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DrumEatDrum 01-27-2010 05:57 AM

Touring for no money
 
Sometimes I wonder why I'm not as involved in the music business as much as I used to, and then I come across something like this:

http://losangeles.craigslist.org/sfv...570729781.html

Quote:

Wanna see the USA (and Toronto) & feel what it's like to be an up & coming rockstar? We manage a quickly rising rock band who recently released their first cd and just got off the road with Stone Temple Pilots. They'll be hitting the road with STP again this summer. In the meantime, they'll be touring the country from March 21st-April17th, playing 350-500 seaters. Their drummer can't make this trip, so we need to find a kick ass rock drummer who'd like to come aboard for this jaunt. You need to be a quick learner and able to play solidly to a click...they have backing tracks throughout the set so your timing has gotta be right on the money. Speaking of money...you won't be getting any from this trip out. However, you will be housed in a huge RV, fed, boozed, driven across the country, and given the experience of a lifetime...hopefully, with many more to come for you.
I realize that as a little known signed band, the band is probably up to their eye balls in debt, probably hasn't seen a cent from the record company, 1/2 their record sales were lost to downloading, and the shows are barely covering the touring expenses. But still, the band must be getting paid per show, so it seems unfair that the drummer isn't offered any money.

And yet as outrageous as their offer is, I'm sure they've been flooded with young guys who have nothing to lose but would love this opportunity on their resume.

Moldy 01-27-2010 06:23 AM

Re: Touring for no money
 
Hey, for an unemployed drummer, this is food, shelter and opportunities to gain exposure.

I know I'd take the chance, were I competent enough to at the moment.

bermuda 01-27-2010 04:59 PM

Re: Touring for no money
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by DrumEatDrum (Post 657470)
"they'll be touring the country from March 21st-April17th, playing 350-500 seaters..."

But still, the band must be getting paid per show, so it seems unfair that the drummer isn't offered any money.

If the opener is playing 500-seaters, I'd be surprised if they're making any money, let alone the guys in the support act!

In the old days, labels would offer tour-support to help their artists get exposure, so at least the band wasn't starving and the players could pocket some money for their time on the road (with all such advances being recupable, of course!)

It's interesting now with labels being very cautious about where they spend their money, and the young bands - many of whom rebel against the labels because they couldn't get a deal! - are left out in the cold as far as advances. I imagine they think that MySpace will pay for their tour and video. BWAHAHAHAHA

Sorry... back to topic. Yeah, there are undoubtedly drummers who'll leap at such an 'opportunity', and with two bands playing small venues, the drummer with the opener is at the bottom of the food chain. Note in the ad that it doesn't appear the fill-in drummer is also going on the summer tour. Someone's going for a ride all right, but they'll probably love it just the same.

Bermuda

T.Underhill 01-27-2010 05:36 PM

Re: Touring for no money
 
I make salary, why not? hahaha. No doubt they'll have a ton of people responding this ad just to have an opportunity to go somewhere. They'll forget the fact they dislike the man and record lables because they're a rockstar!! (who isn't getting paid).

Anyone have an idea of what group this is? Edit: Crash Kings?

bermuda 01-27-2010 06:08 PM

Re: Touring for no money
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by T.Underhill (Post 657603)
They'll forget the fact they dislike the man and record lables because they're a rockstar!!

The ad says "feel what it's like to be an up & coming rockstar"

I have no doubt that someone will be thrilled with traveling for free. Maybe I should do it... I love Toronto!

Bermuda

T.Underhill 01-27-2010 06:15 PM

Re: Touring for no money
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by bermuda (Post 657620)
The ad says "feel what it's like to be an up & coming rockstar"

I have no doubt that someone will be thrilled with traveling for free. Maybe I should do it... I love Toronto!

