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unrealistic expectations

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Guiseppe, Feb 21, 2008.

  1. Guiseppe


    Oct 26, 2003
    Vancouver, WA
    Lately I joined up with a couple guitarists who I'd met and were thinking of starting a project. One of the guitarists knew of a young girl that sang well and wanted in.

    Fast forward 12 practices later. We've got a gig booked this weekend. So far, the singer only knows about 10 songs, and the other 3 of us (plus a pinch-hit drummer) are covering the other 40 or so. I just found out that their intention was to pay her a full cut of the gig when she's only going to be performing 1 of the 3 sets. Am I outta line for making the basic assumption that since she's only doing 1 set she should only get 1/3rd of what would be her cut?
  2. Where I live you would be out of line, yes.
    She is part of the band and does the gig, even if she doesn't sing all songs, so she would have here full part.

    Only telling you how it worls here.....

  3. Personally I wouldn't have a singer in my band that couldn't nail over 10 songs in 12 practices worth of homework time...but everyone has different tolerances with bands etc so thats up to the power players in your band. :)

    If she is still going to be on stage providing backup vocals, harmonies, hand percussion etc and dancing/interacting with the crowd as a full-time member in a shared vocal situation would do, then by all means for sure pay her an equal cut as she is still sharing the load.

    But if she is only going to sing one of three sets as a "lead vocalist/front person" then I wouldn't need to make the decision how to pay her, as per my opening statement.

    I'm not sure where I sit on if it's out of line, but believe me I would at least question why the people paying her felt that 1/3 of the work was equal to an equal cut, especially if she isn't keeping up with the rest of you.
  4. IanStephenson

    IanStephenson UnRegistered User

    Apr 8, 2006
    Her songs should be spread through the gig, not all in one set. Thats just inviting her to abuse the situation. If she turns up, does one set and goes home then he gets short pay.

    Personally I'd insist she turns up at the begining, loads in/sound checks with everyone, plays all three sets (and she better be shaking it when she's not singing), load out, and give her an equal cut.

    She might not be ready to do the singing load (thats unfortunate), but that doesn't mean she can't pitch in with the work. I'd consider her willingness to work the whole night far more important than her ability to sing all the sings. If she doesn't know the songs that can be fixed, if she doesn't pull her weight at gigs thats a problem. Letting her get off light is setting you up for future issues, and paying her proportional to how much she sings is actually telling her it's OK to just turn up and sing some songs, rather than doing the whole gig.

    Pay her in full, make her work for it, let her know she needs to catch up quick.

  5. BassChuck

    BassChuck Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    +1 on this. Every band I've played with that has an 'unequal' pay system eventually has problems with it. Equal pay promotes equal work (wouldn't Karl Marx be proud?). Its all about team work.... and, if she gets equal pay you have excellent grounds to tell her to get it together and learn 3 sets of songs.
  6. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    The actual performance time is a small part of the band commitment IMHO. If she's putting in as much rehearsal time as the rest of you, contributed equally to your PA (!), carries her share of the gear, etc., there's no excuse not to pay her equally. You could also consider having her take on more of the load distributing flyers, hustling the next gig, and so on. As Ian said, make her work for it. But personally I'd go a little gentle on that until you know if she's actually going to work out long-term.

    Good luck, and have fun.
  7. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    Well said.

    Give her a tambourine and some other percussion toys. She should be on stage all night. If she plays another instrument that will work with the material, she should be working it into the act.
  8. I've been in bands that went with both full and partial pay. I think full pay works best.
    If you don't pay her a full share, you're setting her up as part-time with the band.
    Pay her a full share and encourage her to be on stage for the entire night. And try to work up some more material for her. Let her pick the songs.
    You're probably aware of how much a female singer adds to a band just from stage presence. Try to develop this asset.
  9. Guiseppe


    Oct 26, 2003
    Vancouver, WA
    Well, my first impression from all this is that I need to step up to the plate and enhance the communications. She's typically shown up, does her songs, and bails. All the materials she's done are ones that I've recommended/taught her, and the last rehearsal she made the comment that she wanted to have a stand and cheat sheet in case she didn't know all the lyrics. I really don't want to come down hard on her, but she's shown herself to be awfully inexperienced with being the frontperson, and I'm willing to bet she's going to "freeze" on stage...she doesn't seem confident enough to get out and boogie the way we all would expect the frontperson to do. The comments I've made about taking a lesser cut are based on the fact that she's not learned material as fast as I think should be expected, always late for rehearsals (she doesn't drive and depends on her sister to get her to rehearsals), and hasn't taken any interest in learning/contributing to the material that isn't exclusively ones that she's singing.

