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OT NYE Rant/ Booking "Agent"


BluesKeys

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I am still steamed about the New Years Eve gig I just did in Philly. This was at a very nice restaurant The Moshulu.

 

http://www.moshulu.com/site/main.asp

 

I had planned on a 9 pm till 1 am gig with the full band. I get a call on Saturday (before my gig Sat. night) that the restaurant wants some light jazz in the dinning room for about 30 min to 1 hour, starting about 6:30 pm. Now I am leaving for my Sat. night gig and my bags are packed for my 9am flight on Sunday. So I throw a couple of fake books in my bags just in case.

 

Side note as far as a jazz player I am still a slave to the fake books for turn arounds and such. I don't stick to the lead sheet but without the chords I would likely get lost. I would call myself a simulacrum jazz pianist.

 

So we are loading into the gig about 4pm and I get my stuff set up with the band. I then check out the Yamaha G2 grand in the dinning room which is in relatively good tune. I change cloths and it is now about 6pm. I find out at this point I am to play from 6:30pm until 9pm. Well I am perturbed to say the least. But as a musician I take it in stride and do the show. Which BTW went over very well considering I hadn't opened a fake book in several months.

 

I finish playing and I start asking about dinner. Well I am told they are working on it and will have it for us at the end of the bands first set. Now I am working here on about 3 1/2 hours sleep since I played the night before and got to bed about 3:30 am then got up at 7am to make my flight. I have had a Philly Cheese Steak sandwich for lunch which is all I have eaten in 28 hours.

 

So the band finishes the first set about 10:30. There is NO FOOD and I am getting cranky. So I get in the guitar players face. He booked this gig and is personal friends with the restaurant owner. No FOOD but they are working on it. We play the second set and I am about to fall out. The food shows up at Midnight when we finish the second set. It is cold, and is 1/2 a cornish hen, or pigeon, and mash potatoes with a few green beans. It was crap but it did sustain me for the last set.

 

After the gig we went looking for an Awful House or IHOP and where he took us nothing was open. So it was home to bed still hungry.

 

Now I was planning on taking Monday (NY Day)as a rest day and fly out on Tues. This guitar player/ agent has let us all stay at his beautiful home in Villanova and has agreed to hang out and show me around on Monday. Well he wakes me up at 10 am NYD and says I need to ride back with the band instead of staying over and flying out on Tuesday. I am packed and on the road by 11 am and still don't know what hit me.

 

To add insult to injury, I get my cut of the money and I see he has added $40 for my 2 1/2 hour gig BEFORE the gig. I am now PISSED. I find that some people just don't get it. This guy is retired VP from Glaxo Smith Kline and does the music thing for thills.

 

What would you do in this situation?

 

Sorry for the long post but I bet others have NYE horror stories.

Jimmy

 

Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others. Groucho

NEW BAND CHECK THEM OUT

www.steveowensandsummertime.com

www.jimmyweaver.com

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Jim, you already know as a gigging musician this BS can happen quite a bit.

 

People think musicians are a jukebox or CD player. Just plug them in and out comes any kind of music. :rolleyes:

 

Only fellow musicians and/or folks with a really deep appreciation for it truly understand.

 

So, once you work off the assumption that most people could either care less and/or do not understand the amount of work and effort that goes into learning tunes, buying equipment, traveling, etc., make them pay. :evil:

 

The next time that particular cats calls you up, put a hefty price tag on his head and get it UP FRONT.

 

That situation could have gotten real ugly. Thank goodness you were able to get back home safe, sound and free to do another gig. :cool:

PD

 

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return."--E. Ahbez "Nature Boy"

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Originally posted by BluesKeys:

I had planned on a 9 pm till 1 am gig with the full band. I get a call on Saturday (before my gig Sat. night) that the restaurant wants some light jazz in the dinning room for about 30 min to 1 hour, starting about 6:30 pm. Now I am leaving for my Sat. night gig and my bags are packed for my 9am flight on Sunday. So I throw a couple of fake books in my bags just in case.

 

...I find out at this point I am to play from 6:30pm until 9pm.

 

...I get my cut of the money and I see he has added $40 for my 2 1/2 hour gig BEFORE the gig. I am now PISSED. I find that some people just don't get it. This guy is retired VP from Glaxo Smith Kline and does the music thing for thills.

 

What would you do in this situation?

