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Trainwreck incoming!

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by eukatheude, Jun 19, 2014.

  1. So, I had an ad up offering my services as session player.
    The first call I got from it in months was this tuesday: there's this big music festival in my city, and this woman's son (a couple years under my age - I'm 23) was just kicked out of his band which was going to play there this saturday.
    So since his birthday is close, she thought well of calling up pro musicians (I'm not a pro yet, but that's beside the point) to help him out. In the end she decided to just hire me, while the guy found a singer and a guitarist. I had to go on a work trip to the Netherlands the following days with no time to listen to the songs (which were supposed to be 3, now they bumped up to seven with some titles miscommunicated so I can't even find them online), this evening I'm playing with another band so no time either.

    Still, not a problem as it's all easy stuff which, with chord charts, I can probably figure out on the fly (green day, blink 182, shakira, pitbull etc.), plus I'll rehearse with these guys friday. Point is... He sent me a mail with the tracklist, and I saw his picture from the google account, and I've realized I've already played with this guy. I was auditioning for a cover band (got the gig but the band went nowhere and disbanded a few months later) and he was kicked out by the following rehearsal.
    He can't keep a beat to save his life, zero dynamics, zero whatsoever, and says he's been taking lessons for years.. To his defence he didn't really feel "ok" to me, like he has some kind of mental condition (don't mean to offend anyone) as he seemed to have trouble understanding anything that was said to him ("Hey man, ease up a bit on this part" "Sure dude! OK!" *BANG BOOM TSSH BANG BANG!!!* etc.).

    And I'm supposed to supervise and play at rehearsals to ensure we deliver a good show, while pretending I'm just interested in playing with them and not getting paid by his concerned mom. Basically I'm her birthday present to him.
    My guess is we'll get booed off stage. Have I mentioned we're playing in the main city plaza?
    And I don't really want to be in the situation of either threatening Mommy into paying me what was agreed, or making a fool of myself for free.
    I just hope he's got a little better in the last months - he was easily the worst drummer I've ever had the pleasure of encoutering.

    Last edited: Jun 19, 2014
    SeamzKing likes this.
  2. Rickett Customs

    Rickett Customs

    Jul 30, 2007
    Southern Maryland
    Luthier: Rickett Customs...........www.rickettcustomguitars.com
    As my current mentor says, "there's no such thing as a bad gig". There's always something to gain, even if it's a disaster.

    However, If you go into it with a negative mindset, it won't be great for you.
    vmabus, IGotGas, f64 and 1 other person like this.
  3. I realise. It's just been a very, very, very stressful week. Busiest in my life yet, and it already was before I took the gig. Still, is it really worth it doing it for 50 bucks I'm not even sure I will receive? Do I want my name yelled into the PA before a horrible performance which I can't possibly do anything about?
    I hope you're right and we manage to achieve something at least listenable by this rehearsal. And if things go as I expect and Mommy blames ME... Well I can't say I will be responsible for my actions.
  4. buldog5151bass

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

    Oct 22, 2003
    1. Make it clear to the mom that you get paid before you go on stage.
    2. Make sure you know the stuff cold.
    3. You have to do the best you can to pull this off. Take charge at rehearsal, since it sounds like you are likely the one to do so. Keep things simple as possible. If a performance is impossible, have a talk with them. If it is just weak, then go with it.
    4. If things are that bad, have a little talk with the sound guy when you get there - explain the situation, and explain that he might have to get creative with the mixing.

    Above all, relax. It will be what it will be.
  5. Rickett Customs

    Rickett Customs

    Jul 30, 2007
    Southern Maryland
    Luthier: Rickett Customs...........www.rickettcustomguitars.com
    There's one of two scenarios here, as you are embarking on your journey of becoming a pro, do not fool yourself into thinking that this would be the first time that you could possibly get burnt, this will make you very "gun shy" for accepting further work.

    As buldog5151bass mentions (which I agree with all points), having a good understanding with the client hiring you is key.
    This may also help you develop a strategy for some sort of paper agreement (contract), so that you do not get burned.

