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#231749 by Echostone Music
Mon Mar 31, 2014 4:24 am
Ok I haven't spent much time on Bandmix, just got reconnected, but I spent some time reading through replies to post:

Having so much trouble finding band members... SamanthaScarlette 2011

I've been playing forever and have done some band-work but mostly made my living doing biz software. I have ever been on the lookout though for good band situations & chemistry but, like so many of the posts/replies in these forums, the success rate is pretty low. Lots of musicians looking, and very few bands being put together from the seekers (although there sure are a lot of bands out there trying to play, look at the L.A. Weekly ads for clubs, 3-4 bands in a night, yikes). Anyway, don't everyone get offended, but it's my conclusion that to be able to get the band you want you have to pay for it, like Zappa always did. Hire the people and tell them exactly what to do.

Since I make enough dough doing the software thing, I can potentially do this, now. I'm just curious to know if there are enough people out there who can rise to the occasion without letting their own "vision" get in the way. It's amazing to me how many players I see listed in a given city (I've scanned L.A. & Birmingham, for starters, working on Seattle now as I'm here for a spell) who all a) play great and b) are (ostensibly) looking for bands. But they can't mesh, or maybe they have and just haven't changed their status in their listing to "not looking anymore". It's so easy now to sit at home and record your stuff forever until it's just right, but then to gig the stuff is another world. It seems to me a good way to find out whether another player(s) is/are a good fit for you is to trade "favorite set lists" of covers you'd do. Even if you want to do originals, make up a cover set list. If the same tunes come up on your lists, or if you like eachother's set-tunes, that should be a good indicator that you'd be able to do a band. If you really wanted to GIG those tunes, as a band, your personalities should not get in the way. That's real professionalism, as I understand it. Zappa, for example, used to hand a new guy a set list (with 200 tunes to one guy, I read), and said "come back when you've learned these". That would be my tactic, if I was paying someone for rehearsals, and gigs. If the players could do that, with no personal issues (all things being the same, skill-wise), I wouldn't worry about losing money paying them to rehearse, etc, as I would know it would eventually pay off (assuming initial response was good, or I'd scrap the project fast). So, the magic hypothetical question is:

How much would I have to pay you to play my set list (whatever it is, within your skill level of course) exactly like I tell you to play it?

There was a guy in our lil 'ol Lakeport, CA, recently who hired a few guys to play a classic rock gig (or rather, a few gigs) and he paid them all a pretty ridiculous amount of money, for the gigs they were. I won't say how much, yet. I don't know if they all played them exactly the way he wanted, but they played the gigs and all got paid. Back to the Magic Question above. As everyone's in agreement these days that music is a business, can you have your vision and obey orders too? Thoughts and curses folks. BTW I'm in Seattle, ready to give orders. maybe. contact-at-grimydiner-dot-com. Cheers, jack

#231751 by t-Roy and The Smoking Section
Mon Mar 31, 2014 5:30 am
That model has been my modus operandi for a decade now. The truth is that if you are paying guys well, they better be able to do it even better than what you ask them for.

And yea, most of the ones who get paid well understand that there is an expectation from their employer and want direction. Those who don't take direction well, you don't want to play with anyway.

Then again, I once had a great band for a gig...even paid for rehearsals. When it came time to start they were all outside smoking cigarettes and I had to do the first 10 minutes without them. They were fired before the second set.

But now that I've been playing around for, lo these many years, I can quite often use any available musicians at the gig for at least a few songs and do the rest of a concert solo.

If you want to be able to book gigs without wondering if you can actually do them, then I'd prepare to (mostly) go it alone and be happy if anyone is there to join you.

Maybe work up a concert set that you could play all by yourself if the need arises, then put the band together.

Lately what I've been doing is finding solo artists who play the various positions you need and have their own merch to sell. Then we partner together for a tour. Bass and drums don't usually fit that bill so I've been going with a keyboardist (bass with his left hand) and a percussionist who raps some hip-hop over anything, and a versatile singer/guitarist who can do acoustic or electric depending on the song. We compliment each other, share each other's music on the stage, and all have our own merch table. It's a win-win for everyone and we go our separate ways until the stars line up in the heavens for us to rejoin each other.



.

