We often talk about the benefits of trading, swapping and sharing gigs with other bands. But it sometimes just works out for the worst. Take this little story told by Tim Cole, bassist for the cover band 421 (www.myspace.com/421) as a series of ‘not dos’, or things to be aware of when you consider sharing gigs with other bands.
I know a lot of original bands in bigger areas and music scenes do this (sharing gigs), but we are fairly new to it. In theory, we would like to do 100% all original tunes, but with the way the local bars and clubs work around here, this isn’t really possible. We decided to do a bunch of popular cover tunes, but still have no desire in doing a full 4 hour night by ourselves. We have hooked up with a couple local bands to share shows with, but it seems as if we are getting the short end of the stick here.
We have had this particular band on 3 gigs of ours so far, all of which were paying gigs. Lately, they have been getting quite lazy with it. Last weekend, they only brought their guitars, and drumsticks. We have top notch gear across the boards, so I am thinking they would rather just use our stuff than bother bringing their own, this sucks in my opinion.
The played approximately 40 minutes each night last weekend, and left us with the bulk of the night to fill, we covered it, but not a huge deal. When we got there Saturday, the bar owner informed us that the other band had talked them into us doing a set, and then letting them play their set (so there are more people there), and then have us finish the night…..I feel my toes being stepped on a bit, after all, this is OUR gig, not theirs.
Then there is the money issue. The total gig paid $850 for the weekend. $300 of which goes to our sound, which leaves a balance of $550. Even though they covered only approximately 80 minutes of the 8 hour gig weekend, and they used all of our gear and sound crew, they expected us to give them $300. After some negotiating, and a little bit of arguing, they left with $150……which is about $150 more than I would of liked to give them, since they contributed next to nothing on the time filled, and brought none of their own gear…..didn’t thank us, or offer to help set up or tear down either.
The ONE gig they have set us up on with them was horrible. A nasty little dive, with no lights, and the entire sound system consisted of a stage monitors, and 2 mics….it was the bars karaoke system….a whopping 200 watts at that. This gig paid us NOTHING, we even had to pay $3 per beer there, and we used 100% of our own gear.
The biggest thing that bites my britches here is that those guys are really beginning to step on toes here. They are selling themselves to clubs using our gear, sound reinforcement, and sound guy to TAKE our best gigs. We have already been informed they snaked themselves into a local rock radio “rock night” we did last time, and are also hearing rumors of them possibly taking the opening spots for the nationals in a club we are regulars in, even though my band’s management is the booking agent on it.
We were scheduled to do a gig with them again this weekend, (another on our tab I might add) but due to a double booking, we got cancelled. We are supposed to go back to the place in 2 weeks for the club’s “grand re-opening”, which will include a live radio broadcast. If I have anything to do with it, they will have absolutely nothing to do with this deal…..they have used us long enough!
My question to you guys that regularly trade gigs is what is common practice for this kind of deal? As an opening band on someone else’s gig, what is expected for pay? How does the gear use of others work?
This whole idea is really pissing me off.
(This is our fourth quote article on gig-sharing/swapping. You can read the first three by clicking on ‘quotes’ next to ‘Gig Swapping’ in the Gigdoggy index)