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Gigging in a Bear Market

I know, I know...the grass is always greener on the other side of the tracks right?

Any value to starting a discussion amongst the working musicians here as to the change (or lack of change) in the club scene with regard to getting and retaining good paying gigs? As a semi gigging musician (1-2 gigs per month) in the Southwestern USA I can tell you that club gigs are sparse and fought over like scraps by a good portion of bands here in Phoenix. We are an AC/DC tribute band and have been doing relatively well with larger venues and halls. The events are not as plentiful as they once were with many good festivals and charity events going belly up. We've established deep roots with several club owners both in and out of town that help keep us gigging at least quarterly at their clubs but I'm hearing horror stories about new bars and "new ownership" bars paying less and less...offering no PA or lights many times and still paying scraps to those willing to transport thousands of pounds of PA equipment and the manpower to run a show where that never used to be the case. It's a little disheartening to people like me.

Anyone have any status reports about their market and has anyone seen any signs of things turning a corner or "gulp" getting worse?
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Re: Gigging in a Bear Market

7/13/2009 3:30 PM

Kevin Sage (3299) wrote:

I forgot to add a few questions....For those of you in the thick of the "fight" for lack of a better word...what are you and your bandmates doing to set yourselves apart from the local and regional competition? Do you find yourselves having to market yourselves differently? Better website? Promo Pack overhaul? Better quality demos? Higher end photos? What is it that gets you noticed?



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Re: Gigging in a Bear Market

7/13/2009 5:07 PM

Randy Hano (12149) wrote:

All of the above brother!!! Look for my Journey tribute project - Arrival - to start gigging soon.

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Re: Gigging in a Bear Market

7/13/2009 5:05 PM

Randy Hano (12149) wrote:

What's up brother Kev? As you probably know I left Bad Animals at the end of 2008. Anyway its tough here in LA as well. You can break the market down into original, cover and tribute cover.

For originals, you gotta play in Hollywierd (wood). Some of the clubs are pay to play and some are freebees until you get a following. As for the freebees, it usually a percentage of either bar or the door.

Most clubs or bars for covers, originals and tributes its percentage. There are a few places that will give you say $5 a person with $8-10 entry fee so you fans need to mention your name to get credit. Most charities are freebees where you will get a meal and publicity. Great for promotion and charities are always cool.

As for festivals, lots of bands want those slots. Demo, video, songlist, band website and anything you can offer can help you get the gig. Money will vary as with your time slot and popularity. BA is making more this summer then last and have a later time slot.

I remember when Maria and I were playing a Huntington Beach club and we didn't to worry because a soundman came with the gig. The last I played in Dec 2008, I was the one setting up the sound. Fortunately they have a PA.

In Hollywood, last I remember there was a club or two that provided a backline (cabinets, drums and PA). You provide the amps, guitars, cymbals. The place to go is still the casino's but from what I heard, they don't pay as well as they did before.



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Re: Gigging in a Bear Market

7/13/2009 5:47 PM

Kevin Sage (3299) wrote:

Hey Brother Randy! Thanks for taking the time to read and respond. I knew you would have some good insight as you have been neck deep in the industry for a good long while. I remember you telling me about leaving BA and I read about your Journey project on your member page. That sounds like it has the makings of a very successful project. The thing I've learned about doing a tribute project is it HAS to be the right band. Doing a tribute to a band like Iron Maiden or Rush caters to a very distinct audience but Journey was (and is) a more mainstream and highly marketable product....in other words, chicks dig it and I don't have to tell you what sells or brings people into clubs. =) As soon as I started the AC/DC thing our crowds increased in size almost instantly. At first I was almost p---ed having spent SO much time with the Iron Maiden Tribute Powerslave...investing countless hours learning solo after solo note for note...every trill, every bend, every nuance...only to be met mostly by the folded arm musicians club every show. Then I figured it out....there were more women into AC/DC than Iron Maiden. The product was there. My left arm didn't move more than 3 inches on the neck for almost an entire 2 hour set but I was getting paid exponentially larger sums of money. Fair? No. But life isn't fair.

After playing a few places in SoCal such as Tap Daddy's in Hemet and Paladino's in the valley and working with Jimmy D on a few occassions I can't figure out how anybody makes money in the California market. You shed some light on the "way of the world" out there and man that is hard. We have had our greatest success in the private sector using word of mouth and with sites like Gigmasters, etc. We just got back from a private gig in New Mexico on Thursday which payed us $3500 plus expenses. Normally we make between $500 and $1500 here in town at bars and venues with a 2 hour show ($1500 means lugging our own PA and running sound ourselves). I'm about ready to start an acoustic duo or trio just to make ends meet due to the lack of gigs.

we haven't quite been able to break into the casino market yet but are working on polishing up our promo pack, spent a good chunk of change on a DVD and Packaging...time will tell.



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Re: Gigging in a Bear Market

7/13/2009 9:23 PM

Chris Bond II (2841) wrote:

I live in Detroit, and trust me there is no shortage of guys (and gals) that can play.

I work steady, but we're human jukeboxes. Simple as that. People just want to drink, have a little fun, maybe dance a song or two.

These days, being just a number too loud, will get you never asked back.

I have found being as close to the walpaper as you can will keep you getting paid.

No one gives a s--- how good you are musically. If you can play Brown Eyed Girl and boot scootin' Boogie, you'll get paid.

