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OT: Moral of story: help your bandmates schlep their gear


timwat

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The real moral of the story is that it's dangerous to be a bass player. :-)

 

In one of my recent bands, it took eons for me to get anyone to help me load the gear. I kept emphasizing that it could affect getting future gigs, as the club manager had to stay later than otherwise due to how many trips it took for me to load all the sound reinforcement gear that THE ENTIRE BAND HAD USED. They had to hear it from the horse's mouth before they believed me and started pitching in though.

Eugenio Upright, 60th Anniversary P-Bass, USA Geddy Lee J-Bass, Yamaha BBP35, D'angelico SS Bari, EXL1,

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The real moral of the story is that it's dangerous to be a bass player. :-)

 

In one of my recent bands, it took eons for me to get anyone to help me load the gear. I kept emphasizing that it could affect getting future gigs, as the club manager had to stay later than otherwise due to how many trips it took for me to load all the sound reinforcement gear that THE ENTIRE BAND HAD USED. They had to hear it from the horse's mouth before they believed me and started pitching in though.

 

You must have the patience of a saint! If my bandmates sat and watched me schlepp PA without pitching in there would never have been a second gig.

The SpaceNorman :freak:
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I'm the paymaster; learned long ago not to pay anyone until everything is loaded-up. I state that up front so everyone gets the point. I get lots of help at the end of the night. Once the habit is in place, everyone seems to help at load in as well. There is the occasional player who won't help; they don't last long.
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That's a tragic story.

 

Most of the time, band members would take care of loading in-out their own equipment in groups that I was in back in the old days. The drummer and the member that owned the PA got no help most of the time and they got upset. There were arguments but no fist fights.

 

The last "group" I had before I went solo was a duo with a guitar player that owned a guitar, a mic and a mic stand. He had no amp for his own instrument, so he plugged into mine. It was also our PA too. He did not want to help loading in my Electric Grand or the PA equipment. He found excuses for not showing up for load in. My 6'5" ex-marine cousin was our roadie and the two of us got stuck with the work. It got old. :poke:

 

My "partner" expected an even split in the gig money and considering the above situation, it got WAY old. :taz:

 

One night I gave him an ultimatum when he refused to drive over to my house for load-in, so I told him to come over and pick up the little gear he did have, he was fired. :idea::mad:

 

I went solo after that and never joined a band again, I kept ALL the money. :D

 

 

 

Mike T.

Yamaha Motif ES8, Alesis Ion, Prophet 5 Rev 3.2, 1979 Rhodes Mark 1 Suitcase 73 Piano, Arp Odyssey Md III, Roland R-70 Drum Machine, Digitech Vocalist Live Pro. Roland Boss Chorus Ensemble CE-1.

 

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I'm the paymaster; learned long ago not to pay anyone until everything is loaded-up. I state that up front so everyone gets the point. I get lots of help at the end of the night. Once the habit is in place, everyone seems to help at load in as well. There is the occasional player who won't help; they don't last long.

 

I use this approach as well - fortunately, with the folks I work with - it just sorta works out that way. My bandmates are all good about pitching in during load-ins and load-outs. Help during load-ins is affected by lots of factors (time of load-in, day gig work schedules, venue location, etc.) - so it's common to see a subset of the band handle load-in and setup. Everybody is IN on loadout.

 

Although I provide PA and lights (which I also store) - I don't look to band mates to help with the load/unloading at my place. I've got a pair of sons who know that if they plan on having dinner - they had better pitch in when the van is getting loaded/unloaded.

The SpaceNorman :freak:
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Most of the time, band members would take care of loading in-out their own equipment in groups that I was in back in the old days.

 

That's normal for most bands I've been in over the years. I did get in trouble with a bandleader once though. We played a free gig just a few blocks from where he lived. When we finished playing, I helped load their van (drums), but was tired and left shortly after that. Unfortunately, I got some flack from the leader a couple days later when he complained I didn't ride back with them and unload. If he had asked me to do so, I would have... despite the fact he'd been a bit grouchy all afternoon.

 

Over time, most of us grew tired of the leader's anger problems and the band dissolved.

 

 

:rolleyes:

When an eel hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's a Moray.
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Hi, I am a first time poster, so please be gentle with me. My current band is having that same problem. Our guitar player doesn't help load in or out. It will be a topic of discussion at our next practice. Years ago in another band, the Bass player wanted to walk in and play after everything was set up and leave without helping tear down and load out. His plan was to give the rest of us five dollars each for covering his share of the work. I explained to him that we actually play for free. We get paid for all of the other work. If he wanted to just show up and play, we get all of his money.
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Welcome to the forum. One of the most sensible first posts ever on the forum. Gitardists are a dime a dozen (not dispariging a guitarist that does their share of the work to get their pay).

 

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I've come to the conclusion that the logistics associated with load-ins, load-outs and setup is something that usually needs to be discussed with everybody involved. It seems like it's always a source of frustration and conflict - and as such really needs to be addressed in a forthright manner. The more gear invovled and/or more vehicles involved in the transport only make the conversation more critical. Avoiding the conversation in the hopes that things will work themselves out only prolong the pain.

