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Are you expected to attend rehearsals as a hired sub-in? #3012084 10/12/19 08:22 PM
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I was dismissed by a band leader who hired me to sub in on a large event in 2 weeks with a local classic rock cover band doing 70's-90's hit songs that are staples for most bar bands and nothing particularly exotic.

The band is a hobby band that has a good following from the families and communities around their neighborhoods in the suburbs and they are a great bunch of guys (like me) who have day jobs and families and have been at it for a while.

The material is not particularly strenuous and I was allowed to check off the 30-35 songs from their playlist that I would come in ready to do as their sub-in for the regular keyboardist. He mostly plays piano and Hammond sounds on bar band staples.

Anyway, I got a text today from their guitar player who recommended me as we play in another band and he said the band leader wants to rehearse with me with the rest of the band twice before the show because it's a big event --- asked when I was available. The answer is I'm not. I have work travel both weeks, taking my kid to a scout camp weekend trip in between. Come back from work travel on a Friday morning and the gig is on that Saturday.

Band leader not happy. Wants someone else who can rehearse. I gave them the name of a great player around who was open and actually a better player than I am. Was really mad that I wasn't open for any rehearsal dates. I'm not a paid full timer, but I had back to back M-F work travel, However, I said I was given the date almost 2 months ago and blocked it off on my calendar for the "job". I said I had held that date as promised but didn't have any other request for rehearsal dates and didn't promise multiple rehearsals as part of a one time sub in.

Usually I would expect this to be a pretty loose request --- songs i can hum in my head or sing the words to from memory, chat with the band over email about what keys they do the songs in, print out a few chord charts from Chordie in case I can't remember the intro chords to "Sweet Caroline". Add a little bit of Mustang Sally and Margaritaville and it's a fun little job to show up and play.

But... no I was replaced for not committing to 2 rehearsals in the next two weeks.

What do people expect you to do for this kind of request?


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Re: Are you expected to attend rehearsals as a hired sub-in? [Re: jeffinpghpa] #3012090 10/12/19 08:50 PM
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Re: Are you expected to attend rehearsals as a hired sub-in? [Re: jeffinpghpa] #3012092 10/12/19 09:10 PM
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Depends on the situation. In the function band, none of the rep is really uncommon but the transitions and structures of the medleys aren’t the same, and require at least one rehearsal with the band. I always met up with my subs for that band one-on-one, ran them through the sets, and an extra rehearsal with the band would have been useful. I’ve subbed into similar situations with little to no rehearsal and would have appreciated one more run with the band! In other cases, if it’s a pickup gig or a bar gig with no intricate medleys or transitions then plug and play is all you need.

I will say that the BL’s rehearsal requirements should have been made clear from jump, and frankly you should be partially compensated for having blocked off that date for 2 months only to have him can you for poorly communicated expectations.


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Re: Are you expected to attend rehearsals as a hired sub-in? [Re: jeffinpghpa] #3012093 10/12/19 09:26 PM
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Mentioned a couple of times is that this is a big event... large event. The bandleader probably feels it's best to have at least some prep, and as a guy who's led bands a few times I can understand that. Sometimes rehearsals are just assumed, and he did ask when you are free.

If it's not a fit, it's not a fit - and for just one gig I wouldn't get too worked up about it.

Re: Are you expected to attend rehearsals as a hired sub-in? [Re: jeffinpghpa] #3012097 10/12/19 10:10 PM
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Thank you!


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Re: Are you expected to attend rehearsals as a hired sub-in? [Re: jeffinpghpa] #3012098 10/12/19 10:19 PM
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The totality of the commitment should've been clear when the BL asked. Not your fault. I can understand the desire to rehearse if the event is a big deal and there are challenges in the material, but again, that's not on you.