 

Jimmy, Sorry about the gig.

 

Since this VP from Glaxo is a semi-friend, I'm sure you felt that he was going to take care of paying you a decent wage for the solo piano work.

 

But since you didn't have it in writing and it sounds as if you didn't discuss the amount with him before you played in the restaurant, all you can do now is go back to him and tell him that you feel you weren't paid enough.

 

If I were you, I wouldn't point the finger of blame at anyone. Tell him that you were told that you were to play in the restaurant for about 30 minutes to an hour, but instead you played for two and a half hours.

 

The point is that you said you were happy to do it, so that's OK. And even though you were hungry, I think it was still OK (pretty much) that you ended up playing for 2 1/2 hours.

 

What you're NOT happy about is getting underpaid.

 

Decide on what fee would make you happy, then settle up with the VP (calmly). I'm betting that if you confront him in a logical manner and get him to agree that the time was misrepresented (you were contracted to play for up to an hour, but actually played for two and one half hours)... you can get more money.

 

How much more money is up to you. Obviously $40 is pretty insulting.

 

Good luck man.

 

Tom

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent." - Victor Hugo
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I'd just let it go. You have to treat guys like this at arms length. He's no friend. If you don't like the way the guy handles his business, when this guy calls next time, don't answer the phone. If it ever happens again when the agent springs the 45min-1hr cocktail piano on you, spring a negotiation on him and get an added fee in writing, or quit right then and there. That's the only bargaining chip you have. Otherwise he thinks you're doing him a favor, like he thinks he is doing you a favor for throwing you the gig and putting you up at his place. In that spirit, the $40.00 was probably just a tip. These guys think nothing of taking advantage. Why do you think that musicians unions started?
"Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown."
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Related story,

 

I did a wedding gig in the summer, the singer's nephew was the groom. As a wedding gift, the singer did not get paid. The rest of the band did it for our 'friends and family rate'.

 

About a week before the wedding, the singer's nephew asks the singer, 'can you sing two tunes during the ceremony too?' Singer says 'sure'. He asks me to play for him during the ceremony - outside - with my own gear, and if he can use a pa for his vocals. I ask about money - no money - part of the singer's gift.

 

So now all of a sudden this 'gift' from the singer turns me having to learn two songs, get to the gig early(The ceremony was at 3:00 and the party was at 9:00...), set up, play, tear down and move gear, and set up again.

 

I did it, and it went well. I thought about not doing it, but I did it. After the ceremony as I was packing up all this gear, the groom went to singer and thanked him profusely. Never said a word to me.

 

Peter

I'm just saying', everyone that confuses correlation with causation eventually ends up dead.
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Originally posted by Phred:

 

So now all of a sudden this 'gift' from the singer turns me having to learn two songs, get to the gig early(The ceremony was at 3:00 and the party was at 9:00...), set up, play, tear down and move gear, and set up again.

 

Peter,

 

This puts us musicians in a bad situation.

 

On the one hand, I know that none of us would have a problem stating up front that we need to be paid an additional XXX dollars for this extra work.

 

But when a friend asks you to do this and you know that they're doing it as a favor to someone else, you also know that the odds are that you'll not get paid, and probably won't get the recognition for the time and effort you put in to making it happen.

 

I don't know of a graceful way out of this scenario. Obviously, the singer isn't going to pay you. However, you need to make it known in no uncertain terms that you are doing him a big favor.

 

Favors like this can be paid back with a returned favor. Or they can be acknowledged with a case of beer, a bottle of wine, or something that communicates to you that the singer does indeed appreciate your efforts.

 

And that's all it boils down to. NONE of us want to feel that we've been used. But it's so easy for people to take advantage of musicians. They often think that we play music simply because we love it, and therefore we should want to play music anytime at their request and as a favor to them. Notice that I used the word favor again?

 

Come up with compensation that you deem fair. If you know that you'll never get paid for your efforts, certainly ask for something in return - a tank of gas... a bottle of your favorite liquor... a date with his sister. ;)

 

If in time you learn that your favors go unreciprocated, then it's best to cut ties with this person and find someone who isn't such a user. (I believe that there is a fine line between a user and a looser.)

 

Yeah. This is definitely an occupational hazard. :rolleyes:

 

Tom

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent." - Victor Hugo
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What if we just tack another $100 or so on to what we would normally charge as an incidental fee?

