1. Win a Broadcaster or one of 3 Teles! The annual Supporting Member Giveaway is on. To enter Click Here. To see all the prizes and full details Click Here. To view the thread about the giveaway Click Here.

Ever get stiffed for pay on a gig..? How did you handle it?

Discussion in 'Band Wagon' started by 4pickupguy, Aug 20, 2013.

  1. 4pickupguy

    4pickupguy Doctor of Teleocity

    Posts:
    11,294
    Joined:
    May 12, 2013
    Location:
    Fort Worth, Texas
    We did once. We ended up with the the house main mixer (per our contract) worth WAY more than our pay. We made arrangements with the club owner to return it for our pay. Discovered that the loud mouth jerk that was in charge and constantly referred to the place as "My club" was in fact only a manager. The owner it turns out was a woman who had inherited the club from her husband along with all the debts the loud mouth jerk who had been running it since was racking up. He had also done this to quite a few other bands. She was very reasonable and sweet and scared to death. So our singer told her if she would fire loud mouth we would help her club. We played for the cover for a few weeks and hosted radio station events for free etc... Got a crowd showing up every week and ended up with the funniest house gig any band could hope for, for 13 months. She kept the place hopping for years after that. We always had a place to play when we needed it.
    If we had gone the strict legal route, the place would have closed and we would have lost a lot of gigs.
     
  2. rebelwoclue

    rebelwoclue Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

    Posts:
    7,234
    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2012
    Location:
    kentucky
    Great story! Just goes to show that you shouldn't always take the hard, tough stand. Good for you guys!
     
  3. poiureza

    poiureza Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    989
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2012
    Location:
    Belgium
    Nice story

    So you had written in your contract that the house mixer would be yours in case they didn't pay ??
    I can't imagine any club over here signing that.
     
  4. AirBagTester

    AirBagTester Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,871
    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2010
    Location:
    Maryland
    Good on you for saving a local business! :D

    The places I've played would have just laughed at any kind of contract, much less one that signed away their sound system. That's cool that you were able to use that leverage, and then work directly with the business owner to make things right.
     
  5. 4pickupguy

    4pickupguy Doctor of Teleocity

    Posts:
    11,294
    Joined:
    May 12, 2013
    Location:
    Fort Worth, Texas
    Our singer at the time was very biz savvy. Still is as he now owns aerospace fab shop. He had a "liquidated damages" section that spelled out specific collateral under a no-pay condition. We/I wanted to keep or sell the board to spite the loud mouth jerk. He was always a little more "big picture" than the rest of us.
    Looking at it there is even a " Force Majure" clause. Lol. (^_^)

    Fact is, live music now is tiny by comparison. Far less formal. Far less money involved. Pop culture is less about musicianship and performance and more about packing DJ'd dance halls. It's why I always preferred jazz to cover bands. It has always been this way. Much easier to deal with. That, and I'm an old fart now.
     
  6. guitarzan13

    guitarzan13 Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    56
    Posts:
    3,746
    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2006
    Location:
    LaGrange, GA
    I did once in 1985.... I threatened to take him to small claims court. I later found out that he was a drug dealer. Go figure.....
     
  7. Big_Bend

    Big_Bend Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    57
    Posts:
    7,003
    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2010
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Couple of years ago my band played a BBQ restaurant. The head Mgr forgot to make arrangements with the night staff to pay us. I was a little upset but I was able to go back the next day and easily get paid, the manager apologized, and we played there again several more times without incident.

    I gota get me one of those contracts where I collect house mixers and stuff in the future.. that sounds way cool!
     
  8. Edgar Allan Presley

    Edgar Allan Presley Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,081
    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2011
    Location:
    Colorado
    A collateral provision like that probably would be unenforceable without perfection of the security interest by a UCC filing. At least in Colorado. (I'm only a Colorado lawyer.)
     
  9. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    Posts:
    16,931
    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2006
    Location:
    Iowa City, IA
    In my high school band in the late 60s, we used contracts for every gig, sometimes written out by hand. We had a gig booked for a local church whose youth group was hosting a weekend get-together with a youth group from a neighboring state. The day of the gig, the minister called me to cancel, saying that the other group couldn't make it for some reason. I reminded him that our contract said we had to get pain in full, anyway. After a week without hearing anything, my band guys and I found out when the youth group was having its weekly meeting. When the meeting let out, we zoomed in on the minister, who took us to his office and wrote the check. We were a hard-nosed group of guys back then, who worked a lot and made a living wage doing it for a number of years. We are still together, meeting when we can to work on a CD of old and new originals. The other two guys have had stellar business careers. We pat ourselves on the back in emails, as we try to understand how our work ethic and business approach prepared us for our adult careers.

    All kids in our town were expected to work during summers and part-time after school. We made a ton of money from gigging, and I think it always irked my dad a little that I was hanging around drinking soda pop and wasting time while other kids were working at regular jobs. Although, we did pick fruit sometimes for extra money. Oh, yeah, and worked in a potato processing plant. But those were short time jobs.
     
