Pay for a top star touring musician?

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

  1. 985plowboy

    985plowboy Friend of Leo's

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    I also really enjoyed watching that doc flick.
    Very much so eye opening.
    Seems to me those folks have to make their own luck.
     
  2. Gene O.

    Gene O. Tele-Holic

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    That's right. Getting the right touring gig can be quite rewarding.

    A local drummer/vocalist moved out to LA some 25 years ago and landed a gig as Elton John's percussionist/vocalist and has been touring with him ever since. I don't know how much he earns, but he and his wife own 3 homes - one in LA, one in Atlanta (the band's home base) and one here in Ohio. I have no idea what one would have to make to maintain 3 homes, but it's got to be a fairly substantial amount.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2019
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  3. StrangerNY

    StrangerNY Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    Still is! I think I'll be seeing them on Friday in NYC. Charlie is a very funny dude.

    - D
     
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  4. StrangerNY

    StrangerNY Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    I'd heard that a long time ago. That's a damn shame. He did so much work for Bowie.

    - D
     
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  5. David Barnett

    David Barnett Doctor of Teleocity

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    He's not just a side man though, he's the Music Director isn't he?


    How well did they do by Bobby Keys?
     
  6. Sax-son

    Sax-son Tele-Meister

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    My dad was a first call studio musician in the late 1940's through the 1960's into the early 1970's. His bread and butter was session work. That was the only way he could support a family. He was called a few times to tour with some big name celebrities, but usually declined because it would be a cut in pay for him. He was better off playing gigs with his own little combo somewhere than to travel touring behind some big name.

    He told his kids that we would be wise to stay completely away from the music business. You would be better off working for the government or similar in the long run. The music was always changing and you could never completely depend on it year to year. Interestingly enough, he was always busy until the last day he retired from professionally playing for a living. Go figure!
     
  7. Durtdog

    Durtdog Poster Extraordinaire

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    From what I've heard from some friends in Atlanta, Elton is a very gracious and generous person.
     
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  8. Telecastoff1

    Telecastoff1 Tele-Holic

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    Back in '89 a relative of mine was a solid musician for a very big Country act. He invited me to a late night Opry show, where I could watch from backstage. At the end of the show, he received his paycheck for that show. It was Union scale @ $27.50! I couldn't believe it. We were making a $100 each per night back home in the bars. As he said to me at the time, "Welcome to the Big-Time".
     
  9. dkmw

    dkmw Friend of Leo's

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    Yep he’s music director too (it would be fun to give titles to the other Stones. Keef has claimed minister of marijuana and central nervous system depressants:):eek:)

    I’ve never heard of Keys complaining, but I haven’t looked into it. May he RIP.
     
  10. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Poster Extraordinaire

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    Not to contradict your friend's tale, but I've heard Dylan doesn't like his band members talking about ANYTHING related to "Dylan". Charlie knows full well that if he said anything, it COULD be the end of what might be a sweet deal. Charlie's momma didn't raise no fool. ;)
     
  11. Octorfunk

    Octorfunk Tele-Meister

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    Sounds like most people do it for the experience of touring and the stage as opposed to the money. I guess if I was younger and didn't have a family dependent upon me then a small living wage and the opportunity to play guitar for a living might be pretty appealing for a while.
     
  12. Jsil13

    Jsil13 Tele-Holic

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    I recently quit a band that I had been in for several years that was doing national tours. Certainly not a big name, but we played shows with lots of big name bands. I was making $200 per show for regular gigs, and $400 per gig for the bigger stuff, plus a $50 per diem. Not the best but it was enough to be my only job for 4 years.

    Touring was always a dream and in some ways it really is great. I've been to nearly every state, seen tons of cool cities, eaten a bunch of great food, and for me the traveling was great. But you need to make sure you really get along with your bandmates. I'm sure it's better for bigger bands, but we'd often share one hotel room for 5 dudes. Then there's the 6am flights, time changes, being exhausted and far from home. Honestly I still love it, and it was the only thing that kept me from quitting this band awhile ago. At least I'm still getting royalties, but they take awhile to add up.
     
