Awful Gig Offers

mikyok

Platinum Member
Just for laughs lets hear em, I had a beaut yesterday.

First refusal on a 15 minute showcase in Luton on a Wednesday night in Luton (2 and a half hours drive either way after a day at work). There's a PA there though! I checked the holiday park comany it was for and all of their sites were all on the coast and we're midlands based. (Apologies if you're not savvy with UK geography!)

No expenses offered obviously, apparently you can fill your car on exposure! I've told our keyboard player we're not that desperate for work!
 

Woolwich

Silver Member
I’m gutted that I can’t contribute any more to this thread, it deserves more input than it’s getting.
Thinking back generally, I’ve been lucky enough that I was thrown in from the start of my time on the pub covers scene with band members who knew what the local “going rate” was and that our performances were good enough to warrant being paid it. As a result I’ve avoided the “Battle Of The Bands” and “Showcase” events because, in short, you get gigs because of hard work, persistence, being organised, giving good performances etc. You don’t get elevated to the top of the list simply because you’ve played a 30 minute set to a sprinkling of disinterested friends of other bands on a Tuesday night. And even if that was the case, then next Tuesday you’d get shunted down the list by the next set of easily led, sorry bands.
I’ve still received messages from people , especially from charity events, expecting more from us than we give on a normal night for no payment. Don’t get me wrong, if any of the band have links to a charity or members of that charity, and they know who we are and what we do we will perform on e or twice a year. But the random approach from a stranger doesn’t result in us taking that gig, I’d never ask a stranger for something for nothing so I don’t react positively when someone does that to me.
I can think of two stories that might help. A few years ago our guitarist was in our band and another similiar Classic Rock band. His other band did a “showcase” gig. A local pub needed a band and I got in touch, after talking about what we played we mutually agreed that the gig wasn’t for either party. A day later he texted us to say that as a result of his showcase his other band had finally gotten a gig. You guessed it, at the same pub. I simply knew it would go belly up, sure enough they turned up on the night, a solo artist was advertised to play that evening and the manager denied all knowledge of the gig. That was his only payback from that showcase gig.
My old band performed at a pub “famous” for taking advantage of bands, we were the guest of a hardcore punk band who very generously split the fee with us and provided backline. We worked the build up massively and the audience were genuinely packed in like sardines for our hour long Pop Punk Novelty Set. There was a smattering of punters in for the main Hardcore Punk event when it started an hour later. The pub manager was all over us, he couldn’t wait to get us back, asked us to text him the next day. Texts, emails, voicemails and phone calls went unanswered to this day, and this was in 2007. So while we got paid and it wasn’t a showcase or Battle Of The Bands I believe it’s still indicative of how people who run these events think and treat bands. If you’re a covers act, avoid.
 

beyondbetrayal

Platinum Member
As a punk/metal drummer when both my bands started out it was dicey. We would usually be offered gas money, but when playing local out of town gigs guarantees were few and far between. I remember playing a gig 2.5 hours away and the promoter had cancelled the gig without telling us. Apparently he put it back on, but didn't tell the fans / concert goers. (this was a small town). We ended up playing to literally 2 people. The guy offered me $2 after. I'd have rather been offered nothing as that was what I was expecting.

There were many gigs we would show up to, and from playing a bigger city I am used to bar shows with nice big PA systems, lights, etc. Playing a small community center with not mics on the kit was always annoying for me but I could get by, in the metal band it's harder as I like to trigger the kick these days. I have a full PA in my basement, I don't see how you can promote a "concert" without one.

These days we often do guarantees if we are going out of town. Or expect to take a loss going in, that way we won't be dissipointed.

as far as getting OFFERED bad gigs? There have been a few gigs we are offered, but usually a few questions asked and it's an easy no.
 