    I'm not ALL about the money, but when she's been doing this for a month and a half and isn't completely dialed in (along with the other forementioned things), and she's only doing 1/3 of the show makes me think that the REST of the band is getting shortchanged. In addition, the songs we're doing without her are IMHO the better ones of our set.
  10. +1 for 'equal pay'... That being said, NO SLACKING.. she must be on-stage doing something. And of course the always present: load-in and load-out.. exempt her from nothing, but don't let your resentment show either. I think she'll improve over time.
  11. msquared


    Sep 19, 2004
    Kansas City
    I agree with this, and would take it a step further and say that it's her loss that she doesn't get to perform the entire time. When I play a gig, I consider my payment to be for hauling the gear and doing the other drudge work. It's not enough, but the fact that I get to play music makes up for it. If I go to an open jam or a show and get invited to sit in for a couple songs, I don't expect to get paid for it no matter how well I played. So IMO she's already getting short changed by only being up there for 1/3 of the time performing, and making sure she's there for the entire gig will either give her incentive to get caught up quickly or it will show you that she isn't actually going to work out.
  12. rllefebv


    Oct 17, 2000
    Newberg, Oregon
    I'm local... Where's the gig??

  13. NKUSigEp


    Jun 6, 2006
    Bright, IN
    Depends on who is there to see her - there's a lot of grey area when talking about splitting up the money between a band. Typically everyone just gets an even cut so there's less math involved but if I was you, I'd probably speak up and say something just to protect your own financial interests.
  14. Howlin' Hanson

    Howlin' Hanson Lighter cabs, please.

    Sep 3, 2007
    Austin TX
    Um, don't be too hard on me, then. I use lyric sheets. At 58, my ability to memorize is not so good.

    My goal is to give the sheets up, but I'm not there yet. Most of these songs I've been playing for 3 months or so, but only once a week. Full-time job, etc etc.

    Your singer--how much time outside practice time can she put in?

    One suggestion, have her write or type out the lyrics instead of just pasting the lines from websites. This admittedly slower process made me more familiar with the words.

    Good luck.
  15. +1 Actually, think how this works to your benefit. If She is inexperienced, then you really don't want her to be carrying all that load without a plan B. Plan B is that you could find another singr and be no worse off. You could carry the gig if she falls apart. She has already shown a lack of confidence by the desire for a music stand.

    Don't forget to teach her business skills. The manager will want to talk to HER about the next gig because she will be to one he recognises.

    Just be straight with her and get her to gradually take on more of the leads. Talk about finding a learning technique. However there is no point getting her to learn too many songs badly.

    Gig #1 and you're worrying about the money? Get the band stable and working before you start changing things.
  16. It would be bad internal PR to break it down like that over one gig. If she is in your band and her role is presumably going to expand, why cause a rift over what will probably amount to a little gas money?

    Make it clear to her that there are expectations going forward and pay her a full cut in good faith.
  17. I think it's really nice that most of the replies say to per her in full, and I RELUCTANTLY agree, if only to to avoid "issues"

    My fear would be, since she is inexperienced, she may not quite understand what it really means to carry her own weight. I hope she gets it that the other members know 40 songs, and she only knows 12. I would hope she recognizes that and steps up and doesn't think it's "okay" to only know some of your gig. I mean, you and the other members know everything, and if you didn't, you couldn't gig right ?

    It's like getting paid for full time work, working only 12-15 hours a week, and though it's fun work, it should still be thought of as "fun, but a business" too. At the same time it could be like a new job with training : the expectation to be to certain point by a certain deadline, but not blowing out people too soon because some catch on quicker.

    If you you really wanted to look at somewhat unrealistically, to me it would be like your friends that my help the band strike the gear at the end of the night : does everyone who helps get twenty dollars ? I know I'm stretching here, but you CAN look at it that way. Just make sure she knows what is expected of her and she needs to ramp it up. You can memorize lyrics and songs just about anywhere, but you can't always be practicing your instrument when driving, or on your lunch break.

    I don't mean to be harsh either, just what I think is being realistic.
  18. Is she a talented, but inexperienced singer? Then work with her and help her learn to be more professional about the music business. My singer has a music stand with cheat sheats for lyrics too and at first it was for the songs, but now it's a crutch and he doesn't even look at it very much. He's got a killer voice and just hasn't spent a lot of time fronting a band, but he's getting more and more comfortable all the time, and I don't imagine it will be too long before he'll drop them completely. I imagine you have a similar situation. Work with her and see if it doesn't work out in the long run. Meantime, give her full pay and make her earn it by doing other things when she's not singing - working the crowd, working the merch table/signup for email lists, etc...
  19. Guiseppe


    Oct 26, 2003
    Vancouver, WA
    After some consideration, I wound up bailing. The singer in question wound up performing with the 'deer in the headlights' syndrome. One of the guitarists seems to have some sort of fixation with her. I mentioned the need for her to contribute more material, and she responded with "umm, I don't really KNOW any other songs...can you suggest some?". She DIDN'T attend all the rehearsals (saying those were the ones that the "guys" were doing), and while she did half-heartedly help tear down that night, she only wound up singing 9 songs out of the 40+. Good luck to them, I honestly don't think they'll wind up booking many more gigs.
  20. tycobb73


    Jul 23, 2006
    Grand Rapids MI
    My female singer sings half the songs, helps carry the PA, put up the PA, and even some times carries my cabinets. They're Dr Bass Neo's, but still 35 and 45 lbs. She can sing, and brings 20 of her friends and family whenever we play. Good, no great, female lead singers are out there. I would have bailed on that band too.

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