Working With A Sub

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by BayStateBass, Mar 14, 2014.

  1. Like a lot of bands out there, we haven't had very good luck with vocalists. We have been using a couple subs while searching for a new one, and recently we just decided to retool and move on as a trio. The subs we have been using have been very helpful in fulfilling our obligations while we restructure and are very easy to work with.

    My question is in regards to what you or your band requires of a sub beyond the performance. When I have worked as a sub I typically offer to help move equipment, set up a PA, etc. Sometimes the offer is taken, sometimes it isn't. But with our subs I have not asked them to do anything other than show up, bring their own personal stuff, perform, get paid, leave. The three of us handle transport, setup, breakdown, etc. The sub gets paid as if they were an equal member of the band. This has allowed us to form a good relationship with a couple people who will jump in at a moment's notice, and have. Now, I am not the BL; being that there is only three of us there really isn't one. Guitarist picks music, his wife books for us, I deal with personnel (lining up subs and such if we need them, etc....). Drummer is....well....a drummer.....:smug:

    This irks our drummer to no end. He feels that if the person is being paid like a member of the band, they should have to work just like a member of the band. Show up early, set up, stay for breakdown, etc. My feeling is that a sub is just that, not a full member of the group, and I don't feel it should be required of them to do more than perform or transport their own personal equipment. He argues that we should pay them less, I argue that for what we pay them (usually $90-100 a night, depending on the job), they may not do it if we look for more out of them. Tempers never flare, it's just a discussion that we've had over the last couple months.

    How does your band treat subs, and if you haven't used them, what would your expectation be if you did?
  2. Oops.....wrong forum. Requested move to BM.
  3. Milk


    Sep 16, 2013
    Montreal, Canada
    Yes. Any talk about subs is definitely for the Bowel Movement forum.

    I don't recommend working while eating personally but if you HAVE to do it, I recommend a more easily manageable sandwich like egg or even maybe a burger.

    (This useless post has been brought to you by boredom, carry on)
  4. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    I've used subs lots and worked as one even more. It's almost always walk-on, walk-off in my world, but if the sub in question is hungry enough they may decide to help on load in and out. I don't care what the regular band members or leaders make, at all. Give me a number and tell me what you expect for that number, and I will respond in kind. Everything's negotiable.
  5. JohnMCA72


    Feb 4, 2009
    Whatever deal you cut with subs, that's the deal. If you want them to do something, you have to include that in the offer. If they don't want to haul gear, go to rehearsals, promote the gigs, or whatever, that's their prerogative.

    It's your band's prerogative to not hire them as a sub if they don't want to do what you want them to do.

    Make it clear to all concerned parties, what each is going to do & what each is going to get in return. That's your agreement. Anything outside of that is outside of your agreement.
  6. When I have subbed, that's how I look at it, too. Give me a number, tell me what you want, and I'll let you know if I'm good with it. And for me, as well, it's typically been walk on, walk off, leave with money.
  7. Yup. I agree. The truth is when we have needed a sub we have needed nothing more than a person who shows up and does what he/she has been hired to do, which is sing. We can handle the rest. We usually just need a hired gun, nothing more. I have always offered them an equal share of the split to make it more attractive to them and reduce the chances that they will back out at the last minute. When I look at it, in reality we are the ones with the need, and they have the tools and ability to fill that need. So I don't make it overly difficult for them to say yes. I can't see asking a sub to move equipment or things like that. They are getting paid for their performance and stage work. But that's just how I view it.
  8. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    Yes. When I sub, I usually offer to help during load out; but that's not typically expected of subs.

    If it irks the band to be giving the subs an equal cut for less work, you can offer subs a smaller cut. (When you can't find subs to take your offer, you know the cut is too small.)

    Alternatively, offer a bump for helping with set-up and load out. Although, if your band has specific routines for setting and striking the stage, a sub's likely to get in the way much of the time.
  9. Well, this is a good point, thanks. The truth is that a sub would probably just slow us down. The biggest hurdle is setting up the PA and lights. Honestly, I do 100% of that. I own the PA in it's entirety, as well as all the lights, and I also haul most of the equipment with my truck (my stuff, the PA, and the drums, guitarist loads and transports his own stuff). Our practice space is at my house. Because I live there, I usually break everything (the PA) down and load it up on my own ahead of time, just out of convenience because I hate rushing at the last minute. The drummer usually comes early and packs his own stuff, but since I have the truck with the cap on it, everything that can go in my truck usually does. They will help carry stuff in when we get to the venue but setup and adjustment is on me.

    The other two know absolutely zero about the sound system anyway.....ha ha....:meh:
  10. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    I do a lot of sub work. I'm expected to show up, set up, and play/sing my part. I get paid whatever we agreed to when I took the gig, which usually amounts to a full share (if they divulge that information) and sometimes MORE than a share (hey, it costs more to rent a car than to drive your own). I'll offer to schlep this or that gear if I have time (and the will) but it isn't expected. I won't set up the PA, or hang lights, though.
  11. lsabina


    Sep 3, 2008
    When I act as a sub, I show up and do the gig; no set-up or tear-down. I'm being hired for my chops only. And when I hire a sub that's how I treat them.
    It hasn't happened often, but the one thing I hate is when, as a sub, I have to wait around to get paid, usually when the leader is gladhanding, or whatever. Pay the sub and let him be on his way!
  12. marmadaddy


    Oct 17, 2005
    Rochester, NY
    I'm with the majority. I do a fair amount of sub work and unless it's negotiated beforehand they're hiring me to play, not to move their pa and lights. It's their gig, not mine. I will generally help with load out as long as I don't have a long drive home or have to be up at dawn the next day.

    When I hire a sub, I expect them to show up on time, play and conduct themselves professionally. Moving the band's gear is not the sub's problem because t's not their gig.

    I'm the first call sub for the band I'm playing with tonight and I play with them often enough that they made me an offer of increased money for helping with load-in and load-out. I accepted both as a gesture of goodwill and for the dough.
  13. GlennW


    Sep 6, 2006
    I'd present the opportunity two ways:

    1) full cut of the money if the sub puts in as much time/work setting up and loading out as everyone else does

    2) $X (less than a full cut) if the sub just shows up, plays, and leaves

    Let the sub decide.

    I think that's fair for all parties involved.