 

No incidents come up, maybe we return it to the payer as a favor. ;):cool:

PD

 

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return."--E. Ahbez "Nature Boy"

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Hey, I have been roped into last minute changes, playing coctail music before a wedding, hell, even playing the music for the wedding once when the paid player did not show up - we were the reception band. The problem with an extra $100.00 is that it does not discourage the favors. Dave Horne had a good suggestion in another thread on charging for the pa and additional set-up, like it is an extra job. If it's a friend you got to say no, or you got to just do it and not expect anything in return. Suggest she sing to a cd track. A real friend will understand. But if it is the right thing to do, and you end up doing the right thing for free, don't whine about not getting extra credit for doing the right thing. If it is not right, say no thanks.
"Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown."
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This whole thread makes me glad I do this for fun and not for a living (or even as a 2nd job). I expect to get paid for what I do, if only to cash flow my favorite hobby. Can't say that about playing golf, cooking or nice wine.

 

If no other consideration (money or otherwise) is forthcoming, than cut your ties to these types. There is a local guy who always has the most f#%@ed-up, pain in the a@# gigs. I just tell him I'm not available.

 

As the saying goes:

 

"Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me."

 

Sorry about your night. Bad enough getting stiffed- but to go hungry as well!

aka âmisterdregsâ

 

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I'm really sorry to hear about the NYE gig problems. I've had a few similar experiences over the years and when you get into the playing for friends and family of band members for "discount" or "as a favor," it is a slippery slope.

 

I played a rather surreal NYE gig. We had been contracted to play 4 sets of music for a pretty formal and high-brow country club party. The agent said we should plan for about 1/2-1 full jazz/dinner set and the remaining 3 sets as regular dance/party music.

 

We get to the gig and there are 2 people in charge - a "planner lady" and the club manager. They are both speaking different languages about what they think the band should do. The planner lady thinks light jazz through dinner would be perfect. Club manager dude wants us to mix it up, because he thinks people will want to dance in between courses.

 

Rarely have we had much success with "in your face" dance music during a dinner hour. However, the club manager was really insisting that we give it a shot. They were doing this long 6-course dinner. So we did a couple of quiet jazz standards and then added vocals gradually. Then we tossed in a funky dance song and believe it or not, the whole entire party got up from their tables and came to the dance floor. They did not want to stop dancing! This set the tone for the night and we had to kind of bobble back and forth between lighter music and dance music, with some carefully timed breaks so the people would actually sit back down to finish their meals.

 

The crowd loved it and the staff, while a bit perplexed, seemed pretty happy about it too. I think the dinner took a lot longer than expected, but it was fun to see something different. This was one fun party and these folks danced all night. I was pleasantly surprised, because I've played boring country club NYE parties in the past and never seen anything quite like this.

 

Regards,

Eric

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I'm sure the kitchen was having a fit as you doubtless screwed up their timing, but it sure sounds like fun! Especially since golf/country clubs usually have a bunch of folks nodding off into their desserts by 10 o'clock.

aka âmisterdregsâ

 

Nord Electro 5D 73

Yamaha P105

Kurzweil PC3LE7

Motion Sound KP200S

Schimmel 6-10LE

QSC CP-12

Westone AM Pro 30 IEMs

Rolls PM55P

 

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The last gig I did, I was supposed to do just 2-3 hours, but I ended up doing for 4 hours because I loved it, and didnt really see time passing that fast. The guy paid me an extra 40 bucks, and I was suprised because I didnt expect to get paid more. I did the extra time out of my own enjoyment, so didnt really expect more money. When i got more money though, ofcourse, i was even happier. Came home very happy.

 

But in your case, I would have been pissed as well. If the guy's stinking rich, and you played 2.5 hours out of REQUEST, then you have every right to ask for more. Infact, you could have asked him how much he would pay you for that 2.5 hr pre-gig.

Dont follow me....i'm lost too....
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If the guy's stinking rich
Let's leave class envy out of this. Just because the guy is either smart enough or fortunate enough to have money doesn't mean that he's "stinking" anything. If not for well-off clients like this, I wouldn't do much of the work that I do, and I'd venture to say that that goes for many other players reading this.

 

Yes, the guy should've paid more, but the reality is that it was really incumbent upon Jim to have made his fee clear beforehand. If the guy is really his friend, then Jim can hit 'em up for more cash. But if not, consider it a mistake that Jim will likely never make again, and consider it a life lesson.