#231757 by GuitarMikeB
Mon Mar 31, 2014 1:31 pm
I don't know how much truth there is in th Zappa history - he had a pretty close-knit group of players he used regularly.

Finding a group of players who can do what you want is hard - whether or not you want to pay them for every hour of rehearsal. And can you get the gigs, once you are ready to go?
The bar I visited Saturday night had 2 bands and a 'DJ' scheduled for 9pm-1am. First band was set up and ready by 9, no DJ.... so the soundman plunked a CD in the player.
1 hour sets, band might get $100-150 around here, divided up by 5 guys, doesn't even pay for gas and a beer each. That's typical at bars catering to the young (20 something) crowd in this area. If you can get full-evening gigs that pay anything significant at a bar its because you can draw a crowd. Of course other areas of the country can be different - Houston area, for example.
#231829 by harmonicabruce
Wed Apr 02, 2014 5:08 pm
grimydiner wrote:How much would I have to pay you to play my set list (whatever it is, within your skill level of course) exactly like I tell you to play it?
contact-at-grimydiner-dot-com. jack


If it was me, I'd work my butt off for $200 / week. I'd live in my van, and practice enough until I got it perfect. But, every band I've played in I had to organize. I've had to get peoples stuff out of hock for them, give them a place to live, etc. I really like Zappa's approach, if it was real or not. I may try that. Send a guy the song sheets we work from, and a zip drive with all our songs, and say get back when you learn these. I love it! Of course I also want a guy who has no attitudes, no girl friend or wife, no kids, no job, no warrants, no pets and no plants to water. I'd also like him to have a driver's license, checking account, credit card, working cell phone, and legal vehicle. I'm just way to picky.

I wouldn't pay someone to play, I'd give them an advance on their share of our earnings. Like a company may do for a commissioned salesman they hire, the advances have to be paid back from future earnings. That way no one thinks they're not getting paid enough. Of course chances of making enough money to cover advances are slim to none. But, how else can you make it happen?

#231853 by Cajundaddy
Wed Apr 02, 2014 11:21 pm
"As everyone's in agreement these days that music is a business, can you have your vision and obey orders too? "

Yep, you are looking for session players and they do this all day long. I was a session player for a while with a company called Corporate Design back in the 80s and did exactly that. We had very specific songs, instructions, time constraints, and deadlines to print tracks. I think we were paid about $200/day back then for 8hr sessions and woodshedding parts was on our own time.

The company kept all creative rights so we were simply paid contract musicians doing jingles, in-house promo video soundtracks and a few TV commercials. There is a spoof video "Who needs LA" on my page of some of us blowing off steam after a big deadline and the creative guys got carried away.

Zappa was the real deal and he had vision, determination, and resources to make things happen.
#231895 by harmonicabruce
Thu Apr 03, 2014 4:03 pm
yod wrote:
harmonicabruce wrote:
If it was me, I'd work my butt off for $200 / week.



What instrument do you play and where can I see it on a video streaming?

I'm not actively looking for this kind of opportunity at this time. I can live in my big van, and I could live on $200 / week. If someone were to pay that, I'd know they were serious, which would motivate me to give 100%. But, to answer, I play mostly harmonica (also spoons, washboard, guitar, ukulele, keyboards). Here's a little video of me fooling around with the bass/chord harmonica doing freebird:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qyJ6lUpW2hY

Feel free to flame me, I can take it.
#231987 by Jack Thomas
Sat Apr 05, 2014 3:42 pm
Gents - I've been remiss and haven't checked back in to this to see replies, thanks a lot for all the great feedback, gives me ideas (like keep doing software! heh...). FYI's, here's an account of the "200 songs" to learn from Zappa, it's not the original account I read, a long time ago, but it's still terrifying. This is earning your dough:

http://wiki.killuglyradio.com/wiki/The_ ... ter_Speaks

On another angle, I heard from an interview with Jack Cassidy and Jorma Kaukonen (Hot Tuna) that they survived all these years playing together by "never having any band meetings". Of the formal type anyway, maybe. Anyway, your comments are great. I've been playing since I was 13, and can't stop but haven't ever really did the live-music-for-a-living thing, but at this point I think I'm more fond of the idea of doing it as a solo player, like Tommy Emmanuel or Buster Jones (RIP) or somebody. If anyone knows anyone in Seattle that'd like to make a few bucks I just want to get on some gear, I'm stranded for a few months up here without mine. You can write me at the email in the original post. Carrying on with bloody fingers, jt

#232234 by Joel Clyde
Thu Apr 10, 2014 6:44 am
When I am accepting someone's paycheck, I do what I am told. Anytime that becomes a problem, I will quit. There is only room for one leader in a band, and you do not bite the hand that feeds you.

