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I'm drawing the line on cheap gigs and scheduling insanity

Jeff Michael

Member
Messages
774
Just sent this email out to all the cats I work for:

"Howdy, bandleader! You're getting this email because you've hired me for bass work in the past, and I really appreciate that.

But from this date forward, I have two requirements that I am absolutely sticking to.

1.) Any offers of work must come to me via email. No more "check the MySpace/band website"; I have had a few too many last-minute schedule near-catastrophes due to nebulous communication. With emails I have a reliably datestamped paper trail of what came in when, so that in the event of a schedule conflict I know who was in the book first...which will of course continue to be my number one criterion for what I'm doing on a given night.

2.) I won't take any future gigs without a guaranteed minimum payday of $100. I did think long and hard about this one. Ultimately the deciding factor was how we all inevitably bitch about how those bar owner bastards try to screw us at every opportunity--and yet we inevitably let them. So I am doing my part to make a stand about how much our efforts should be worth. As I often say, I surely do love music, and if you want to hear the music I love you're welcome to hang out in my basement until I wander down--whenever I feel like it, wearing whatever I happen to be wearing, having shaved and showered or not--and play whatever I like for however long as I like. That's free of charge. For me to shower, shave, dress up a little, pile my gear in a car, drive to wherever, move all my **** from the car to the venue, play three 1-hour sets, pile the gear back into the car, drive home, and finally move the gear from the car back to the house...that's $100. Which is still an absolute sin, but whatever.

So I just updated my datebook with all the engagements that are on the schedule so far (and once again, thanks for those). But from here on in, I'm not going to be able to accept any invitations to play that don't meet the previous two criteria.

Thanks!
Jeff"

I wonder how that'll go over. But ultimately it was just time to put a stop to the ripoff. Jeff's Rule: whatever you're willing to take is probably what you're gonna get.

JAM
 

'70 RS

Member
Messages
5,294
If that's the how it went out...to guys that are hiring you...I'm assuming you might have plenty of time to catch up on all the different CSI's and Law & Orders in the next few months.

Hope it works out for you though.
 
Messages
11,395
Dude, I agree with you. Unfortunately, most bar owners are using 'hard times' as an excuse to pay us less. I always thought in hard times the alcohol industry booms but whatever.
I was just thankful that music wasn't my only stream of income....then I got laid off. Now I take whatever people want to give me...
 

KRosser

Member
Messages
14,252
I reserve the right to treat each gig differently...

Anyway - the people that hire me regularly are used to getting a little more 'hands-on and personal' touch than such a bulk declaration would allow.

So - that would never work for me.

For you? Who knows?
 

Jon C

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
17,880
I agree with the principle but agree w/ Ken that I would have taken a different approach to those on whom I rely for my gigs & $$$ (assuming I still wanted to get gigs & $$). I'll be interested to see how this works out & hope you'll report back in 6 months or so (seriously).

jc
 

GDking

Member
Messages
2,528
I reserve the right to treat each gig differently...

Anyway - the people that hire me regularly are used to getting a little more 'hands-on and personal' touch than such a bulk declaration would allow.

So - that would never work for me.

For you? Who knows?

Bass players are held to a lower set of standards :) Harder to find a good one that is not a frustrated guitarist when playing.
 

keefsdad

Member
Messages
2,210
Just sent this email out to all the cats I work for:

"Howdy, bandleader! You're getting this email because you've hired me for bass work in the past, and I really appreciate that.

But from this date forward, I have two requirements that I am absolutely sticking to.

1.) Any offers of work must come to me via email. No more "check the MySpace/band website"; I have had a few too many last-minute schedule near-catastrophes due to nebulous communication. With emails I have a reliably datestamped paper trail of what came in when, so that in the event of a schedule conflict I know who was in the book first...which will of course continue to be my number one criterion for what I'm doing on a given night.

2.) I won't take any future gigs without a guaranteed minimum payday of $100. I did think long and hard about this one. Ultimately the deciding factor was how we all inevitably bitch about how those bar owner bastards try to screw us at every opportunity--and yet we inevitably let them. So I am doing my part to make a stand about how much our efforts should be worth. As I often say, I surely do love music, and if you want to hear the music I love you're welcome to hang out in my basement until I wander down--whenever I feel like it, wearing whatever I happen to be wearing, having shaved and showered or not--and play whatever I like for however long as I like. That's free of charge. For me to shower, shave, dress up a little, pile my gear in a car, drive to wherever, move all my **** from the car to the venue, play three 1-hour sets, pile the gear back into the car, drive home, and finally move the gear from the car back to the house...that's $100. Which is still an absolute sin, but whatever.

So I just updated my datebook with all the engagements that are on the schedule so far (and once again, thanks for those). But from here on in, I'm not going to be able to accept any invitations to play that don't meet the previous two criteria.

Thanks!
Jeff"

I wonder how that'll go over. But ultimately it was just time to put a stop to the ripoff. Jeff's Rule: whatever you're willing to take is probably what you're gonna get.