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cnegrad is right... Just because the guy may be loaded has nothing to do with this. The fact is two things happened here. I was informed the day before that I would need to add about 30 min to 1hr of playing solo to the gig. I had the choice at that point to say no. He caught me on my way to another gig with my mind pre-occupied and I said OK. I thought I was doing him a favor.

 

I start to play the 30 min. gig and find it is now 1 1/2 hrs. Now I am on site I really don't have a way to negotiate price because customers are already there. Then after my 1 1/2 hrs I am told we need to keep going until 9pm or 1 more hour.

 

I was doing this for a band mate who I thought would look after me with adequate compensation. At this point I considered this a totally seperate gig. It should have been billed and paid that way.

 

The end result is he is appalled that would ask for compensation.

 

And I write it off as a lesson learned. When it comes to your lively hood DO NOT DO FAVORS.

 

I appreciate the words from you guys and I used some of your advice. I wrote him an email and waited a day to send it so I could re read it several times and take the emotion out of it. This is after all business. His response was NO, so my future response will mirror his when asked to cover his arse when he gets in this situation again.

 

BTW, we had rehearsal for this band tonight and because he is in Philly he doesn't come. So I asked all of the other band members and none would have played it for no extra compensation.

Jimmy

 

Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others. Groucho

NEW BAND CHECK THEM OUT

www.steveowensandsummertime.com

www.jimmyweaver.com

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Ouch.

 

Sorry Jim. :rolleyes:

 

I think I mentioned a similar story a few weeks ago. I won't describe all the details again, but it involved a situation where I was to accompany my singer/friend in a wedding ceremony as well as at the reception. There was no piano at the venue, so I was to bring my gear, which would also be used as the PA system. There were a few new songs I would have to learn for the ceremony. I'm pretty sure that additional songs would be requested for the reception. No fee was mentioned when my friend left the phone mail asking me to play the gig. All she said is that I would be her date. Therefore, I assumed that this was to be gratis.

 

I quickly nipped it in the bud by responding to the bride to be and telling her that I would not be available. I offered her the name of another pianist.

 

I imagine that my singer friend is PO'd at me for turning down the gig. However, I had a sneaky suspicion that no good would come out of it - even if I was paid.

 

Yeah. I'm truly sorry that your situation didn't work out. It really seems to clarify this man's character. I think that all he needed to do was let you know his appreciation for your efforts, along with a little more cash. At least now you know the kind of guy you're dealing with - and so do the other bandmembers.

 

I'd drop it and move forward - but file it in the back of your mind so you don't get stung again.

 

Tom

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent." - Victor Hugo
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Forty bucks for 2 1/2 hours on New Years Eve is the right number if you're playing a homeless shelter. Sorry, the fact that the guy is loaded is relevant. If somebody can't afford to pay, that's one thing. But to take advantage of Jim's good nature like that is unforgivable.

 

What would I do in that situation? Twist his arm for another two or three hundred bucks. Break it off and beat him over the head with it, if necessary. I sure wouldn't let it slide.

 

Appalled that you would ask for compensation? I wonder what he'd think of me beating it out his sorry ass.

--wmp
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Originally posted by wmp:

Appalled that you would ask for compensation? I wonder what he'd think of me beating it out his sorry ass.

Jimmy... forget what I just said.

 

I like wmp's response a whole lot better. :thu::D:P

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent." - Victor Hugo
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Wow, so if Jim would have asked for additional funds on the spot, there would have been a resounding NO? :eek:

 

How prophetic. I said that could have been an ugly situation. wmp has the right idea but not a good way to start off 2007. ;)

 

Well, at least you are starting off the New Year on a positive courtesy of your friends at KC. :)

 

A lesson learned in favors, pricing, restraint and tolerance. :cool:

PD

 

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return."--E. Ahbez "Nature Boy"

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Note: I agree that 40$ is not nearly enough for this type of gig. However, I am going to try to look at this from the booking agent's point of view.

 

Because there wasn't a conversation about this before hand, while Jim assumed he was getting paid, the booking agent likely assumed that Jim would do the gig for free. So in the guys eyes he is doing something nice for Jim by giving him a 40$ tip.

 

After he does Jim a 'favour' by giving him a tip on a free gig, Jim asks for a bigger tip.

