PA system. Who pays?

jim_gregory

Senior Member
I am in a cover band full of mostly old guys. 5 to be exact. I provide the jam/rehersal room. I got a powered PA for the room. Eventually we went on the road and I bring the PA. Between hardware, FOH speakers, floor monitors, stands bla bla bla I probably have about 2 grand or better in it. Plus upkeep and transportation, and I also run it from the drum kit. Not the optimum setup obviously but it works and we get no complaints.
I also provide the practice amps and the bass amp for shows. I'm not a cheapskate. But I'm not rich either.
Well I figure that when we do paying gigs, that the PA should get a cut of the pay. I'm saving us the cost of renting or paying a sound guy, and it gets done reasonably well.
It's not much money, trust me.
Our older guitar player thinks otherwise and I should just provide it because I have it. We all sing. Everyone else is fine with it.
Obviously this doesn't come into play when we do a gig with a house system, though I seem to do a better job of it for whatever reason. Too many dials maybe.
What I am wondering, is what is proper etiquette in this situation?
 
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TFITTING942

Guest
I think it's just a matter of what the band can agree on before a gig. I don't own a PA but I never gave a bigger cut of a gig to anyone who did. As a drummer, I don't think I would own my own PA system, maybe you should sell it and let them buy one.
 

jim_gregory

Senior Member
I think it's just a matter of what the band can agree on before a gig. I don't own a PA but I never gave a bigger cut of a gig to anyone who did. As a drummer, I don't think I would own my own PA system, maybe you should sell it and let them buy one.
I initially got the PA to equip the rehearsal room. Not specifically as a drummer.
We all have day jobs and play music for fun. I think a communally owned PA in this situation would be a mess. Maybe I'm wrong though. Plus it would pain me to put MORE money into another PA and also annoy me to rent.
This actually was the discussion last night before the next gig. Four yea's and one nay. I'll see how this thread goes. Not the end of the world if I just shut up and play.
 

720hours World Record

Senior Member
I am in a cover band full of mostly old guys. ... Well I figure that when we do paying gigs, that the PA should get a cut of the pay. I'm saving us the cost of renting or paying a sound guy, and it gets done reasonably well.
...Our older guitar player thinks otherwise and I should just provide it because I have it. ....
What I am wondering, is what is proper etiquette in this situation?
This is a common problem...

Stick to your idea... Get a sound man, your band will sound better and less back breaking work for you. PA's get damaged, wear out, speakers blow up, etc.

If you can't get a sound man, have each band member provide for some of the PA or pay a portion of the money from jobs for PA use and repair. You can get an idea of the sharing price after getting quotes for sound man work.
 

Witterings

Silver Member
Your older guitar player sounds like a tight git, sell your PA and make him buy one, he'll have even more complaints then !!!!!

I've seen both sides of this coin, I bought a PA when I had some spare money and was using an electronic kit and didn't deduct anything from the others but it was my choice to buy it and if we had of stayed together and were regularily gigging for money then I would have wanted some re-imbersement but wouldn't have minded stomping up the cash to buy it in the 1st place.
I've also depped in a band to help them out and they took money off the top for PA / lighting before splitting what was left. Despite the fact I play for the love of it and will gig for nothing that did grate especially as I have no long term gain from it and was getting some people I know out of a hole when their drummer was stricken with MS.
I think at the end of the day if you're a band that's been together for a while and are gigging regularily why should you alone carry the cost and it's only reasonable that you're repayed but when you have been then band the owns it not you.
Alternatively divide the cost between you now and then maybe put a small contribution in when you gig for maintenance, if one of the band members leaves they then get re-imbersed their stake less some depreciation and any replacement then puts in their share.
 
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TFITTING942

Guest
Should have seen him kick and scream when I told the band to provide their own Mic's stand's and cables for live work. And STILL that's just taking care of themselves really.
Of course when I built him a new sail for his boat and presented it free he was very nice. That was a 2 thousand dollar sail. I'm thinking at this point screw him and carry on without him.
THat may be an option to consider. The other guys are at least willing to chip in and feel that it is fair. Don't wreck the band over it though, tough call really.
 

dairyairman

Platinum Member
that's a touchy situation. in my experience, when you start cutting into band member's pay people start getting pissed off. but it does seem reasonable that you should get some kind of special compensation considering how much you're bringing to the table. without you and your PA there would be no band, right? not to mention you're providing the practice space and the bass amp. that's a lot!

my band is actually going through a similar argument over the PA. i'll be watching this thread because i want to see how other bands handle it.
 