    As stated, No gig is a bad gig, not everything you gain will be monetary, experience is as good as cash in some cases (note:some cases).......
    If you do not gain either expierence or cash (preferably both), then something is not right.
  6. Thanks. I will study the stuff saturday morning / early evening, but in any case I think I'll just write chords on my forearm or something. Pay in advance is also something I'm going to ask.
    Taking charge at rehearsals is what I'm going to do if I can. I'll just insist on taking it easy, don't overplay, just keep the rhythm etc.
    I hope THERE IS a soundguy, but yeah this is very good advice. Haven't though of that. I will also need to evaluate the other players, as I don't know them. I wanted to bring in the guitarist in my other band but that would have doubled the fee for mommy.
    If the other players are at least capable (which, if I'm lucky, is likely as they all accepted the gig on short notice) I'll try talking to them on the side.

    So, onsider this scenario... Drummer starts messing up everything completely, hopefully-capable-guitarist and I had had a talk... What do we do? We follow the drummer, or keep our rhythm with the singer, watching each other's feet and letting the guy go his own way?

    Rickett, you are right. My fear is that I won't gain any of the two. But we'll see.
  7. buldog5151bass

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

    Oct 22, 2003
    1. No. If no pay, no play. I assume this is the son's name on the bill, not yours. I would email/call and tell her you expect payment at rehearsal.
    2. If there is a festival with any crowd, there should be someone running the board.
    3. If the drums can be turned down, you follow each other. If not, you likely will have to follow him.
    4. I don't know how much this guy can be talked to (it may have been alcohol or something else that night). Remind him to keep things simple.
    5. Nothing wrong with pieces of paper on your amp or floor with chord changes.

    Your goal at rehearsal is to try to establish a connection with the drummer (just you and me against the world, bud, etc).

    Relax. Be the pro out there. Anyone who has played out has had to deal with less than perfect conditions (remember, the Who had Keith Moon pass out on stage more than once - the did OK).
  8. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    There might not be bad gigs, but there are bad deals. Multiple rehearsals with the worst drummer you've ever heard and the players he's handpicked from his circle? All for $50? Know when to "No."
  9. Payment at rehearsal without the kid noticing is going to be difficult. But I can arrange something, like meeting up with her before the show.

    EDIT: Derrico1, it's only one 2-hours rehearsal and then the gig.

    In all fairness, the only rehearsal we did, we managed to get to the end of the songs, if poorly, with a mediocre guitarist and singer, and a very good keyboardist. So maybe it won't be THAT bad.
    If anything I think he will recognise me, though I can just say they had already decided on ditching him and that I frankly don't remember how he played.
  10. buldog5151bass

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

    Oct 22, 2003
    I think expecting you to find her afterwards is unreasonable. Even if the gig goes well, she can disappear. If she complains, ask her if she expects to pay for her groceries after she eats them.
    eukatheude likes this.
  11. And if she doesn't agree, I'll just wreck the show myself.
  12. buldog5151bass

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

    Oct 22, 2003
    I don't know local customs, but if it were me, unless it was my name on the marquee, no pay, no play.
  13. JohnMCA72


    Feb 4, 2009
    If she complains, you've got your way out of the situation.
  14. 100% agreed on payment before you hit the stage.
  15. ddnidd1

    ddnidd1 Supporting Member

    If you're willing to endure this much pain for $50, I certainly don't know what to suggest.

    However, if you don't get paid, its not enough $ to get bent out of shape over. Personally, the money would be the least of my concerns.
    derrico1 likes this.
  16. See how rehearsal goes. If it looks to be a disaster, I'd bow out right then and there. Just say "sorry, I can't do this." Life goes on.
  17. This has disaster written all over it.... but you'll get $50 and the experience, wisdom, and rep kill, to never do that again. :D payin' dues.
  18. NWB


    Apr 30, 2008
    Kirkland, WA
    Be sure to get some video of the performance.

    Then include the video in a thread in the Bass Humor section of TB along with a description of events.

    If this really turns into a massive trainwreck, then you'll at least have a funny story to share with us.
  19. randyripoff


    Jul 12, 2008
    If you consider yourself a pro, don't do this. No matter how justified you might be, you never know when someone in the crowd or someone you're playing with might be looking for a bass player down the line, and sabotaging the gig would likely reflect really badly on you.
  20. TripleDouble

    TripleDouble Guest

    Aug 5, 2008
    Go in and be as good of a player as you can be, and an up front businessman who delivers the goods. Be reliable, be nice, be as musical as the situation allows. Kinda like you've crossed paths with this guy, you never know who you'll cross paths with down the line. Play and work to found a good working relationship with the keyboard player. Basically, take the high road here, and start building a reputation.

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