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BlueStrat

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    Out where we used to think we were musicians, until we realized we were really beer salesmen.

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  1. Well, crap. Play on brother Terry. He's the one who encouraged me to go solo, and I took his advice and never looked back. RIP
  2. I first heard "weekend warrior"when I joined my first full time band in 1977. It was to differentiate between full time pros and weekend hobbyists. The problem is, as we've beat to death here a thousand times, is that the full time pro gigs for bands are pretty much gone. Pros used to coexist with hobbyists because hobbyists couldn't work day jobs and raise families and play 5 or6 nights and pros didn't want weekend tavern gigs. Everything was fine. Until the pro gigs dried up and the pros were forced to get day jobs and become hobbyists. And let's face it, that's what pretty much all of us are today. We may approach it with pro attitudes, but it's still mostly a hobbyist environment. Few bars pay today even what they did 30 years ago in dollar amounts, forget inflation. It's awesome that some of you live in areas where having a great show and lights and all the rest of it matter. You could do that here and you wouldn't make any more than the guys in white Court Classics and ball caps with music stands. You might not even get a bigger crowd, since most live music clubs here one are either restaurants or bars with less than 120 seats. If you want to be pro, you do it out of pride in your product. But it won't get you that far around here. Sadly. My horn band used to wear flashy suits and we set up the entire PA and lights when we played. When we regrouped in 2010, we were more casual, the venues were smaller, and half of them either had their own lights or there was really no room to set them up. After awhile, when the crowds aren't any bigger than dad bands get, and the pay isn't any better, it gets too easy to just stop trying. Yet another reason I don't have a band anymore.
  3. Yes, that's what you seem to be saying. Full time for me was 5-6 nights a week every week and making enough money to replace my day job. I maintained my day job the past year while I played those dates. With only 3-4 nights week it isn't hard to do. By the way, I don 't consider working a day gig 3 or 4 days a week a full time job, either. YMMV
  4. "Being a fulltimer my time is wasted and devalued by playing to an empty room." How, exactly, if you're being paid the same amount for it? I was a fulltimer for many years and never, ever felt that way. I never felt 8 people, or 4 or 2, was "an empty room." You seem to be saying that those people don't matter, and the crowd had better be there for you or you won't play. How many is enough for you to perform? 10? 12? 16? is there a 20 person minimum? I dunno, seems backwards to me. My father told me when I first started out to never take people who spend money on me for granted, and that if I couldn't deliver for 2 people, I couldn't do it for 20,000. But he was an old cowboy, so wtf did he know? Or wtf do I know, for that matter? :-D By the way, I played 13-17 nights a month for the past year until this this month, and I still don't consider that full time. Maybe I was and didn't know it! LOL
  5. Back in the 60s and 70s, fugly people had a much better chance at "making it" than today. Look at The Kinks, the Stones, Moody Blues, Grateful Dead, The Band, Dr. Hook, Mungo Jerry, the list is long.
  6. I hate auditions. Years ago, we were looking for a replacement keyboard player. A guy we knew heard about it. I heard him at some jams; he was adequate but not good and I didn't think he could keep up. Plus, we were doing a lot of out of town stuff on weekends an he ran an organic produce stand that did the bulk of their business on weekends. He kept asking if he could audition, and finally my drummer told him he could just to get him to shut up about it. In the meantime, we found a woman who could play well, wrote some good songs, was single and free to travel and she could sing a lot like Bonnie Raitt. It was a no brainer. We hired her. The drummer called the other guy an told him the spot was filled and he went ballistic. "I spent hours learning these stupid songs on this stupid CD!" he yelled. "Fine", my drummer said. "Now you won't have to play those stupid songs." The guy kept going on and on, alternately pleading and then cussing us out, displaying increasing instability. Finally the drummer said "it's not personal, it's business, but I will say that you just confirmed for us that we made the right decision. Good day", and that was that. Or so we thought. This guy started going around to all the jams trashing us, telling people we hired him and then pulled the rug out from under him before he ever did a gig. Most of our friends didn't believe him, but it was still a PITA to deal with. Fast forward 6 years, we're playing at a ski hill 50 miles away, and who shows up? Yep, Mr. Instability, drunk and belligerent, rehashing the same old story. He came up on the stage and started yammering away at me, calling me names, etc. The place was packed. I said "Get off my stage!" He refused and said "what are you going to do about it.?" I said, "so, you refuse to get off the stage?" He said "Yep!" and I said into the mic, "we're going to take a short break, we'll be right back" and I put my guitar down and walked away, leaving hims standing there. He looked confused for a minute, then started following me around. I finally got security to throw him out. It was a supreme effort not to deck the guy, but I learned a long time ago what a can of worms that can open! No more auditions for me unless I really know the guy or the other guys in the band do.
  7. I guess you and are different. I have learned to play for 10 or 10,000 people with the same energy. I like playing, and don't view "only" 8 people as a chore but rather people who are paying money for dinner and might like entertainment too. I don't care if here's only one person. Its up to the venue owner to call it a night, not me. I'm hired to play for the clientele, no matter who or how many show up. I'm not saying your viewpoint is wrong and i get it. But that's how I look at it and always have. it comes form all those years of playing six nights a week to mostly empty rooms Mon-Thursday. I'm not worried about future booking there. I'm already booked two nights a month there through July. In addition, those 8 people, along with a few in the back from the birthday party, put 62 dollars in my tip jar. Apparently they enjoyed it, and I liked earning the money.
