How accommodating should a venue be to the band?

DPTrainor

Senior Member
It's really about good communication, supporting each other and treating all with respect. In this case, the bar management obviously failed on all accounts. Operation not run well => Lose-Lose.
 

Frank

Gold Member
On one hand, a band can never forget that they are the temporary employees of the venue owner. But - in this case, we clearly have a manager who's less than thrilled with bands and acting very unprofessional.

Regarding having a drink before a gig: maybe that's a regional thing if there are places on the planet that discourage that. In my corner of the world, a band that spends a few dollars in the venue is wisely promoting a healthy relationship between both parties. Venues I have played in love and appreciate that.

Far too many gigs are performed in the universe without t's and c's defined. When there are possibilities for partial pay based on unexpected variables - weather, crowd size, timing - it really should be discussed in advance. Any owner who pulls that crap without discussing it in advance doesn't deserve to be in business.

You always have to take the high road and respond to the nonsense professionally. Then when it's all over, you can wisely choose to never work with the venue again.
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
I think that the only point we agree on is that the contractor should be paid the agreed-upon amount, regardless of how long they play. Even if the venue cancels the band last second. Doug's band didn't start late, they started exactly on-time.

Outside of that... Is it really OK that an employee shows up before work and starts drinking?

*No loitering after load in - I'm cool with that. Not every club has a green room.
*Music starts after the game - I'm cool with that.
You are in agreement with a bar manager that tried to break the law. Stuff like that results in legal action.

And also, 95% of the members here that play for pay, do so mainly for fun. Probably that's true for Doug, too. The bar manager didn't just force Doug to stop him from breaking the law. He crapped all over something Doug does for fun. Bands like most of the ones that play for fun are not really the venue's employees. They are good enough to get paid, but they really just are hanging out with their friends and enjoying playing for other people. It's not a significant part of their livelihood. Calling that kind of musician an "employee" is like calling someone who sells a valuable item to a non-profit for $1 a "seller".

This isn't about being in agreement. You are wrong. I want to understand how you got there, so I can fix the world so it won't produce other wrong people. 😄
 

opentune

Platinum Member
Outside of that... Is it really OK that an employee shows up before work and starts drinking?
So wait, it would be OK if he ordered a coffee and was told to p*ss off and not drink his coffee in the bar while waiting to 'employ' himself?
 

DrumDoug

Senior Member
The thread was just a bit of me venting about a gig the next day. While the bartender and manager were a little awkward about how they approached things, I can understand where they are coming from. And for the record, I ordered an iced tea. The venue in question is a fun venue to play but it's not a fun venue to set up. There is barely any parking nearby. I have circled the block for over 45 minutes looking for a parking spot. There is no room inside to unpack your gear. You have to unpack outside on the sidewalk with the tourists and homeless people and carry it just inside the door where the band plays. Once the show starts, it's a lot of fun. The place is always full and people dance all night. We've played there several times and have a few more gigs booked there. You have to take the good with the bad.

I had another bad gig experience this weekend. My country band was booked to play a show closing for James Wesley. He's had a few songs on top 40 country radio. There was an opening band that played from 8-9:30, he was supposed to play from 10-11:30, and we would play from 12-1:30. We had to be at the venue by 6:00 for a sound check. The place was an hour and a half from home so I couldn't go anywhere before we played. The opening band finished on time but James Wesley didn't start until 11:00. After they finished, instead us our band going up to play, they tore down all their gear so they could leave. We didn't get on stage until 1:15. We played three songs, and they told us it was time to close and we had to stop. We didn't even get paid. We played for exposer. There were a lot of radio adds and posters around town with us on them, so I suppose that's worth something. I wasn't a happy camper driving home that night at 2:30 in the morning, having been there 8 1/2 hours to play 3 songs to an almost empty bar after the main act left.
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
Please let someone try to kick me out of a bar while I'm drinking an iced tea I just paid for. Watch me walk out, and to hell with anyone who has a problem with that. I didn't spend 4 years getting a music degree to be treated like an illegal immigrant washing dishes for cash under the table. I'm a professional, deserve to be treated like one, and am glad I quit trying to make a living at this years ago.
 

opentune

Platinum Member
We didn't even get paid. We played for exposer. There were a lot of radio adds and posters around town with us on them, so I suppose that's worth something. I wasn't a happy camper driving home that night at 2:30 in the morning, having been there 8 1/2 hours to play 3 songs to an almost empty bar after the main act left.
Wow, that is dedication. Hope it pays off.
You have some of the more interesting band escapades on here. How did it work out with the heavy drinker guitarist after all?
 

