Time to up our game

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by Gasp100, May 15, 2015.

  1. Gasp100

    Gasp100 Silver Supporting Member

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    I play in a four piece "top 40, etc..." band and by keeping it lean I'm able to pay pretty well while keeping our asking price pretty low ($500-700). I'm thinking about a hard press:
    1. Add keys
    2. Morph current band OR create new that is more narrowly focused on "era" or "in the style of"
    3. Mandatory / regular rehearsals

    Goal would be bigger / better rooms, audience, money.
    This would take:
    1. Finding right keys player
    2. Big addition / revamp of setlst
    3. More money invested (additional lights, rehearsal, give up a large portion of my cut in the beginning)
    4. More commitment from current mates, if not new mates
    5. If things work probably longer travel times
    6. Willing to drop venues and give up gigs during transition to better pay

    I think it's time but I'm nervous. I'm sort of in "run the engine" mode right now for the summer but people are coming to me for bookings, complacency is the death of good bands and I feel like it's prime time to up my game.
    I look at this as an investment of time, energy and out of pocket money to prep a project for MY future (thinking casino gigs, theatre for tribute-ish / originals, festivals, wedding/corporate) and eventually maybe opening a full fledged booking/sound business.
     
  2. Yer Blues

    Yer Blues Member

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    Didn't you just post last week you were thinking about throwing in the towel on the cover band? :confused:
     
  3. Gas-man

    Gas-man Unrepentant Massaganist

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    Travel is the killer, at least for me when you "step up" to the next level.

    In order to be an agency band around here (with the supposedly good gigs) you have to be willing to travel up to 5 hours one way for a one-nighter.

    That is nuts.

    There's something to be said for running a lean outfit that maximizes the gigs in your area while still making enough coin to make it worthwhile.
     
  4. Moxsam

    Moxsam Member

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    Considering your other thread you should start an all shorts, all the time band called The Chicken Legs.
     
  5. Wagster

    Wagster Member

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    It seems like the tribute, theme and novelty band make the big money around here. These guys are rolling in the money in my region.
    http://amishoutlaws.com
     
  6. Gas-man

    Gas-man Unrepentant Massaganist

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    So its a regular cover band but they dress like Amish dudes?

    THAT is the schtick?
     
  7. Gasp100

    Gasp100 Silver Supporting Member

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    Hey Wagster, I have seen these guys pop into my neck of the woods a little bit as well. Yes that is literally their schtick, I think they play the covers fairly straight too...
    I was in an original / comedy band in the 90's called the Fighting Amish and I think our idea was better... funny assed lyrics to good rock, almost like a Mad Libs type of lyric writing vibe.
    But hey, these guys grabbed onto something to make them popular and it's working for them.
     
  8. Gasp100

    Gasp100 Silver Supporting Member

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    I resolved that quitting now (or closing up shop and joining another band) is not the right move. I'm already tapped into some great players, good rooms and I'm going to keep this going or split it up and have one primarily acoustic duo group and one more "serious" full fledged band.
    The only band I would consider auditioning for would be a regular working, agency backed, $150-250 a night group. No one is advertising that type of gig and if they do it means 6-8x a month, pretty heavy travel, etc... I actually have more to offer than most of the bands looking for someone already.

    Travel is a concern but the most I'm talking is 1.5 hours 1 way (which is still a lot) but those would be rare. I figure if I can get us in rooms with good house systems the travel time vs. carting a ton of **** and setting up time is a wash. If we walk with more money it's a better deal.
     
  9. RupertB

    RupertB Supporting Member

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    Before you make the commitment of time & money (yours & others'), make sure there is a market for the finished product you are proposing; preferrably an underserved local market.

    If not local, will you be able to collect an upcharge for your travel?
    If not underserved, will you be able to compete with those already in that market?

    Not having answers to these questions is likely to turn your short-term pay cut into the "new normal."

    Do you have a broad base of venues (eg. more than 5 places you play regularly?). If dropping your two poorest-paying venues will put you in a position that one place closing cuts your calendar in half, you should probably cultivate some new venues first.

    Do you have the contacts or a good promoter/agency with the contacts to get you into the market you're aiming for?

    New challenges & change can be a good thing. A solid, specific plan and the info & contacts to make it work will help ensure that they are both good musically as well as financially.
     
  10. Gasp100

    Gasp100 Silver Supporting Member

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    Very good points! I will digest this and use this advice to steer my course of action. Thanks!
     
  11. Wagster

    Wagster Member

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    Yes and get this, GULP, rumor has it that they make close to 6 figures a man a year doing it. More power to them for rolling in the bank. I'd play with them in a heartbeat.
     
  12. emdub123

    emdub123 Supporting Member

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    Are you saying you're willing to drive 1.5 hours each way and play three (or four) sets for $150/man? I'm not judging, my reaction is just that you must REALLY want to play. When you take rehearsal costs, gas, food into consideration you're probably looking at minimum wage at those rates. What would your number be if you started with the question: how much is my time worth? If you said $30/hr, then factored in all of the various time commitments and expenses, what would that add up to on a per gig fee?

    Like I said, I'm not judging, my net take home is less than zero but I do it anyway.
     
  13. donnievaz

    donnievaz Member

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    I caught them at Seacrets in Ocean City a few years ago. They are very good at what they do. Extremely energetic and engaging, they have the audience eating from the palm of their hand. I don't even remember how good they were musically, it doesn't matter. (I think I'd have remembered if they were bad though)
     
  14. emdub123

    emdub123 Supporting Member

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    I just watched a few of the clips on their website and it looks like they've got a very high energy show with a really good singer that is also a really good entertainer. Songs sounded pretty close to the originals, I was really surprised at how into it people were considering the material ("Walkin' on Sunshine?)...
     

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