[Dixielandjazz] The cats out of the bag!!

LARRY'S Signs and Large Format Printing sign.guy at charter.net
Tue Oct 19 16:23:36 PDT 2004

The first principal of professional music is that the band gets paid not the
other way around.  I have never figured out why some bands will pay, no
matter how it's disguised, to play.

Some years ago my brother in law ( he was about 16 or 17 ) played at a
battle of the bands.  They paid $75 for the privilege.  They were convinced
they would win.  The prize was $300 and 4 bands were in the contest.  Do the
math. This sounds like an even money lottery to me.  Well they didn't win.
The winner had a whole wall of amps and speakers. He talked me into going.
I wanted to throw up because my viscera took such a beating from the hyper
bass.  All of the bands were equally poor.  The church that sponsored this
event took $5 each from about 300 kids.  I tried to tell them that it was a
scam.  But who listens to me.  I'd only been playing professionally since I
was 15.  Thankfully that band is no longer in business nor does my brother
in law play any longer.  The church is still there and probably still
scamming the kids.

I got had three times but I didn't know about it until the gigs had been
played.  One was a $10 meal that got deducted and the next two were  $15
parking fees.  The leader got the bands parking pre validated but because I
was a sub I didn't get mine validated.  I don't work for that band or the
hotel any longer.  The second parking fee I refused to pay and parked three
blocks away at a $3 lot.  I don't work for them any longer either.  That's
not a bad record for 50 years of playing gigs.

If guys would simply refuse to work for leaders who don't take care of their
musicians and let them get suckered for parking or anything else doesn't
deserve to have musicians work for them.  Personally I have a union of one.
I may get had but I don't make a habit out of it.

A variation of this is the bar owner who has had a bad night tries to stiff
the band or want you to work for the door.  Only bands with extensive
mailing lists and a following dare work for the door. There is a local big
band here that works for the door in the only public dance hall in St. Louis
on swing night..  The crowds are iffy and they don't get much.  I think the
door is OK if you have a guarantee up front.

The last variation is the charity angle.  I have a personal policy.  I have
a personal charity and I will play for them once or twice a year as long as
it isn't on a Friday or Saturday night.  There is a band in town that plays
for charity and no one gets paid.  I will play for them if I am not booked
and it's very short notice.  If someone wants my band to work for charity I
refer them to the band that plays for charity.  Usually they want a freebee
and the band that plays for charity isn't free but donates their proceeds to
a charity of the board of directors choice.  I guess they then look
elsewhere.  You can get charitied to death.  Even though I limit it I still
play about five or six gigs a year as freebee's.

There always seems to be bands and musicians out there that are needy and
will do anything to play a gig.  By the way has anyone ever seen the movie
"The Gig".  Some of these guys need the bragging rights to jobs.  They like
telling their friends that they played at some hotel or another.  With me
that wore off really early in life.  The realization comes when you figure
out that you need the money and that's what pays the bills.  You have a
family or other obligations that you would rather do than work but you still
make the gig..

No one in their right mind would expect a bricklayer or plumber to come out
and stick his head in your toilet for free just because they enjoy it so
much then why should they expect a musician to play for free or at a cut
rate.  I gotta tell you after setting up then standing  for three or four
hours and then loading the equipment I hurt and I'm not having a lot of fun.

I work gigs at a local country club and they act like it's a privilege to
work for them especially when they don't pay until I call them and harass
their bookkeeper.  They always pay but it's a game they play.  I want the
money so I don't commit gigacide by telling them what I think of their
"exclusive country club".  I had another "conversation" with them today and
told them I wanted to get paid when I walked in next time.  Let's see if it
works or if I blew it.

If you want to be a pro you have to stick to a personal policy of
withdrawing your services and not playing for less than a fair wage or else
you will get had on a regular basis.  No union can protect you if you have
no professional standards.
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Randy Fendrick" <jfendrick at bak.rr.com>
To: "Steve barbone" <barbonestreet at earthlink.net>
Cc: <Dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com>
Sent: Monday, October 18, 2004 2:44 PM
Subject: [Dixielandjazz] The cats out of the bag!!

> Actually that has been going on for years in rock circles.  In LA, for
> instance, the owner of a club will charge the up and coming (?) Rock or
> Country Band X dollars to play.  The band then sells the tickets to
> their fans (friends and relatives, etc) and everyone is happy.  I am
> afraid that many of our Rock colleagues don't understand the concept.
> Now that I think about it, the same concept works for many of OKOM
> bands that play cruises, they get a discount to go on the cruise and
> play music.  A discount is not the same as being paid for your
> contribution to the profits that the cruise company makes.  Again they
> don't understand the concept.  Gene Bolen, who many of you know, used
> to call these OKOM bands "Tee Shirt" bands.  They would print up their
> tee shirts, play for free or for a reduced fee and sell their tee
> shirts to crack their nut.  HMMMMM!
> I was trained to be a professional and while the market has shrunk and
> the fees have not kept up with inflation, I still refuse to compromise
> my values in that we charge for what we do.  The electric company
> doesn't give the electricity away to power my Ipod.  The gas companies
> don't give away their products, as we, in California, are now paying
> $2.50 a gallon and my wife's Chevron stock has gone through the roof,
> as they are making obscene profits and not a word from the traveling
> "White House."  Again, HMMMMM!
> later,
> >
> > Oh my, the cat is out of the bag. Now it's just a question of time
> > before US
> > OKOM Festivals charge the bands for the privilege of playing. :-) VBG.
> >
> Randy Fendrick,
> Southside Chicago Seven
> Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra
> _______________________________________________
> Dixielandjazz mailing list
> Dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com
> http://ml.islandnet.com/mailman/listinfo/dixielandjazz

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