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Perils of gigging for weekend warriors list

bellbrass

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On a positive note, my experience with club owners / managers, as well as event planners, ever since being in that band, has been great. Not one of them has gone back on any verbal (or written) agreement.
 

Deafmoon

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Moving equipment in the snow.
Parking far away from entrance.
Having to carry gear through operational kitchen during dinner hours.
Inside bar fights.
Outside parking lot fights.
Lighting catching fire during set.
Full house power outages mid song.
Drunks cut PA speaker. Twice!
Drunks shove beer bottle in PA horn.
Hit on by drunk women during breaks.
Hit on by drunk guys during breaks.
Outdoor mosquito attacks during set.
Musician Union raid on band during set.
Police raid in club during set.
Short changed from agreed upon Pay.
Playing Shout, Johnny B. Goode or Proud Mary EVER!
 

unregisteredalien

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  • Last minute call to provide the drums because the headliner's drummer CBF
  • Sound guy at rock venue insists your cymbals/snare are too loud
  • Other drummer undoes all your memory locks and over-torques all your stands
  • "Here, I'll help you pack up"
  • Misreading the sign and returning to a parking ticket
They've all happened, some more than once, some in conjunction, but thankfully never all together.
 

5 Style

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Yep, you pretty much said it there. My "getting stiffed" incidents also date back to the 80s. One was at a huge bar in Tennessee, on the outskirts of some small town. We drove from Lexington to Tennessee, set up, played, and the bar owner cut us off short during the 1st set, because we were playing some original songs. He walked right up on stage and cut us off. People were apparently leaving because we had played 2 original songs in a row. He said, "No more of this original stuff; this is a dance bar, not a showcase" (whatever that meant). There was a guy in the band who prided himself in being street tough, and told the guy that we play originals and covers, and to deal with it. The owner walked off the stage, saying "No original music!" We played a few more covers, took the first break, played covers for the second set, then figured we could slip some more originals back in for the 3rd set. First a couple of covers, then a couple of originals, then more covers. We took a break, and he walked up to the guitarist/singer and told us to go home. No money.
The other couple of gigs were bar gigs in Lexington. 2 different bars stiffed us.
When I played in subsequent bands, I would constantly ask if we had a contract or a verbal agreement. When the band leader/booking guy would tell me "verbal agreement", my PTSD would come out. "How do you know he won't stiff us?" I'd ask, over and over. They looked at me like I was crazy. "Because people don't do that. If they don't like us, they will pay us, as agreed, and then not ask us back." "Not from what I've seen", I'd say. Again the responses I got were as if I'd come from an abusive household: "Dude, what kind of crappy bands have you been playing in? Sheesh."
So, like you wrote about, I was never quite the same after that.
Thankfully, it never happened again.
First of all, I don't want to seem like some kind of elitist about playing covers as I realize that there are tons of players much better than me who only play covers and who make good money by doing so… and anyone who’s able to make good money playing music gets some respect from me. That being said though, I’ve never felt that mixing covers and original music really makes sense. Other than a casual group of folks that I’ve played jazz standards with here and there, I’ve always played in original rock bands and the kind of places that I’ve always played at with those bands are a totally different kind of thing than the kinds of bars that regularly feature cover bands. One might see a band play a cover or two in a downtown rock club like I’m talking about, but it’ll usually be something more obscure and always a small part of the band’s set. I can remember having conversations with folks over the years where someone will say ”the thing to do is to mix in original music with covers,” but that’s never made a lot of sense to me. It seems to me that if you do that, and can get away with it, you’d still want to play originals that neatly fit into the style of covers that you’re doing… so that you don’t end up having the creative license to create your own sound, which for me is really the point of playing original music.

It would seem to me to that it would make more sense to play covers at the kind of places that expect that, get paid the money that you do for doing that and then play sets of original music at places that cater to that, but know that you might not get paid much to do so. Playing your own music has got to be a labor of love I think, first and foremost...
 
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Pibroch

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  • Concert promoter emails your band that you've landed top billing in a local music festival because you were the crowd favourite at the same festival the previous year. Getting a phone call from them the next morning to say they made a mistake and you're not even on the gig list and they won't give a reason.

  • Venue only holds a tightly packed audience of 20 and you have to unsuccessfully haul through all your drum kit without injuring anyone and you cause a woman to start crying in pain.

  • Bass player subbing on her first gig with your band, whom you hope will agree to become permanent, gets accosted by a drug addled maniac wielding an axe shouting "I'm going to chop you up", while she's entering the venue with her gear.

  • Band leader orders you to play a marching snare drum wearing a head torch, while walking down two steep rows of stairs in a completely darkened movie theatre, without any rehearsal, with the ensuing disaster demonstrating before a packed house that the stunt is impossible to do both safely and musically.
 
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pwc1141

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I posted in the Office Pics thread about my latest gig which was in a Country Duo. The venue owner just asked us to repeat in March but gave his song list requests. My guitarist/vocalist buddy said no thanks ....I am with him on that .....
 

bellbrass

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That being said though, I’ve never felt that mixing covers and original music really makes sense.
I agree 100%, and that was a lesson learned. That band was full of differing opinions regarding covers vs. originals. Mixing them was the only was to keep people from quitting at the time. I now know how it works.
 

Derrick

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That being said though, I’ve never felt that mixing covers and original music really makes sense.

It can or at least used to make total sense. I have not been into covers for decades, but when I was starting out in the 90s, I did this like many other bands did. We played the familiar hits to make people happy, and mixed in our own originals that also made people happy. If your originals are not very good, this might only save your gig, but if they are, you can play multiple sets instead of one by adding covers. Audiences saw it as the best of both worlds to have both, and it made sense for a lot of bands to do this at the time. Not sure that would be different today if you have some good originals and they fit in line with the covers you play.

Anyhow, I held off adding some of my gigging perils because they were already covered by many, or because they were somewhat inappropriate. One I will mention is rather unique but very upsetting... We set up a weekend gig in NY city at Brownies (yes I'm naming names - accountability). We set up the headliner and chose the middle slot since we were not as popular as the headliner in NYC. With a three band lineup being typical, the club said they would add an opening band. When we drove the 4.5 hours to NYC, found parking and loaded our stuff... it was early enough that the chairs were still on the tables. The manager comes over to us and tells us that his buddy's band is going to play with us, and that they decided they want the middle slot so we are opening. He also said we were starting in 5 minutes, and the chairs were still up and the doors hadn't been opened yet. So... we put the show together, took nearly 5 hours to drive and find parking, then find out that we are bumped to playing first. We played as the chairs were being pulled off the tables, it was still daylight, and nobody was there until about 9:30pm or so. We were originally scheduled to play at 10pm. F them ever again. The headliner was a well known punk band from VA beach. Their (normal) antics got them kicked off the stage after only a few songs, so I guess karma hit the club that night with no live music during prime drink selling hours. The moral of the story is, even if you are a crappy band, have a friend who books in NYC and you are all set.
 
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goodcat1337

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How about wardrobe malfunctions? Probably way more rare than gear and/or drunk people related incidents. But it happened to me once, and only once lol. This one particular local venue my band used to play at all the time, they had probably a 2 ft drum riser. Got everything set up, went to step over my stool to sit down, and ripped my pants on my left leg from crotch all the way down to the knee. And of course, I had no other change of clothes, and since I was on a drum riser, and the stage was already up a good 3 ft on its own. So most people in the crowd had an eye level view lol. From that day on, I always, no matter how hot or cold it was outside, changed into basketball shorts to play the show in.
 


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