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I Hate Gigging II


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Hi Guys,

 

Not much going on with me. As you know I'm 68 and have been an amature type performer since 1965 

 

I'm lucky in the sense that my whole summer is booked. That means I have gigs every weekend. Most are pretty decent gigs. Decent hours and respectable compensation. We landed another opening slot with Collective Soul next month.

 

Just a couple of comments since I haven't posted in a while.

 

I read allot of the " I Hate Gigging" thread. My take away was nobody actually hates gigging. Most hate certain aspects of gigging;

 

1. Bad gigs

2. Bad long hours

3. Bad band

4. Traveling

5. Low pay

6. Personality Issues

 

We all have some degree of power to avoid the 6 bullet points above.

 

While I gig allot my issue with gigging is a little different than most. I found myself in this position where I'm one of the few that needs the money. That in itself puts me in a bad spot. I would say I'm the only guy in my band who needs the money. The other member all have full time traditional careers.

 

What do you think? What kind of questionable band circumstances are you dealing with and how you plan to change them.

 

I guess at some point I'm going to simply say" I'm sick of it" that hasn't happened yet.

 

Blue

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From my experience Blue, it’s usually a problem if the financial circumstances of the band vary a great deal.

Years ago I was in a pro function band, with some members also holding down teaching jobs. This made

attitudes to our gigs radically different, with some who relied on the money (like me) getting fed up

of having to allow for lateness and even not being able to take work if school got in the way. This 

ended up with quite a few dep players being used which didn’t always work well.

 

My current band have been going now for around 15 years. All the members are in the same boat

i.e the band is their first call and primary source of income. We don’t use any deps either, and it

works really well. Reminds me of ( I think ) Count Basie and a journalist asking him how keeps an 

18 piece band on the road, to which Basie replied ‘ I pay them money....’ 😆

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1 hour ago, casapete said:

From my experience Blue, it’s usually a problem if the financial circumstances of the band vary a great deal.

Years ago I was in a pro function band, with some members also holding down teaching jobs. This made

attitudes to our gigs radically different, with some who relied on the money (like me) getting fed up

of having to allow for lateness and even not being able to take work if school got in the way. This 

ended up with quite a few dep players being used which didn’t always work well.

 

My current band have been going now for around 15 years. All the members are in the same boat

i.e the band is their first call and primary source of income. We don’t use any deps either, and it

works really well. Reminds me of ( I think ) Count Basie and a journalist asking him how keeps an 

18 piece band on the road, to which Basie replied ‘ I pay them money....’ 😆

 

Very astute comment Casapete.

 

I think the serious musician will ask specific question about finances and the band members before joining. Ask who depends on the band for income and how many schedule conflicts did you have last year or how many gigs did you turn down because members couldn't play the gig.

 

Blue

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In 2 different bands. One earns good money but up till now haven't gigged a lot due to a combination of things including Covid. Main one being guitarist works as a carer every 2nd weekend so fitting in rehearsals was difficult to even get onto gigging. We started 4 yrs ago but he worked a standard 9-5 job in the beginning. I found that a bit frustrating as i was retired i had plenty of free time but fully understood his circumstances. He has recently decided its time to quit and let the band move on. New guitarists are geared  up for auditions this week coming.

The other band is a punk band that gigs a lot in comparison 2-4 times a month. No hassles with them, all easy going and no ego involved. Its just a nice band to play in but we would need to play 3-4 gigs to earn same money as one gig with the 70's Glam covers band.

I've never played as much in a band before in 40yrs of playing. 

Altho i dont specifically need the money i am finding that i dont want to play gigs these days where i just "break even". I guess that's more money driven than anything else which is a slight change for me. The more i play the more profit i want to see. Maybe its because i'm working more. 

Thoroughly enjoying it all at the moment.

Think the unloading and loading at gigs is my pet hate especially with the Glam band as they are usually bigger venues and require full PA with van hire required for most. I'm the designated driver and have the added pain of picking up and returning the van. That really can be a pain the day after a late night when it has to be returned for 9am the following morning.

DA

Edited by dmccombe7
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I love gigging. Ive been sensible and never tried to make any money off it, so never been frustrated or disappointed when I haven't. I get to play with my mates, insist on all the Coca Cola I can drink, and the boozed up groupies flash their thruppenies half way through a song to try and put us off. What's not to like?

 

While I'm in a position to treat it as a laugh and a social event then Im sorted.  I do quite understand how musicians quit big, successful, financially lucrative bands because of the pressures of touring - the cash might be nice, but the hassle of everything else that goes with it must be staggering.

