Paying bandmembers for weekly rehearsals - Good idea?

Discussion in 'Band Wagon' started by SecretSquirrel, May 19, 2019.

  1. Ian T

    Ian T Tele-Holic

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    The idea of a band "democracy" is a pipe dream.

    Get 4 of 5 guys together and you'll get 4 or 5 different ideas of how things should be done. A band without a leader typically goes nowhere, and wastes all their energy in disagreements. A band needs a leader, so that when differences of opinions arise, they can give final say.

    To be the leader you must have people who want to follow you. Perhaps you are so charismatic and awesome that you'll find a bunch of pro musicians who want to invest time in your project, for free. This is a one in a million situation. The other way is to pay them.

    Pro players are busy and typically uninterested in playing for free. They are busy with paying gigs and when they have time off they'd rather rest than do free work.

    If you have paying gigs scheduled already, this is incentive for a pro player. If your project is a start up, you have almost no incentive for a pro musician to invest their time.

    Paying to get pro players and to establish yourself as the leader is a pragmatic approach.
     
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  2. GibbyTwin

    GibbyTwin Tele-Meister

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    That's kind of anticipating that they will hang around after the payments stop and that the unit will stay together just for the music. I would think that if they would stay just for the music, they would be willing to rehearse just for the music.

    It's not something I would do and I wouldn't sign on anyone who has to be paid to rehearse as part of a band. Of course, we're (my band) in it for the fun, the enjoyment of playing and the chance to get in front of a crowd and maybe get them dancing.
    I guess it all comes down to how good you are, what your goals are and what you have lined up. (And how deep your pockets are.)
     
  3. JayFreddy

    JayFreddy Poster Extraordinaire

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    And by the way, BB King paid his musicians to rehearse too.

    Good thread.
     
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  4. briany

    briany Tele-Meister

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    There is an incentive for pro players to invest their time and it goes back to the "Good money, good people, good music" triangle. Pick any two. If they aren't totally jaded, anyway.

    But a lot of 'pro' players are also conceited a$$holes who think that your band is beneath them, but they'll take the booking just to fill up the date book. They may also take another better paying gig on that date in the meantime and 'forget' to tell you (they didn't forget, they just didn't care enough to mention). They may not even be that good, just well-connected. Enthusiasm and capacity to learn are more valuable qualities, whether pro or not.
     
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  5. Ignatius

    Ignatius Tele-Afflicted

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    I'm struggling to find the right words, the right way to convey this without sounding like a jerk, but....if ya gotta pay people to attract them to your band and get them to play with you, maybe you should focus on sharpening your own skills so that people want to play with you. Seriously, I'm not trying to be snarky, but that was the first thought that entered my mind when I read your post.

    I'm not in a large market either but there are a fair number of musicians. Everyone knows who the good ones are. I've never heard of any of them being paid to do start up rehearsals. Good musicians are attracted to other good musicians and they will commit to a project if it is good enough without needing a financial incentive.

    Maybe I didn't really get your post?
     
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  6. SecretSquirrel

    SecretSquirrel Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    Good point, though my idea is that they'd hang around for the gigs once we're tight. The previous incarnation of the band was starting to play out once a month or more, usually for around $100 each.

    That said, no question they should also like the music.
     
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  7. alnico357

    alnico357 Tele-Holic

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    You want opinions? If a member is not motivated to be a member, the highway is close. They can take it.
     
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  8. SecretSquirrel

    SecretSquirrel Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    Agreed, and I'm not seeking professional musicians, that would be great, but enthusiastic people who can play with a modicum of competence will do.
     
  9. alnico357

    alnico357 Tele-Holic

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    No, it is not. The four of us are doing it.
     
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  10. SecretSquirrel

    SecretSquirrel Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    The skills of the poster (me in this case) would cross my mind as well. I haven't done any exhaustive searches for bandmates in quite awhile, so maybe I'm being premature. I do think the core of the project is strong enough for some good players—who like this music—to want to participate.

    I don't go out much to "hang out" so I'm not in the "scene" where everybody knows about me. On the other hand, this is not a bar band so I'm not sure I can expect to find the right bandmates by drinking in bars. I do know a lot of the musicians but they're doing their own things. That's another thing is, few people are really into this kind of 'retro' stuff.

    AND, as I mentioned, I know that some players didn't want to play with the singer. I think that was a big obstacle, and also the reason why a couple of venues didn't hire us back. We were maybe 70% instrumental anyway, but off-key vocals stand out.

