Grim gig situation

NJDevil

Country Gent
Jul 9, 2014
1,623
Commack, NY
To the places in the NYC/tri-state area where live music was thriving, post March 2020 has been a real kick in the head. Add other social and economic stressors and I see people are stressed out. There isn't any place that I know of that is immune to the changing landscape.

Even in the gym....4 times I have been involved in an altercation..... 3 of them were bullying incidents and I could not be make peace with just minding my own business. Each time I gave "the perp" a chance to walk away and every time time ended with that wrongdoer "staying down". I do not point this out to expand on my "inner Rambo" but rather to amplify that I feel a dangerous/testy situations always seem to be in abundance and a moment away.

The hope....... I believe this heightened friction will ease into a manageable angst. Norms will be readjusted and hopefully live music will come back strong. Synchro and others noted though that the changes have been coming for a long time. However, I know that people love live music and I know the healthy market for all that we spend our $$$ on is doing quite well.

I was never one to think that a musician could make enough by gigging to earn a living. Of those that did, they joined their love of performing with business in using their talents to play weddings and social events. I grew up kind of thinking I could make a career out of my talents in golf...... I would've ended up as an assistant pro at a country club with the majority of income giving lessons so I'm glad I abandoned the pursuit as graduation day day finally hit and I was out of college. Another hobby......chef. Yes I could've and have been offered financial backing to open up my own place, BUT..... I know many in the business and it is a tough life so I am glad to keep the passion as a hobby and make friends and family happy. Music? I love it and never thought crossing the line to make a living out of it was an option.

I'm a corporate guy who never thought one had a really good chance to make a living off of a hobby or special interest. I just wanted to solidify being able to pay for my passions by earning a living outside of them.

So with all of the above stated, I know others feel the same and the angst is there. Seeing live music soothes that savage beast and hopefully, when new normals are defined and reliable, places that were once venues will be active again. I know that "pilot light" is lit around the NYC/tri-state area and hope the the oven and all burners are turned to high sooner vs. later.
 

juks

Country Gent
Gold Supporting Member
Nov 26, 2020
3,613
Fremont, California
I played a Moose Lodge, back in the late ‘70s. The people there were all WW II era, and most of them just needed a place to hang out on weekends and pickle their livers. Most of the members were veterans. They seemed to take a dim view of anyone outside their age-peer-group.

When I lived in Germany I somehow (don't even remember how) got the invitation paperwork to the Stuttgart US military base officers club. They had a free beer night every Thursday.

It was very friendly crowd and fun to chat with and nobody ever questioned why this Finnish guy was there most Thursdays 😄. But then the 1st gulf war started and lot of people got deployed and the mood understandably got bit depressed. We did play a gig for them but that was after the war started so wasn't very memorable one. I stopped going soon after as it didn't feel right anymore and then left Germany anyway.
 

Byron

Country Gent
Sep 4, 2009
1,296
uk
Thanks for your input and opinions, folks.
My point is that I don`t expect to make a living from playing music but I want to play some gigs again. And I don`t want to play them for free. Simple as that.
Yeah, I never like to hear of folks playing for free. It encourages bars to expect that too much or just to pay too little. There's a simple equation....book us to play, we bring in an audience, the bar makes enough profit to make it worthwhile to pay the band. However, if you're playing to a handful of people, the chain is broken....for whatever reason
 

MadKaw

Gretschie
Apr 17, 2020
334
Michigan, USA
There is no doubt that the music world is changing.
That sentence could have been (well, has been) written any time in the last 100,000 years.
A number of years ago I was sitting in a Steak 'n' Shake after a computer group meeting with a bunch of fellow geeks. One of them was working on a distribution platform for musicians... think Distrokid.... he made the statement that there was no real need for musicians anymore. That enough great music has been recorded that you could listen your entire life and never have to repeat a track. Now, this guy was the most musiciany guy there and it was a lively and interesting discussion.
What's the answer? I have no idea. But for those who are driven by a desire to play for others, the win will go to those who figure out how to use the brave new media.
 

gentlemanbass

Gretschie
Aug 28, 2011
361
mactier
Busking is an eye opener - when the lockdown started, we saddled up to restaurants or bars who would lend us hydro.

When that was working bought one of those modern batteries - much better than battery powered amps, and it gave us 100% freedom.

It runs a bass amp, a guitar amp and a small PA. Changed nothing.

Instead of starting at 10 pm - we start at 2 pm and play for 2 hours - sometimes 3. Never used more than 50% of a charge.

Home for dinner. $40 an hour each is about the average pay.

No boss, no bar owner. The audience is different as well. Not drunk. Families and a wide array of people. Not the familiar faces at the bar. Even police are friendly.

Now it is a problem in winter - but we basically play Late April to mid November. Weather dictates but 2-3 times a week - our choice.

The locations are important as well and to rotate them so no one spot is over saturated.

The average gig in a bar was down to $150 for 3 people (maybe $200). The time was leaving house at 8:30 return home at 3 am. Less than $10 an hour.

Busking 2 hours $90 - it is a no brainer.
'
 

Byron

Country Gent
Sep 4, 2009
1,296
uk
Busking is an eye opener - when the lockdown started, we saddled up to restaurants or bars who would lend us hydro.

When that was working bought one of those modern batteries - much better than battery powered amps, and it gave us 100% freedom.

It runs a bass amp, a guitar amp and a small PA. Changed nothing.

Instead of starting at 10 pm - we start at 2 pm and play for 2 hours - sometimes 3. Never used more than 50% of a charge.

Home for dinner. $40 an hour each is about the average pay.

No boss, no bar owner. The audience is different as well. Not drunk. Families and a wide array of people. Not the familiar faces at the bar. Even police are friendly.

Now it is a problem in winter - but we basically play Late April to mid November. Weather dictates but 2-3 times a week - our choice.

The locations are important as well and to rotate them so no one spot is over saturated.

The average gig in a bar was down to $150 for 3 people (maybe $200). The time was leaving house at 8:30 return home at 3 am. Less than $10 an hour.

Busking 2 hours $90 - it is a no brainer.
'
Brilliant mate. In a weird way, it's back to the early days of blues and rock and roll. You've got to be entertaining, got to find an audience and make it work. Playing anywhere, anytime. Just reading Hound Dog Taylor's biography, inspiring stuff
 


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