Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

Gigging for a living?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by chiefline, Sep 11, 2017.

  1. CK Dexter Haven

    CK Dexter Haven Friend of Leo's

    Jun 7, 2017
    Some time in the late '70s I came across a book about the Who that had a photo of PT in one of his home studios, he had a little four piece drum kit & a PR & some other stuff all up under the rafters.

    It was like the sea had parted, THIS is what I want! It's taken me a while to get there, but that is pretty much where I am. I play out less and less, my wife would like me to stop completely and concentrate on friends and family. I have all the stuff and even a bunch of basic tracks I just need to get motivated to finish & mix, & get it out there..
    Reggie77 likes this.

  2. Jakedog

    Jakedog Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Mar 26, 2003
    The North Coast
    Yeah, I don't envy you guys in Austin. It's like NY or Nashville or LA. Just get too saturated. Everybody starts undercutting each other just to be able to play, and before you know it, nobody is getting paid.

    I've been in towns like that. If you don't wanna play for $20 and a burger, there's 30 other guys that will. So you take what you can get.

  3. Jakedog

    Jakedog Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Mar 26, 2003
    The North Coast
    No danger of that. It's a fun place to visit, but I wouldn't wanna live there.
    Doghouse_Riley likes this.

  4. dougstrum

    dougstrum Tele-Meister

    Oct 6, 2015
    blu ridge mtn cabin
    Gigs are great for walking around $~but I sure like sleeping
    in my own bed at night:)
    Jakedog likes this.

  5. Harry Styron

    Harry Styron Tele-Holic

    Aug 2, 2011
    Branson, Mo
    A year ago I paid three excellent Austin musicians $1500 to drive five hours to Terlingua and play at my son's wedding reception. They brought the PA, too.

  6. Jakedog

    Jakedog Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Mar 26, 2003
    The North Coast
    That's a super good price for three excellent musicians playing a travel wedding. You made out like a Bandit!

  7. Harry Styron

    Harry Styron Tele-Holic

    Aug 2, 2011
    Branson, Mo
    It was great. Someone asked the band to let my wife and I play a song. To our surprise, we were called to the stage and I was handed a guitar. My wife sang Blues for Dixie and really nailed it. As we were walking away, I heard one of the musicians say, "Well, that went a lot better than I expected."

  8. william tele

    william tele Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Nov 7, 2009
    Kansas City, MO
    Harry, did you ever make a post about the wedding? I recall you looking for players. Sounds like it went well?

  9. Jsil13

    Jsil13 Tele-Meister

    Feb 14, 2017
    Boston, MA
    I do it up here in MA. We play between 150-200 shows a year. I'm not the guy in charge of money, but each guy gets $200 a gig. We play mostly in Boston, but do bi-weekly gigs in Maine and New York as well. Oddly enough we're also sponsored by Bud Light. Not my favorite beer, but they put us on some pretty big bills a few times a year and gave us a tour van. Last year we played different colleges for SCC football games every Saturday. The Battle at Bristol opening up for Sam Hunt was the first one. We played during commercials of ESPN's College Game Day. Haha.
    It slows down considerably during the winter up here, but having a few weekly gigs keeps my bills paid. It's the summers where we make a killing and I foolishly buy new gear, tools, and other dumb stuff.
    Jakedog, soulgeezer and william tele like this.

  10. kLyon

    kLyon Tele-Meister Gold Supporter

    Mar 21, 2011
    A lot of you have nailed it: it's the end of an era.
    Live music no longer has the value it once did.
    I've been playing professionally for over 40 years. I played in Florida bar bands before college; jazz on cruise ships and calypso at hotels in college; many bands (Reading Festival at one point, among many others...) over many years, many records, many recording sessions.
    I've been about everywhere in the world.
    (Not India: I guess they don't need us... but Australia, Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, China, all the 'stans, South America, every country in Europe more times than I can recall... I was in Moscow a month ago...)
    I'm amazed that it still works: a casual gig in LA - where I live - pays the same $100 dollars I made playing calypso on Miami Beach 40 years ago. (Unfortunately the rent has gone up in the interim.))
    I guess we live as long as we're supposed to; no reason to lament that reality, sad as it is.
    My old friend the pianist Jim Ehinger was doing a session for me a couple of years ago, and the young singer asked him, "When are you going to retire?"
    He laughed. "Retire? A musician, retire? I have no 401k and no health insurance. I'll die on stage. Like I"m supposed to."
    I think we're the last generation to be able to live this life, such as it is.
    Not much of a future, but one hell of a past.