Now, let me guess if you were going to get paid for those rehearsals... gofish


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Re: Are you expected to attend rehearsals as a hired sub-in? [Re: jeffinpghpa] #3012099 10/12/19 10:20 PM
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Originally Posted by jeffinpghpa
However, I said I was given the date almost 2 months ago and blocked it off on my calendar for the "job". I said I had held that date as promised but didn't have any other request for rehearsal dates and didn't promise multiple rehearsals as part of a one time sub in. ...
But... no I was replaced for not committing to 2 rehearsals in the next two weeks.
That's the key of it right there. If rehearsals were never mentioned when you made the original commitment, you're not responsible to be at rehearsals.
Originally Posted by David R
I will say that the BL’s rehearsal requirements should have been made clear from jump, and frankly you should be partially compensated for having blocked off that date for 2 months only to have him can you for poorly communicated expectations.
Yep.
Originally Posted by Bill H.
Sometimes rehearsals are just assumed, and he did ask when you are free.
Nope.

Re: Are you expected to attend rehearsals as a hired sub-in? [Re: jeffinpghpa] #3012103 10/12/19 11:26 PM
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If a sub gig will require a rehearsal, you should be told up front. The time commitment is part of what you need to know in advance in order to say yes or no to the gig, even apart from whether you actually have the dates available to do it even if you wanted to. My willingness to do a rehearsal for a one-off gig would also depend in part on what they're paying me for the gig,


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Re: Are you expected to attend rehearsals as a hired sub-in? [Re: jeffinpghpa] #3012108 10/13/19 12:26 AM
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The BL needs to his job properly, which includes setting expectations and proper planning. He fell short on his responsibilities. Not your fault at all.

Re: Are you expected to attend rehearsals as a hired sub-in? [Re: jeffinpghpa] #3012110 10/13/19 12:42 AM
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Yeah the more I think about it, I'm going to walk my original comment back. If it was an important job, I would have brought rehearsal up in the initial conversation. But that's also as the sub if the leader hadn't mentioned it.

Re: Are you expected to attend rehearsals as a hired sub-in? [Re: jeffinpghpa] #3012115 10/13/19 02:58 AM
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I'd say you're at fault too for not asking are there any rehearsals involved and telling them if so I don't have the time. Both sides would of been able to make informed decision right from the start.

Re: Are you expected to attend rehearsals as a hired sub-in? [Re: Docbop] #3012118 10/13/19 03:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Docbop
I'd say you're at fault too for not asking are there any rehearsals involved and telling them if so I don't have the time. Both sides would of been able to make informed decision right from the start.
No....and hell no.


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Re: Are you expected to attend rehearsals as a hired sub-in? [Re: jeffinpghpa] #3012121 10/13/19 03:57 AM
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In about 8 years of filling in with several bands, I've never done a rehearsal except 1 time, and it was requested up front for a big 3-day gig because they had just changed a couple other band members and wanted to make sure we had harmonies worked out ahead of time. That was the only time. In fact, most bands prefer to find somebody who can sub in without needing a rehearsal.


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Re: Are you expected to attend rehearsals as a hired sub-in? [Re: J. Dead] #3012134 10/13/19 07:12 AM
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Originally Posted by J. Dead
In fact, most bands prefer to find somebody who can sub in without needing a rehearsal.


Exactly! The BL doesn't get the etiquette of interacting with professional musicians. Whoever asked you to do this gig should have been very much upfront that a rehearsal would be required.


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Re: Are you expected to attend rehearsals as a hired sub-in? [Re: jeffinpghpa] #3012144 10/13/19 12:20 PM
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Total time commitment needs to be stipulated up front by the hirer. Should be in your contract. And if the band does things somewhat informally, “contract” could simply mean an exchange of emails once you’ve agreed on terms.

BL lacking in appropriate communication skill in this instance.

Re: Are you expected to attend rehearsals as a hired sub-in? [Re: Bill H.] #3012145 10/13/19 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Bill H.
If it's not a fit, it's not a fit - and for just one gig I wouldn't get too worked up about it.


This.

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Re: Are you expected to attend rehearsals as a hired sub-in? [Re: jeffinpghpa] #3012149 10/13/19 12:57 PM
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If I have the material before hand, (particularly show recordings) I will woodshed and be prepared! I tell them straight up I am a professional and I do this in about 6 different bands regularly and have filled in for well over 20 different bands over the years. If they still insist, I ask for a $50 fee for my rehearsal time with them. That usually ends the conversation! I also have a lot of respect in the area because of the name bands I have played with and the helps.


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Re: Are you expected to attend rehearsals as a hired sub-in? [Re: Bobadeath] #3012164 10/13/19 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Bobadeath
Originally Posted by J. Dead
In fact, most bands prefer to find somebody who can sub in without needing a rehearsal.