 

Bottom line - compensation conversations need to happen up front.

I'm just saying', everyone that confuses correlation with causation eventually ends up dead.
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Thanks Guys, I got a laugh out of wmp's idea. You know life is short and to let these things get under your skin and fester is just not worth it.

 

This guy is responsible for several gigs already that were good paying. I would have done it cheap say $100 extra if I had known going in. But it was like he was ashamed to disclose the full details and that is what burned my arse.

 

He has connections that will continue to bring good paying jobs so I won't cut off my nose in spite of my face. I will just ask questions and clarify my possition on each and every job. I think he has learned something here as well. His last email said that better communication could have nipped this in the bud.

 

Yea, for him to be appalled I would ask for extra just floored me. I can live without the money if he can live with himself. It's hard for me to sleep knowing I shorted someone.

 

Just as an aside the guy is rich as shit. He picked me up from the airport in an Austin Martin.

 

http://www.astonmartin.com/thecars/v8vantageroadster

 

He owns a 1965 Rolls Royce Silver Shadow that Elizabeth Taylor once road in to a movie premier.

 

His pride and joy is a Porche Carrera GT

 

http://www.2sportscars.com/pcarreragt.shtml

 

Maybe he'll let me drive the Porche next time.

 

LESSON #1

DON'T DO FAVORS when it comes to your livelyhood.

 

I will forgive but I will not forget, you can bet on that.

Jimmy

 

Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others. Groucho

NEW BAND CHECK THEM OUT

www.steveowensandsummertime.com

www.jimmyweaver.com

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To add insult to injury, I get my cut of the money and I see he has added $40 for my 2 1/2 hour gig BEFORE the gig.
I'm afraid you'll just have to kill him. Try and make it look like an accident. It should be easy to come up with a ground fault situation on a boat. Live mic anyone?

 

By the way, I took a good friend's wife there to dinner after they had gotten divorced. That must have been 25 years ago or so. It was in the summer and was one of the hottest days of the year. Horrible. To top off the evening she managed to get stung in the foot by a bee which put her in a lot of pain. The odds were against me from the very beginning. She was beautiful though.

No guitarists were harmed during the making of this message.

 

In general, harmonic complexity is inversely proportional to the ratio between chording and non-chording instruments.

 

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I'd forgive him too. But not before getting paid.

 

This crap about not having the deal negotiated to the penny beforehand doesn't wash. Try that shit with your doctor or your lawyer and see how far you get. If the government wants more money, you owe it to them. Everybody deserves to get paid, unless they're a musician? Yeah, I hear this crap all the time and I'm not buying it. You shouldn't either.

 

If the rest of the gig paid great, on the order of $1000, I might let it slide. But I'd still let him know that it's unreasonable to expect extra work for no extra compensation.

 

It's true that life's too short to let things fester. I have fewer regrets about being assertive and getting paid than I do about letting things slide and getting screwed. In practice, I rarely have to actually kick anybody's ass. I'm sure this fellow would have paid me a fair amount after I explained things to him.

--wmp
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And another thing, Jim I'm ticked about your food fiasco too. I don't tolerate that either.

 

I did a double a while ago where food was part of the deal on both gigs. The first one was a big money wedding for a cabinet under secretary's daughter. We had to set up by 10 am and get lost for a few hours. I didn't eat, because food was included. The band didn't get fed until after third set and it sure wasn't the same chow the guests got. Cold, sitting around all day, indescribable crap. Hungry as I was, I wasn't that hungry. Time to go.

 

The father of the bride wanted to party on and have the band play an extra set for $1000. Sorry, I had a date with dinner at the next gig. He was angry with me, the band was angry with me. He couldn't come up with enough money to keep me from the large prime rib. Financially, it was pretty stupid to walk. But I was ticked at the lack of respect and I was damn hungry.

 

If he fed the band like humans, I would have skipped dinner and played another set.

--wmp
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Originally posted by cnegrad:

Wow; evidentially things work differently in Boston.

How so? The all too rare big money gig? Or prime rib as part of the deal for a bar / restaurant gig? Yeah, that was a fine place to play and a good band too. Sadly, they closed a few years ago. The best I do for regular gig chow now is Chinese buffet, pizza, and a pub menu at a third place. I consider food a bonus, but beer and soda are non negotiable.
--wmp
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