 

 

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I’ve got sad love for gigging at the moment. Terry, one of the guitarists in my covers band, Night Shift, has stage 4 cancer. He’s undergoing the treatment and has been told it’s controllable but not curable. He wants to gig as much as he can, while he can -  music means so much to him. The previous two weekends to this one we gigged three times in each. He’s shattered after each one and sleeps for 12 hours. We carry and set up all his gear for him. We are having some great times, but it’s bitter-sweet.

 

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I started the original "I Hate Gigging" thread. Now with a new band, doing our own original music. We're much more on the same page with how often we want to gig than the previous band we were in (6 piece) where nobody could agree on anything. I'm finding it a lot more enjoyable this time around, but I'm still crippled with anxiety going on stage, although having watched back some of our performances in video you would never know it. I wish I felt half as confident as I look. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, dmccombe7 said:

Altho i dont specifically need the money i am finding that i dont want to play gigs these days where i just "break even". I guess that's more money driven than anything else which is a slight change for me. The more i play the more profit i want to see. Maybe its because i'm working more. 

 

I feel the same way - I have been playing for 45 years or more, have spent money or decent basses and amplifiers including back ups, have a larger car than I need simply to be able to transport my gear around - so when I am asked to play somewhere miles away for a free beer or two, I refuse to do so. 

I am also in two bands at the moment, one used to gig every weekend until the drummer left and then Covid struck - we are still trying to find time when all three of us are able to rehearse so that the new drummer is up to speed on the set. I could do with getting that band back to regular gigs as the money was useful.

Other band is a six piece Grateful Dead covers band, based in Oxford, which often plays at multi-band afternoons arranged by a 'promoter' who gets paid by the venue, but the 4-6 bands he talks into playing for him don't. I simply do not understand why anyone would play under those conditions. For me it means driving 30 minutes each way, parking invariably means paying for the privilege, and I am supposed to be grateful for the 'exposure'.

I always think that anything is worth what you pay for it. When the blues band goes out for a decent fee, we are treated well by the venue as they are investing in us. When I have played free gigs, the bands are usually treated as worthless because they are costing the venue nothing. I have never had a paid gig cancelled because the venue will lose money - but I have schlepped my gear to free gigs and back several times and been told there is no time for us to play - thus wasting my time and money for nothing except increasing anger and bitterness about the whole process.

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24 minutes ago, Newfoundfreedom said:

I started the original "I Hate Gigging" thread. Now with a new band, doing our own original music. We're much more on the same page with how often we want to gig than the previous band we were in (6 piece) where nobody could agree on anything. I'm finding it a lot more enjoyable this time around, but I'm still crippled with anxiety going on stage, although having watched back some of our performances in video you would never know it. I wish I felt half as confident as I look. 

 

 

Repeat after me: I own this stage. This stage is mine. You below may now bask in glorious bass.

 

Silently of course. As many times as necessary.

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I've been in the position, in years gone by, where gigging was my main source of income and every gig was a good gig (even when we played in dives to a less than appreciative audience), as long as I got paid.

 

10 years later and I continued to gig but the money I received from playing in a band was no longer my main source of income.

 

That's when I started to be picky about where I played, and with whom I played.

 

I've refused to play gigs where I was concerned about my personal safety (I got kicked out of that band because I didn't fancy playing in a dodgy bar where people regularly got stabbed/glassed). I've also refused to play with certain other musicians that I wasn't a fan of, or I thought weren't up to the job. I refused to play at a political party's rally (although the money was good), as I didn't believe in their politics.

 

I still love gigging though and I still take it very seriously, as even though it's no longer my main source of income, I have a professional attitude to getting things right even though, in reality, I'm no longer a professional musician.

Edited by gjones
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I'm totally the opposite and have a well-paid permanent job that allows me to use music as a release from a stressful working week. 
 

Am I less committed to the bands compared to someone who earns money as a primary source of income from gigging? I'd say no. In fact, I've found quite the opposite in some instances, whereby the musicians who consider themselves "professional' as it is what they they use as their main job are often a bit more sniffy, often derogatory about certain gigs than other members.

 

I appreciate that it's obviously an earning issue for them and that they could probably earn more elsewhere, but I've always thought if that's the case then please do so. If the band is made up of a majority of hobbyists, then that's likely the direction the band will run in. 
 

It's a bit like me turning up to play for (I don't know) Old Haberdashers 4th XV and being upset because they're not very fit and don't take it seriously. It doesn't mean their commitment is any less and maybe I should read the runes before joining. 
 

