How Much Does a National Touring Act's New Drummer Make?

Whitten

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I find people largely guess high. I have also heard some big pop acts are paying musicians poorly.
There are so many competent musicians and so much competition for a gig.
Forget publishing and how many albums have been sold, a hired gun negotiates a pay packet and every situation is different.
Five gigs a week is a lot, and it usually comes down to the lead singer's ability to perform night after night. Most bands are touring in Summer months, but a world tour could last a year or more without a break. But again, it's not year on year. There is time off, and there is also downtime while new albums are written and recorded.
Don't forget that most musicians have been unemployed for under employed during the 1.5 years of the pandemic so far.
 

p83

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in the mid 80's, a good friend of mines buddy was the bass player for air supply. the bass player was on salary @ $2500 a week. besides playing tours, he was always on call. they might tell him on monday that there was a plane ticket to wherever waiting for him, and see you wednesday, and he would be there. he also recorded with the band and got a flat $50k per album. at some point he got a couple songs on an album and made some publishing for that (no hits).
 

Jay-Dee

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Would also depend on the players resume ,
VB isn’t going to command near what
a guy with tours under his belt would .

But then they’d be missing out on the latest fanzine polls in their emails on a daily basis . That’s gotta be worth a few dollars extra ….
Ha ha, not to mention his razor sharp wit, sarcasm and the likelihood of hearing stories like the old lady who fell in the covered well in South Carolina and her husband's drunken call to the local emergency dispatcher, "Da(Wife)DoneFellHer(Self)InTheWell."

I reckon that would allow him to command Simon Phillips type fees :).
 

dtk

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On a tangent...there is at least one pro drummer I know who is buying vintage gear/warehousing it and writing it off as a work expense...and plans on selling it when he's too old to play and hopefully its appreciated.

Also-if you can teach...you can charge more with the fame of a big tour...(I took some classes with drummers over zoom this winter...)...and maybe you can grab more gear cheaply via an endoursement(s).

There was a good video with a guy whose been on drumeo (Nashville based, very funny).....about his finances...
 

SKSMITH

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Would also depend on the players resume ,
VB isn’t going to command near what
a guy with tours under his belt would .

But then they’d be missing out on the latest fanzine polls in their emails on a daily basis . That’s gotta be worth a few dollars extra ….
Are you kidding?
Those would be like a MasterCard commercial - Priceless!!
 

bassanddrum84

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Not sure if they ever toured full on national but I got offered to tour with walker mcquire a few years back. And I asked how much does the actual band make. While the two main singers were making thousands the band only got 100$ a show and 40 per diem a day. Now after a year I would of got salary which was 80k. Now mind you they only signed the singers not the actual band so they were hired guns. The one singer also wrote one of luke combs biggest songs with him. I declined as I make more then that a night with the band ive been in and get to see my wife and kids every night. they would do wed- Sunday some being fly dates. To me it wasn’t worth it. I love playing drums and made a great living out of it but I love my family even more.
 
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richiegarcia4

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I heard Dale Crover(the Melvins) on Howard Stern about ten years ago. Stern was giving him a hard time for leaving Nirvana(which isn't at all accurate, he just recorded some songs on the first album). Anyway, he asked him how much he made and he said 80k was his best year. The Melvins headline the bigger clubs and open for arena acts.
 

richiegarcia4

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Agree, but major touring acts don't play 50 weeks a year, they play summer shed tours, I thought...as in, 40-50 shows a year.
It depends on the band, I guess. Some bands, like Maiden, we're playing over 300 shows a year in their prime.
 

John DeChristopher

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The simple answer is: it depends. If you're playing with a major act like Usher, selling out the enormodome, you'd be making_ _ _ _ Any guesses??? Not nearly as much as you think. As is the case with a lot of Pop and R&B sidemen. It's well known these guys and gals are not paid well. I can't and wouldn't try to speak for ace drummers like @Whitten or @Trey Gray , but they're in a different category as established, well known players.

When you get into the Steve Gadd, Steve Jordan, Vinnie Colaiuta, Russ Kunkel, Josh Freese, etc sideman category, it's another level. Someone mentioned publishing. I can assure you no touring drummer is receiving publishing. You're a paid sideman and depending on your resume, reputation (your playing ability is a given) you negotiate the best salary you can. There may be a favored nations clause. So it depends...
 
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bbunks

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I never knew this existed, just found it on You Tube and it's well worth a look if you have a spare hour and thirty eight minutes.
The movie is great. Alice Cooper is a hero to sidemen. Trent Reznor, not so much.
 

backtodrum

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You know what gets me about everything I have read in this thread is that I, as a weekend warrior and almost 60 years old make more doing my weekend thing than a lot of pros trying to grind out a living drumming full time as a side man. I can't help but feel what a shame that is. I'm just proud that my selfish hobby in terms of my family life pays for itself. I never use family budget money to support my hobby because I make enough with it that it pays for itself. I could be a big time bass fisherman or hunter and have my indulgence cost far more than it returns on investment. I have taken a lot of what was posted with tongue in cheek however. I'm glad I chose a family and career over trying to make a living with music, with that said, when I was a naïve youth, I was actually seriously considering trying my hand at it full time.
 

mydadisjr

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That is PHIL X second from right... he talks about playing with Bon Jovi in the trailer. The guy is a total monster, sings and plays great. Interesting that Phil got to sub for Richie Sambora while Sambora was in rehab, then got to be a full time member (Guess that Jon Bon was tired of Richie's antics? Maybe Phil could play and sing lots better than Richie and drank/drugged less? Hmmmm....)

Here is Phil actually singing and playing along with Roger Glover and IAN PAICE (!) on HIGHWAY STAR!! Holy crud.....

 
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