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what would you do?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Joe Nerve, Jan 17, 2005.

  1. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    I have a pretty cool gig playing acoustically for a belgian singer doing her renditions of the music of jaques brel. She gives me lots of work and the gigs pay up to $250 for one set of songs. We play a steady gig every wednesday night (for a year now) and it pays $120. She puts a tip glass next to her when we play and drops $20 in it herself to give the people the gyst of what the glass is for. It's a pretty high class french restaurant, people adore her, and every time we play the glass gets filled. I'd say she takes in another $100 to $400 in tips. She doesn't give any of it to me or the guitarist.

    I feel the tips are intended for all of us, not her, but it IS her gig, and she's clearly who they're all coming to see. We're pretty insignificant, and easily replaced. While we've become fairly close friends with her, when it comes to business there's been some heat beween us.

    She's obviously decided she does NOT want to share the tips with us. If I tell her how I feel it's going to create an uncomfortable situation. If I don't I'm going to feel resentful everytime someone drops a twenty in the glass. I may need to also refocus my glasses and look at this thing differently.

    What would you do?
  2. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    Wow. 8 hours and not a single response. Does this mean I have to start paying a therapist again?
  3. Roberto


    Dec 24, 2004
    Can't you ask her nicely to cut the tips 60/40 or 70/30? That's a fair deal. If not, I'd leave but I don't know how much you need the gig.
  4. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Is $120 a good return for the effort you have to put in? Are you missing better opportunities by sticking in the gig?

    If it's her gig and you're just hired hands backing her up, it might be better to just live with it. It's easy to imagine that you would share things equally if you were the leader but what if you felt you'd done all the work to set up the gig, you felt you were the focus of the entertainment and you felt the hired hands just turned up, played competently and then went home.... would you really be so keen then?

    From the sound of it, she's laying you golden eggs... don't go making her feel all cut up about it! ;)

  5. DirtDog


    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    Put your own tip jar out there labelled "JOE". :cool:

    I think she'll get the message and you might make a few bucks.

    It'll also straighten out who the audience is ACTUALLY there to see..... :eek:

  6. It depends on the terms of how you were hired. If it was $120 a night and it's really her gig, then that's what it is. If you agree to do a job for a set amount of money, then you are obligated to fulfill the commitment regardless of what she is able to make. It's her risk and reward; you agreed to a flat rate, with no risk.

    One way of handling it might be to approach her with the idea that you would like the opportunity to make more money for the gig, but you are willing to do it with some risk (i.e. take a lower per-gig fee and a % of the tips). That way, if the tips were not good, she could pay you less and when the tips were good, you could make more. It would encourage you to make her look better.

    When it comes down to it, you are getting your money and you'd be a lot better off convincing yourself that the tips are not your money.
  7. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Too late to do anything about it now, really.

    If you didn't bring it up after the first couple of gigs you've got no leverage. Are you willing to kiss off all these steady gigs if she refuses to share? I'd guess not.

    She's the leader, you're the sideman and it's her call.

    P.S. the 8 hours were while I was asleep, sorry...next time I'll stay up all night in case you post something :D
  8. atldeadhead


    Jun 17, 2002
    I'm sure it stings to see that tip jar fill with boat loads of cash, none of which you'll ever see BUT I would gladly accept a gig that paid $120 for one set of low key music in the non-smoking, non-beer swilling, non-drunk *******, home by a decent hour, environment of a classy french restaurant. This is the kind of gig I loooong to secure.

    For future reference always know that you need to work out details like each musicians take, if any, of the tips earned in an evening before you accept the gig. I'd grin and bear it for now. You could always quit in protest but I'm sure there is someone waiting in the wings to take your place. Bide your time Joe. She will eventually need a *favor* from you. Maybe a last minute gig she really wants to play. It is at this time that you can bargin with her and possibly work out some new arrangement. In the mean time I salute you sir for having landed such a swell paying gig. All of us low frequency schmuks should be so lucky.

    Viva Joe Nerve...and his bongo!