Of course YMMV and this is only based on my only limited experiences with bands. I have never been or never will be a pro musician and I have endless admiration for anyone talented and dedicated enough to make a living out of their passion, but I think it's important that people have a release they can use from the stresses of their "real lives" and sometimes those two paths of pros vs. rank amateurs collide. 

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8 hours ago, dmccombe7 said:

In 2 different bands. One earns good money but up till now haven't gigged a lot due to a combination of things including Covid. Main one being guitarist works as a carer every 2nd weekend so fitting in rehearsals was difficult to even get onto gigging. We started 4 yrs ago but he worked a standard 9-5 job in the beginning. I found that a bit frustrating as i was retired i had plenty of free time but fully understood his circumstances. He has recently decided its time to quit and let the band move on. New guitarists are geared  up for auditions this week coming.

The other band is a punk band that gigs a lot in comparison 2-4 times a month. No hassles with them, all easy going and no ego involved. Its just a nice band to play in but we would need to play 3-4 gigs to earn same money as one gig with the 70's Glam covers band.

I've never played as much in a band before in 40yrs of playing. 

Altho i dont specifically need the money i am finding that i dont want to play gigs these days where i just "break even". I guess that's more money driven than anything else which is a slight change for me. The more i play the more profit i want to see. Maybe its because i'm working more. 

Thoroughly enjoying it all at the moment.

Think the unloading and loading at gigs is my pet hate especially with the Glam band as they are usually bigger venues and require full PA with van hire required for most. I'm the designated driver and have the added pain of picking up and returning the van. That really can be a pain the day after a late night when it has to be returned for 9am the following morning.

DA

 Agreed,for those of us lucky enough to have reached pension age we have to respect are band mates that are still working and in a busier time of their lives.

 

Blue

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7 hours ago, Bassfinger said:

I love gigging. Ive been sensible and never tried to make any money off it, so never been frustrated or disappointed when I haven't. I get to play with my mates, insist on all the Coca Cola I can drink, and the boozed up groupies flash their thruppenies half way through a song to try and put us off. What's not to like?

 

While I'm in a position to treat it as a laugh and a social event then Im sorted.  I do quite understand how musicians quit big, successful, financially lucrative bands because of the pressures of touring - the cash might be nice, but the hassle of everything else that goes with it must be staggering.

 

 

The hassles are minor when your band mates are wonderful. I should say wonderful and smart.

Blue

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6 hours ago, Old Horse Murphy said:

I'm totally the opposite and have a well-paid permanent job that allows me to use music as a release from a stressful working week. 
 

Am I less committed to the bands compared to someone who earns money as a primary source of income from gigging? I'd say no. In fact, I've found quite the opposite in some instances, whereby the musicians who consider themselves "professional' as it is what they they use as their main job are often a bit more sniffy, often derogatory about certain gigs than other members.

 

I appreciate that it's obviously an earning issue for them and that they could probably earn more elsewhere, but I've always thought if that's the case then please do so. If the band is made up of a majority of hobbyists, then that's likely the direction the band will run in. 
 

It's a bit like me turning up to play for (I don't know) Old Haberdashers 4th XV and being upset because they're not very fit and don't take it seriously. It doesn't mean their commitment is any less and maybe I should read the runes before joining. 
 

Of course YMMV and this is only based on my only limited experiences with bands. I have never been or never will be a pro musician and I have endless admiration for anyone talented and dedicated enough to make a living out of their passion, but I think it's important that people have a release they can use from the stresses of their "real lives" and sometimes those two paths of pros vs. rank amateurs collide. 

 

I have two childhood musician friends that have survived and made a good living as professional musicians. The others I know that went the pro route have struggled and have had problematic lives.

 

Blue

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6 hours ago, gjones said:

I've been in the position, in years gone by, where gigging was my main source of income and every gig was a good gig (even when we played in dives to a less than appreciative audience), as long as I got paid.

 

10 years later and I continued to gig but the money I received from playing in a band was no longer my main source of income.

 

That's when I started to be picky about where I played, and with whom I played.

 

I've refused to play gigs where I was concerned about my personal safety (I got kicked out of that band because I didn't fancy playing in a dodgy bar where people regularly got stabbed/glassed). I've also refused to play with certain other musicians that I wasn't a fan of, or I thought weren't up to the job. I refused to play at a political party's rally (although the money was good), as I didn't believe in their politics.