Florian

Gold Member
when you joined you should have asked for a cut for the PA, otherwise its just something youre going to provide if need be. My drum kit is well over 10K in cost and I have the most gear to carry, but I accept my share without any expectations more as it was my choice to procure these things, much like it was your choice to procure the PA. You also mention that the PA isnt top shelf, most hired sound guys use above average stuff, so you pay them for their good stuff and their expertise.


F
 

Fuzrock

Silver Member
I was in a situation a couple years ago where one of the members, Mike, had a PA. I never had a problem with him getting extra pay but there was a point when I thought it was getting unreasonable. He always insisted on running everything from stage himself and I never really felt like he did a great job of it. We were all willing to help him get it set up but for some reason we were always hard pressed to start on time and never really got what I thought was a proper sound check. He always said that he would adjust it on the fly. Some of my friends would tell me that our sound was really muddy.
The normal cost to hire a fully equipped sound guy here in Omaha is about $300 per night. I was always willing to pay a pro that much to come out and make us sound great but there's no way I was willing to pay Mike that much when I thought it sounded like crap. We locked him in at $150 plus his equal cut as a band member. He was never happy with that. He thought he should get the customary $300 plus an equal cut. Why would we pay him that when , for the same price, we could pay someone with a better system to come out and make us sound great? If we were stuck using Mike's system with him running it from stage, we should at least be saving some money. That kind of brings up another question that I've often pondered. Is it possible to run a full system (with mic'd up drums and everything) from stage and have it sound good on a consistent basis?
 

Fuzrock

Silver Member
when you joined you should have asked for a cut for the PA, otherwise its just something youre going to provide if need be. My drum kit is well over 10K in cost and I have the most gear to carry, but I accept my share without any expectations more as it was my choice to procure these things, much like it was your choice to procure the PA. You also mention that the PA isnt top shelf, most hired sound guys use above average stuff, so you pay them for their good stuff and their expertise.


F
Same here. I've got over $10,000 wrapped up in drums, cases, cymbals, hardware, mics and cables. Why should the guy with the $2500 PA and the $1500 guitar rig be getting an extra cut? LOL ;-)
 

MisterZero

Senior Member
Our bass player has all the sound equipment we need. Since hiring a sound guy typically costs us about 300 dollars, any paid gigs, he gets the "sound fee". Amazingly, he doesnt accept it, becuase he has fun with us and likes to share his gear. But we at least offered. If I were you, I'd do what the other guy said and hire a sound man. Pretend you dont have that gear at all...see how fast your bandmates would be willing to pay to use your stuff rather than outsoure your sound for a lot more...probably.
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
when you joined you should have asked for a cut for the PA, otherwise its just something youre going to provide if need be. My drum kit is well over 10K in cost and I have the most gear to carry, but I accept my share without any expectations more as it was my choice to procure these things, much like it was your choice to procure the PA. You also mention that the PA isnt top shelf, most hired sound guys use above average stuff, so you pay them for their good stuff and their expertise.


F
A different angle on this is that your kit is your tool of the trade. We each carry our own cross with respect to personal gear......that's a given.

But to lump one member with a cost that would be ordinarily be shared?.....I'm not so sure. If you hired the PA and paid a tech, the cost would be incurred by all. It's a point worth enquiring about, for mine.
 

MisterZero

Senior Member
I disagree with Florian. My gear isnt near as much as his, but it's my instrument. Your PA system is being used by everyone. It's totally different. Sound is a shared commodity to be used by the whole band. Yes, each member has his or her individual gear, but overall sound cost produced in it's entirety should be split. Just because you own this stuff doesn't mean the whole gang can simply take advantage. Any paid gigs you get, you should keep the portion that would have been given to a sound person as if you had hired one. Then the rest, divide up evenly. You are basically working two jobs, a drummer and sound guy. Youare a hired sound guy, who just happens to be onstage behind a drumkit during the show...
 

Travis22

Senior Member
It's simple...do what I did. I bought the PA with the understanding I would be compensated for the purchase and for running it. That didn't happen. So told my band "look, I know WE need the PA, but I don't, so if you can't help me out I'm going to sell it and we can just pitch in and hire a sound guy when we need to." Not long after that we settled that issue and the PA was paid for.

