When Sub dates are just not worth it.

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by pepj, Jan 24, 2023.

  1. pepj


    Mar 25, 2021
    I have more sub dates of late, and I have turned down two more frequent ones as not the type of gigs/music I'm interested in.

    An agent friend of mine asked would I be interested in talking to Band A which she 'manages' as regards gigs.
    I recently got a call from BL type and I asked were they regular bar dates, yep he said, so money was average and I asked for the set list.
    I think I know 50% of the set so I dont need to listen to them but I would appreciate the set being defined so I don't have to wade through numbers we will not play...and I don't much fancy having to learn them anyway.

    So, they play longer than usual, money not great, songs not great, collectively, and Band not great from videos.
    The only non-down side is a new set of network contacts and a favour to the agent.

    Overall, not really going to be worth the effort as I'm not interested in playing certain songs in another unit.

    If the agent wasn't a friend, I could have turned these down after the first chat IF it had been clear this was extended playing time over normal playing time for normal fees.
    Imv, the gigs pay $100 when they should pay $150.
    pcake, DJ Bebop, PennyroyalWe and 2 others like this.
  2. Yeah, fair enough. Life's too short!
    Plantbrain, DJ Bebop, smogg and 2 others like this.
  3. pepj


    Mar 25, 2021
    Yep, I messed up. This will overshadow the dates.
    DJ Bebop likes this.
  4. 51PRI


    Aug 7, 2014
    You already agreed to do the dates?
    DJ Bebop likes this.
  5. pepj


    Mar 25, 2021
    Kinda. In that agent asked me if I'd be interested.
    I was open to that introduction so said BL can call me.

    I asked him usual stuff, fee, venues and just 'ordinary' dates.
    Money pointed to the usual playing times, and the type of songs which is pretty much standard stuff.
    Asked for set list and it has 10 numbers more than standard...so I said pick standard set and I dont need to do extra on numbers we wouldn't be playing...?
    So, it turns out we ARE playing 10 numbers extra for standard $100 fee. So they werent upfront on that. So now I have to learn more numbers which I really don't care much for.
    I've posted elsewhere that its less above the actual number if the band is going to be good fun playing-wise. Which I do not think it will be.
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  6. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once... Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2013
    Who else is paying you $100 that night...
    mcnach, Plantbrain, DJ Bebop and 4 others like this.
  7. pepj


    Mar 25, 2021
    No one yet but they are in July so plenty could change.
    But I can't really cancel, I'll just suck it up because I didn't nail down the fine details.
    However when someone says 'standard playing time' then you assume thats standard.
    If I canvassed 10 bands, they'd know what that is.

    So many red flags on these guys already ...lol
  8. mrcbass


    Jan 14, 2016
    Sacramento, CA
    For me, the first sub gig with a new band is whatever it is. I try to research what I can, but unless I happen across some really poor videos, it's hard to know for sure what I'm getting into. If they can't be responsible in providing me set lists, then they get what they get outa me - which is not as prepared as I'd like to be. We need the time we need and constant changes are frustrating.

    But, ya gotta do the gig if you agreed to do it. I just won't work with those specific clowns again.
  9. Cave Puppy

    Cave Puppy "Humph Bo, he's wond!" - John Lennon

    Jan 13, 2015
    I’ve been doing LOTS of sub gigs lately, almost each one with a different guitarist and lead singer (three piece). I learn the recorded version of a song and we bash it out at the gig. The challenge for me was learning the songs I didn’t know and learning songs I hate. It’s part of the “fun.” What makes it not worth it for me is the stinkin traffic on the way to the show, and being forced to use IEMs for the first time, at a show, just because our sub guitarist brought his PA and it was his way or the highway, basically. He is not on our list anymore. I do like to gripe but there are very few other things I would rather be doing.
    DJ Bebop likes this.
  10. RichSnyder

    RichSnyder Columbia, MD Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    If the band is playing a longer set, they're probably being paid more and you're just not getting any of the extra. The gig is in July, if you don't want to do it, don't do it but tell them now.
  11. pepj


    Mar 25, 2021
    I'll reserve final judgement until I do the dates, but I fear that will be the conclusion.

    They play too long...which I might interpret as too keen happy amatuers.
    I get that playing times can be extended, but I'd charge for it. They haven't.
    pcake and getrhythm like this.
  12. pepj


    Mar 25, 2021
    Yep, they were vague about fees because there is an agent involved. Normally she knows what is what and she really promotes this band.
    Well, they pay her, so...??
    I took that as face value...
    I've since seen the set list and videos.

    But I'm going to have to go back and clear up the vague fee ..which is subject to commision to agent.
  13. dbsfgyd1


    Jun 11, 2012
    Mascoutah, IL
    Ah yes, the joys of being an independent contractor. I’ve only done 2 sub gigs in my life. One was subbing in my 6th grade teacher’s polka band back in the 60s, and one hard core C&W band on short notice like 3 hours.

    The gig was a hole in the wall, I had no clue about any of the songs, and had to drive 40 minutes out of my way after a 4 hour gig to the “manager’s office” in a very seedy part of town. A film noir director couldn’t have built a better set.

    I was greeted buy two larger men that looked like Russian Mobsters who escorted me to the manager, and then I had to explain to him in detail why he needed to pay me. Apparently there was a miscommunication between said manager and the BL on the price. And oh by the way, the BL happened to owe this manager money and the proceeds of this gig was to help settle his debt which was no small amount.

    I did get paid and I never heard from the BL again. He’s probably anchored at the bottom of Ohio river somewhere. That was my last sub gig.
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2023
  14. pepj


    Mar 25, 2021
    Rates normally work out around $75 plus an hr.
    They are are offering half that.

    I'm not that concerned about the money generally, but there needs to be a reason to do it
    All those reasons are currently in the negative and its on the cheap too.

    As suggested above, I need to go back and say too much work for the money.
    pcake and el jeffe bass like this.
  15. Church gigs pay better than that and you only play a handful of songs per set.
    Plantbrain and james condino like this.
  16. 51PRI


    Aug 7, 2014
    I think that's the best course of action anyway. This gig, even though it has issues, might lead to other good opportunities.
  17. Jason Hollar

    Jason Hollar Jazz & Cocktails Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2005
    Central Pa
    I think you go back to the agent friend asap and say hey … I sincerely appreciate the opportunity but these guys aren’t very organized this is going to require a heckuva lot more time and prep than I’m being compensated for.

    Then give them a phone number or two of possible replacements and slip out the the back door with your summer dates open for better ventures.
  18. pepj


    Mar 25, 2021
    Yep, I think I will go back and say too much work for the money etc
    pcake and LBS-bass like this.
  19. Adienn7


    Jan 26, 2007
    ok, so I would just play the gig.. and just play the songs I know.. and mime the rest.. wear a wig and fake beard.. and shades.. and forget about it.. but make sure you get gas money.. food and beer.. lol and bring a stool.. so you don't have to stand through that crap.. don't for get your tip jar.. lol plus if you play acoustic guitar.. go early- avoid traffic.. and play for tips.. can't hurt.. you already got to be there so.. goof around.. make more money..
  20. "I think I know 50% of the set so I dont need to listen to them"


    Are you sure they will want you back after the first one?