 

I still love gigging though and I still take it very seriously, as even though it's no longer my main source of income, I have a professional attitude to getting things right even though, in reality, I'm no longer a professional musician.

 

We played an acoustic gig last night. It was a private high school graduation party with an unappreciative crowd.

 

The weather was great, the sound was great, we worked our butts off. They slipped every member an extra hundred bucks.

 

I've always been an amature with a professional attitude.

 

Blue

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I’ve been gigging for about 30 years on and off, but I’ve always had to have a day job to make ends meet. So I feel a bit like a superhero when I step onstage in my alter ego!
 

I’d love to be in a position to make enough money from just music - however it would mean taking every paid gig available whether good or bad, which isn’t a great life/work balance as an exhausted dad/husband in his late 40s.


But I love gigging, and good bits massively outweigh the few bad bits. The standard I perform to is professional, even if my circumstances mean I’m not there full time yet. 

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1 hour ago, bassbiscuits said:

I’ve been gigging for about 30 years on and off, but I’ve always had to have a day job to make ends meet. So I feel a bit like a superhero when I step onstage in my alter ego!
 

I’d love to be in a position to make enough money from just music - however it would mean taking every paid gig available whether good or bad, which isn’t a great life/work balance as an exhausted dad/husband in his late 40s.


But I love gigging, and good bits massively outweigh the few bad bits. The standard I perform to is professional, even if my circumstances mean I’m not there full time yet. 

 

I wish I was in my late 40s.😀

 

Blue

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2 hours ago, Downunderwonder said:

I once had a cougar reach under my bass and tuck 5 bucks under my belt buckle. In those days 5 bucks would buy a beer. 

 

 

Enjoy that Cougar attention while you can. They are not interested in gents my age.

 

Blue

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2 hours ago, Downunderwonder said:

I once had a cougar reach under my bass and tuck 5 bucks under my belt buckle. In those days 5 bucks would buy a beer. 

Thinking about it I actually passed up the chance of cougar-attention at 19 without realising it at the time - she was just a bit too subtle, not like in those dvd documentaries

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I’ve never really loved the music I have gigged and I think that’s one of the reasons I decided all the other sacrifices were too much. If I could play arenas once a week with a sh*t hot big band and a luxury tour bus picks me up and drops me off I reckon I’d be all for it.

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Playing gigs is one of the great joys of music but it can also turn into a great pain.

 

I'm 63 now and have been basically gigging since I was 16. For four or five years in the 80s I was full time but for a good 15 years after that music earnings made a huge supplement to my earnings at the 9-5.

 

It helps to have wide musical tastes and very little musical snobbery - I can enjoy myself playing anything from showtunes to rock to punk to jazz to folk etc. Also an ability to accept that the best musos are not always gifted with the easiest personalities to get on with - compromises sometimes have to be made for the benefits of one's own sanity!

 

Now I have retired from the day job and the gigs I do tend to be smaller, quieter, more intimate things. Costs are covered but the sheer economics of that type of gig mean that we'll never really make money from them and that's ok with me as long as I enjoy it and don't get any hassle!

 

Keep gigging @Bluewine for as long as you enjoy it - it keeps you young!

 

 

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I really don't need the money. however, I find the money important because you are providing a service, so apart from the occasional charity that I would actually give my own money to, its got to be worth doing. Plus as i don't spend any money on music stuff that I haven't earned gigging, it is a self funded hobby for me, but I still approach it as if it was a job from the point of view of practicing / turning up etc. 

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12 hours ago, EMG456 said:

Playing gigs is one of the great joys of music but it can also turn into a great pain.

 

I'm 63 now and have been basically gigging since I was 16. For four or five years in the 80s I was full time but for a good 15 years after that music earnings made a huge supplement to my earnings at the 9-5.

 

It helps to have wide musical tastes and very little musical snobbery - I can enjoy myself playing anything from showtunes to rock to punk to jazz to folk etc. Also an ability to accept that the best musos are not always gifted with the easiest personalities to get on with - compromises sometimes have to be made for the benefits of one's own sanity!

 

Now I have retired from the day job and the gigs I do tend to be smaller, quieter, more intimate things. Costs are covered but the sheer economics of that type of gig mean that we'll never really make money from them and that's ok with me as long as I enjoy it and don't get any hassle!

 

Keep gigging @Bluewine for as long as you enjoy it - it keeps you young!

 

 

 

 

It's a little surreal loading my bass into my car at age 68 and you think back realizing you were doing the same thing on a Friday or Saturday night when I was 16.

 

Thanks for sharing your story.

 

Blue

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