Exactly!

Yup.


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Re: Are you expected to attend rehearsals as a hired sub-in? [Re: jeffinpghpa] #3012169 10/13/19 02:59 PM
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Agreed that rehearsal should have been mentioned in an original conversation- so you could determine if the time and effort were going to be worth it.

I do a couple of fill-ins each year with great local band. An established pay rate - regardless of the show. At least one rehearsal prior to the show is understood. Sometimes more - if there’s a lot of new material and I can swing it. ( They are great musicians and terrific guys - so rehearsals are always enjoyable for me. ) There is no additional compensation - I take the rehearsals into account as part of the deal when accepting a gig.

And they provide studio recordings of any new material well in advance - which makes my life a lot easier.

Re: Are you expected to attend rehearsals as a hired sub-in? [Re: jeffinpghpa] #3012179 10/13/19 05:48 PM
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Ive been asked to do one rehearsal, never two. As often, i’ve done no rehearsals but usually with bands i’ve already subbed with .. i think?

if you’re home Friday morning, why not offer Friday night, one rehearsal? Or just let it go and don’t sweat it. Cest la vie. BL should have mentioned it but did you speak to BL? maybe it was guitar pal that forgot to mention it sooner? Or maybe just bad communication. Asking for a rehearsal if they’ve never played with you isn’t automatic but its not the most extraordinary thing i’ve Ever heard either. Sorry you lost the gig.


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Re: Are you expected to attend rehearsals as a hired sub-in? [Re: jeffinpghpa] #3012199 10/13/19 08:33 PM
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Certainly the band leader should have communicated the entirety of the commitment.

For me, I've played this game before, and every time I play the game I learn new lessons. Here's how I handle sub gigs now:

BL: Would you sub this gig?
Me: That sounds fun! I have a few questions:
How much does the gig pay?
Do you expect a rehearsal for this gig? If so, we need to lock that date in as well, I am unlikely to have flexibility when the date is near.
What are the times of: load-in, sound-check, downbeat?
Am I the only sub that day, or are you subbing multiple chairs?
(If I don't know the band): Who's on bass and drums?
Am I expected to play horn lines and what-not?

I don't give a yes until I have clear answers to all of those.

Of course, the truth is that these days I'm unlikely to take any sub gig for any reason. My current life situation has me trying to gig less, not more.

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Re: Are you expected to attend rehearsals as a hired sub-in? [Re: jeffinpghpa] #3012235 10/14/19 02:26 AM
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I had the reverse situation. I was asked to attend a rehearsal for a gig on the off chance that their regular keyboard player wouldn’t be able to make it due to being overseas and not getting back in time. The material was moderately complex and required pre-planning synth patches. The charts were often of the shorthand variety. It would have been a reasonable amount of work on my part to be ready for the rehearsal and gig. I was quite prepared to do the work on the understanding that if I did the rehearsal I would also do the gig. That guarantee was not forthcoming, nor was there any offer of pay for the rehearsal, so I declined.


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Re: Are you expected to attend rehearsals as a hired sub-in? [Re: AnotherScott] #3012244 10/14/19 04:50 AM
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Originally Posted by AnotherScott
Originally Posted by Bobadeath
Originally Posted by J. Dead
In fact, most bands prefer to find somebody who can sub in without needing a rehearsal.


Exactly!

Yup.
yeahthat


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Re: Are you expected to attend rehearsals as a hired sub-in? [Re: jeffinpghpa] #3012288 10/14/19 04:01 PM
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Personally if it's something a little out of my wheelhouse I generally will seek out a rehearsal if I am not that familiar with their material. If I have seen them a bunch of times and think I just can fill in without a problem I won't try to rehearse with them.


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Re: Are you expected to attend rehearsals as a hired sub-in? [Re: Docbop] #3012297 10/14/19 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Docbop
I'd say you're at fault too for not asking are there any rehearsals involved and telling them if so I don't have the time. Both sides would of been able to make informed decision right from the start.


Absolutely %100 with this - especially when you're a pro or semi-pro - a gig without at least one practice is unheard of - there's too many variables in assuming that what you play is what the band is playing - 'note for note' is not a prerequisite that is the norm these days.

