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Great article- "Why LA Club Owners are Totally Lost"- GREAT read- for ALL musicians!!

BigDar

Member
Messages
393
Scary. It hasn't got quite that bad (from what little I know) here in the midwest but just the other day I saw a club owner advertising for a "house band" in which the band plays for free the first month "to see how it goes" and after that they'll talk money. Sad thing is, he's probably got a line of really bad bands at his door begging for the gig.
 

tiktok

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
22,930
There was a thread on this a week or two ago, and the matter was finally settled.
 

MKB

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
8,456
Very interesting article. As anti-union as I am, that area is prime for a musicians union and it not being a right-to-work area. That would turn things around fast.

Also, everyone knows doctors do not play drums. They all play guitar (usually PRS's).

Another thing; maybe the $75 jazz band should indeed make up flyers to promote the venue, and put on them exactly what they think of the venue and owner, including how cheap the owner is and uninterested in truly improving the venue. What will the band lose? $75??
 
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Dexter.Sinister

Still breathing
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
7,071
Also, everyone knows doctors do not play drums. They all play guitar (usually PRS's).
I saw a doctor play drums last night at a local club. The horns were excellent but this guy couldn't find the pocket in his own pants, much less in a jazz quintet (which was the setting).

Not that being a doctor was the source of the problem...
 
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spakuloid

Member
Messages
5,125
I live here. Unless you have a TV personality / movie star / and or a (famous person's) nephew/kid/cousin in your band - OR - you have heat on you from some rare stroke of good fortune/luck/karma - DON'T PLAY IN L.A. Waste of your time and money. Many people may **** their pants telling me that I am wrong - but I'm not. Any band you've seen raking it in playing in Los Angeles area hotspots has definitely got an industry insider lurking somewhere near or in the band. That is 100% fact. So go on TGP and tell me all about your outliers and disprove me. Playing in Los Angeles is not what it used to be - and it hasn't been decent for unknown unconnected bands since the late 1990's. The death knell was the closing of places such as Coconut Teaszer, Al's Bar, Martini Lounge, and most recently the Cat Club. No one makes money playing in L.A. until they are big enough to not play in L.A. And people out here only go to see bands when there is heat on them so they can "be seen". They do not give a rats ass about the band. Once the band is done they immediately leave and go out to a club or house party.
 

TNJ

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
28,822
The article speaks a lot of truth about the way it is with club gigs/club owners.
Dealing with them is tantamount to going through garbage or plunging a toilet.
Not tasty at all...
They never get the fact that a band has value and brings value to a club or like establishment. They seem put out to pay bands anything, and feel like they have us musician types over a barrel.
Well, in my experience, they do. Bands can be pretty cutthroat in stabbing fellow players in the back to get a gig.
I've seen it a lot. So, we kind of screw ourselves over time and time again, and the club owner probably laughs about it, because he has the ultimate power and will take whoever kisses his ass the deepest and takes the least amount of $$$. It's all a rather nasty underbelly of the music business that I have less and less tolerance for.
Thankfully, I don't have to do this for a living, and our bandleader has a lot of longtime connections with some of our local club owners and festival promoters. I feel fortunate to be in this band, as I know there are a lot of guys out there without the connections who are really struggling for any scrap at all.

S>
j
 

beanbass

Member
Messages
1,711
I remember the LA clubs in the early 90's being all pay-to-play, meaning you bought tickets to your gig from the club owner and your take was determined by how much of those tickets you were able to resell.
 

spakuloid

Member
Messages
5,125
I remember the LA clubs in the early 90's being all pay-to-play, meaning you bought tickets to your gig from the club owner and your take was determined by how much of those tickets you were able to resell.
That was only true if you didn't know anyone. Once you became part of the scene or got a recommend with a hot band as their opener - or - once again - had a contact that was somewhat almost famous (or famous) - pay to play magically went away and you got all kinds of perks. I have been on both sides of it throughout the 90's in L.A. Great bands with no juice getting hosed - and mediocre bands that knew a soap opera star who wanted to rock out and got the red carpet treatment. They gouged all of the so called 'touring" bands - who were really just "any town USA dreamers" who had saved up enough dough to road trip to LA and realize their dream of playing the Whiskey or Viper Room. This practice still goes on at both of those clubs BTW.

