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Is Dallas or Austin the musician's Promised Land?

Discussion in 'Band Wagon' started by oceanman2, Mar 10, 2012.

  1. oceanman2

    oceanman2 Tele-Meister

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    I play in a regularly gigging 5 piece country band in Seattle. We have a ton of fun and usually make $625-$750 for bar gigs, and anywhere up to $3,000 for corporate or private gigs. We never, ever play for less than $100 apiece. Anyway, our drummer came to us from Texas, and he's a great drummer- total pro, great guy too. However, his one sticking point is that he complains constantly that we undercharge. He maintains we should never leave the house for less than $250 apiece. Says that's the going rate for bars in Austin and Dallas, but the Seattle area just doesn't value bands the way they should. We've tried raising our rates, but we just got frozen out of gigs. I trust him and don't doubt that this drummer made good money, but I'm curious as to whether other musicians are doing that well or better in working bands down there. You don't have to disclose any trade secrets as I did above, but I'm just wondering if I should pack up and head south someday...
     
  2. Martin R

    Martin R Friend of Leo's

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    Wish I had your problem. We opened for a touring band in a small club last week. Our band made $21...total.

    We go to Santa Fe and Taos for paying gigs. But still, nothing like you get in Seattle.
     
  3. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Austin may be the PL for hearing/seeing/getting to play music.
    For dough, look elsewhere.:eek:
    I'm not sqwawking, either.
    There are 600+ live music venues, and 600,000+ people ready, willing and
    able to play at them.
    Rumor has it Dallas venues pay better.
    Houston venues/casuals definitely pay better.
     
  4. oceanman2

    oceanman2 Tele-Meister

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    I can definitely imagine that there's a lot of great bands and venues in TX, esp for country and blues (heck, probably everything!), so I bet the competition is stiff. In Seattle, there are several really good country bands, and only a few venues, so we have to travel a bit to stay busy. The south Sound area- Tacoma, etc has a bunch of venues.

    This may be a "grass is always greener" situation.
     
  5. Telesavalis

    Telesavalis Friend of Leo's

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    Your drummer may be a nice guy and a great drummer but he should change his career plan to selling swamp land in Florida if he's got you sold on high paying gigs in this part of the world. Corporate gigs pay well in D & A but bar gigs sure don't pay $250 per man. There's a blues bar on every corner in Tx with a dozen blues bands waiting to play them for door cover...Some times for tips. The club and bar economy has been so bad since '08 that many times bands are playing for food and bev trade. And "open mic night" is becoming more and more prevalent, which just gives the club and bar operators live music for free.
     
  6. telequacktastic

    telequacktastic Tele-Afflicted

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    Neither, just stay where you are
     
  7. Lowbassnotes

    Lowbassnotes Friend of Leo's

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    Bringing country music to Austin is like bringing sand to the beach?
     
  8. Joe-Bob

    Joe-Bob Doctor of Teleocity

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    Not really sure what your drummer has been smoking, but live music in Dallas is all but completely dead.

    Anyway, if he was making that much, why did he ever leave? :confused:
     
  9. TNO

    TNO Friend of Leo's

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    Sounds like things are pretty good in Seattle.
     
  10. GigsbyBoyUK

    GigsbyBoyUK Friend of Leo's

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    Easy solution - hand over the task of booking gigs to your drummer for one month and see how many gigs he gets at the rate he 'maintains' you should all get. If he's right, everyone wins. If he's wrong, he'll have to shut the F up.
     
  11. chileseason

    chileseason Tele-Meister

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    Listen to Theo...who luv's ya' baby?

    Dallas is overrun with open mics, cut-of-the-door-deals, and basically crappy play. The Scene south of here is overrun with pay-to-play, and "how many of your friends can we chisel drinks out of." And, that attitude has been filtering up this way for a while. Most band members up here in the Dallas area will jump on a $100 dollar gaurantee for one nigth if it doesn't involve too much driving.