  13. Donnie L

    Donnie L TDPRI Member

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    Interesting ... but NOBODY who is really in the business talks about it - aka "how much is so and so paying you" it's why we have agents not only in music but tons of types of business... I would hope , travel and meals would be provided for a "hired gun" ... how could anyone afford it otherwise, unless you make some un wise choices or maybe you have build some experience and resume ... ? I don't know, but the idea of paying to play , or for a opportunity is downright stupid and wrong for any person or business to desire such ... yes, it's for "exposure" ... man, I just cringe when I hear that crap

    Here is the 1st lesson of being a "hired gun" - NEVER EVER, ASK OR TELL ANYONE ELSE WHAT YOU ARE BEING PAID ! That stays with your agent and you, or the bandleader, NOBODY else should ask nor should you say .... if you do violate this "unwritten rule" Usually, your agent will call you to tell you are off the job, and you may be out of a agent as well - a pro band could have 6 extra personnel and they won't know what each other are making ... yep

    There is no specific scale for this kind of work ... it's truly the art of negotiation unless maybe your opportunity is state run government stuff... NDR , etc.
     
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  14. Geoff738

    Geoff738 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Question. On a day off with no gig, is your per diem all you’d make for that day?

    Cheers,
    Geoff
     
  15. Jsil13

    Jsil13 Tele-Holic

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    Unfortunately yes. I got smart after awhile and ate hotel breakfast for free, bought lunch, and then whatever food I got for dinner from the venues. Off days we'd do the touristy stuff or I'd just hang at the hotel. This was all without management, so the singer (who's band it was) took care of all this stuff. Another reason I'm not in the band. He's still paying me for a tour we did 3 years ago. Haha.
     
  16. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Charlie is a great player, nice guy, and the consumate pro!
    I’m sure all long term “sidemen to the stars” are required to sign non-disclosure agreements.
    I’m sure they are paid very well, at least in comparison to (us) trench warriors.
     
  17. aging_rocker

    aging_rocker Tele-Meister

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    I knew a couple of guys who were 'pro's' in the late 70's, touring and in one case also recording with some pretty well known (but still B-league) acts in the UK at the time.

    I was making more many than either of them from my day job. But they were having much more fun...:cool:
     
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  18. bettyseldest

    bettyseldest Friend of Leo's

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    My best friend just retired as Head of Woodwind at a major public (i.e. private) school. He has covered for principle clarinet or saxophonoists in a number of UK orchestras, and turned down permanent positions with them. As a teacher his income was similar to mine (middle manager in a large utility company). His other work in a chamber music quartet, adjudicating music festivals, writing teaching books etc. made him enough to pay for a holiday each year.

    Another friend currently fronts the latest incarnation of a 70's band, extensively touring Europe and Australia. He also plays around forty gigs a year around Europe with a couple of other frontmen, appears on the annual Rock Meets Classics tour, promotes a three day festival, writes music for TV and video, performs solo in Germany, Holland & the UK, manages a couple of bands. He works hard, and from what I can see has a similar income.

    Both are very talented, and have worked much harder than I ever did. I'm sure that many with just as much talent, but without their drive and dedication have failed to make a comfortable living.
     
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  19. TheGoodTexan

    TheGoodTexan Moderator Staff Member Ad Free Member

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    A good friend of mine plays guitar for a very well known country artist... this artist is an Opry member from way back.

    He got his bus drivers license so that he could relieve the tour bus drivers when they were tired, and make a little extra money.
     
  20. Mike Eskimo

    Mike Eskimo Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    A customer of mine has been Ringo’s All Star Band front of the house sound guy for over 20 years.

    Of course the stars like Lukather, Rundgren, Colin Hay, etc get paid extremely well, but he says the crew is also compensated over the industry standard (whatever that is) .

    Also, the crew stays wherever Ringo stays . If there’s a Four Seasons or Ritz or super-luxe boutique hotel, that’s where everybody stays because Ringo doesn’t slum it.

    He also says if they’re playing near one of the stars houses , they always have parties and hang out there. I guess Rundgren’s place in Hawaii is insane and he was also pretty impressed with the Mr Mister guy’s Malibu pad.
     
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