  10. 4pickupguy

    4pickupguy Doctor of Teleocity

    Posts:
    11,294
    Joined:
    May 12, 2013
    Location:
    Fort Worth, Texas
    Yup. We thought back then if it was written on a contract and signed, it was iron clad. Certainly not the case. But it did give us bluffing fodder. We did a lot of poker faced bluffing back then. The loud mouth probably didn't think he could force us to give it back to him (it was actually hers) as we were a fairly scary, rough bunch. Our singer just couldn't stand to watch that guy ruin her livelihood.
    Truth is this contract was probably not worth the paper it was written on. Things weren't always so litigious for us. Would probably want to do things differently contract wise in hindsight.
     
  11. voodooblues

    voodooblues Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,157
    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2012
    Location:
    Berwyn, Il
    That's a great story. Definitely worked out best for everyone, especially getting the manager out.

    I'm sure it's bound to happen, but hasn't yet. Most of the places I've played the managers/owners are very much into having bands and making it a venue that bands want to play, so they're straight up about pay and don't jerk us around. Even places I've played where they can't pay us much, they're up front and also try to make other provisions for us. I guess I've been lucky in that sense.
     
  12. TeleTim911

    TeleTim911 Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,114
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2009
    Location:
    Calera, Alabama
    Back in the '80's in my "heyday" of gigging, we used contracts. I had an attorney that really liked me for some reason, and would do things for free, or very low fees. He was absolutely a hard nose too....he wouldn't quit when it came to the band. (I think he was a closet musician at one time). He read our contracts, suggested a few changes, etc....and we lived by them.

    Anyway, we got stiffed twice in Tampa, FL when I lived there. First time all it took was attorney making a phone call, had my cash that afternoon.

    Second time was different. The owner, female, just refused. She had no reason other than "I just don't have the money". We tried to arrange payments, swap for some things in bar, whatever....no go. (we learned later this wasn't her first time). We even tried to "buy in to her business"....nope. My attorney took her to court.

    Judge awarded us the win, she had to pay court costs, process server fees, time and wages lost due to me being off work from day job, my attorney fees, her attorney fees, and punitive damages as well as what we were owed. She ended up paying almost 2-1/2 times what the original cost would have been. She went out of business about a week later. We tried to work it out, she wouldn't have it. Our original fee was not chicken scratch....5 nights....$2,000. (we had 4 people to pay, that's only $100 a night each).
     
  13. getbent

    getbent Telefied Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    42,516
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2006
    Location:
    San Benito County, California
    our drummer is a murder police. Everybody pays or people go to jail.
     
  14. flyswatter

    flyswatter Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,315
    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2013
    Location:
    Canada
    I got stiffed a couple of times and immediately filed suit with small claims court. Cost me a small filing fee but on both occasions the arrival of the court document by mail was enough to prompt a phone call from the clubs offering me half my money. Not too bad... as one of the gigs I got paid for I never actually played.
     
  15. Big_Bend

    Big_Bend Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    57
    Posts:
    7,003
    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2010
    Location:
    Houston, TX

    A drummer, really? We let the clarinet lady take em outside if necessary.
     
  16. BBill64

    BBill64 Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,899
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2011
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    I'm actually owed £50 for a gig I did months ago.
     
  17. Zezozose

    Zezozose Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    156
    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2013
    Location:
    Quad Cities
    Now I want to watch "The Wire" again.
     
  18. Tim Armstrong

    Tim Armstrong Super Moderator Ad Free Member

    Age:
    61
    Posts:
    19,376
    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2003
    Location:
    Austin, Texas
    Haven't gotten stiffed yet, glad to report, but a few times we did get paid to just go home because the bar was too full to load in. Gotta love living in a beach resort town!

    Tim
     
  19. muudcat

    muudcat Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    898
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2010
    Location:
    Fountain City, Wi
    Got stiffed $25 for starting late ( 10 min.) but made up for it by playing a longer set. At the end of the night the owner says he's holding back the money. Even after explaining how long we actually played, he wouldn't budge, so it was the last time I ever went in the place, to play or eat. I can't imagine how much he's lost from me not eating there anymore. Kinda cutting your nose off to spite your face. But that's the only time I've ever had a problem
     
  20. soulman969

    soulman969 Telefied Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    22,582
    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2011
    Location:
    Englewood, CO
    If you've been playing long enough it's almost certain that your band has been stiffed for some or all of the gig amount at least once. Some club owners are just plain dikheads and others are broke or nearly so and really don't have the cash to pay, or at least not pay that night.

    Just one thing to add to the those contemplating going the legal route. If you have a written contract or an enforceable verbal agreement you may win in court but winning a judgment isn't the same as collecting one. That's where is can get a little difficult trust me.
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.