First gig in AGES.....

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Sound Diagnosis, Aug 20, 2002.

  1. I am about to embark into my journey into the music business. (Local for now.) I have been fortunate to have been in another profession for 25 years and am very comfortable financially so I really do not need this work to make a living. But after "discovering" my voice and being in production of my material (cover songs for now) for 16 months, 1 of which served for a 2 song demo CD, I am polished and ready to rock. (I am a solo singing act with my own backup arrangements produced by a Kurzweil synth/workstation.) Are there any tips that any working musicians on this board can impart to me so I can have an edge on the clubowner/entertainment directors "way of doing things"? For example, do these folks pay off the books? Is there any sort of a "pay scale" anymore? Is 40 minutes on and 20 off the usual arrangement? If for some fortunate reason I am wanted by 2 venues the same night, how would one handle the situation without pissing off a prospective client? I know, lots of questions, but the "search" function on this site did not let me search the "gigging" department. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated on this side of my monitor. Thanks in advance. --- L.T.
  2. audiowkstation

    audiowkstation Active Member

    Jun 29, 2001
    Have a unified contract. Something simple. I like 50 on and 15 off. Give them their moneys worth...but charge more. It depends on your City of course. Example in point. It is not uncommon for musicians (darn good ones too) in New Orleans to make 10 dollars a set each. No Joke. No need to gig there unless you can land a gig and use it strickly for practice and crowd reaction. You could also land a gig in one of the larger halls in New Orleans (only after doing some battle on the streets and letting word get out) and rake in a nice 700 dollar night. I use to make 250 a night in tips in the mid to latter 70's in New Orleans. All that said (it is not a pretty site to be working in New Orleans) if you can get a house gig for 3 months at a time, you will build up a good rapport and it will lead to other venues. Always have some CD's on hand of your music to sell.

    Last time I giged (4 months ago) I was making 150 for 3 hrs. 50 bucks a set and we were a 2 piece. Again, get things in writing....especially if you have a team memeber.

    Now..the usual has been 45/15 on sets. This is fairly universal and believe me if you are playing to a dead hall..that is a long 45 mins. Have enough material to play 3 full sets. Make sure if you are a solo gig to have those business cards and have something to talk about between every 3rd song to eat some time. Not a book of course but eat about 2 to 3 mins with the crowd. This time will make or break you. I like it much better to get intimate with a crowd and not just bang out song after song. Take requests..but don't be surprised if someone wants to hear margaritaville. It will be requested by least once a it is your bag if you don't do requests. Check with local unions. You do not want to be met by a ballbat out in the parking lot..if so make sure yours is bigger. Talk to as many musicians as you can that are giging..but do this between 1st and 2nd set. Between 2nd and 3rd set, musicians that are single will not want to talk shop, they usually want to talk watch the body language before discussing anything with musicians and never after the gig..unless they offer..time to get the hell out of there. If you have a significant other, this proves very difficult indeed. Your S.O. must understand the nature of the gigs or basically you are simply looking for trouble. Girlfriends at work make for a bad night. Make sure your rig is tidy and easy to deal with. What fun is it if you have to spend 1 hr setting up and other tearing down. It is your time and use it wisely. Also record your gigs. Review the tapes later and make a list of the tunes that get good reaction. Use them to your advantage with a lame crowd. I would also make about 60% of my tunes "fillers". Even seasoned gigmeisters have a tough time spilling their guts out for 3 hrs...those that do are either fools or they are famous. Above all, make sure that the terms and conditions are fully understood before your gig. No fun at all thinking you are getting paid 400 bucks for a gig and to walk away with 140 because either A, the owner said they had a bad night, B, the three girls in the front row (with biker boyfriends shooting pool down the road to the left) put all their drinks on your tab because "you said so". or C, the person you agreed with is no where in site when it is time to get paid. Price yourself competitive and be willing to a point. Believe me, if you give them any room at all, they will take it plus a bunch more. Try to play in nice joints that have a nice crowd. Some of them don't pay so be careful. Some of the best money and fun ever was playing in the pool hall. One night I got over 300 in tips and sold over 60 CD's. I played a 4th and a 5th set that felt real good too!! I am not even that good!!!

    Having a short , simple and sweet contract will keep you out of problems with conflicting gigs. Just only schedual what you can do. If you are hip to mulitple gigs, allow 2 hrs between them minimum. Have a back out clause. If the club backs out, you make 50%. Many houses will not pay up front so this can be a challenge. If you can, visit the club one week before your gig on the night(s) you are to play to get the vibe. Also feel out the set volume. Nothing more irritating than having an act go on first set, with 12 people in the bar and it is too loud. You must warm the crowd up and let your best material shine during the second set. By the 3rd set, it really does not matter as much as many will be intoxicated enough to make for better gradification from the stage..

    I hope I did not skip over too much of your question. Take the points above and make a list. I use to manage serveral bands and I have seen just about all that can happen. Be a business person first and last. Entertainer during the gig. Always show professionalism and even though a house may provide you with free cocktails, it is best to (if you drink at all) to take them up on at least the first one and skip to water during the second and third set. You want a clear head for several reasons after the show. One is to get paid. 2 is you may be driving!, 3 Professionalism. Also try not to favor just one or two audience members, you are playing to the crowd! Nevermind about that gorgious babe in the back row. She will come forward if shes interested and that can be reserved for after your equipment is loaded and secured. Make it fun, keep it real and have fun. If you give away your talent (because you don't need the money) are doing all hard working musicians a disservice by setting the rates too low. I will not open the case for less than 100 a night. Period.
  3. Bill, thanks for the gracious use of your time to respond to my inquiry. Sorry about the dust on the thread. (Worth the month wait, for sure) ;) Appreciate the great advice and much of what you have stated sounded familiar as I had gigged in N.Y.C like 27 years ago. Clubowners are business people and you just have to put on the "business hat" as well. But if you make them $$$, you usually will have negotiating room. Shame what has happened to the industry though. Damn shame. It will never deter me though. I am going to have "the time of my life" and startle my customers. It's been a long time comin'. Thanks again, ---ROB
  4. audiowkstation

    audiowkstation Active Member

    Jun 29, 2001
    Post a track, I am in West Palm beach..we can visit..
    (Dead Link Removed)
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