JAM

Right on. I basically decided on those conditions a while ago, although I maybe didn't communicate them in such a clear fashion.
I don't work as much, but I'm not interested in being exploited, so I am ok with that. Good for you.:BEER
I should probably add that I am not trying to rely on music as my primary source of income. If I was, I might approach it differently. Or have to.
 

Dog Boy

Senior Member
Messages
3,779
Just sent this email out to all the cats I work for:

"Howdy, bandleader! You're getting this email because you've hired me for bass work in the past, and I really appreciate that.

But from this date forward, I have two requirements that I am absolutely sticking to.

1.) Any offers of work must come to me via email. No more "check the MySpace/band website"; I have had a few too many last-minute schedule near-catastrophes due to nebulous communication. With emails I have a reliably datestamped paper trail of what came in when, so that in the event of a schedule conflict I know who was in the book first...which will of course continue to be my number one criterion for what I'm doing on a given night.

2.) I won't take any future gigs without a guaranteed minimum payday of $100. I did think long and hard about this one. Ultimately the deciding factor was how we all inevitably bitch about how those bar owner bastards try to screw us at every opportunity--and yet we inevitably let them. So I am doing my part to make a stand about how much our efforts should be worth. As I often say, I surely do love music, and if you want to hear the music I love you're welcome to hang out in my basement until I wander down--whenever I feel like it, wearing whatever I happen to be wearing, having shaved and showered or not--and play whatever I like for however long as I like. That's free of charge. For me to shower, shave, dress up a little, pile my gear in a car, drive to wherever, move all my **** from the car to the venue, play three 1-hour sets, pile the gear back into the car, drive home, and finally move the gear from the car back to the house...that's $100. Which is still an absolute sin, but whatever.

So I just updated my datebook with all the engagements that are on the schedule so far (and once again, thanks for those). But from here on in, I'm not going to be able to accept any invitations to play that don't meet the previous two criteria.

Thanks!
Jeff"

I wonder how that'll go over. But ultimately it was just time to put a stop to the ripoff. Jeff's Rule: whatever you're willing to take is probably what you're gonna get.

JAM

I'm proud of you!
My base for in town is 125. You did the right thing.
 

GtrWiz

Member
Messages
4,001
I'm like Ken, and treat every gig differently. Some people I just love playing with and don't worry about the money. Others, not so much...
 

loudboy

Member
Messages
27,312
If we've ever had to use a fill-in, we would always pay them more.

After all, it's THEM who are bailing us out, and they don't have the emotional connection that a band has.
 
Messages
8,093
Wow, Jeff, you sound like me! I said I wouldn't work for under $100 ten years ago; what a sad state that I still get asked to work for less.
That's not to say that I won't. Last night I had a gig I had agreed to do for a guarantee of $50. I took it based on knowing I like the fellas I would play with and, casual gig that it is, figured it would be a good time. It was indeed a swell night, and the generous patronage fed our tip jar (love the tip jar!) to where I took home nearly twice the guarantee. If I issued an edict such as yours, this fella never would have called. There's another place an hour from me that I will nearly always accept a Mon night gig at for (don't tell anyone!!) $35, and all the Guiness I can swill. It's a great place and good musicians; nothing else to do on a Mon...
I'm not saying any of this to influence your decision or as an arguement against your decision (I applaud your stance!), just saying how it wouldn't work for me. Cheers to you.
 

Trandy

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,792
For guitar gigs I charge $100.00 for three hours and $125.00 for four hours.

For bass gigs I charge $125.00 for three hours and $150.00 for fours hours.

Why more for the bass gigs? Because there's only three bass players in the area I live in that know what they're doing....and I'm one of them.

BTW...I get all the work I want or need.

IMHO....YMMV
 

The Captain

Senior Member
Messages
12,790
Most people operate their working lives like this, in that they like to have a solid notification of what roster they are working, and negotiate an hourly rate that will result in pretty much your $100.
I might just note that e-mailed statementts like this can come across as agressive and unfriendly, as noted by the number of arguments that erupt on forums between people who might otherwise get along fine.
 

Jeff Michael

Member
Messages
774
You know dudes, I'm just sitting here wondering what my time and effort is actually worth to me, is all. And $100 for four hours' (and you know that with transportation and setup/teardown it's more like 6-8 hours) worth of highly specialized work for which I've scrupulously trained and provided top-flight reliable equipment, and always try as hard as I can to smile, dance, QB the rhythm section as needed, and just generally try to say yes to any request a bandleader makes of me that doesn't involve body fluids and make the band as good as it can be...well actually I think $100 is gross underpayment, but I'm not oblivious to how it works, so I set the line there.

I don't run a bar or a band, so I always try not to second-guess decisions made by the guys in either of those roles. But I hear bandleaders say the bar managers are dicks, and the bar managers blame the economy, etc., and I know that poop always slides downhill. I'm just sick of being gamed from the top, and the only way I know to change it, or even let those bastards know there's anybody down there even noticing, is to dig in and say 'enough'. I mean, tell me you've ever shown up second at a double booking and had the bar manager do anything other than shrug his shoulders at you like he was doing you a huge favor to let you play there in the first place.