As for running it...we hire in a buddy to do that if we have to bring our own PA. We still set it up, do our own sound check, and tear it down at the end of the night. So paying him to come in drink free beer and watch the lights on the board is fairly cheap. :) And to get him paid we give him his cut BEFORE we take ours.

Another thing I'd like to add is as a group we are all in debt to each other in some way. My singer owes me like $250, my guitarist owes my singer like a grand, I owe my guitarist like $200, and my bass player plays through my singers $3500 rig. It's just how it is. Sometimes we hafta help each other out financially in order to continuely progress, and there's no shame in that for me...or any of us. I would gladly loan my bandmates money if I have it...regardless of the amount. It's just money, and when money comes between me and my friends/bandmates, my morals are obviously all F#$%^D!
 

KarlCrafton

Platinum Member
Well, w all know hauling your kit is a given--and you can use as much, or little of a kit as you want, so that shouldn't enter the equation....but....

A PA with 2K into it for most bar band situations is plenty enough. No, it's not "top shelf", but in MOST bars that I used to play in (I play in better places these days TG) that's probably better than what those bars even had (a Drum monitor????)

Since the OP supplies the PA AND the Bass amp for shows, 10% (at least) off the top is not too much to ask from "the band" IMO.

It's the cost of up-keep (at the very least). Cords, mic's etc...aren't cheap, and if he's the only one providing it, and doing all the moving of it (AND his kit), that's more than anyone else is doing. Gas and the vehicle to move it all in is worth something. Loading and unloading and the extra time it takes, besides the kit?
I HOPE he has help with it.

If that 10% isn't acceptable to the rest of the band, I'd think about not providing all the gear, or find another band.

Let someone else pick up the PA a couple times and see what happens....(I'm talking worse case scenario with band member willingness to pitch in and help too).

Jim seems to be the only one self-contained in the business--which is what it IS if you are playing out for money.
Anyone who complains about not wanting to chip in when everything is provided shouldn't have the luxury of being involved.

What happens if a speaker or mic is blown? Or a cord or mic stand gets messed up?
That type of person is usually the first one to be conveniently absent, or "sorry, I'm tapped out this week" when it comes time to chip in to fix something.

Just my 2 cents. Good luck with it!
 

Witterings

Silver Member
I disagree with Florian. My gear isnt near as much as his, but it's my instrument. Your PA system is being used by everyone. It's totally different. Sound is a shared commodity to be used by the whole band. Yes, each member has his or her individual gear, but overall sound cost produced in it's entirety should be split. Just because you own this stuff doesn't mean the whole gang can simply take advantage. Any paid gigs you get, you should keep the portion that would have been given to a sound person as if you had hired one. Then the rest, divide up evenly. You are basically working two jobs, a drummer and sound guy. Youare a hired sound guy, who just happens to be onstage behind a drumkit during the show...
I agree with the above a 10K kit is totally your choice and for your use not everybody else with this or any other band that you choose and for use at home / practice and you could have a £300 kit instead but the PA is a neccessity for the whole band that's shared so why should one person carry that cost.
Using Florian's arguement the guitarist / bass player could buy 10k instruments each and the vocalist's 10K diamond studded mics - who'd pay for the pa then ?????
 

jim_gregory

Senior Member
To be clear guy's, I am talking about 50 buck's a night. Not 300.00.
No not top notch gear or a top notch operator. But it's getting the job done with never a complaint from anyone so far.
I appreciate the comments!
 

Fuzrock

Silver Member
To be clear guy's, I am talking about 50 buck's a night. Not 300.00.
No not top notch gear or a top notch operator. But it's getting the job done with never a complaint from anyone so far.
I appreciate the comments!
I can't believe that your older guitar player has a problem with $50. He's not being reasonable at all.
 

KarlCrafton

Platinum Member
To be clear guy's, I am talking about 50 buck's a night. Not 300.00.
No not top notch gear or a top notch operator. But it's getting the job done with never a complaint from anyone so far.
I appreciate the comments!
Then I'd hope everyone pitches in to move and set it up, and pitches in when something gets blown. That's definitely not too much to ask.
50 bucks a night isn't much to work with, so the least everyone can do is pitch in with help and throw in some bucks to fix something.

And since you own the stuff, you never have to worry about that stuff if you need to find another band down the road. That's worth something too.

Good luck!
 
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