Last edited by skypuppy123; 10/14/19 04:48 PM.
Re: Are you expected to attend rehearsals as a hired sub-in? [Re: skypuppy123] #3012302 10/14/19 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by skypuppy123
Originally Posted by Docbop
I'd say you're at fault too for not asking are there any rehearsals involved and telling them if so I don't have the time. Both sides would of been able to make informed decision right from the start.


Absolutely %100 with this - especially when you're a pro or semi-pro - a gig without at least one practice is unheard of - there's too many variables in assuming that what you play is what the band is playing - 'note for note' is not a prerequisite that is the norm these days.

I frequently fill in without rehearsals. I just ask for a likely set list in advance and make sure I’m familiar with the songs being played. If they play any of them a little different than the original version, I either ask in advance, or wing it on the fly.


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Re: Are you expected to attend rehearsals as a hired sub-in? [Re: jeffinpghpa] #3012309 10/14/19 06:01 PM
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Clear is kind.

Agreeing on appropriate expectations is the pro thing to do - from all sides (band leader, seasoned sub, etc.).

Not just set list and rehearsals, but load in, attire, meals, parking, drink policy, "nail the recording" expectations, and WHEN THE CHECK WILL CLEAR.

Reading this thread, it's clear to me that different scenes, communities and geographical areas have different "presumed" expectations. Just because I hang with folks that don't expect rehearsals doesn't 100% guarantee that every cover band context around the US also doesn't expect rehearsals - I've learned something.


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Re: Are you expected to attend rehearsals as a hired sub-in? [Re: jeffinpghpa] #3012329 10/14/19 08:06 PM
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If subbing with a band doing classic rock tunes that we (somewhat older "boomer") keys players are pretty much expected to know... I would expect to make myself available for one rehearsal, no more. Just to see how I "gell" with these players.

I've done plenty of these type of sub gigs with NO rehearsals at all, and most worked out fine. Different expectations for different bandleaders, I guess. You take the gig or you don't. If it's a one-off... nothing to get too worried about.


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Re: Are you expected to attend rehearsals as a hired sub-in? [Re: jeffinpghpa] #3012330 10/14/19 08:25 PM
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In my scene (Honolulu), many bands go up without rehearsing... and it shows. My band is one of the few weekly-gigging cover bands that regularly rehearses together, and that's why we're the highest-paid and most sought-out band in the land. New subs ALWAYS get one rehearsal, no ifs ands or buts. Our material may be common and not that complicated, but we have a lot of our own endings, and our own schtick that has developed over time, and not even the most seasoned pro is going to be able to mindread their way through that. I've seen this attitude that "rehearsing is for amateurs", offense intended: you're just wrong. If you're serious about your long-term growth in your local market, then you've gotta do better than the other guy. To make your show memorable, to make it stick in their mind and seek out out, you gotta put in the hours TOGETHER, off stage (not talking about individual practice, that's a given). We're not the best musicians on the island. We may not even practice privately as much as the next guy, but we spend a good deal of time making our team work.

Maybe the band leader should have been more upfront with you from the beginning: different cities have different expectations. But IMO, I would politely not hire you to sub if you couldn't make one rehearsal. I get that people have conflicts, and this isn't you're fault, but I would find someone who could. TWO rehearsals is pushing it, though. However, many times bands will schedule two rehearsals with the expectation that one will not happen.


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Re: Are you expected to attend rehearsals as a hired sub-in? [Re: jeffinpghpa] #3012446 10/15/19 03:06 PM
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Endless, frequent, meaningless rehearsals are the bane of my existence. It seems that a lot of bands rehearse rehearse rehearse and never actually play anywhere. The bands that gig twice a week don't need to rehearse unless they're adding new tunes.

I tell people that I will have the music learned, in their keys; that I'll show up on time, I'll be professional, and I have testimonials affirming just that from numerous well-known local bands.

I had a band that wanted to hire me to sub for a gig in 6 weeks. No problem. They rehearse for three hours every Tuesday night and wanted me there. Problem. I'm not going to drive an hour each way for free.

If it's complicated music, I'll come to a rehearsal, but for 70s/80s/90s rock? No.


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