    I don't know if this is a fair example: Texas' best guitar player, Slim Richey, is 76 years old. He got slammed into by a drunk in cadiliac escasade has he was loading out his wife's stand-up bass coming out of the Volstead bar near 6th St. in Ausin last week after a gig. The bass is a total loss, but it likely saved Slim's life, although it was a rough hospital stay (unfunded or course) but he was back in Dallas' Kessler Theater playing another gig last night and his wife yelled at him the whole time to quit jumping! (He did stumble once to the floor tyring to jump off an elevated stage and I thouht Francie was going to kick the **** out of him.

    My point is that you have to be very, very good or have some kind of cache behind your name (national following) to book that kind of money in Dallas public shows. Particularly when your set list is comprised of swing and jazz numbers from the 1920s, 30, 40s and 50s. You'd pay as much in clothes and equipmentjust to get a few shots at private parties playing contemporary hits of stuff "they know."

    If you're pulling down the dough you describe in Seattle,it might be better to visit and gig at some of the bigger veunes first an see if that's a financial pleasure. The Granada does a great job at pulling in national touring acts every week, as does the smaller Kessler. The Sons of Herrmann Hall has a nice space that is for rent, so you get with them and produce your own show and cut your own deal. At least get a feel before you pack up and move to Gasland. Call it a recon mission.
     
  12. BedspreadPicnic

    BedspreadPicnic Tele-Meister

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    My brother lived in Austin for years and I visited and played with him a few times. He would laugh at your drummer. I wouldn't leave Seattle if I were you.
     
  13. blues dues

    blues dues Tele-Meister

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    I moved to Austin in the 90's because of the huge blues scene. Great scene, lots of clubs, financial reality sent me back on the road & moving back East.
     
  14. Telesavalis

    Telesavalis Friend of Leo's

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    Hey, on 2nd thought, you need to fire that drummer and make him your manager.
     
  15. McGlamRock

    McGlamRock Poster Extraordinaire

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    Can he be my band's manager too?
     
  16. Jack S

    Jack S Friend of Leo's

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    I lived in Austin for five years and my experience was that it was a whole lot easier to be "from Austin" and get the decent paying gigs elsewhere. There was a certain cachet attached to the notion.
     
  17. oceanman2

    oceanman2 Tele-Meister

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    Pretty clear picture emerging from these responses. It's rare enough to have a band that can make decent music, get along, earn some cash, and have fun. I'm happy with this band, and have very few complaints about Seattle (just rain, cost of living, rain, and not much of a country scene).

    I appreciate the feedback and may visit TX sometime though!
     
  18. grinchmonkey

    grinchmonkey Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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    I used to play a lot in the Dallas area and $100/man for a 6-piece classic rock band was a rare thing. We always hear that the horn/dance bands were pulling that kind of money, but I have no proof. The band I'm playing with now still makes less than that and good gigs are harder to find. We've taken to playing gigs that we have fun at that pay decent ($80-100) and for our favorite little dive that only pays $50/each. It sucks when you think about load-in load-out time spent at a gig. Now I might move to Seattle.
     
  19. Jakedog

    Jakedog Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I'm from Texas, born and raised. I love Texas, ands would love to live there again, but it's damned hard to make a living as a musician there.

    Like others said, it's good to be from Austin, and spend all your time on the road. that'll get you paid, but you'd have to be a pretty high profile artist to make what you're making in Seattle.

    I Still live in Cleveland, because like Austin or Dallas I can gig as many nights a week as I feel like booking myself. The difference is, here I can get paid every night.

    Your drummer is full of it. I don't know who he was playing with, but I've never known anybody in my life who made that kind of money consistently on the TX music scene. Unless, as I said, they were a very high profile artist. bar bands and private party bands sure as hell ain't making that kind of dough, and probably very, very few of them see the kind of money you're getting in Seattle.
     
  20. repeatofender

    repeatofender Tele-Afflicted

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    For a long time Hawaii was the spot for good pay,
    Not a whole lot of local talent for the amount of tourist $$
     
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