DrumDoug

Senior Member
Wow, that is dedication. Hope it pays off.
You have some of the more interesting band escapades on here. How did it work out with the heavy drinker guitarist after all?
We put off firing the guitar player because he booked that gig and he works with the radio station that put on the show. We were pretty sure that if we fired him beforehand, he would cancel the gig and make us look bad to the radio station. We want to work with them in the future so we kept him on until now. He only showed up to two out of the last four gigs. He only shows up for gigs that he books. If they aren't big enough he doesn't bother showing up. He wants to be a rock star without putting in the work to be a good musician first. He has been in the band eight months and still doesn't even know the first two sets. At that gig last night, he started yelling on stage for us to stop playing because he couldn't find his wireless for his guitar, and we started playing without him. We were vamping on the intro while he hooked up his gear. To avoid more of scene on stage we stopped and waited for him to finish. It took about him five more minutes to get ready to play. By that time what little of the crowd that had stuck around and was dancing to our into left. The saddest part was after the gig we went up to the guy from the radio station that was there and said we would like to keep working with them in the future. He told us to go talk to (dumb a$# guitar player), because he books all the bands for the station's events.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
So wait, it would be OK if he ordered a coffee and was told to p*ss off and not drink his coffee in the bar while waiting to 'employ' himself?
Depends on which club.

Having an employee 'at' the bar (not 'in' the bar, but at the brass rail) is a great-big-no at every club.

Every bar that I've owned/run, coffee has been free. It's brew and it's fresh.

Every bar I've owned/run that has a green room has its own coffee maker.

Every bar that I've owned/run doesn't allow outside food/drink. Your Starbucks can't come in with you to the public area. It needs to come in through the private entrance and stay in the green room.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
I had another bad gig experience this weekend. My country band was booked to play a show closing for James Wesley... We played for exposer. There were a lot of radio adds and posters around town with us on them, so I suppose that's worth something. I wasn't a happy camper driving home that night at 2:30 in the morning, having been there 8 1/2 hours to play 3 songs to an almost empty bar after the main act left.
There's nothing wrong with exposure per se, it just has to be effective.

If you had played before the headliner, you could be pretty sure that the maximum number of people would see you. But by accepting a slot after the headliner, you should have known that there wouldn't be a full house anymore. That kind of exposure isn't beneficial, given that was the hope when accepting a free gig.

It's important to be agreeable in this business - at all levels - but that doesn't mean beating your head against the wall when you could have avoided it. I normally advocate taking all gigs (except where there's a scheduling conflict,) but this is one where the band should have declined, or at least negotiated a meal and bar tab for your trouble. But not even getting exposure is a waste of time. Nobody should 'close' for anybody.

Bermuda
 

DPTrainor

Senior Member
Depends on which club.
Having an employee 'at' the bar (not 'in' the bar, but at the brass rail) is a great-big-no at every club.
You keep confusing an inside "employee" of the bar/restaurant with the band the musicians that come from the outside to help the bar as outside help - a win-win scenario. Musicians in a band coming from the outside to play are NOT employees of the bar! They are not on W-2 - its a whole different relationship. Lets get that straight. They are NOT employees and are not subject to the same regulations. Yes, it is a partnership in the best sense, if its a well run operation. But they are NOT employees of the bar! And as such it is in effect an SLA agreement with bar and band - with hopefully a well communicated agreement apriori. The best venues negotiate this temporal "agreement" in a way that benefits their business, the patrons, and the band. In a well run operation it is a Win-Win-Win.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Musicians in a band coming from the outside to play are NOT employees of the bar!
From a strictly legal standpoint, that's correct. But such independent contractors are often treated and regarded as employees, and they certainly appear that way to the patrons. If a bar prefers that employees don't sit at the bar, especially when there may be other customers who will park themselves there and generate revenue and tips, that's their prerogative. It's not the musician's place to explain labor codes to the person who hired them, or throw their independent status in that person's face. Well, not if they ever want to work there again.

