[Dixielandjazz] Big Bands - Whores - Gratis Jobs - New Year's Eve.

Steve barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Sat Dec 4 14:20:57 PST 2004

Charlie Suhor wrote:

> We never play free, even for
> civic events, if another band is being paid. A good trade-off-- the
> city provides a practice hall, stands, music, and sound system so we
> play for civic events gratis. We just had a spat with our usual New
> Years Eve employer when they wanted to cut us down from $100 to $50
> (!). When we flat cancelled, and they came through.

Woooooh. I'd have to send Guido after them if a band played civic events
here gratis. It is civic events which pay the bills for most musicians in
this neck of the woods. There is ALL KINDS OF MUNICIPAL MONEY out there for
entertainment. Some from "sponsor donations".

Same for "charity" events.

We look at it this way. The hall gets their rental fee, the caterer gets
their food bill, etc., etc. Everybody else associated with the event is
getting paid. Why do musicians do it for nothing? Are we stupid, or what?

Especially at a Municipal 4th of July fireworks show where the Italian
Fireworks Impresario gets $25,000 to $50,000 or more. Why then would a band
work free? What is another $1000 or two? Free, not because the city can't
afford it, but simply because musicians are not hip to getting paid,
seemingly preferring to be "starving artists".

Same for New Year's Eve. It should be THE HIGHEST PAYING GIG OF THE YEAR.
If, that evening, a sideman in the worst band in the world works for less
than $100/hour with a 3 hour minimum, ($300) one is again giving it away
like a bored housewife instead of properly charging for it like a real

Had a discussion with a guy from a big band that played opposite us July 4
prior to the city fireworks show. Them 18 pieces. Us 7 pieces. Their
business manager asked to compare prices. (He knew me personally, and
Barbone Street by reputation and figured we were not selling ourselves
cheaply) Turned out that we got 4 times what they got. Why? Because they
were stupid about it.

The Real World? The city spent $48,000 on a half hour fireworks show at that
event. The big band did not even get $1000 for a one and a half hour
performance. In fact, the sound guy got more than they did. Event sponsors
covered the entire cost and the City actually made a few extra bucks.

The only way to stop this kind of foolishness is to treat the band like any
other business and stop bending over and asking them to; "do it again".

Or go out and buy that T shirt that says:

        No Car
       No Money
    I'm In A Band

Steve Barbone


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