Bermuda

Heck, the guys I knew growing up would tour around the country crammed in a van and they played for pizza, gas money, and crashing on people's floors. This does sound better than that. Go for it Bermuda!!

larryace 01-27-2010 06:18 PM

Re: Touring for no money
 
The problem is if people do it for free, it hurts the entire drumming community, and cheapens what we do. No machine can replicate a live drummer. If they want a real rock

and roll show, a drummers services shouldn't be given away. I know that is not what is really going to happen, there will be takers for sure, and it could turn into something else f

or that person, but still, would you work your day job for free? Musicians have been slowly and steadily digging themselves into this hole because too many are willing to work for

free. WE SHOULD NOT LET ANYONE TAKE ADVANTAGE!!!!!!! It hurts the whole sector.

KnockOut86 01-27-2010 06:30 PM

Re: Touring for no money
 
I would do it, and I would be happy doing it. You have to get experience/exposure somehow.

I took an unpaid internship at a company and a few months later they were offering me a full-time job in the worst job market in decades. Sometimes you gotta do what's best for you.

larryace 01-27-2010 07:00 PM

Re: Touring for no money
 
I realize that there are very justifiable reasons for doing stuff for free, just realize that there is a major downside.

DrumEatDrum 01-27-2010 07:06 PM

Re: Touring for no money
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Moldy (Post 657475)
Hey, for an unemployed drummer, this is food, shelter and opportunities to gain exposure.

I know I'd take the chance, were I competent enough to at the moment.

Well, I admit, if I were otherwise financially secure and wouldn't miss my kids, I'd jump on it just for the experience.

DrumEatDrum 01-27-2010 07:08 PM

Re: Touring for no money
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by T.Underhill (Post 657603)

Anyone have an idea of what group this is? Edit: Crash Kings?

I looked up opening acts for STP last night, and apparently STP had numerous different opening acts over the tour. So I couldn't narrow it down.

Filacterua 01-27-2010 07:08 PM

Re: Touring for no money
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by larryace (Post 657625)
Musicians have been slowly and steadily digging themselves into this hole because too many are willing to work for free.

This is true, and it hurts. However, if you are serious about reaching that next level, there is just too much competition around to sit back and let someone else take the shot. How many rock bands are there in MySpace? How many people are doing what *tunderhill* mentions in his post? Music business is simply not what it used to be. If any artist wants to "make it", everyone in the business expects him/her/them to be willing to get out there and hurt for a while trying to get things moving on his/her/their own. If you're not willing to do it, there is surely someone out there who wants it badder and will take a bite out of it.

Dig this statement from and INDIE label out in the New England area:
Lastly, we're gonna be honest here, we are looking for HARD WORKING bands, if we get your demo in the mail and we have never even HEARD of you, it is going to take more than a slick package to persuade us. We are extremely in tune to the hardcore/metal/rock/punk scene, we KNOW what is going on and what bands are out there playing all the time. Before you send us a CD to check out, try and get out on the road and bust your ass first, this is what we are looking for in a band. You need to be working just as hard as us, if not harder, and we work 20 hour days, so get crackin!

Whoever considers these premises unfair should get out while they can and cut their losses. I've had my band for 15 years, and I think we are GOOD. However, I cannot make my dream matter more to me than my home and my family (35, wife, two girls, mortgage, etc). I have to keep it real and stay where I'm needed most: that's home. Otherwise I would have to be ready to lose more than money and sleep...

My 2 cents...

Drums&Beer 01-27-2010 07:15 PM

Re: Touring for no money
 
Sounds like a lot of fun actually.

Having done a bit of this myself, it's totally understandable that a band can't afford to pay a sub for this jaunt. Obviously they can't afford to pay themselves and being little known can't rely on merchandise sales to do much more than offset the cost of fuel, food, and drink.

The only thing that could make this tough is if the guys in the band are jerks or prima-donnas (no chance of that happening in rock-n-roll though, right?)

DrumEatDrum 01-27-2010 07:17 PM

Re: Touring for no money
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by larryace (Post 657625)
The problem is if people do it for free, it hurts the entire drumming community, and cheapens what we do. No machine can replicate a live drummer. If they want a real rock

and roll show, a drummers services shouldn't be given away. I know that is not what is really going to happen, there will be takers for sure, and it could turn into something else f

or that person, but still, would you work your day job for free? Musicians have been slowly and steadily digging themselves into this hole because too many are willing to work for

free. WE SHOULD NOT LET ANYONE TAKE ADVANTAGE!!!!!!! It hurts the whole sector.


