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Foot in the Door Gigs

Discussion in 'Band Wagon' started by alnico357, Dec 28, 2020.

  1. alnico357

    alnico357 Tele-Afflicted

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    A few years ago the diva in our band asked a member to "get our foot in the door" in an area. He came through with a small low profile gig, low pay. The diva immediately said "not interested."

    We got another guy I know who was interested and played the gig on the side. The diva "fired" us all.

    Since then the original low paying gig has turned into the most lucrative gig we have. The gigs keep multiplying as more people hear us.

    Ya'll got any foot-in-the-door gig stories?
     
  2. Doorlord

    Doorlord Tele-Holic

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    got some drink tickets once or twice
     
  3. Fretting out

    Fretting out Poster Extraordinaire

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    Singer?

    The bass player!?
     
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  4. nickmsmith

    nickmsmith Tele-Meister

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    I started by simply offering to play for free at a popular bar. It wasn't a "music venue" as in there was no stage, but they had entertainment there.

    It went well, they made some money off of it. Did that 2 more times, then I gave them the ultimatum. It worked out.

    Not that this is the way a person SHOULD do it, but it worked for me. A lot of places aren't up for paying out for an unknown product.
     
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  5. dougstrum

    dougstrum Friend of Leo's

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    I have done open mics over the years, that have turned into regular gigs:cool:
     
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  6. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Doctor of Teleocity

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    I'm super-happy it worked for you. ;)
    My experience, though, is that free or extremely low pay jobs rarely lead to anything.....in fact, you can develop a reputation as a "free or extremely low pay" band.
    If I'm playing for free, it's most likely to be a fun/charity type gig.
     
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  7. srblue5

    srblue5 Tele-Meister

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    It's a balance. I had to point blank stop doing freebie gigs in college because I felt like the perception on the other end was that my band and I weren't serious and or deserving of respect (i.e. organizers and audience members repeatedly interrupting us while we were playing, not providing enough time or space for us to set up and play, trying to get us to do other grunt work).

    However, I still do (or did) free gigs for charity/fundraisers or playing for seniors at a nursing home pre-Covid. A couple of those "gigs" led to other (maybe slightly bigger?) opportunities, so it worked out. I'm not averse to open mics or jam nights but I will not do weddings or parties free. I got hired for a wedding gig at a pretty swanky venue a couple of years back and the groom told me point blank that he didn't want and wasn't going to pay my band and I after we showed up, set up our gear, and soundchecked. We said we would leave then but he quickly came to his senses.
     
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  8. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity

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    My experience with "foot in the door gigs" is that is all they ever are. The pay doesn't go up much... if any.
    The problem is, some owners think the band needs to draw in hundreds. Yet they aren't willing to pay for the bands that can do that! Those bands are a ton more money. Sure there are a few bands you catch on the way up that may be a bargain, but it's a moment in time.
    The most long term reliable music establishments seem to me to have a crowd BECAUSE OF THEIR PLACE not because of any particular band on a given night. I'm talking bars and clubs, not places that have bands with hits and on the radio.
    We used to play a standing room only place. It was that way no matter who was playing... and.. the crowd was so loud it was as loud as the band... all they were doing was taking selfies and talking. Of maybe 200 people, six were seated in front of the band.
    But yeah, there are some places that will tell you they will give $400 first time in for a usual $500 gig. That works if they aren't conning you. It's a conundrum because once they know a band will do it, they just keep looking for that.

    Having said all that... I wouldn't be surprised if we are heading into a "play for tips" norm after this virus thing.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2020
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  9. Allan Allan

    Allan Allan Tele-Afflicted

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    It seems like all I ever had were 2 pbrs per member gigs. We played a wedding once, some people liked that we played covers and originals and asked if we'd learn 20 of the 100 songs they had on a list. It was a really fun project. If I remember correctly we had to learn a few non-negotiable ones for them, but they weren't bad, just songs I wouldn't have ever worked out on my own..... uh oh, I really want to do that again.
     
