunity, and they're understandably pursuing it. You were the first option, but for equally understandable reasons, you can't make it. It's not a sign of disrespect that they would seek the temporary services of someone else. We do it all the time with friends. You try to spend time with someone, but failing that, you see someone else instead. It's simply a matter of availability.

    Now the whole gear thing... sketchy, if you ask me.
  9. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    -this is one of the significant differences between cover bands and original bands.

    Victobass, if you are in a cover band it would be more reasonable.
  10. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Oh, I don't know. Jeff Berlin subbed for Chris Squire. I think this has more to do with subtext - am I gonna get dumped for somebody else, are they gonna think I'm not committed cause I missed a gig, etc.

    Maybe further down the road, the guitar player (or whoever) will have the wherewithal to say " I'll have to check the calendar, let me call you back in a couple of hours" or "Unfortunatley we're playing a private event that day/night, do you have an alternate date I could check the calendar for?" But like you say, it's the first call for a booking.
    Everybody is gonna be excited and YES is going to be the first word out. Just by the by though, the best way not to get a call for a second gig is to say no to the first call.

    If you are concerned about the future of you and the group, THAT'S what you should talk about, not what they should have done.
  11. Schwinn


    Dec 4, 2002
    Sarasota, FL
    Man, some of you guys are all about the business aren't you!? Victobass, I'd be pissed too. It sounds like they are not giving you consideration or respect. Tell them that a gig shouldn't be booked unless it works for everyone. If they are looking for "subs" than it won't be long before they don't consider you a member of the band anymore.
  12. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    I agree, if the bass is a big part of the "original" sound, then getting a sub would make it a different band. The issue is whether the sub accurately represents the sound of the band. Is he gonna suck, and hurt the band's reputation? Is he going to change the whole sound around? Is he good enough that the band will replace me? Is he conniving his way into the band? Is the band going to question your commitment? Those are all legitimate issues.

    But, if your relationship with your bandmates is good, then there shouldn't be too much to worry about on the personal end. My current band calls in a sub for me more often than any other player in it, yet I'm still the guy who plays most of the gigs and whose name and picture are in the promo kit. Owning part of the PA and running sound helps too. :D

    As far as the music and business side is concerned, if the guy can adequately fill in, then what's the big deal? Everyone benefits. I like to know who my subs are, and do my best to be the guy to find one. I know all of my subs, and they do the job just fine. It's not always possible to do everything as a band. I won't cancel practice because a certain member can't be there. I still use the time and members available to work on stuff.

    It all boils down to a matter of the trustworthiness of your bandmates. If they aren't, then this matter definitely has levels of negativity attached to it. If so, there shouldn't be much to worry about.
  13. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    In the last band I was in, the basslines were uniquely "mine". they represented my style and taste. I wrote them, I played on the recordings and I wanted them in my songs. It would bother me very much to have them chenged or played by someone other than me. Is it ego? A little, but I think more than that it is my art and I want it to remain my expression to whomever hears it.
  14. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    No, I'm not all about the business. I have enough confidence in myself that if I can't make a gig and the band wants to get a sub that is 100% OK with me.

    I don't worry about being disrespected or replaced. In one of my old bands the preferred sub was Ed Friedland (yeah, the BP editor and book author) who can of course outplay me in his sleep with both hands tied behind his back. They never thought of dumping me for Ed; that band lasted 7 years and I still work with my old bandmates on pickup gigs over a decade later.

    BTW I do sub work with bands that play original material, they give me tapes or CDs and I learn their tunes. Sometimes they'll ask me to rehearse once.
  15. Edwcdc

    Edwcdc I call shotgun!

    Jul 21, 2003
    Columbia MD USA
    Tha band I play in does an every Thursday night gig. I did it for 2 years but it got to be too hard on my schedule. I am at work everyday by 4am. It's hard to go all day on an hour nap and be good for my Friday night gig. Anyway, I tried to get the band to stop doing the gig for about six months but they wanted the money so I finally told them they had a month to find someone else or just stop doing the gig all together. They found a sub who has been doing the gig for over a year now. At first I didn't like the idea of someone taking my spot but this was far better than killing my self to keep the band happy. The other guy has great equipment and decent chops from what I hear so he isn't making the band sound crappy. Plus he's a TB'r. :D
    They only thing I ask is that they don't play our origional stuff. LIke Blisshead said I wrote those parts and wouldn't want someone else playing them in my band. :scowl: Now if another band was covering one of our songs that would be cool.

    I still play all of the weekend gigs and the rare other than Thursday, weeknight gigs.
  16. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    I don't see anything wrong with them getting a sub, but no way should they ask to use your gear.
  17. 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
    Second most absurd thing I've ever heard. Keep missing gigs and it won't be long before they don't consider you a member of the band.
  18. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000

    I don't know about all of you guys, but I play in a band SO I CAN PLAY. If my work/school/whatever schedule were to create a big interference in the booking of gigs, I would step down from my position, and find a band who only wanted to play once in a while. I once played in a band that had a guitarist who played in another working band, and a drummer who worked swing shifts. I said I would never do that again; I only gigged half of the time I could.

    The guitarist in my current band works 6 days a week, so Friday bookings are rough. Everyone has met in the middle though. We realize that our guitarist has to get up for work on Saturday, but he also realizes that some of the bigger rooms won't just hand a new band a Saturday night. So we do play occasional Fridays as long as it pays off. (monetary wise, and getting in on a club's Saturday schedule)

    You need to sit down and talk with your band. If their goal is to gig as much as possible, you may want to think about stepping down.
  19. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    And to add onto this discussion:

    The person who handles the booking of a band should always know unavailable dates in advance. If you had a wedding aniversary 2 months down the road, make sure you tell the booking person. That way, when the person goes to book, he can just pop open his/her book, and see what dates are available and match it with the club. There's nothing more unprofessional than getting a date from a club, and then tell them, "I'll call you back latter, I have to call the other guys and make sure they also have it open". I take that back, there is something more unprofessional, having the person responsible for bookings book a date, and then have to call the club to cancel it because of the member's son has a little league game that day.
  20. malthumb


    Mar 25, 2001
    The Motor City
    I'm with LiquidMidnight and Munji on this one. If the person who is primarily responsible for the booking has everyone's schedule penciled in, that person can make the "on-the-spot" responses that are often required to get the best gigs.
    Then if dates come up that one person or the other can't make, you make the decisions based on what the band has already agreed to. My band has already agreed that they will do one gig in August without me. We've narrowed down my replacement to a couple people. The set list will probably be modified to cover the things that the substitute bassist already knows or can pick up quickly (we are a cover band).

    I expect that whomever does the gig uses their own equipment. We would do the same if other band members were unable to make a particular gig.

    Since we all have the fundamental understanding that we want to gig at most two weekends per month and that nobody's looking for a recording deal or a way to quit his day-job, we all pretty much understand each others' priorities. I imagine that things are significantly more competitive in situations where a band is looking to bust out.