This.

I agree the experience and exposure would be great. I admit if I were in a different spot in life, I might even take it just so I can say I was there.

But it does send a message that drummers are just expendable commodities.

I'd get if they said pay will be ridiculous low. I get that if there was pay, it would never been enough to actually make rent for anyone's place back home. But to not even offer $50 a show or even just $100 a week is kind of odd.

The tour is to support album and t-shirt sales. If the tour is successful in boosting sales to help the band a name in the business, why should only the core members of the band get a cut?

MikeM 01-27-2010 08:09 PM

Re: Touring for no money
 
RV'd, fed, boozed, lots of playing experience.... shoot, sounds a lot better than my first tour. We were sitting on each others laps cramped in a tiny van with all our equipment, sleeping on strangers' floors or in our little van (in shifts). We paid for gas and food out-of-pocket since we didn't make enough at our shows for that stuff. Plus, we burned through all our day job vacations for the year to do it.

It was a blast, but mostly because we were all on the same team and suffering together.

The thing about this that doesn't sound fun is that coming into this, you're not on the same team. Drummer will be in the employment of the rest of the band. If there's any money at all to be made, it should be shared somewhat equitably. We'll see if anyone takes them up on it - I hope no one does. They sound like chumps.

They're looking for a drummer to help them stay afloat, but they don't have the decency to show any appreciation to that drummer.

ANIMALBEATS 01-27-2010 08:29 PM

Re: Touring for no money
 
Dis-agree with all the doubters, free is in the spirit of things.

larryace 01-27-2010 08:58 PM

Re: Touring for no money
 
It's a catch 22 for sure. I don't have to worry about it too much as I'm not a full time musician, but the full timers are the ones who are getting hurt the worst I would think.

Pocket-full-of-gold 01-27-2010 08:59 PM

Re: Touring for no money
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by ANIMALBEATS (Post 657690)
Dis-agree with all the doubters, free is in the spirit of things.

In a perfect world Animal......unfortunately 'free' doesn't pay the bills my friend!!

bermuda 01-27-2010 09:08 PM

Re: Touring for no money
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by ANIMALBEATS (Post 657690)
Dis-agree with all the doubters, free is in the spirit of things.

Free as in... services without value?

No matter how much I love playing drums, why would I give that away? Does that love pay for sticks and heads? Or keep the electricity on at home? Or put gas in the tank to go to gigs and rehearsals?

Only those who can afford to give themselves away are truly free. Hmmm, I wonder how they got that way?

Bermuda

Muckster 01-27-2010 09:54 PM

Re: Touring for no money
 
Tour with no money? That explains why thier former drummer split.

DrumEatDrum 01-27-2010 10:21 PM

Re: Touring for no money
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by ANIMALBEATS (Post 657690)
Dis-agree with all the doubters, free is in the spirit of things.

This is why the music business is so frustrating.

People think music is for the people, and should be free.

But it doesn't work the other way around.

I can't go to the grocery store and say "I need these groceries for free because I'm a musician" nor I can not pay rent/mortgage with a note saying "sorry, I made no money because my work is given away for free".

Of course, if I could, I'd be recording new songs every night.

Filacterua 01-27-2010 11:45 PM

Re: Touring for no money
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by DrumEatDrum (Post 657738)
This is why the music business is so frustrating.

People think music is for the people, and should be free.

But it doesn't work the other way around.

I can't go to the grocery store and say "I need these groceries for free because I'm a musician" nor I can not pay rent/mortgage with a note saying "sorry, I made no money because my work is given away for free".

Of course, if I could, I'd be recording new songs every night.

This is what I call hitting the nail on the head...

rogue_drummer 01-28-2010 12:00 AM

Re: Touring for no money
 
Man, it's hard enough just getting decent gigs in my hometown and making some money, much less touring. You have to wonder how much "successful" bands make touring and promoting an album or CD. With the way the economy is right now, if my band got signed and got an advance, I'd put that into a savings account and use it for the day I have to cough up the dough to payback my advance because the CD sales or tour profits didn't.