It's always best to start out taking the high road, and remember: he who pays the piper, calls the tune. If the piper doesn't like the rules, they can go find another gig. It's one of the advantages of being independent.

Bermuda
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
You keep confusing an inside "employee" of the bar/restaurant with the band the musicians that come from the outside to help the bar as outside help - a win-win scenario. Musicians in a band coming from the outside to play are NOT employees of the bar!
You keep confusing "your opinion" with the laws and regulations in various jurisdictions. FWIW, I also can't serve alcohol the Roto-Reuter guy fixing the latrine, the building inspector, etc. I agree that it's utter madness, but there's nothing a club owner can do but comply.

If an actual employee comes in off-shift and sits at the bar, I have to be extra careful that they don't do anything that could possibly resemble work, even something as innocent as discarding a gum wrapper in a private-area trash can could result in a $1500 penalty to the proprietor.

To put it in perspective, a loitering 4-piece band is a potential $6000 liability in NYC, King County, Atlantic City, and Philadelphia. The solution we've always implemented is to construct a physical barrier (3' wall) between the bar and dining area, and obtaining two licenses. Some clubs take the "VIP Area" route. Some have green rooms where real-estate is cheap. Others do nothing and go out of business in a year.
 

DPTrainor

Senior Member
You keep confusing "your opinion" with the laws and regulations in various jurisdictions. FWIW, I also can't serve alcohol the Roto-Reuter guy fixing the latrine, the building inspector, etc. I agree that it's utter madness, but there's nothing a club owner can do but comply.

If an actual employee comes in off-shift and sits at the bar, I have to be extra careful that they don't do anything that could possibly resemble work, even something as innocent as discarding a gum wrapper in a private-area trash can could result in a $1500 penalty to the proprietor.

To put it in perspective, a loitering 4-piece band is a potential $6000 liability in NYC, King County, Atlantic City, and Philadelphia. The solution we've always implemented is to construct a physical barrier (3' wall) between the bar and dining area, and obtaining two licenses. Some clubs take the "VIP Area" route. Some have green rooms where real-estate is cheap. Others do nothing and go out of business in a year.
Your talking utter non-sense.
 

DPTrainor

Senior Member
Or I live on another planet. I admit I have never played in NYC, Atlantic City or Philly. So legally you may be technically right in those jurisdictions. If true, it is sad. But, if I ever do play there, I will be sure to go to the bar after I set up my drums and have a nice drink. They can try to arrest me! Craziness. LOL
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
We put off firing the guitar player because he booked that gig and he works with the radio station that put on the show. We were pretty sure that if we fired him beforehand, he would cancel the gig and make us look bad to the radio station. We want to work with them in the future so we kept him on until now. He only showed up to two out of the last four gigs. He only shows up for gigs that he books. If they aren't big enough he doesn't bother showing up. He wants to be a rock star without putting in the work to be a good musician first. He has been in the band eight months and still doesn't even know the first two sets. At that gig last night, he started yelling on stage for us to stop playing because he couldn't find his wireless for his guitar, and we started playing without him. We were vamping on the intro while he hooked up his gear. To avoid more of scene on stage we stopped and waited for him to finish. It took about him five more minutes to get ready to play. By that time what little of the crowd that had stuck around and was dancing to our into left. The saddest part was after the gig we went up to the guy from the radio station that was there and said we would like to keep working with them in the future. He told us to go talk to (dumb a$# guitar player), because he books all the bands for the station's events.
So, SO glad I only do this for fun anymore.
 

GeoB

Gold Member
I've never played a bar that I found to my liking. So I don't play bars. My compadres hold out for fests, weddings, and other events. I understand that since smoking regs have cleaned up the air it's not too bad in bars but it's too late to turn back now.
 
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