  10. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Doctor of Teleocity

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    RE: That wedding gig situation.....you're lucky the groom informed you of his intentions BEFORE you played. It's never happened to me, but I've heard stories of club owners refusing to pay AFTER a gig, and what's your recourse? I hope when he changed his mind you got your money upfront, in case he tried to stiff you afterwards.
    I've also heard of clubs that expect YOU to fill the club with drink-buying customers, and if you don't they try to "renegotiate" the fee later. This kind of stuff is why I generally won't play bars or clubs anymore.....plus I don't care for the late hours and rough/rowdy atmosphere. Yeah, you can get a lot of drunks and troublemakers at private parties, but (in general) they're better behaved.
     
  11. Oldsmobum

    Oldsmobum Tele-Meister

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    Club owner’s legs break just the same as anyone else’s...
     
  12. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Doctor of Teleocity

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    You want to fight a bar owner AND his bouncers AND his waitstaff over a few bucks?
    I'm a lover (guitar player) not a fighter. ;)
     
  13. nickmsmith

    nickmsmith Tele-Meister

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    If that’s the case, I’ll gladly ditch the bar gigs, and only play private gigs/parties. They’re more pleasant anyways, most of the time. And people seem to appreciate the music way more.
     
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  14. Teleguy61

    Teleguy61 Friend of Leo's

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    If you play a gig for free, for "exposure" or whatever, the management knows exactly what your price point is, and they will never move off it.
     
  15. EspyHop

    EspyHop Tele-Holic

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    If we’re talking covers at a restaurant/bar for the after work crowd, I wouldn’t accept a lowball offer.

    However, if it’s originals at predominantly local/regional music venues, it would depend on a number of factors. Am I in a local startup or in a touring band? Am I an established local artist opening for a touring band? How healthy is the market in my area? Is it more important to get a perceived fair price at struggling venues that host originals or take a cut to keep the venues viable? What other outlets are there for original bands and artists in the area? I live in a city that lost a few great venues that hosted local bands, one pretty legendary, and it completely changes the local landscape when that happens.
     
  16. nickmsmith

    nickmsmith Tele-Meister

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    Sometimes yes, sometimes no. When I was just starting out, I was willing to play for free in a place I knew had a decent reputation and patrons.

    if I’d gone to the same place and asked for a few hundred bucks immediately, may not have been the same result. A lot of places only see numbers. And I wanted to get experience. It worked out ok for me, you just have to know where your limits are, and the venue.

    I’ve got no regrets about it. Essentially got to work on my stuff, with a crowd, for a few hours for free, and I got to market to other places that I have gigged at a legitimate place, increasing their trust.

    But: being years into it, would I go back to a bar and play for nothing? Definitely not.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2020
  17. Junkyard Dog

    Junkyard Dog Friend of Leo's

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    Lots of business offer services/products free (or at a discount) to attract new customers...aka get their foot in the door.
     
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  18. harpdog

    harpdog Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    During a recent period of unusual circumstances, we played a number of times in a temporary patio in a restaurant parking lot, for drinks, dinner, and tips. We wanted to help the owners. It is an unprofessional compromise but seemed like a right thing. Perhaps it will pay off in gigs when the unusual circumstances recede.
     
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  19. Chiogtr4x

    Chiogtr4x Poster Extraordinaire

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    Just having a few decent-paying steady gigs ( in my 'old age') is good enough for me.
    And glad to have a few of these on the calendar.( kind of dormant in the Winter, but they will be back)

    I'm happy to make $100+ ( plus tips and a meal or a drink), an easy parking/load-in dynamic (that may be the best perk of all!), and a venue/patrons that like the music you are playing.
    If I can keep this going (forever!), with a few great musician friends, it's really worth all the work- really a labor of love!
     
  20. aeyeq

    aeyeq Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    Twiggs would like a word.

    “On April 30, 1970, Lyndon stabbed club owner Angel Aliotta to death in Buffalo, New York in a dispute over $500 owed to the band. Lyndon was eventually found not guilty by reason of temporary insanity; his lawyer, John Condon, essentially argued that life on the road with the Allman Brothers had driven him crazy.”

    Much more on Twiggs:

    http://alanpaul.net/2017/11/organization-man-twiggs-lyndons-wild-life-and-eerie-death/
     
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