But if I were in my early twenties or late, late teens and saw this, I'd want to do it since I had no commitments at home and could afford to sleep in an RV for room and board.

Someone once said of a touring band member in a Country and Western band when they were dangling the carrot in front of him: "You may not make much money, but you'll get more women than Frank Sinatra".

Pocket-full-of-gold 01-28-2010 12:12 AM

Re: Touring for no money
 
The whole ad just rings of exploitation for mine.......one off tour....very little info.....guaranteed to get bumped as soon as it's over......all for no pay?!?!? Playing for 'exposure only'.....no guarantee of that either.

If it's your own act I think it's fair to play for the love of it......to be brought in as a hired gun and get nothing out of it.....to me just smells of 'rip off'. Perhaps I'm just too cynical.....but I doubt even at 20, this would have appealed to me.

Now if there was the prospect of a full time gig out of it......a whole 'nother story.

rogue_drummer 01-28-2010 02:08 AM

Re: Touring for no money
 
The area where I live is crawling with opportunities to "play for the exposure". These places offering this are clubs, bars, festivals, fund-raisers, and even "tours" promoted by some hacks just out to make a buck for themselves.

They post an ad and build themselves up and get your blood flowing because it sounds great, but at the end of the ad it's always the same thing: "We have no money to pay you, but this is an EXCELLENT opportunity to get your name out there and get exposure".

And as usual, plenty of youngsters fall for this. It's a shame.

larryace 01-28-2010 02:37 AM

Re: Touring for no money
 
Doing a freebie gig for a good cause is one thing, asking to TOUR without pay is insulting.
There will always be takers though and this is common knowledge, so why pay?

bermuda 01-28-2010 06:35 AM

Re: Touring for no money
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Pocket-full-of-gold (Post 657783)
The whole ad just rings of exploitation for mine.......one off tour....very little info.....guaranteed to get bumped as soon as it's over......all for no pay?!?!? Playing for 'exposure only'.....no guarantee of that either.

Correct. There is no good exposure playing for up to 500 people who aren't interested in the opening band, especially not their temporary drummer.

Bermuda

mcbike 01-28-2010 07:50 AM

Re: Touring for no money
 
I've done plenty of tours with no money in the end. It's really not that uncommon, but if the tour pays for itself you are basically getting a free vacation. I've played in 47 states as a result, had alot of fun and seen alot of cool stuff.

The worst day on the road is still better than the best day at the office.

I think at least these guys are being honest about the situation. Most of the time you get in a band and get all excited that your going to "make it" or "blow up".

It is still really hard to make a living on the road for anybody now. I'm doing a one week tour in Ireland this year, and I'll be happy if I break even. So far all the US tours i'm looking at this year are going to make some money, but they are basically going to be kept in the black by festivals and high paying civic gigs with club gigs in between.

Last year I did 4 tours, and they were "learning" experiences. The most profitable ones were the shorter regional tours 1-2 weeks long. I guess the key to making money was cutting our expenses down. Less hotels, ditching the trailer, less star bucks, more efficient scheduling. I'm not worried about it all though because we sold a ton of cd s, and laid a lot of groundwork for this year. We are going to drop a new cd and it will be a "return" on the investment.

Neil 01-28-2010 11:08 AM

Re: Touring for no money
 
Hey,

I was just about to post about how I would do it if I could, something about me being able to play my drums every night 'ticking a box in my CV of life' etc etc....

Then I thought about it and what's the point of doing it if basically lowers me down to a throw away conveniance. I work hard at playing the drums, I hold down a job partly so I can afford lessons/sticks/heads and so on. I spend hours in front of practice pad drumkit trying to better my abilities, when I could actually be spending that time with my g/f or friends or just having 'me time', I have a passion for playing the drums but I'm afraid that passion has limits.

I couldn't justify taking all that time out to play someone elses drum parts in someone elses band with people I don't know, just for a pat on the back and their definition of 'exposure'

ANIMALBEATS 01-28-2010 02:31 PM

Re: Touring for no money
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by DrumEatDrum (Post 657738)
This is why the music business is so frustrating.

