Corporate gigs vs the bar scene

A J

Well-known member
Never did a corporate gig. But I agree that constant bar gigs will wear you down.

- the fights
- the bar owners
- the highly intoxicated patrons
- the crazy hours
- the scary parking lot at 2 AM with four dudes hanging out watching you

I'm 57 years old. If I never get paid another dime to play drums I will die a very happy man. I get so much more enjoyment from jam sessions, charity gigs and unpaid parties.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
I think lots of bands don’t really embrace the bar gig, playing their own favorites, no crowd banter, won’t (or can’t) field a request, etc. I was in a bar band that just killed every time, and every gig was life-affirming. I’ve been in plenty of less-than -stellar bar bands, too. If patrons are yelling “Freebird”, maybe your band isn’t entertaining them. It’s really rare to be in a band that actually draws a crowd, keeps them there until closing, and fills the tip jar. It’s much more difficult than it looks, and I owe most of it to our frontman/lead guitarist.

I hear you on the $$$ and hours. But I miss a good bar gig with my old band. We killed at weddings and private parties, too. I miss being able to drink beer, trade solos, and crack jokes on the mic with my friends. If only it paid double! Maybe it’ll happen again one day.
 

Quai34

Junior Member
I did too many bar gigs with classic rock or alternate rock band where the guitarist was the "Star of the show" and where the other members brought me in to try to make him understand that keys could bring a lot of new "horizons/crowds/shows/corporate" etc... But finally being the guy who brings more than anyone, even the drummer, because doing all brass+strings+percussions (yes, congas and clave on Santana songs with one hand while playing organ on the other hand) on top of my other keys duties + PA and sound duties for everyone etc, that I did the same: Treating my own band with music I like, Funk/Dance cover or jazz/jazz Rock and I'm way happier now.... So many times I hear on the radio a song and size to my self: "What, I played that and there isn't any keys? I should have been really hungry to play that!!!"
And to cope with the OP, yes, only 4 hours shows, so 50 songs, so, even if it takes 2/3 hours to set up and 1/2 to read down, we charge enough to have 350/500 each and one to 2 "Roady/tech sound and lights".
Especially where when people in general are cheap and have been granted for free music for so long in the bar scene, I'm done with it....But when we move things, we go big or we go home and it's a shelf show.
 

No Way Jose

Silver Member
I think the band has to be good to get a corporate gig.
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
The musicians I play with are older, so we always negotiate for the 7–9pm time slot. The bar owners like it ’cuz we bring our friends and family and they buy plenty of food and drink. I’m home by 10pm.

Corporate gigs are weird (to me) ‘cuz every one I’ve played at the band is like an iPod, playing a sound track for the party. No dancing, no spirited laughter, kinda dull, but pays better than a bar gig.

My favorite gigs are the summer festivals and brew house “parties” that are held during the day. I love me a good sweat on the kit in 90º weather (really!).
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
The VERY best gigs are winery gigs, and nobody can change my mind. Usually good pay, usually good hours, usually well-to-do patrons who have had a few glasses and start dancing and tipping very nicely, and usually a bottle or two is included with the paycheck.
 

MG1127

Well-known member
I've done my fair share of both over the last 30 years and my opinion is ... keep me in the recording studio and the tour bus as a hired gun and I'm good to go.

I despise both the bar gig and corporate gig equally
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Platinum Member
I still can't take corporate gigs seriously. I do them, and am professional about it, but the stank of the punky dive bar is part of my DNA.

Having aloof soccer moms coming up after a gig at corporate luncheon and saying : "Oh...you are the drummer? Do you like animal from the Muppets?" or "do that buh-dump-crash thing like after a joke!!!" or THE WORST.... More Cowbell 😑

I would rather deal with a whole audience of drunk idiots requesting Freebird....
 

Ryan Culberson

Regular Poster
The VERY best gigs are winery gigs, and nobody can change my mind. Usually good pay, usually good hours, usually well-to-do patrons who have had a few glasses and start dancing and tipping very nicely, and usually a bottle or two is included with the paycheck.

This^

These are the primo gigs in my little corner of the world.
 

Quai34

Junior Member
I think the band has to be good to get a corporate gig.
We were, we practice for two years the 50 songs we had plus the other 50, more classic rock to be proposed as a 20 mn karaoke style if they wanted that instead of breaks!!! And I'm the bitch of the band, super thorough on all things drums included!!!
 
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Bozozoid

Silver Member
You could be the Jeff Beck group incognito and STILL get the table in the middle with the 4 people and 9 teeth between them yelling for freebird!. They won't go away after all these years.
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
Did my grounding playing pubs, they're invaluable for teaching you how to deal with any situation. Me and my guitarist graduated from that to the corporate scene once we'd come out the other side of university.

It's a different set of worries on the corporate scene but doing pubs was much tougher and really makes you appreciate how lucky you are to have a well paid gig. Still do the occasional pub gig but I know the landlords and there's usually a good pint in it for me.

Best fun I ever had was doing the bike rally circuit. Crap money but summer is one big party.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Platinum Member
Did my grounding playing pubs, they're invaluable for teaching you how to deal with any situation. Me and my guitarist graduated from that to the corporate scene once we'd come out the other side of university.

It's a different set of worries on the corporate scene but doing pubs was much tougher and really makes you appreciate how lucky you are to have a well paid gig. Still do the occasional pub gig but I know the landlords and there's usually a good pint in it for me.

Best fun I ever had was doing the bike rally circuit. Crap money but summer is one big party.

my country/rockabilly band does hot rod shows, antique bike festivals, and antique tractor festivals in the summer...other than the heat, those are also freakin blast!!
 

No Way Jose

Silver Member
The VERY best gigs are winery gigs, and nobody can change my mind. Usually good pay, usually good hours, usually well-to-do patrons who have had a few glasses and start dancing and tipping very nicely, and usually a bottle or two is included with the paycheck.

I wish that I could get a winery gig. The last couple times I was there I had a great time, the audience was big and the wine was pretty tasty. I think I met this girl but I can't remember.
 

Morrisman

Platinum Member
My corporate band bought bought a hotel five years ago (actually it was just two of the band members) and we play there once a month. Easy bar gig because all the backline is excellent, as is the PA and lights, and there’s always a sound operator there. Good way to try out new songs. We rehearse on Mondays when the pub is closed.
But when I play regular pub gigs with other bands I’m reminded what a pain it can be loading out at 2am...
 
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BruceW

Senior Member
I wish that there was a market for regular corporate gigs around here. That not being a consideration, I guess I'll keep at the bar thing. We do get some campground gigs, and local festivals, etc. Some private parties, which are essentially bar gigs that are more fun.
 

MG1127

Well-known member
since things have opened back up I've played 4 gigs at a friends brewery and few at breweries that they collaborate with... I have to admit that they were all fantastic.

Straight ahead jazz in great sounding rooms ... fantastic beer... wonderful people... good pay

I'm in
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Platinum Member
since things have opened back up I've played 4 gigs at a friends brewery and few at breweries that they collaborate with... I have to admit that they were all fantastic.

Straight ahead jazz in great sounding rooms ... fantastic beer... wonderful people... good pay

I'm in

yeah...my jazz combo has only micro brewery gigs books right now, and it is the same setting, tho not all the rooms are great sounding...

but what a great vibe
 
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