  11. macatt

    macatt Tele-Meister

    Jan 10, 2007
    silverdale wa
    I get plenty of gigs at 69 years old. I've been doing this with out a break since I was 15 in 1963.
    I always get work and I'm on top of my game, playing better than ever.
    Now I have to add: It's a lot physically harder than it used to be and I often don't want to leave the house and do it.
    It is a job and there is no retirement. It can still be fun; the good gigs that is.

    I don't require much materially and have been to a lot of cool places and acquired a lot of great friends.
    I own a modest place, a decent car and have three great grown children.
    No complaints but it's not for everyone; not for sissies.

    S Mac
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017
    Jakedog, william tele and ce24 like this.

  12. zimbo

    zimbo Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Jan 15, 2007
    Rochester, NY
    I talked to a friend of mine who gigs all over town. He's about 40 and still lives with his mother. I asked where his next gig was and he said in a town out in the sticks. No pay but they were getting free food and it was going to be really good food. What the heck?

  13. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Telefied Ad Free Member

    Nov 15, 2009
    Austin, Tx
    I think being a working musician is a calling.
    You either do it, and accept all of it's, uh, charms, or you opt for a more comfortable lifestyle.
    I identify myself as a musician, and I accept the consequences.
    Too late to change now, and, of course, I don't want to.
    Jakedog and william tele like this.

  14. cntry666

    cntry666 Tele-Afflicted

    Aug 16, 2010
    decatur, ga
    Clubs here don't even pay anymore, you just play and get a few drink tickets. This is Atlanta! I've been "gigging" for 26 years. Yes in the 90's we made a decent amount of money but those days are over.
    My buddy plays in a bunch of cover bands and they get paid. I'm not into that, I don't want to play U2 all night.
    Bottom line it's tougher than it used to be. I don't tour much now but I love to play out. You have to do it because you love it.
    Jakedog and brookdalebill like this.

  15. ce24

    ce24 Friend of Leo's

    Jan 26, 2008
    Here in CDA Idaho the booking agents have it locked up..... You really can't go anywhere and promote yourself and book your own gigs.

  16. cowboytwang

    cowboytwang Poster Extraordinaire

    Jul 28, 2003
    Sonoran Desert
    July 1977 was my first paying gig, and this is all I've done now for 40 years. I'm planning on giving it another 20 years and see how it goes.
    kLyon, brookdalebill and Jakedog like this.

  17. Zeonoid

    Zeonoid Tele-Meister

    Dec 17, 2008
    Slovakia, EU
    thats exactly how it is... but then when another lovely humans come from that relationship, giging lifestyle doesnt make that much sense anymore...
    LGOberean likes this.

  18. cblguy

    cblguy TDPRI Member

    Mar 11, 2013
    mid tennessee
    I've always played for enjoyment. Seemed with almost every band I was always the only one with a full 9-5 job. When we would do a 5 nighter it always left me wore out...while the others slept I gave it up for almost 20 yrs till I got involved in my church. Since then I've retired and moved to Florida. Now I'm in a " old man band " and keeping busy (2-4 gigs a month) and making the same $ as 25 yrs ago...but def enjoying it more..

  19. cblguy

    cblguy TDPRI Member

    Mar 11, 2013
    mid tennessee
    Yeh... fear the " ping, gash, bleed "

  20. LGOberean

    LGOberean Poster Extraordinaire

    May 31, 2008
    Corpus Christi, Texas
    For me, this. ^^^

    When I was young, I wanted to take a shot at making a living at gigging. But I wanted a family more. I knew I wanted to marry, and to have kids. My impression at the time was that you had to be on the road all the time to make a living at it. Not a good way to start a marriage, definitely not a good way to be a parent. I loved my Dad, he was a good man, but throughout my teens, he was always traveling. I missed him, and acted out, and my Mom had to contend with my antics alone. I determined I didn't want that kind of home life for me.

    I married young (I was 19, she was 18), and 6 months in she conceived our firstborn. So I scrambled to make a living. Never had much money, but we had a good home life, and I was home most every night. I sometimes played for some church things, but I was not a regular on a worship team, and other than that, I didn't play out. I played most every day, but for myself and my family and sometimes close friends.

    In the year 2000, after the last of our three kids left home, I began to play out. I picked up gigs and some residencies, and covered my gear purchases plus grocery and eating out money. My wife's career covered the rest. In the last year and a half, I've pared that down to just doing gigs for seniors communities. I sometimes would like to do a coffee shop or restaurant, but overall, no regrets. I've been happily married for 45 years come next month (you'll have to ask my wife how many of those years have been happy ones for her :oops:), have grown kids all in their 40s that come to see us when they can. Plus they've given us 18 grandchildren, with one more due late May. Life is good.

IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.