Re: The tip jar
Tip jar depends on the gig, some venues absolutely prohibit it, or any mention of soliciting tips or selling merch. But, they're usually the places that pay a good flat rate, such as casinos.
Some of my local bands have a tip jar at appropriate venues, with an occasional announcement by the leader gently requesting "gas money back to" wherever. And one venue doesn't really pay much, but encourages passing the "bucket o' love", and this is where the more imbibed patrons cough up 5s and 10s.
But I don't think it necessarily cheapens the band, as long as it's the appopriate situation. A wedding band that's getting $2500 and dinner at a reception should not be soliciting tips.