 

Get everybody on the same page early and much of the frustration can be avoided. In my projects - the discussions usually cover who gets the first crack the "closet to the entrance" parking spot (which avoids the issue of having the guy who's transporting personal gear landing in the closet spot while the guy with the PA and lights is stuck halfway across the lot), where gear gets placed when it's first brought into the venue (EVERYTHING gets put on the dancefloor - nothing goes directly on stage during load-in!!!). Then there's the discussion about how the stage gets puts together (what gear gets placed first, who gets first access when working on tiny stages, etc.)

 

Lastly, there's the discussion about load-out. In my projects - gear gets packed, removed from stage and placed back on dance floor. Once it's ALL packed - we start up the "rat line" to schlepp it out to the vehicles. EVERYBODY helps with the schlepp.

 

Play a gig or two, see what issues start to emerge - then hammer out the group's approach - and then hold one another accountable for sticking to the plan. It may seem like overkill - but it beats the shit out of letting frustrations and animosity grow with every gig. More often than not - those band members who seem to be the "stick in the gears" simply don't realize that they are THAT guy.

The SpaceNorman :freak:
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Where do you see responsibility for schlepping PA and lights falling?

Not much of an issue at this point -- most places we play (they're all small, BTW) have PAs and lighting. Our guitarist carries a few extra lights, and a small mixer & 2 powered speakers for extra monitoring, and he usually gets all that stuff (since it's his, anyway). The other two singers have their own mics and stands, and they get them on their own.

 

Again, no one is expected to help, but usually the couple of guys who are done first ask if they can assist the stragglers. It's a lack of a system, but a good lack of a system ... so far. :)

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Not much of an issue at this point -- most places we play (they're all small, BTW) have PAs and lighting. Our guitarist carries a few extra lights, and a small mixer & 2 powered speakers for extra monitoring, and he usually gets all that stuff (since it's his, anyway). The other two singers have their own mics and stands, and they get them on their own.

 

Our seemingly different views strike me as the product of the different types of gigs we play. In my case - my two prime projects are 6 piece acts - which tend to play special events (200-300 person private events in large banquet facilities, beer tents and the occasional bar gig (typical room capacity in the 200-250 (..ish) range. PA is always self provided - and includes subs, mains, 4 monitor wedges, an amp rack and a front of house rack and all the necessary cabling. We also provide lights. I provide the PA and lights - in addition to a sizeable keyboard rig (CP300, RD700SX, small slant rack with Motif ES Rack Unit, small mixer, MIDI interface, etc) - along with a power amp and a pair of floor wedges for stage monitoring). I don't expecthelp with my keyboard rig - however I would demand help with the PA and lights (if my bandmates weren't already there providing it without prompting.

The SpaceNorman :freak:
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Yup, totally different situations, but someone should be helping with any gear that's for the common good, at the very least. However, if it works for you then fine.

 

Like Jason, I tend to have more gear than is necessary, and I don't expect help with it; I do appreciate help when I get it which is usually the case. For the shared gear (e.g., PA), help is expected and I typically get it. Even with help I always am the first one there & the last to leave.

 

Years ago I gigged with CP70 electric grand, Rhodes, 1 or 2 polysynths, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, small git amp, mixer, monitors, power amp, and FX box. That was just for me, but I also often owned a good chunk of the PA gear. It was necessary for everyone to help me with my rig in order for a Saturday gig to start before Tuesday. I was lucky to have bandmates who always chipped in.

 

I've decided that in my next life, I'll play blues harp. A small box of harps, a disintegrating little old amp, a biscuit mic, and I'll be good to go!

 

I'll try to remember not to calm down the feisty bass player, though.

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As a KB player, there were always arguments or band mates trying to weasel out of helping with equipment. I use to carry a Hammond Console, two leslies, a Rhodes, and a Mini Moog, and when I joined a band that needed a KB play with the rig I had, the first thing I brought up after they determined that I could play was......obviously I can't move all this stuff myself. I will bring it, but you guys have to help move it or I'm gone. The drummer also asked for help and got it. Moving that Hammond and leslie cabinets after the bars we played closed at 2 am got old, but at least these guys kept their word and moved my rig.

 

There were other bands that weren't so willing to help and I usually ended up quitting for one reason or the other. When I finally went solo I just hired a couple of roadies and paid them. I treated them well, made sure they didn't pay for anything when I was playing an out of town gig and they had to hang out all night.

 

These days, not only I can't find roadies anywhere, there's no more groupies anymore. :cry:

 

Cheers,

 

 

Mike T.

Yamaha Motif ES8, Alesis Ion, Prophet 5 Rev 3.2, 1979 Rhodes Mark 1 Suitcase 73 Piano, Arp Odyssey Md III, Roland R-70 Drum Machine, Digitech Vocalist Live Pro. Roland Boss Chorus Ensemble CE-1.

 

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