People think music is for the people, and should be free.

But it doesn't work the other way around.

I can't go to the grocery store and say "I need these groceries for free because I'm a musician" nor I can not pay rent/mortgage with a note saying "sorry, I made no money because my work is given away for free".

Of course, if I could, I'd be recording new songs every night.

Maybe of you gave him a quick tune, he'd give you some free carrots...?

Pollyanna 01-28-2010 02:41 PM

Re: Touring for no money
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by ANIMALBEATS (Post 658017)
Maybe of you gave him a quick tune, he'd give you some free carrots...?

http://mariah.stonemarche.org/favlinks/telecompig.jpg

ANIMALBEATS 01-28-2010 05:15 PM

Re: Touring for no money
 
Is that yours polly?.

And anyway, come to think of it plenty of musicians end up playing for booze when ticket sales are low. And in Glasow Scotland, you have to pay a fee for playing, and make it back, pay'd by ticket sales that "you" must sell to freinds and family, scandlous.

rogue_drummer 01-28-2010 06:21 PM

Re: Touring for no money
 
We just turned down a "batle of the bands". It was a scam by the promotion company. They sent us 100 preprinted tickets to sell, with our band's name on them, printed up real nice. Tickets were $8.00 for the show that included 8 - 10 bands. Each band played only 1/2 hour. The idea was for each band to sell as many tickets as they can, with the band selling the most tickets has the most fans there, and the audience voted on the bands they liked. The band with the most votes wins. So it's a popularity contest.

The kicker was that no matter how many tickets a band sells, it all goes to the promotor. Hence if a band sells 100 tickets for $8.00 thats $800 for the promotor, and none to the band doing all the advertising, leg work selling tickets, etc. Grand prize was $500 with some "free" studio time, which was donated by a local studio.

I can't write here what our members said after we found that out. There are kids on this forum, but needless to say, we sent all the tickets and information back to the promotor with "Thanks but NO THANKS"!

MikeM 01-28-2010 07:21 PM

Re: Touring for no money
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by rogue_drummer (Post 658080)
We just turned down a "batle of the bands". It was a scam by the promotion company. They sent us 100 preprinted tickets to sell, with our band's name on them, printed up real nice. Tickets were $8.00 for the show that included 8 - 10 bands. Each band played only 1/2 hour. The idea was for each band to sell as many tickets as they can, with the band selling the most tickets has the most fans there, and the audience voted on the bands they liked. The band with the most votes wins. So it's a popularity contest.

The kicker was that no matter how many tickets a band sells, it all goes to the promotor. Hence if a band sells 100 tickets for $8.00 thats $800 for the promotor, and none to the band doing all the advertising, leg work selling tickets, etc. Grand prize was $500 with some "free" studio time, which was donated by a local studio.

I can't write here what our members said after we found that out. There are kids on this forum, but needless to say, we sent all the tickets and information back to the promotor with "Thanks but NO THANKS"!

That same scam happened here not too long ago. We played at it and were only allowed to do 2 songs, (we were told 30 minutes, and found out it was only 2 songs day of show) and had to give a full accounting of our sold and unsold tickets before we were allowed to play.

One band was so mad about how the thing shaped up day of show that they basically left with a big finger to the organizers. Then, they showed up about an hour later with all their gear set up on the back of a flat bed with a generator, lights - the whole works, and played their whole set out in the parking lot. The venue practically emptied when everone stepped outside to see this band getting back at the scammers. That was pretty friggin' sweet!

Deltadrummer 01-28-2010 07:39 PM

Re: Touring for no money
 
I've just been through this with my band because I turned down a few gigs at "prestigious" clubs because of the lack of remuneration. My attitude was that if a club can't pay a band something even for the expense of band, gas, time, dinner, rehearsal . .then let's focus on clubs that will pay us. It just seems like a big take from my point of view, and maybe I'm just too old and too been there done that for it.