#232249 by GuitarMikeB
Thu Apr 10, 2014 12:57 pm
Joel Clyde wrote:When I am accepting someone's paycheck, I do what I am told. Anytime that becomes a problem, I will quit. There is only room for one leader in a band, and you do not bite the hand that feeds you.


That's really true if you are taking a paycheck from anyone - including band gigs. If they want you to turn down, play until 2am, do more dance tunes, whatever - you do what they want, or you decide not to and don't take the gig.
#235206 by Joel Clyde
Sun Jul 06, 2014 8:00 am
I may be wrong, but it sounds to me like you may be confusing two different situations.

I have been a full-time professional musician and performer for over 35 years. I hire out to bands when they need me. When that happens, I am not part of the band, but merely a hired gun. I do what I am told, but there are limits. I show up on time for gigs and practices, sober, drug-free and serious, and I do my very best every time. That's what you are paying for. However, as long as I fulfill the previously mentioned conditions, your authority will not extend into other areas, such as my personal life, etc...What I do off-stage, when and who I do it with are my business, as long as it does not effect what you are paying me for. And the same holds true for me. I have no stock in the band, am not entitled to have any say in how things go, and my opinions will be kept to myself, unless I am asked. I don't tell anyone else how to run their band, or play their instrument. It is a job, plain and simple. I do my part, and assume everyone else will do theirs. If they don't...well, that's not my problem. I get paid either way.

If, however, you form a band with several like-minded individuals, it is a different situation entirely. Each member is a co-owner, and certainly entitled to offer opinions, and have a say in how things go. And yes, just like in any other business with several owners/investors, at times there will be personality clashes, or differences in vision. And you can't buy your way out of that.

You have to make up your mind.....do you want a band? Or do you want your own act, with hired back-up musicians? You can't have both. That is the main reason bands break up, because they are unable to separate the two.
#294666 by Musician-Singer-SongwriterNoSite
Wed Jun 26, 2019 5:27 pm
I can't imagine why a musician would expect anything else but give the person writing the checks what they're asking for, unless it's a skill or style issue. Why wouldn't they? However, there are skilled jazz players, who are great at what they do, but can't deliver the feel of a commercial rock or country song. It depends on the nature of the project. It's always nice when writers or musicians can collaborate, but it's a luxury. Far better songs come that way. It helps a lot, if you like the music you're playing of course. Case in point, almost any rock group or writer that ever got a song published and recorded. Even in cases where musicianship is lacking, they usually have great music and great receipts. Business aside, musical success is a composite of many things. Some situations require sidemen paid to do the songs as written. This requires the best musicianship for sure. But everyone of them envy the inspired collaboration, (and the money), of collaborating groups, because they rely less on technicals, and more on inspiration. Both are great and wonderful to be involved in.
#294675 by GuitarMikeB
Tue Jul 02, 2019 1:59 am
Musician-Singer-SongwriterNoSite wrote:I can't imagine why a musician would expect anything else but give the person writing the checks what they're asking for, unless it's a skill or style issue. Why wouldn't they? However, there are skilled jazz players, who are great at what they do, but can't deliver the feel of a commercial rock or country song. It depends on the nature of the project. It's always nice when writers or musicians can collaborate, but it's a luxury. Far better songs come that way. It helps a lot, if you like the music you're playing of course. Case in point, almost any rock group or writer that ever got a song published and recorded. Even in cases where musicianship is lacking, they usually have great music and great receipts. Business aside, musical success is a composite of many things. Some situations require sidemen paid to do the songs as written. This requires the best musicianship for sure. But everyone of them envy the inspired collaboration, (and the money), of collaborating groups, because they rely less on technicals, and more on inspiration. Both are great and wonderful to be involved in.


Of course if you are 5 years late to the rehearsal .... (yes, this post is over 5 years old!!!!)

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