Woolwich

Silver Member
As a punk/metal drummer when both my bands started out it was dicey. We would usually be offered gas money, but when playing local out of town gigs guarantees were few and far between. I remember playing a gig 2.5 hours away and the promoter had cancelled the gig without telling us. Apparently he put it back on, but didn't tell the fans / concert goers. (this was a small town). We ended up playing to literally 2 people. The guy offered me $2 after. I'd have rather been offered nothing as that was what I was expecting.

There were many gigs we would show up to, and from playing a bigger city I am used to bar shows with nice big PA systems, lights, etc. Playing a small community center with not mics on the kit was always annoying for me but I could get by, in the metal band it's harder as I like to trigger the kick these days. I have a full PA in my basement, I don't see how you can promote a "concert" without one.

These days we often do guarantees if we are going out of town. Or expect to take a loss going in, that way we won't be dissipointed.

as far as getting OFFERED bad gigs? There have been a few gigs we are offered, but usually a few questions asked and it's an easy no.
Sparked by your comment about people organising a gig but not making a PA available. When a band has been going for a few years it’s like a well oiled machine. Ask us to turn up and we’ll put on a show, no problem. However, once other people get involved it invariably goes wrong. Because we’re used to what happens and what’s required, we forget that for someone who doesn’t gig, or host gigs, week in, week out, EVERYTHING is new to them. Timings, PA, mics, stands, lights, extension cables, in fact any cables, logistics, room set up, background music, NOT springing a second act on us at the last minute etc. etc. etc. That’s why charity gigs no matter how well intentioned can be fraught with problems. Whenever we have done anything outside of the regular Pub Covers scene it’s either run into difficulties that shouldn’t have happened but we’ve had to overcome, or it’s only run smoothly because we insisted on a high level of/total control of the organising of our domain from the outset.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
When I was playing different music on entirely different instruments, I got an offer to come play at a small church. The church was an hour away, and I was supposed to play for two hours at an event as a solo gig. I sent them a contract, and my price for doing so was $100. They wrote me back and told me I was crazy.

There was some sort of Relay-for-Life-like event I got asked to play with one of my bands. It was at a large park with a stage that people would walk/run around while we played. The pay was next to nothing. We turned it down.

I think I've actually played a lot more bad gigs than I've turned down.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
The business part of music is the least attractive part of the whole pie, to put it in the nicest way I can think of. Musicians...you take advantage of them, that's what you do. The responsibility is on the musicians to change things, one business dealing at a time. We can squarely blame ourselves as musicians collectively for the situation we are in, by de-valuing what we do by giving it away.

Because someone will always come along and undercut you or do it for free. So the business dealing part really isn't a business if your competitors will do it for free. I don't even think they have a name for that model.

I resigned myself to using music for fun and personal satisfaction and nothing else. Not counting the small percentage of people who are "making" it in the business, we kind of ruined it for ourselves, with the help of the digital age, by our lack of business sense.

Even the good gigs...we still make a lot less than we should be getting.
 
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mikyok

Platinum Member
The business part of music is the least attractive part of the whole pie, to put it in the nicest way I can think of. Musicians...you take advantage of them, that's what you do. The responsibility is on the musicians to change things, one business dealing at a time. We can squarely blame ourselves as musicians collectively for the situation we are in, by de-valuing what we do by giving it away.

Because someone will always come along and undercut you or do it for free. So the business dealing part really isn't a business if your competitors will do it for free. I don't even think they have a name for that model.

I resigned myself to using music for fun and personal satisfaction and nothing else. Not counting the small percentage of people who are "making" it in the business, we kind of ruined it for ourselves, with the help of the digital age, by our lack of business sense.

Even the good gigs...we still make a lot less than we should be getting.
Never a truer word written.

In this case it's a case of just getting off the boards with a new project and a naive band member trying to get work without giving his head a wobble first. With the band work I do it's all about your promotion (website) and spending a few quid advertising yourself. It's business sense you only get from experience.

I don't mind doing local gigs for a lesser fee but it's a win/win situation for everyone.