  8. It may well be, but like I said, this isn't a bar or dance club where the music is the attraction. It's a restaurant where the food is what brings people. Thus, I can't take a cut in pay because they have management issues.The music in restaurants doesn't make them much money except in keeping diners there longer than normal. In fact, when it's busy, they often ask me to take more breaks so people will get up and leave so they can turn the tables over. Why? because the money is in food for them. And if that's he case, then like I said, if they can't get people, in the door, it's a kitchen problem, not the guy in the corner with the guitar, and my taking a cut in pay won't make a bit of difference if they make it or not. I agree if it's a bar or a dance club, I might be more inclined to assume more responsibility for their turnout. But not a restaurant.
  9. Well, that's your prerogative, and I won't fault you for it. I just don't see it the same way. If their crappy food or service costs me money, then I want a say in how the place is run. They don't ask my opinion and I don't give it. Should the beer or wine vendor cut their price because the guy's business is inconsistent? Should the janitorial service or the electric company cut their rates because the food isn't up to par? I'm not "refusing to play ball" with the owner. I'm playing ball by the rules he established, as a contract entertainer hired to perform for a set rate he offered and I agreed upon beforehand for his customers' dining enjoyment. That's what I do. and I do it well. It's worked that way with this place for two years so far. And so far, the guy has never indicated that he regrets paying me what he pays me, so I'm not going to offer to take less because of his other problems, He may offer me less in the future and I will decide then if I want it or not.
  10. I never look at it as the venue losing money on me. It's not a watering hole or a dance club. Its a restaurant. Even the bar is set up like a dining room. Clearly, by the amount of tips I got, I'm able to hold the crowd that shows up and they like what they're hearing. But if the venue is relying on the guy in the corner with a guitar to bring their customers, then they have some serious problem in the kitchen or with their service. A quick trip to Yelp confirms that their customers only give them 2-1/2 stars. Some reviews are stellar, and others are awful. This has been their problem- inconsistency in product and service. They're trying to turn things around, but once you get a bad rep its hard to overcome. I'm doing my job, and I'm not going to take a cut in pay because their chef or waitresses aren't up to the job.
  11. So I played a place this weekend I've played for two years. Crowds are usually fair to good, as it's a restaurant, bar and has a section for private parties. I usually average 15 bucks a night in tips on th low end to 30-35 on the high end. This weekend was dismal- there was a huge 3 day blues festival in town and a big bluegrass show Saturday night as well. Friday night I had about 15 people. Last night I had about 8 in the bar area all night, and a birthday party way in the back with about 20 people. Yet on both nights when I counted my tips I was surprised- Friday night I got 46 dollars, Saturday night 62. Combined with my pay, that's not a bad weekend. One would think the bigger the crowds the better the tips, but my experience has been the opposite.The bigger the crowd, the more "background wallpaper" I become and the less they listen to me if they consider me at all. My worst nights for tips have been on the nights with huge crowds. Its a dilemma for sure-, I want tip money, but we need crowds to keep the gigs coming. I'll take the gigs over the tips, but I just thought it weird to be that way.
  12. Hard to judge a performer on one gig. I play a place regularly here in town. The crowd varies wildly, depending on weather, what else if going on in town, etc. Two weeks ago I played .to a packed house. Last night, there were maybe 15 people. There happens to be a big blues festival going on in town. Yet I still made almost 50 bucks in tips. Which can be an indicator that people like what I'm doing even if the crowd was small. But I play a lot of obscure stuff, which has kind of become my niche. I'd just hate to have someone walk in and judge the legitimacy of what I'm doing based on what they saw last night.
  13. The interesting thing is to see how much the music business, at least where I live, has changed in a mere 3 years since this thread was created. In that time, we have lost a few major band gigs. I heard lst weekend one of the biggest country dance halls around , with 3 bars and able to accommodate 1000 people, is closing next month. Solo gigs increased a lot- I went from 3 or 4 solo gigs a month to 14 -16- but since the first of the year, they're starting to go away too, and for April and may I'm down to 5-7 a month. my goal was to phase myself out of a day gig to maybe part time and play 4 nights a week average, but that opportunity is moving in the wrong direction. What our young noob friend here needs to discover is that the speed at which the music business is changing is increasingly exponential. When I got into i in 1972,, it had been that way since the 5os pretty much remained the same until the mid 80s. And then the full time club gigs disappeared and agency road bands went with them. All club music became the realm of hobbyists. It changed again through the 90s with the explosion of original bands using the web to sell themselves. The DIY indie was born. It changed again in about 2000, when the CD stated becoming irrelevant, and by 2006 a CD was nothing more than a glorified business card. Now, live music clubs are spotty at best depending on regions. Original music has died down again, at least in clubs, and indie artists are constantly having to find new ways to market themselves and find creative ways to perform live. What will it look like in ten years? who knows? "Don't be fooled into thinking that people value music less. Its not true, people still LOVE music" They may well love it, but patronizing it and buying it is something else. Where I live, I'm seeing an increasing lack of interest in live music at all except for national acts. Joe Bonamassa just played here and originally was scheduled for the sports arena. They had to move it to a theater because they only sold 3000 tickets. Most live music clubs are lucky to be half full on weekends here and by 11 or 12 o clock they're nearly empty. I could go 1000 or 2000 miles away and it would be completely different. Which leads me to the next biggest change: all music is becoming local. There will be pockets of activity like there was in the 30s and 40s, Maybe that's good, maybe not, we can't know, but I believe it is happening. I asked my kids (age 24, 26 and 29) why their age group here doesn't go to live music clubs much and they sad because with ala carte music selections for their iphones, they can listen to what they want when they want, and not have to listen to music they don't like. Most cover bands can only play a smigdgen of everything or a narrow selection. Most original bands just aren't very good (their words) which is why few of them play anywhere.
  14. In solo/duo guitar playing, there are beaters and there are pickers. Sounds like a beater to me. No thanks.
  15. I'll add that I play mostly wineries and restaurants so using the iPad is normal. I wouldn't do a dozen new songs at any gig where I couldn't use charts.
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