    I'm working on making good recordings (where we don't have good live recordings) of the material so potential members can hear what I'm going for.
     
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  11. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    It depends on the level of professionalism everybody aspires to. I was fortunate to work during a time when players could really play, and no singer was ever, ever "off-key." Oldtimers here will attest to that. The shakey, out of key singing that I hear across the internet, whether from live recordings or home studio projects. In my experience, a decent singer will be in tune virtually all the time. If not, I'd walk, or not take the gig, even for money.

    Basing my thinking on what others are saying here, I also agree that making the band a desirable endeavor is the way to keep a band together.
     
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  12. rich815

    rich815 Friend of Leo's

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    This is how The Eagles did it for years!
     
  13. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    On the one hand, I have a classic example of a hobby player with money hiring pro musicians who worked with some well known bands. The money guy plays a little drums, a little strumma strumma guitar in the background, no singing, although he seems to like mouthing the words at times. On the other hand, I should be careful how I reveal who this is. He is an attorney seen on TV sometimes. He has a ton of videos of his band in studios doing covers. Lot of turnover in players, except for the singers.

    This kind of ringer-band makes me uncomfortable when taken to the extreme this guy has.

    If anyone realizes who I am talking about, please help me keep the identity hush-hush in this thread. It's mostly of interest to people who follow the news.
     
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  14. GibbyTwin

    GibbyTwin Tele-Meister

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    I think you answered your question right here...'enthusiastic'. Find the guys/gals you mesh with and who share the same enthusiasm as you and you're home. If you have to pay them to be enthused it will end when the pay does.

    Edit to add: I went back through the thread and saw that you have a specific niche you are looking to fill (surf, crime drama soundtrack, 60s). The narrower the scope the more of a challenge it will be to find compatible musicians with an equal interest in the genre. Not impossible, but it may take more time and patience in your search.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2019
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  15. dan1952

    dan1952 Friend of Leo's

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    I guess I'm lucky in that there is a core group of folks I work with that knows a bunch of material already, and can play new material, as long as it isn't too esoteric, with no rehearsal. I choose to be the bandleader because I've done it for long enough to have a good idea how to put together a set list and keep things together on a gig. On the other hand, I work a lot with a band where I am the bass player, NOT the bandleader, and will do the occasional rehearsal to go over a new song or two, if only to ease the mind of the BL. However, he also knows he can trust us to nail a new song with only the charts and a verbal run-through. My time is valuable (I'm 66) and I won't rehearse to go over and over familiar material without being paid. I turned down a recent gig for just that reason.
     
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  16. kelnet

    kelnet Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Do you already have those three or four gigs a month lined up?
     
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  17. briany

    briany Tele-Meister

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    That guy probably has the money to spend. I guess he figures that if he were to settle for players more at his level, it wouldn't sound that good
     
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  18. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Poster Extraordinaire

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    Nobody's yet mentioned.....if you're paying people to rehearse, are you also going to (like James Brown) assess "fines" for errors in performances? Are you paying for just showing up to practice?....or are there going to be "quality" requirements as well? The vast amount of my experiences have been in bands where guys get together for the LOVE of the music, voluntarily put in the work and effort to MAKE good music, and then share equally in whatever rewards there may be.
    Very interesting situation, regardless......
     
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  19. Teleguy61

    Teleguy61 Friend of Leo's

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    The reward for rehearsing is the band gets better gigs and everyone gets paid.
    Otherwise, you are a contractor hiring pay-for-play musicians, and that's what you will have.
     
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  20. JayFreddy

    JayFreddy Poster Extraordinaire

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    We have a professional orchestra in town that is basically the hobby of an eccentric wealthy genius who likes to conduct. He is good at it too.

    Not sure where he got his money, but he has a collection of sports cars that would make Jay Leno jealous.

    He has the symphony set up as a non-profit organization, so it's tax deductible, and they have a professional marketing staff that sells tickets and promotes their concerts.

    Quite a few players are retired musicians from larger, more active symphonies, and they do a good job of cultivating young local talent as well.

    Some people want to play for free with people who all like the same brand of beer. There is nothing wrong with that.

    There is nothing wrong with paying talented musicians who you like either, as long as you can afford it.

    ps. http://www.lascolinassymphony.org/symphony
     
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