Disclaimer - this post is partially the result of some INTENSELY frustrating conversations with band members over gig frequency, gig pay, and travel-time to gigs. A good chunk of this is just me venting. I personally am a performance whore - I'll drive 4+ hours to do a $60 gig if I think it'll lead to a $100 or more gig down the road, ESPECIALLY if there's a big crowd. I might not take a REGULAR gig like that, but a one-off? I'm there! Some (most?) of my bandmates... not so much. Back-story - I'm the bandleader of an 8-piece funk cover band that is FINALLY starting to get some traction after two years of just barely scratching it out. There's been massive turnover at least twice in the band due to infrequency of gigs, and the current crop of folks have been making noises along the lines of "we don't gig enough for the amount we rehearse" (one 3-hour rehearsal every other week, tops. Every 3 weeks has been the average for the past 4-5 months. I'd personally like to have a weekly 2-3 hour rehearsal until everyone's committed the book to memory, but that one floated like a lead balloon...) So, to help with the gig-frequency situation I was able to find an agent (after MUCH searching) who actually seems to be doing pretty good. We're on track to double our gigging from MAYBE 1x/mo to a solid 2x/mo and more, and wouldn't you know it the loudest complainers about 'we don't gig enough' (lead vox and keys) promptly said "whoa, you're too busy for us, we quit because we want to spend more time with our families". So, that sucks. To their credit, they've committed to keeping things 'business as usual' with gigs and rehearsals and such until we can find replacements, so it's not as bad as it COULD be. Today, I got an email out of the blue from a club owner in Laconia, NH, who heard about us from some ex band member, and could we please play Laconia Bike Week in June for $700. It's a three hour drive for me, but I would SO be there (remember: sloppy. shameless. gig. whore.) For those not familiar with the event, Laconia Motorcycle Week is one of the bigger festivals in middle-New Hampshire. Something like 10,000 motorcycle-loving party animals filter through the town over the course of a week, and they are looking to PAR-TAY. The band members, who all live closer to Laconia by 60-90 minutes or more, immediately start a fuss. "$87/person? That won't even cover gas! I don't wanna play all day and not even make gas money. It's such a long drive! I wouldn't take that gig for twice as much" etc etc ad nauseam. In the meantime, we're fighting tooth and nail for $500-$600 gigs in Cambridge where it's a 'big night' when 150 people show up. Plus, in Cambridge, we have to pay out the nose for parking, food, drinks, etc. ALSO today, the agent emails me with a gig offer at a place even FARTHER north in New Hampshire (four hours drive for me). $60/man plus food and lodging as a 'paid audition', with a promise of it going up to $100/man or more if the club REALLY likes us. I haven't even bothered breaking it to the band yet, because I can already hear the wailing and gnashing of teeth now. Needless to say, I want to do both gigs. Finding local work (Boston area inside the 95 belt) is incredibly difficult because we're not a Top 40 3-4 piece rock band. There's also some serious market saturation because, hey, it's Boston. We can get gigs flung farther north or south where we're bigger fish in smaller ponds, AND I have a hunch those will lead to SIGNIFICANTLY better GB gigs in fairly short order. We can get even more ski-lodge/casino gigs in the wintertime where we'd be landing $1500 or more for a night (really, more like $3k for two nights) plus lodging. Trying to book ski lodges myself these past two years, everyone wants to know "well, you're a Boston band, how do you know you can do well here in New Hampshire/Rhode Island?" If we have a solid summer of NH/RI-based gigs under our belt, I can point to that and say, "SEE! Book us, baby!" All of this ranting and back-story leads me to this question: how sh*tty of me would it be to just start working with a 'satellite band' (or collection of satellite bands...) under my regular band's flag? I've got three 'true believers' (myself, drums, trumpet, and MAYBE this new guitar player...) in the current crop, and one hell of a tight ship on the back-end if I do say so myself - full charts and MP3s in Dropbox, various recordings of the band doing ALL the tunes from beginnings, endings, segues, etc. Onboarding new musicians is a matter of saying 'click this link and watch everything download to this folder on your desktop. Here's your setlist, here's your cheater-notes per tune, rehearsal is X, gig is Y. See ya there'. The cats who do their homework and show up to rehearsal fit in like they've been playing with us since the beginning. The kittens who don't... still suck and require oodles of handholding. I'm thinking that if I've got a string of $60-$100/man gigs in middle-to-northern New Hampshire that the 'committed' believers want to do but the 'contributing' realists wouldn't touch with a ten-foot pole, I could assemble a satellite band of regulars in middle-to-northern New Hampshire that would require little if any rehearsal. It'd be a pretty significant chunk of folks - lead vox, keys, trombone, sax, possibly guitar. We'd do a single rehearsal just before the one-off or string, hit the gigs, get paid, and everyone's happy. The local cats get work they wouldn't normally get, the true-believers get gigs they wouldn't normally get, and the contributing-realists get to stay safely home on a Saturday night, unburdened by such things as 'driving' or 'performing'. Heck, if this somehow worked and I could make it scale... I've got a couple of club connections down in Florida, Jersey, etc. I could start logging some serious travel time and spread the good word to all points South and lord knows where else from there! Anyway, thanks for listening TB. tl; dr - satellite bands: Good idea? Bad idea?