That is the nature of the music business. Big name acts charge these small acts to open for them. And most local acts would do it for free if it meant opening Madison Square Garden or The Filmore East here in NYC. Who wouldn't? There is a price for exposure and it is a very high price.

As far as the gig. If I were 20, I would do it. It's exposure. It's experience, and who knows what and who you will meet on the tour. If you're a good drummer, you could end up with the opening act. My friend toured with a big name act for years because he was the opener and became their keyboardist after the keyboardist left.

jer 01-29-2010 09:53 AM

Re: Touring for no money
 
Interesting, opposing points of view here.

I've lost a months wages being on my current tour and won't see any profit on the other side, but did just have a month long vacation on the other side of the world and pretty much had the time of my life, all expenses except food (when we didn't get it worked into the deal), and booze (when we didn't get it worked into the deal) were covered. Well worth in in my opinion, but like other have said, depends where you are in life, wife and kids might not think it's as fun, but a 20 y/o with nothing but time could really benefit from the experience.

FourOnTheFloorTom 01-29-2010 08:03 PM

Re: Touring for no money
 
I've always been paid to tour. For the amount of suffering we go through to be on the road for 6 weeks, I gotta get paid. I can stay home and practice for free and have a fine time! So, to get me out of town, a band has to at least replace my normal weekly income.

This is why I do not join bands anymore. I've done tours where I was the only one to make any money, while the "real" band members didn't see a dime.

I love to tour, but I won't pay to do it, or do it for free. I'd be better off just booking a vacation, renting a car and hitting up jam nights in differnt towns than doing a van/club/floor tour for no money.

But that's just me! I'm old and jaded now!!! Some kid out there is gonna have a great time, so more power too him!

t

Deathmetalconga 01-31-2010 10:15 AM

Re: Touring for no money
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by KnockOut86 (Post 657629)
I would do it, and I would be happy doing it. You have to get experience/exposure somehow.

I took an unpaid internship at a company and a few months later they were offering me a full-time job in the worst job market in decades. Sometimes you gotta do what's best for you.

That is a good way to view it, as an unpaid internship. Actually, this one pays for your food and lodging, which is more than any other unpaid internship! For someone who is young and eager, this is a good way to build a resume at an entry-level position.

Pollyanna 01-31-2010 10:46 AM

Re: Touring for no money
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by jer (Post 658335)
Interesting, opposing points of view here.

I've lost a months wages being on my current tour and won't see any profit on the other side, but did just have a month long vacation on the other side of the world and pretty much had the time of my life, all expenses except food (when we didn't get it worked into the deal), and booze (when we didn't get it worked into the deal) were covered. Well worth in in my opinion, but like other have said, depends where you are in life, wife and kids might not think it's as fun, but a 20 y/o with nothing but time could really benefit from the experience.

Yes, looking at your NZ tour thread you obviously had a great time. We don't get paid for holidays and since we love playing music so a musical holiday doesn't sound so painful to me, as long as it's fairly well organised.

A young person without spouse, kids or serious work could have a whale of a time. For someone like that maybe exposure is not so much the lure of a tour like that so much as experience.

DrumEatDrum 01-31-2010 06:18 PM

Re: Touring for no money
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by jer (Post 658335)
Interesting, opposing points of view here.

I've lost a months wages being on my current tour and won't see any profit on the other side, but did just have a month long vacation on the other side of the world and pretty much had the time of my life, all expenses except food (when we didn't get it worked into the deal), and booze (when we didn't get it worked into the deal) were covered. Well worth in in my opinion, but like other have said, depends where you are in life, wife and kids might not think it's as fun, but a 20 y/o with nothing but time could really benefit from the experience.

Many of us would do that if it was our band, and working toward something (i.e. future record sales, opportunities to tour better venues, recognition, etc..)

It's something else when you're just a temp helping the rest of the band work toward something.

If the band's tour is successful at the getting them to sell X number of albums and X number of t-shirts and gain x number of fans, that all helps the band (even if it's just helping pay down some debt), but the temp gets no benefit, other than say he was there.

But yeah, the early 20-something version of me would have still considered it.


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