What would you do about this gig?

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by stevel, Jan 22, 2015.

  1. stevel

    stevel Member

    Apr 6, 2008
    Hampton Roads, Virginia
    Ok, I'm in a band that I've been playing with for over a year now, and that has gigs booked for the entire year, at our current rate, which is, I wanna say around 1200-1300 ish. We have about 2 gigs a month on average at clubs we played all last year (our fee went up $100 from last year) who've rebooked us. Then, we usually will get a lot of other gigs during the summer.

    But at rehearsal last night, the leader says, there's a room that he's been talking with to get us in there. It wasn't clear if this room wanted us because we're a really great band, or we wanted to get in there because it's a really great room.

    So the band leader says "What would you guys say if I told you I told him we'd play the gig for $900, and that he told me he may ask us to stop halfway through the gig and only take half the money".

    So wait, you want me to haul all my gear out, for now, 90 bucks, to play in a place that VERY WELL (based on other band members' experiences there with other groups) may ask us to stop playing halfway through the night and only pay us half (so now I'm as likely to make 45 as I am full pay?).

    I said no. So did 3 of the other 5 members. But I had to leave, and later I get a text that we're playing the gig (so he got the others to come around).

    To cap the stack, we just played a place that "wanted us" and when we finished, they didn't want to pay us. They offered up $500 on a 1300 agreement. I did get paid the full amount, but supposedly the leader is pursuing legal action.

    At any rate, this strikes me as a similar situation.

    The band leader said "I'd like to open up some new rooms".

    Well, OK, but why would we want to open up a room that may or may not want us to play the full night (if you agree to that in advance, that gives them the option to do it whether they like us or we're doing OK for them, if they decide they don't want to pay us the full amount).

    I mean, it's like a "try out". We're established. No other band commands the kind of fee we do for the clubs we play (and we are probably right about to price ourselves out of the market).

    I don't want to play the gig. I don't want it to be another crap-hole dive like the other place that didn't want to pay us.

    I could find a sub, but I don't want to be the guy who's always going "well, this gig doesn't suit me, so you'll have to find a sub for it, and I'll come and play only the ones that pay well" (not that I've ever done that before, but you know how people take things and twist them).

    But to me, it's bad business. Take a gig at a place that you've already given the out to only pay you half, and even if you do do well for them (which they'll be the judge of), you're only getting a partial rate (which they probably still come back and try to reneg on) - and then what? What if we kill, and they want us back, and they agree to the 1300, what's going to stop them from stopping us halfway through (yes, a contract would be nice!) next time, or any time?

    It just doesn't seem like a good idea just to have some other place to play (not other benefits were discussed, and my experience with this band has been that, when other benefits are mentioned, they never materialize).
  2. loudboy

    loudboy Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Sedona, AZ
    It's the new normal - a lot of places will stop you after the first set, if you don't draw.

    Does your band have a draw?

    If so, you shouldn't have anything to worry about.

    If you don't, I'd consider myself very lucky to have any gigs at all, let alone $1200 club dates.
  3. tiktok

    tiktok Supporting Member

    Jun 9, 2009
    Well, if it was a professional situation, there'd be a contract. I'd want that contract to cover that if we show up, we get paid, let alone setting up and playing half the show. The setup and teardown are the same regardless of how long you play, ditto on the travel and the forgoing playing another gig that evening.

    In your situation, you have to decide if the potential gain is worth the risk. There are no risk-free moves, particularly market expansion. If you're going to deal with rooms that don't trust your reputation or that are just prone to chisling, there's going to be some nights that don't pencil out as well, at least in the short term.
  4. Yer Blues

    Yer Blues Member

    May 26, 2013
    I'd probably be fine with it going into it. I'd give the venue the benefit of the doubt until they screwed the band over. However, once they do that all bets are off and at that point the venue would be a no go for future dates regardless of what they promise.

    If the band wants to get in some new rooms that is going to bring uncertainty... but not much you can do about it until the band establishes a relationship with the venue.
  5. cosmic_ape

    cosmic_ape Supporting Member

    Apr 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    I bet that if you asked bands that have played that venue, you'd corroborate your suspicions. I'd say the band should pass. Also, when word gets around that you cut a quarter of your rate to play that venue, what do you think other venues that have paid you in full before are going to say?

    I don't know if bar owners get to send back half the top shelf booze they order if business seems slow. My guess is, they don't.
  6. dirk_benedict

    dirk_benedict Supporting Member

    May 29, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    Try it once. If you draw and they stiff you...post it all over your facebook and other means of communication used to promote the band. Chances are this isn't the first time they've pulled this crap.