As you said there's essentially a lot of bands on a race to the bottom competing for less and less. In the end nobody wins.
 

trickg

Silver Member
I was asked if I could do some horn work to supplment a church praise band fairly recently. They also wanted to know if I knew any trombone players who could also do it.

This was what they wanted:

1.) no charts - basically figure out the songs on our own
2.) rehearsal on a separate evening, and 3 church services
3.) The pay - $50

I basically said that for what they wanted, it was far below anything I'd typically take - for a church gig on horn, I typically won't consider it for less than $150, and for a situation like that where I'd have to work to basically arrange my own parts, plus get roped into a rehearsal night (never mind the pre-service rehearsal that wasn't mentioned) plus 3 services....

I basically told them as nicely as I could "no," and I said that even if I would have considered taking the gig, I don't know any trombone players who would do it for that, even if might consider doing it out of a sense of charity. For that situation, that's $300, minimum, and $200 if they provided the charts.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
In HS I turned down a band that needed a drummer solely on the name of the band. I didn't want to be the drummer for Beef Trolley.

Also turned down an acoustic job with this guy I know. He wanted to do stuff like Jewel. I'm a death metal drummer, umm no.

When I was in a band, our bass players dad got some 60's protest/folk artist to come to town and play. Can't remember the guys name but apparently he is/was a big deal. Our bass players dad invited us to play. I was against it. Anyhow, I got out voted, so we packed up our stuff and went. After getting all set up, we didn't get to play because the old guy played for like 3 hours. Was nothing but a huge waste of time.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I basically told them as nicely as I could "no," and I said that even if I would have considered taking the gig, I don't know any trombone players who would do it for that, even if might consider doing it out of a sense of charity. For that situation, that's $300, minimum, and $200 if they provided the charts.
Good for you. Imagine if every single musician business deal went down like this. I know, it ain't easy. I wonder what the outcome would be. Could it be any worse than it is now?

It really boils down to...for the vast majority from what I can tell....the income is so little for the time and resources outlaid...that it's a laughable failure from a business POV. And then we are supposed to pay taxes on it . HA HA HA HA HA HA

And we let this happen because musicians are generally not business heads. We have to realize that musicians, as a whole, voluntarily and cheerfully...created this seemingly inescapable situation. I include myself in this too, I'm no business person.

I can't think of any parallel in the past where in the business world, a business offered their services for free. If you can, I'd love to hear them.

Could this be a precedent setting business situation?

If all the legitimate business expenses are actually accounted for...that most of us don't include...we actually pay to play for the time spent. My wife is an accountant and there are a ton of deductions that aren't even considered if every band was handled as a business.

Is it too late to reverse our business situation? Paid rehearsals anyone? Health insurance? Expenses? Does that sound outrageous? It does to me. We've painted ourselves into a corner. We have to think we all deserve these things and not settle, before the situation even has a chance of changing.. I do believe that it could be that way if we all changed. In a perfect world.

Personally, I don't see it happening for all kinds of reasons, but mainly because we collectively painted ourselves in a corner and then shot ourselves in the foot, but hey, hope springs eternal, right?
 
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trickg

Silver Member
I think we did it to ourselves - it's a thing where as musicians, we want to play, and to get out there and gig, but as the scene became more competitive with more bands, people doing the hiring took advantage of that and started paying less - basically down-bidding.

The answer is that there has to be solidarity amongst musicians to refuse to work for less than we are worth, but it can only work if we can get people to stop accepting gigs for lowball figures, or even worse, doing them pro-bono because "it's good exposure."

In sort of a similar mindset, my wife as at Walmart the other day, and was standing in line to be checked out when an employee approached her, and noticing that she only had a few items, indicated the self-checkout lanes. My wife's response? "I'm sorry, but I don't work here."

Dunno - it's hard to take that stand and pretend that I'm for this kind of reform when I have and make use of my Amazon Prime account.
 

Jbravo

Senior Member
In the 80s I played 5and 6 nights a week, 50 weeks a year. And this was in MN, ND, SD, WY, MT, and 4.5 months in Alaska one time.