Bottom line - too many bands. There's just too many bands. Way too many bands in an era where live music is on the decline. Club owners have bands in their back pocket due to this fact alone. Doubt it will change much.
 

mesamark5

Member
Messages
127
i play for the enjoyment,not the dam money. if your really that good and actually "ORIGINAL" in some way, the money will come.
trust me,bar owners arent getting rich off of you.
 

landru64

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,420
dave g is a frequent musical colleague of our own duaneallen, who i think was on the gig in question.

ps LA rock clubs are still pay to play. jazz clubs, not so much.
 

sgv

Member
Messages
298
A friend of mine posted this on facebook last week and all his hippie folks got behind this article. However, I disagreed with this article due to the point of view.

First...how much can a person expect to get paid from an anonymous ad on CraigsList? Being in a band takes work. Marketing the band takes work. Going online and searching CraigsList is not work. Going out off-nights (Mon, Tues, Wed) and visiting clubs with built in crowds to build a relationship with the owners/bookers is part of the work. Don't cry because a random ad on the internet doesn't promise you hundreds of dollars for your playing.

In my opinion, if you're booking your dates off CL...you probably don't have a built in relationship with anyone. So, either your band sucks...or you're a new band. If you're 50 and starting a new band...don't expect to get paid, just because you're paid well in your daytime job.

Work to build a name first...then write an article on how to do it. Then again, the author is so egotistical that he thinks he should be paid top dollar for answering a random ad...so I take his opinion with less than a grain of salt.

For the record...I've played these type of shows. I've played the Tuesday nights of the only crowd is where you bring 15 people for a chance to play a Friday. Luckily now, I have put years in to play to large 1500-2000+ crowds. For an original band, this took a TON of work and money. Yet...it's what I do.

I have no sympathy for the author. If he wants better gigs and more respect...earn it.
 

skronker

2010/2013/2015 S.C. Champions
Messages
5,398
That was only true if you didn't know anyone. Once you became part of the scene or got a recommend with a hot band as their opener - or - once again - had a contact that was somewhat almost famous (or famous) - pay to play magically went away and you got all kinds of perks. I have been on both sides of it throughout the 90's in L.A. Great bands with no juice getting hosed - and mediocre bands that knew a soap opera star who wanted to rock out and got the red carpet treatment. They gouged all of the so called 'touring" bands - who were really just "any town USA dreamers" who had saved up enough dough to road trip to LA and realize their dream of playing the Whiskey or Viper Room. This practice still goes on at both of those clubs BTW.

Bottom line - too many bands. There's just too many bands. Way too many bands in an era where live music is on the decline. Club owners have bands in their back pocket due to this fact alone. Doubt it will change much.
Too many bands and more forming everyday
Fewer clubs featuring live music on a regular basis
Fewer people going out to drink because of the DUI laws
etc....
 

gag halfrunt

A fellow of infinite jest
Messages
1,941
Too many bands and more forming everyday
Fewer clubs featuring live music on a regular basis
Fewer people going out to drink because of the DUI laws
etc....
Yep.

And WAY too many hobby/garage bands out there willing to play for nothing or next to nothing, "just to get our foot in the door". They completely undercut the pro bands. And when I say pro, I mean pro in their performance. The truth is that almost nobody can hang in this business without some sort of day job.

To the OP: very nice article, but all the club owners have adopted this business plan. It's not going to change. You have to remember that club owners simply don't think long-term. So many clubs go out of business, they are only worried about the current month. They look at costs vs receipts. Paying a good band decent money increases costs. Promoting them increases costs. Booking mediocre bands with decent followings (albeit friends and family) makes them the most money in the short term.
 
Messages
504
I find myself wondering how old this guy (the author of the article) is and how long he has been gigging. I say that because I've been playing for a very long time and it has always been about putting butts in the seats.....always.
 

tiktok

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
22,930
To the OP: very nice article, but all the club owners have adopted this business plan. It's not going to change. You have to remember that club owners simply don't think long-term. So many clubs go out of business, they are only worried about the current month. They look at costs vs receipts. Paying a good band decent money increases costs. Promoting them increases costs. Booking mediocre bands with decent followings (albeit friends and family) makes them the most money in the short term.
This. Is. Capitalism.

If bands could demonstrate to club owners that spending more money to hire them would result in a demonstrable and reliable increase in profits, they'd do it. But, bands can't do this.
 




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