Pay for a top star touring musician?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by braveheart, Dec 2, 2019.

  1. braveheart

    braveheart Tele-Meister

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    let's say you play for Beyonce, Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift...

    How much do you get per evening? Will you be rich after the tour?
     
  2. lammie200

    lammie200 Tele-Afflicted

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    I suggest checking out the documentary "Hired Guns." Seems like some get used and abused.
     
  3. String Tree

    String Tree Doctor of Teleocity

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    You will be Poor and Famous.

    Expect no Riches from the Wealthy.
     
  4. El Famoso

    El Famoso Tele-Meister

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    Knew a guy who played guitar and fiddle on tour for a pretty big name country act. His mom passed and he went to her funeral. Had to miss a show for it. He had no job after that.

    Those of us who just worked regular jobs were all doing better than he was financially.

    There are tons of talented musicians begging for those jobs so the pay is not great and you are easily (and quickly) replaced.
     
  5. StrangerNY

    StrangerNY Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    There is told story of Bowie hiring SRV for the 'Let's Dance' album, then offering him the guitar slot on the tour - for $250 a week.

    I would have turned it down, too. That tour made millions.

    - D
     
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  6. tamer_of_banthas

    tamer_of_banthas Tele-Meister

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    as legend goes, Stevie used to practice for 10 - 12 hours a day at his peak. to get low ball offers for that amount of talent (or comparable) is fairly insulting. even coming from Bowie. sad truth is instrumentalists are valued even less today.

     
  7. ce24

    ce24 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Touring never held any interest for me. Fantasy vs reality!
     
  8. FenderLover

    FenderLover Friend of Leo's

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    Isn't union scale any kind of benchmark to go by? And how much would that be?
     
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  9. StrangerNY

    StrangerNY Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    It's an awful lot of work!

    I know guys in a solid touring situation with with a guy many would consider a superstar, and they get taken care of pretty well. But they're not really hired guns, most of them have been in the band for years.

    I could never do it. I did regional tours when I was a kid and could bounce back quicker, but now? I'd tap out after a week, I fear.

    - D
     
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  10. rolandson

    rolandson Tele-Meister

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    At the turn of the century it was $10k per week (plus per diem) for a 'first call - triple scale' session player...a top tier side "guy"*

    *euphemistically speaking of course...girls included.
     
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  11. maxvintage

    maxvintage Friend of Leo's

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    I assume that it varies a lot. Every year the music schools crank out kids who can play anything you want and sight read perfectly, and digital technology allows you to produce acceptable versions of any sound from a single rig. Any one of those kids is probably happy to do it for very little. But I also assume a lot of what you want in a sideman is reliability, geniality, and the ability to cause no problems, and people who can play what you want and also be those things are less common. With big name acts there's a probably a good chance you never see the star except at sound check, and you deal all the time with a manager, and the manager values reliability, geniality, and not causing problems as much or more than the star. You've got to have the right look for that act, no trivial thing, so that probably ups your value some. I assume that if you come back for subsequent tours the pay goes up.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2019
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  12. tery

    tery Poster Extraordinaire

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    When the tour is over you go home and collect unemployment unless one collects royalty from CD / DVD sales .
     
  13. rolandson

    rolandson Tele-Meister

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    Scale...just scale now...was around $100/hour* with a 3 hour minimum per call...

    First Call players were a minimum of 3X that. A player like James Burton would be much-much more.

    *which rarely includes rights of any kind. It's all "work for hire."
     
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  14. ce24

    ce24 Poster Extraordinaire

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    How long is your career? Can you retire nicely at 62? Like the current song says
    "You'll wish you had a job":D
     
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  15. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Poster Extraordinaire

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    A few years ago, a buddy of mine in Nashville ran into a guy who was working at Home Depot when he wasn't touring with Ricky Skaggs. The impression my friend got wasn't that he was just filling time, but he NEEDED the money when not on the road.
     
  16. dkmw

    dkmw Friend of Leo's

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    This is why I call Chuck Leavell the luckiest man in Georgia. His touring with the Stones has afforded him a nice lifestyle. And he deserves every penny.
     
  17. jhundt

    jhundt Doctor of Teleocity

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    there is a documentary about the life and career of Mick Ronson - Bowie's right-hand man and star guitar player. He was paid almost absolutely nothing during the whole time he was with Bowie. Just a small weekly allowance... no credits, no points; no fees for arranging and producing. Nothing.
     
  18. David Barnett

    David Barnett Doctor of Teleocity

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    One year at SXSW a drummer friend of mine ran into Charlie Sexton in the lobby and chatted him up for a few minutes. He asked Charlie "So what's Dylan really like?" and the response was "If I ever meet him I'll be sure to let you know."



    (Sexton was in Dylan's touring band at the time)
     
  19. fendrguitplayr

    fendrguitplayr Poster Extraordinaire

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    I knew a guy who toured for years with Donna Summer and loved it. About $400 a week salary, hotels, meals
    all included. He hated the Asian shows though and didn't like the sushi at all. He got to write off expenses as
    that was his only gig but also got a 1099 each year.
     
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  20. jhundt

    jhundt Doctor of Teleocity

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    indeed, he does deserve it. He came up through the ranks a a working touring musician, too. And now - for several years - he has not only played with the Stones, but he is the musical director - a role which no one previously ever really took on. They rely on him, and he does the job and does it well.
     
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