A few observations about some conflicts between musicians and club owners which should not exist. We all know there are a lot of free (pay-to-play) and low paying gigs out there, but it has nothing to do with whether the economy is good or bad.
The problem is that too many venue owners expect the band to promote their venue and also bring the crowd. Based on my past gigging experience, I think this situation started in the late 90's for original bands, and around 2000 for cover acts.
Many clubs and restaurants are struggling to make it, just like most everyone else. But they don't hire a lousy chef who then cooks lousy food which therefore scares away customers, so why is it ok to hire a lousy band? Plus, the chef is not required to bring a crowd to the venue, even though musicians seem to be required to do so.
And yet they are both technically employees of the venue. So is the soundman, bartenders, waitresses, etc. Why aren't they all required to bring in customers just like the band? The club owner is trying to attract loyal customers that will turn into repeat business. That's why he hires a quality chef, waitresses and bartender. The bands he hires should therefore be of the same good quality for the same reason.
Live music is actually just another product for the venue to offer, no different than good food and drink. Should they leave something as important as this up to the band? Club owners need a shot of reality - it is THEIR reputation on the line, not the band's. Remember, the band can just move to another place. If the owner complains that the band didn't bring enough people, his usual reaction is to get another band with a larger following. But the club owner may not understand that the new crowd he sees is following the band, not his venue, so the next night he does the same thing. Result? He is not building REPEAT customers. If he hires bad bands just because they have a decent following, any person that might be a potential repeat customer is now turned off to the venue. So the owner is not building a fan base for his club using this method.
Since venue owners and managers fancy themselves as good businessmen, bands need to relate to them as businessmen and not as available talent willing to do anything to perform. Decades ago, most owners were older than the musicians playing in their club. These days, many band members are older and wiser than the club management, so it should make reasoning with them easier, not harder!
Musicians must make it clear that it is impossible to expect that their friends and family are going to come in every night. Does the chef's family and friends eat there every night? Do the bartender's own family and friends come in and drink every night? The bottom line is that musicians must communicate more with venue operators so they both can see how everyone will wind up on the same page with the same goals. Agree?
What does age have to do with live gigs? Age shouldn't have anything to do with musical playing ability, image, or friendship, should it? Maybe not, but playing in a band is usually no different than any other tight knit group of people involved in the same activity.
Way back in 1975, Robert Hilburn, the major music critic for the LA Times was writing a story entitled "Rockers Turning 30". Up until then, just about everyone in a rock band, famous or not, was still under 30, so he wanted opinions about when "the end" would come for these players. Reader feedback (letters to the editor) told him they foresaw "no end" and I believe time has proven his readers correct!
When a band of players all in their 40's seek a new member, chances are they will pick someone close to their age. Do they think a guy who is just 25 can't play as well? No, it's simply because they feel they have more in common with another 40 year old. But thankfully, there are exceptions to this.
It's refreshing to see a band feature an 18 year old singer, her dad playing bass, and the sax player is her grandfather. You see this more in Midwest groups - it seems rare on the coasts, where bands seem to be around the same age for their "image". But why can't their "image" be having members of completely different ages?
Remember the band Spirit? (I Got a Line on You). The drummer, Ed Cassidy, used our service several times. He was the guitarist's father, completely bald, when the other members, all in their 20's, had long hair. Years ago, this was very weird. Trouble is, most would still consider it weird today. But why? How cool would it be to see a group of 25 year olds fronted by a 55 year old singer, or a group of 60 year olds backing a teenage vocalist?
Would this be considered a gimmick? I don't think so, I think the public would perceive it as unique, not weird. Moral of the story: Be adventurous, be different! Age CAN work as an advantage, and in this day, bands need all the advantages they can use..........
It seems that many musicians think a lot of the current music they hear today pales in comparison to what they heard at some point before. We had an office in Hollywood from 1969 to 1995 and I spoke to thousands of musicians in person over those 26 years. Here's what I remember many of them said:
Musicians in the 70's told me that the music currently on the radio was crap, and they thought 50's tunes were better. Musicians in the 80's said the current hits sucked, and longed for 60's instead. Musicians in the 90's told me the present music was stale and that 70's music was great. And in the early 2000's people said tunes on the radio were terrible and that 80's songs were much better! Do you see a pattern here?
As people age, they clearly remember their fond memories of the "good old days" but tend to forget the bad stuff that happened. Naturally they are more prone to remember the songs they loved, as opposed to the ones they disliked, just like any other memory from their distant past.
So, is today's music worse than in previous generations? Isn't "good music" or "bad music" your opinion, not a fact, much like the old adage "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder"??
The Montreal Musicians Exchange™ will hold their 2014 FALL AUDITIONS on Saturday Sept. 20th from 4pm
You know how it is. You want to take your music with you wherever you go, but that’s not always practical. Oh sure, you’ve tried the odd mini travel guitar, but you’re so wedded to the joys of a full-size neck that the experience just wasn’t the same. The strings are too close together, the scale is all off. In short, it just didn’t do it for ya.
That’s where Yamaha’s Silent Guitar comes in. Available in nylon-string and steel-string versions, Yamaha’s Silent Guitar is designed to go anywhere you do, and to allow you to practice quietly but with great tone. It’s designed to be easily portable thanks to its partially removable sides, which keep the guitar light, allow it to occupy a smaller footprint, and keep the volume down.
- See more at: http://iheartguitarblog.com/2012/03/review-yamaha-slg110s-silent-guitar.html
"Nobody's Business" is now officially the band to beat in 2014! See you in November
About the MMX®
Founded in 2010, we are the city's first stop for gigging musicians and can boast an impressive membership of working professionals and music industry leaders.