Subbing For Free???

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by bass81800, Dec 1, 2012.

  1. I have been getting out there and networking to try to find more gigs and play in better situations. As a result of this, I got a call from someone to sub for their gig. My first thoughts were that my efforts are starting to get results, and I will have the opportunity to play with a new group of musicians in great location. Was told no pay, just food and drink. I do not normally do free gigs, but, as I said, I see this as an opportunity.

    Now I found out that the gig does pay, but I agreed to do this for no pay per conversation with the player who asked me to sub, because I was available, was happy to be called, and see this as a good opportunity to get out there. I will do the gig and give it my all, hope it goes well, will keep my mouth shut, and hope I get called again, but am not going to do this again for free.

    What is you take on this?
  2. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    That's exactly what I would do in that situation sounds good.
  3. jonas_24112


    Jul 11, 2011
    Sounds like you learned a valuable lesson, got a free meal, and got to play a gig. You'll be alright, just dont do it again.
  4. Rockbassist4


    Oct 13, 2012
    If you were told that it wasn't a paying gig and then found out that there is pay you deserve to be paid.
  5. fraublugher


    Nov 19, 2004
    ottawa, ontario, canada
    music school retailer
    You might end up getting paid .
  6. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    He might get paid but he agreed to no pay keep your reputation of keeping your word.
  7. Pretty crappy behaviour on the part of whoever booked you. I would do the gig at the free rate but it would be hard to feel great about it after they took advantage.
  8. CerealKiller


    Jul 29, 2008
    Norfolk, VA
    Was the bassist whom you are subbing for working for free? Thinking not. You agreed to basically work for free, but it was under false pretense as well.
  9. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    It's also possible that the bassist who called you didn't have all the current details when he booked you.

    What are the details about how you found out that the gig paid? Does the rest of the band seem to expect that you'll be the only one still be playing this gig for suds and spuds?

    Any evidence that they're assuming you'll get the regular bassist's cut?
  10. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008
    Don't make a habit out of playing for free.

    If your just starting out I can somewhat understand.

    However, if I understand the gig correctly, I think it's low class for the band to ask you to play for free while they get paid. Especially if they are paying their regular bass player for the work you did.

  11. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008
    Play for free when the rest of the band is getting paid?

    Would you be willing to share your age with us?

  12. I wouldn't make a habit out of it, but if you're fortunate enough and professional enough about it, doing a freebie gig once in awhile can lead to more paying gigs. I used to play with a group that would play free gigs for the city from time to time and at each free gig we would get people asking if we played private functions and parties and such, and suddenly 2 or 3 free gigs in a year turned into 6 or 7 $250-$450/man gigs in a year. That's my experience, of course. Don't be so stingy as to decline every free gig, but like I said, don't make a habit out of taking alot of free gigs, either. You won't make enough money to make it worth your while, number one, and number two, you might get a reputation for being the guy that plays for free and it might snowball from there.
  13. ACalbass


    Dec 16, 2011
    The only opportunity I see for you is you being taken as a fool,and confirm it if you do the gig.
    Unless this is major act where you will have exposure and will help built a reputation,all the rest is just bull poo poo.
    C'mon,have some self respect,that is a working band,they get paid,everyone should get paid.
    If nobody gets paid is another situation,more understandable.

    I answered an ad many months ago,they were looking for a sub,in a band that plays good music,originals,for a summer event.
    The only problem is they offered $50 as pay.
    I explained that for a rehearsal and a gig,plus the travel for both,$50 was not much of a motivation for any musician at the level required to play those songs.
    The conclusion is I did not take the gig,they thank me for the honesty and self respect,but there was no one paid more than that,since it was a promotional arrangement from the label.
    Well,if you are in a band and commit to do this,is ok,but my problem goes toward the sub,where the promotion is not for him,the effort is not for him,the only benefit is for the band.
    You find TONS of those people that say " I am coming out strong,I have the cd,help me playing for free,we promote it,we play for nothing,but is exposure" and at the end,is only them the beneficiaries of the effort,not the musicians.

    If you are happy with the arrangement,do it,only you know the value of your musicianship.
    I help people if they need a hand too.
  14. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    I wouldn't play for free, and I certainly wouldn't play for free if the regular band was getting paid. You're getting screwed, and it won't do anything positive for your reputation.
  15. Stewie26

    Stewie26 Supporting Member

    Someone is playing you for a chump. You did not mention if the bass player called you or if it was one of the other band members who asked you to sub. If it was the bass player, he might be pulling off a side deal with you and the other band members may not be even aware of the pay arrangments he made with you. On the other hand, if it was one of the other band members who asked I would ask for fair compensation. It's a matter of self respect.
  16. Keep your promise and do the show for sure. Hopefully they'll do the right thing and sling you some cash after the gig.
  17. Agreed. Fulfill your end of the deal, as you agreed to, but make the band leader, and absolutely no one else, aware of your understanding of the situation. Hopefully he will either clarify the situation and/or make it right. That way you don't look like a chump and now he can worry about his reputation and his methods for hiring sidemen. Do not go moping about the event telling your tale of woe to anyone who will listen. This is between you and the band leader and whoever "hired" you to fill in. Anything less than this and you look like a whiner and very unprofessional.
  18. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008
    Keep your fingers crossed.

  19. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008

  20. bassfran

    bassfran Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2012
    Endorsing artist: Lakland basses
    Grits ain't groceries. No pay = no play.