I think the biggest pain is a booking guy at a club who doesn’t know how to put together a show. In my old band, which was basically incubus meets pearl jam, we were booked with so many bands that didn’t mesh with our style at all. Extreme metal, weird indie, alt-country (not too bad a match, but not too good a match, either)…
We were so often booked with bands that had mutually exclusive fanbases. Our mainstream rock sound would bore some of the more out there music fans, and the out there bands would drive away our mainstream fans. Instead of bands that can share fans and have a great show together, you get a bunch of smaller, fractured crowds that show up for the 30 or 45 minutes their band is playing and then split because the other bands on the bill don’t interest them. It’s not good for the bands and it probably isn’t ideal for the clubs, either.Jimb213
It’s not too tough to book a gig if you have a good band to start with and can do a good show in whatever niche of the biz you happen to be gigging in, and your band has done the promo and leg work that the band should be doing. The downside is when you deal with shyster club owners who will try to screw you out of what they promised to pay, contracts not withstanding in these clown’s eyes, even if you played to a crowd that bought a whole lot of beer and other drinks to cover the venues rent for the month!
However on the balance I’ve had more good gigs than bad ones. It’s tougher for younger bands and their whatever niche market they play to, but presuming that your band practices hard to be masters of the music they play, and a willingness to work just as hard at promoting yourselves and taking care of your buisness, it should pay off eventually in terms of paying gigs.Anonymous
I dislike the business aspect of music. I just want to show up, get paid and get laid. Too bad that’s not the real world. I guess the hardest part in booking gigs is breaking through the cliques and people barriers. There are circuits here (like everywhere) where a rotation of bands dominate the booking. Breaking into that little circle is the challenge. First you have to actually hang out at the venues, get to know the decision makers and and maybe even schmooze them a little. This is why agents were invented.Jimmy Danger – www.myspace.com/thefarleys
No, it’s not a pain to book a gig. Put together an amazing band, practice your asses off, put on a a great show, and people will want to book you.
If anything I would say the biggest pain is waiting to get paid. It sucks when a bar doesn’t close until 4:00am and you have to wait around for the club owner to get your money.
Breaking into new cities. It sucks when you don’t have a demo CD, don’t have video of your band on stage, and every club owner in town tells you “Well, I’ll come check you out when you play somewhere in town”.Anonymous
The biggest pain, hum that would be playing the gig! I personally love the chase trying to get the gig more than the playing. I guess I should have been a manager, but theres nothing more satisfing than getting that gig that I thought I wouldnt get. Its all in the chase.
Ha Ha, I would also say negotiating the price is a pain.
Locally we have a couple of corporate clubs, meaning that one company owns 7-8 local live music venues. These are good music clubs cause all of them feature music 3-5 nights a week. They have a lock on some bands in the area. We are playing one a couple of times simply to get at the built in audience and some of our audience has requested that we play there. But these guys have decided to cut what was already a cut rate for gigs. We are getting $300 and have to play a thursday night to get a saturday night gig the month after.
The manager told me that as one of their bands we would be on some sort of probation for 6 monthes and then at the end of that time they would probably give us a $50 a night pay raise. But the word from other bands recently in their loop is that they are cutting the pay back. I asked the manager what is top pay and he said $500. I know a couple of the better drawing bands that play there and they’ve confirmed this price. I have procured a couple of outside sponsors for gigs who I call on when we get in these situations, to supplement our pay. One is a car dealership and with his economy I’m scared I will lose his involvement before long. I don’t know how or why decent cover bands even play gigs for $300 a night. In our case we have band members coming from 3 other counties and when I add up everyone’s gas just to be there weve already burned $120.
Then they dont have a tab for the band, we have to pay full price for food and drinks, which will burn another $70-100 dollars. In the end we may clear 80-100 dollars off the bar’s pay, split 5 ways thats 20 dollars for 4 hrs of gig time, 3 hrs of getting there and setting up time, or basically 8 hrs. That means we are making around $2.50 an hour for our time.
Now as stated before in my band’s case we will make more from outside support than from the clubs support, so I’m not that worried about it. We need the club on our resume and also are trying to get their patrons to follow our band which shouldn’t be hard since all the other bands playing there kind of have a crappy attitude cause they aren’t making enough to be there.
So to answer the question again, when you are asked how much you charge, thats the crappiest part. You don’t want to lose a gig over $50 bucks but you don’t want to leave anything on the table. In my area the typical pay for a band is $400 or some give you $100 a man. Strangely we are getting calls from some really small places and they arent balking at paying $650 a night, whereas the big clubs dont want to pay.John Wilder – www.myspace.com/aintyomama1