  9. Bassic83


    Jul 26, 2004
    Texas, USSA
    I like the idea of the second tip jar...however, in reality, it is her gig, and you are playing for a set fee. That said, I think it is tres gauche of her to take all the tips on a good nite. She should at least tip you guys out, even if it's only a twenty or two. Still, it is steady money. But the public perception is that she is the musician, you guys are stage props, and in no way involved with the music. She could tape you guys one night, then do a single someplace without you- think about that. Of course, then you'd have her dead to rights on mechanicals, but good luck enforcing it. If I put out a tip jar one nite and made $400 in tips, you better believe I'd tip my guys out! At least $5-10... ;)
  10. Up to $250 a night for one set... and you're complaining? Wow!

    I totally understand where you're coming from on the tip jar issue, but that's one hell of a good income at a set rate. Is it possible some of your set rate actually comes out of the tip jar in the first place?

    I suppose you could always raise the subject delicately and ask for a small percentage of the jar... but it is her call in the end and you're just the hired help.
  11. jondog


    Mar 14, 2002
    NYC metro area
    Leave the tips alone and ask nicely for a modest raise. I'm dependable, on time, play well, etc. Can I please have $150 for the Wednesday gig?
  12. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    Thanks guys. I appreciate the input. I've decided as some people might say, to woos out on this one. I'm gonna go through the other guy, who used to date her. I'm going to convince him we're losing a lot of money and ask him if he's got THE NERVE! to bring it up to her. If not, I'm gonna swallow it. It really is a great gig - as atldeadhead described. We also get a huge dinner and get treated like gold by the owner and staff.

    The thing that burns me the most about it all is that I'm quite sure the people are tipping all of us, not just her as they'll sometimes give us a nod and drop a twenty. Feels so wrong.
  13. mike mcd

    mike mcd

    Dec 11, 2002
    I would think that most people contributing the tips would think that their tip would be divided amongst the musicians providing the entertainment, not just the leader(as you mentioned by the nod they give to the band). At least I would feel that way if I was giving a tip to a GROUP of performers. You should ask her to think about that, I'm sure she might have some sympathy as she is musician and a human being as well. Or maybe not. :meh:
  14. shadow wraith

    shadow wraith

    Dec 1, 2004
    I actually think it's kind of selfish of her to take all the tips, don't know if I'd be able to play with someone like that. To me it says she has no respect for you and obviously doesnt care if you're there or not. I've never played in that kind of situation before though so not sure what is actually expected. I'd probably ask her what's going on with the tips and see how she reacts. Depending on that I'd either quit, be satisified with her reasoning, or get a share of the money...
  15. The guitarist is her ex!? Perhaps there is some tension there?
    Only pursue this plan if you are prepared to have the whole gig vanish right before your eyes :scowl:

    Bottom line without her you don't have a show. Without you she still has the show. Instumentalists are easier to replace than vocalists :rolleyes: . The audience usually comes to see the singer :( .

    Yes she is being a jerk by not spliting the tips. No she's not obligated to split tips.

    $120.00 plus dinner, plus great treatment...... she most likely won't have a hard time replacing either of you!

    IMHO......... Jim
  16. MichaelScott


    Jul 27, 2004
    Moorpark CA
    I think the majority of the people here have a good point: Sounds like some good money for a great gig. If you don't mind getting replaced then I'd ask for more money. Personally, I wouldn't bring it up unless I fouond something better to do on that night- those singers are tempremental.
  17. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    I suppose the worst way you could look at it is that if you're just "the help" - lowly like a waiter or something - then it would be at least reasonable for her to consider giving a 20% 'tip' to 'the help' - like she would for waitstaff. That would be 10% for each of you.

    ..But I don't know if $10 to $40 is worth risking things over!

  18. KeithPas


    May 16, 2000
    A steady $120.00 a week Wed night gig is good if you are not having to put too much into it. I would'nt risk losing the gig but you have got a feel for maybe what her reaction would be if you decided to bring it up. Good luck.
  19. 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
    I agree that she should give some of the tips to the band, BUT, what was the deal when you signed on? If you agreed to a set amount, then that's the deal. The right thing to do is take the gig as agreed upon, or leave it.
  20. Ryan L.

    Ryan L. Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    West Fargo, ND
    I gotta agree with Munji (and several others) on this one. If you agreed to the set amount, that's pretty much what you have to go with, even though it might seem like it sucks.