I know it'll shut me out of a lot of "almost $100" gigs. But you know, I’m reminded of the old joke where a guy asks a beautiful woman in a bar if she'd sleep with him for a million dollars. “Sure,” she replies. “How about fifty bucks?” The woman angrily replies, “What kind of girl do you think I am?” The guy replies, “We’ve already determined what you are, now we’re just negotiating the price.”

The idea of taking < $100 offers on a case by case basis were sorely tempting, as I know that being 100% absolutist about it seems dickish. But then somebody's gonna come along with $75 a man for a one-shot in a really promising new room, etc. etc...and if I choose to turn it down ad hoc, then I'm more of a dick rather than less. So the line's hardness helps more than it hurts, I think.

JAM
 

soldersucker

Member
Messages
2,724
I'm with you 100%.I left a band that i helped build for 6 years on NY eve because of similar issues.The bandleader and bass player are 50ish GM retirees and they were shitting thier pants over the economy/pension issues.
They decided subbing me when i wasn't availabe with the cheapest help they could find(inexperienced players)was the solution.What they didn't realise was the drummer/lead singer was tired of thier "Walmart" approach and left the band with me.:)
We are shopping for a bass player and will compete with them in the near future with a trio.
Good for you don't settle!
 

Jon C

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
17,880
You know dudes, I'm just sitting here wondering what my time and effort is actually worth to me, is all. [...]
The idea of taking < $100 offers on a case by case basis were sorely tempting, as I know that being 100% absolutist about it seems dickish. But then somebody's gonna come along with $75 a man for a one-shot in a really promising new room, etc. etc...and if I choose to turn it down ad hoc, then I'm more of a dick rather than less. So the line's hardness helps more than it hurts, I think.

JAM
that's all fine, I don't think anyone's questioning your own personal decision, just pointing out alternative approaches & other experiences. The last sentence, in particular, is a totally subjective personal view that is valid because of that, but may or may not apply to anyone else.

For example, I get a lot of calls for $75 gigs. Before I say yes, I always ask: where is it? How long? WHo else am I playing with? THe answers to those questions can easily tell me whether I'll get $25 worth of fun out of it, so would do it for less than $100, or whether I wouldn't do it for $200, LOL.

There's nothing "wrong" about your approach, I think we each have to do what works for us. I tend to be a bit more flexible and don't beat up on myself if I decide to tinker with the formula now & then.

good luck,
Jon
 

The Scrutinizer

Active Member
Messages
74
Jeff, first off all, your email was definitely on point, and was probably cathartic !

I won't work for $100 anymore unless it's music I really truly want to play

Judging by the tone of your email, you must have a day gig in order to "leverage" them like that. That's how I roll, anyway

The problem in the business is the musicians themselves in that there are hacks who work for less and undercut or the non-hacks are too weak to organize into a coalition & stand up for themselves and ask for more. The problem with Unions is that it is too Top-down and canned when it really gets down to it. The other problem is that most people can't tell the difference between an accomplished musician and a hack
 

Marc Roy

Member
Messages
14,549
Just sent this email out to all the cats I work for:

"Howdy, bandleader! You're getting this email because you've hired me for bass work in the past, and I really appreciate that.

But from this date forward, I have two requirements that I am absolutely sticking to.

1.) Any offers of work must come to me via email. No more "check the MySpace/band website"; I have had a few too many last-minute schedule near-catastrophes due to nebulous communication. With emails I have a reliably datestamped paper trail of what came in when, so that in the event of a schedule conflict I know who was in the book first...which will of course continue to be my number one criterion for what I'm doing on a given night.

2.) I won't take any future gigs without a guaranteed minimum payday of $100. I did think long and hard about this one. Ultimately the deciding factor was how we all inevitably bitch about how those bar owner bastards try to screw us at every opportunity--and yet we inevitably let them. So I am doing my part to make a stand about how much our efforts should be worth. As I often say, I surely do love music, and if you want to hear the music I love you're welcome to hang out in my basement until I wander down--whenever I feel like it, wearing whatever I happen to be wearing, having shaved and showered or not--and play whatever I like for however long as I like. That's free of charge. For me to shower, shave, dress up a little, pile my gear in a car, drive to wherever, move all my **** from the car to the venue, play three 1-hour sets, pile the gear back into the car, drive home, and finally move the gear from the car back to the house...that's $100. Which is still an absolute sin, but whatever.

So I just updated my datebook with all the engagements that are on the schedule so far (and once again, thanks for those). But from here on in, I'm not going to be able to accept any invitations to play that don't meet the previous two criteria.

Thanks!
Jeff"

I wonder how that'll go over. But ultimately it was just time to put a stop to the ripoff. Jeff's Rule: whatever you're willing to take is probably what you're gonna get.

JAM
I say well done. You can only put up with so much crap for so long. I've been there too. If you do lose some gigs because of this, just remember there are plenty of musicians everywhere.
 




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