    If you draw and they ask you back...talk to them about guarantees and contracts for further dates. IF they pull shenanigans, you pass and keep playing the room that is all too happy to pay $1200 a night. No sense in ticking them off after all?

    If you don't draw...well, that's a different story.

    Also - you guys are a 10piece band????
  7. jeffmatz

    jeffmatz Member

    Apr 8, 2014
    Chicago, IL
    Is that really common now?

    God, so glad I don't do rock gigs anymore.
  8. GCDEF

    GCDEF Supporting Member

    Jun 17, 2005
    I've never heard of stopping a band mid-show. Under what circumstances would they do that and how likely is it?
  9. B Money

    B Money Member

    Jul 23, 2007
    Considering that you've already booked a year of gigs @ $1200, each there is no way I would dick around with trying to add more rooms that want to "negotiate" with you.

    Screw that, you've already got 99% of us beat! I'd sit back, take the easy gigs and forget about trying to expand to new places.
  10. GuitarGuy66

    GuitarGuy66 Member

    Aug 20, 2014

  11. RhytmEarl

    RhytmEarl Member

    Aug 1, 2002
    I gigged with a guy who once said, in quite some seriousness, "I'm not a leader, I'm a complainer".

    Don't be that guy.
  12. DustyRhodesJr

    DustyRhodesJr Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2011
    It would seem really embarrassing if they were to stop you halfway
    through the set.

    It is almost like announcing to the crowd "We gave these guys a chance,
    and they were failures". Even though that is not the case.

    I would pass on that whole thing and just stay with your regular gigs.
  13. GerryJ

    GerryJ Member

    May 27, 2002
    Looking at the math (6 players, $900, but you said you'd get only $90 not $150), it appears you're band is in the leader w employed sidemen mode (which has pros & cons).
    I would do the gig & see if it's productive. If the leader's business trend is to schedule more than 2-3 gigs that pay little and go nowhere, then reassess if it's still for you.
    If he at least guarantees you a gig fee, that's better than many 'leaders' these days. ..?
  14. MrLahey

    MrLahey Member

    Nov 2, 2014
    Near some trees.
    If you have the year booked at that rate then there is nothing for a new "room" owner to negotiate unless its going to benefit your band in some way.

    Otherwise, walk hard.
  15. BeardoCI

    BeardoCI Member

    Dec 19, 2014
    What this guy said. Eff that noise.
  16. Gasp100

    Gasp100 Silver Supporting Member

    Oct 23, 2007
    North Myrtle Beach, SC
    Agree, that seems crazy! If I was making $1200 2x a month and the year was booked and also expected summer festival gigs, etc... I would not even consider that type of deal.
    At the same time if you are feeling out new rooms could you try a smaller lineup where the money makes more sense? 3-4 piece?
    I would definitely talk to other bands that have played there to gauge their experiences.
  17. CGrisamore

    CGrisamore Member

    Jan 7, 2002
    Flower Mound TX
    Haven't seen that either but have had the opposite happen.

    First gig at a new place, nearing the end of the night. Owner (who left earlier in the evening) called bartender and asked "how is the band"? Bartender says "great", he says "Have them play for another hour". When we asked how much money they proposed to pay for the additional play time, the answer was of course "none".

    We finished up at the original agreed time, packed up, and left.
  18. Tahitijack

    Tahitijack Member

    Nov 23, 2002
    San Clemente, CA
    I would stick to my guns. No way I'd play that gig. Its like quicksand. Once you step in your going down and not coming back. If others get wind of your generosity they will want to discount your pay as well. Take the high ground and stay with your plan.

    Your leader sounds unnecessarily desperate. Keep an eye out for future trouble. Once some folks get started on this type path, he is likely to bring it back up.

    My only exception is if the venue was the very best, hottest place in town, with tour level crew running audio, effects and lighting and a long wait list to play there. Then yes, but I would still be uneasy about the whole thing...haul gear, set up, sound check, play until the owner said stop....does not make for a great night.
  19. 2HBStrat

    2HBStrat Member

    Apr 3, 2009
    East of the Rockies...
    It sounds to me like you have a bigger problem than this one room....your band leader!.....or may be time to look for a different band to play with.

    I've never seen that happen....afaik it is NOT the "new normal" around here.

    True, but to what point? At what point do you just say no? The band voted to not play the gig, and then, after the OP had to leave, the "band leader" talked the rest of them into it.....that's bad business imo, re-making decisions behind the OP's back when the decision had already been made.

    He sounds dumb, or maybe just stupid.
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2015
  20. FenderBigot

    FenderBigot Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Tampa Bay
    Play the gig. I really don't see the issue.

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