If you have artistic integrity and refuse to go there, plan on some bench time. :(





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Re: Gigging in a Bear Market

7/14/2009 11:11 AM

Randy Hano (12149) wrote:

CB's got it!

Band - And by audience request, oh by the way we have a tip/request jar.

Club visitor - Can you play either Brown eyed girl, Boot Scootin' Boogie, Margaritaville....

Band - ugh.......








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Re: Gigging in a Bear Market

7/20/2009 10:31 AM

Ken Richardson (9051) wrote:

I heard a band at a summer festival a couple weeks back - they did a few of these tunes that got mentioned on here... Boot Scootin, Mustang Sally and Brown Eyed Girl too!







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Top 40 song staples ( was/Gigging in a Bear Market)

7/20/2009 12:15 PM

Randy Hano (12149) wrote:

And I bet the crowd was going wild!

Here is a list of the staples that I have continuously played in pick up gigs, top 40 bands, etc.

Achy Breaky Heart
Boot Scottin Boogie
Brown Eyed Girl
Mustang Sally
Margaritaville
La Bamba
Twist and Shout
Shout
I saw her standing there
Mony Mony
Sweet Home Alabama
Brown Sugar
Brick House
Play that Funky Music
Honky Tonk Woman
Rock and Roll (Led Zep)
Rock and Roll All Night (Kiss)
You shock me all night long
Pride and Joy
Strat Cat Strut
Tush


If you have a female singer
Hit me with your best shot
Barracuda









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Re: Top 40 song staples ( was/Gigging in a Bear Market)

7/20/2009 1:00 PM

Ken Richardson (9051) wrote:

I think they also did Achy Breaky - they did a couple originals in the southern rock vein too







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Top 40 song staples

7/21/2009 2:00 PM

Randy Hano (12149) wrote:

It's funny Ken as I bet that they also played some Eagles tunes such as "Take it Easy, Already Gone, and maybe Hotel California". If they also played Lynryd Skynyrd - Gimme Three Steps, Sweet Home (as mentioned earlier), and maybe (outside chance) Freebird.







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Re: Top 40 song staples

7/22/2009 8:43 AM

Ken Richardson (9051) wrote:

Seems like they did do "Gimme 3 Steps"







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Re: Top 40 song staples

7/22/2009 10:32 AM

Randy Hano (12149) wrote:

It is very interesting how the common songs are played in the US. I don't know about you but I am in Los Angeles, CA. Some of my reps for the company I work for are in NY and Canada. The same songs are part of their reportoire.







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Re: Top 40 song staples

7/22/2009 12:13 PM

Ken Richardson (9051) wrote:

The festival I attended was in Virginia - a rural part too - about 1/2 way between Roanoke and Bristol VA/TN.






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Re: Gigging in a Bear Market

7/14/2009 7:10 PM

Kevin Sage (3299) wrote:

Amen to that. You hit the nail on the head. Lack of Artistic Integrity for the most part is what keeps me going. For the original ideas I record at home and inject all the Artistic Integrity I can muster but I'll play Mustang Sally all night long if it pays the rent. =) That is one of the golden rules of Cover Band 101, play what the people want to hear.





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Re: Gigging in a Bear Market

7/21/2009 2:23 AM

Geoffrey Barnes (314) wrote:

Seeing a lot of places (clubs,restaurants and what
not) going over to 'open mic' nights and no longer
paying any of the real talent that have brought in
patrons in the past. Sad. And they wonder why they
are losing customers expotentially (i.e- Musicians
bring or invite friends, who in turn invite more
friends etc etc)

Geoff :-)





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Re: Gigging in a Bear Market

7/21/2009 2:25 AM

Geoffrey Barnes (314) wrote:

Whoops-that should not have posted here.



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Re: Gigging in a Bear Market

7/14/2009 10:46 AM

Randy Hano (12149) wrote:

No problem Bro! Just responding to what will be a great thread and others too are starting to respond. You are absolutely correct about doing bands such as Iron Maiden and Rush. The Rush finatics were interested in seeing if you could pull off all the parts or how you played that part. With the Heart tribute, is was similar. People love their music but they all wanted to see if the girls could duplicate the Wilson sisters. I have always told Maria that I am replaceable and that her voice is the band. She gotten so good at it. Did you hear hear sing yet, the Heart stuff that is? Are you on facebook? I put a short performance of "How Can I Refuse" on my facebook account. Both Maria and Hope are tagged on that video and it is just about two minutes long.

The public loves AC/DC and it seems that if you can find a tribute band that appeals to the masses, you will be successful. Locally there is a band called Aeromyth that seems to be doing well. That band has one member who is also part of Pyromania so he has go two eggs in two good baskets. If we look at our audience as the general public, the proper selection of tribute band to emulate I believe is the difference. I know that a following helps but we are always trying to draw new fans. I remember going "Which One is Pink? (Pink Floyd)" and they had it down. Great show and a big turn out. Meanwhile the Van Halen and Ozzy shows were smaller venues and not a large turnout. It's like even "Masters of Reality (Sabbath)", they have trouble sometimes. After all there are many more fans of AC/DC then Sabbath.

The guys in the Journey project are good musicians and our new singer is a great frontman. We shall see how this project unfolds as there are alot of people who just enjoy the music of Journey. Currently we are putting the promo pack and all the good stuff together so that we can get out there.

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