Every little town had a bar with nightly entertainment, if not two.

I think Spotify, pandora, YouTube etc, make it so easy to hear and see the real artist that no one wants to hear cover bands anymore.

My daughter is getting married next year, and I recently had the “pleasure” of slapping down a $600 deposit for the pleasure of reserving the right to pay a DJ $3500 for his services ( including a photo booth😂)

Don’t get me wrong, I would do anything for my little girl, but it rubs me the wrong way to give one guy that much, when a local band would have considered half of that an exceptionally good paying night...☹ and we have at least four in town.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
In sort of a similar mindset, my wife as at Walmart the other day, and was standing in line to be checked out when an employee approached her, and noticing that she only had a few items, indicated the self-checkout lanes. My wife's response? "I'm sorry, but I don't work here."
Right on. I was at a Home Depot a earlier this year with a whole bunch of little items to scan and there was only the self checkout lanes open. There were 3 count em 3 checkout people standing literally within 3 feet of my checkout station. I was tired and I said "So you guys don't scan the stuff anymore?" Well this one person gave me an attitude because I clearly interrupted the gossip I heard...and she did check me out. But only after I said something.

I think that retailers...and everyone else...try and see how far they can go to save money. In this case to try and employ us so they don't have to pay wages and insurance to check out their merch. And unless we do what your wife did, we will get roped into checking ourselves out everywhere, for nothing, while they save money. It's high time to start speaking up whenever and wherever this use/abuse is encountered IMO. A nice juicy lawsuit over somebody getting hurt on the equipment in the the self checkout lines would do it. No one I know was ever offered training!

I did complain, in a matter of fact and respectful, unemotional way, and later I got a call from the main store manager, and then from corporate...I told them essentially the same thing, don't make me work when I shop there. It's insulting. Especially when 3 checkers are gossiping while I do their work. I just felt that was wrong. So I said something.

The customer is King! Flex some muscle! It's one of the few places where I have some actual power, so I practice using it whenever I can, when it's warranted of course. I urge everyone to start calling out this kind of stuff. Hey, I'll check myself out, but they need to give me 10% off. No, instead, they insult me in that when I give them my business, they now want to make me work, when before, I didn't have to.
 
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mikyok

Platinum Member
My daughter is getting married next year, and I recently had the “pleasure” of slapping down a $600 deposit for the pleasure of reserving the right to pay a DJ $3500 for his services ( including a photo booth😂)

Don’t get me wrong, I would do anything for my little girl, but it rubs me the wrong way to give one guy that much, when a local band would have considered half of that an exceptionally good paying night...☹ and we have at least four in town.
Woah, that's not steep that's f***ing vertical!

Wedding DJs are laughable at the best of times. I encounter them a lot. They really think they're talented and I'm like you have a spotify playlist and a pa system with lights.

For that money I'd fly over from England and play your daughters wedding and do the dj for free.
 

Rock Salad

Junior Member
Thelonius Monk only got by with the support a a patron. Make a Patreon account? I support a couple of those and probably could swing a couple more.
Probably the best paid under the radar players are street buskers. With the added benefit of educating the ears of people on the street of what an actual musical instrument sounds like. Come to think of it, i may go try that here. Been in this place ten years and not even taken it to the streets once yet.
 

Jbravo

Senior Member
Where DOES he get these great clips?

In response to your excellent response....who's the smarter business person here, the DJ who gets 3500, or a band who splits 3500?

Gotta give that to the bastards.
Even worse, there are very few bands in this region who wouldn’t be laughed at for asking that much...☹
 

beatdat

Senior Member
I recently had the “pleasure” of slapping down a $600 deposit for the pleasure of reserving the right to pay a DJ $3500 for his services ( including a photo booth😂)
Assuming an 8 hour gig, that's $437.50 an hour.

Or, at 5 minutes a song, that's about $36.50 a song.

Lap dances are cheaper than that.
 
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