At first our $100 “comeback” fee was fine. We were happy to play for the “veteran minimum.” Then clubs started booking us with financially severe deals that were unheard of in the ’80s unless you found yourself playing in some shithole North Jersey club on a Tuesday night. In this new rockonomy we’d get gigs where we’d split a percentage of the door after the club took out money to pay the soundman, the lighting guy, the doorman, the barback, and the local junkies. What happened to businesses paying their employees from their gross income? In the old days alcohol sales paid these people, or their take was factored in. No one showed me a computer printout detailing all the pennies that would go to certainly hard-working people in the club, but not the bands who left work early, hauled gear into the club at 6:oo pm only to wait for the hard-working soundman to show at 7:30 and give you just enough time to do a “line check.”
Shoot, I guess it’s nice that clubs are transparent in showing us why we get paid $8 for an honest night’s rock ‘n roll, but there are some things I’d rather not know. Just screw me, already. And please note that I’m well aware we practically earned out $8 based the few asses we brought into the club that night, but still… While I’m thankful for the free tonic waters with lime, suck it up clubs and pay a band a guarantee. Put bands out of their misery with a little dignity.
Has my band been along in suffering through today’s rockonomy? Has our rockonomic status sunk uncommonly low, or is this a reflection of the times? What’s been your band’s experience with paying gigs through the years?
I look forward to your candid answers, numbers crunching, and short of any of that, thoughts on The Rockford Files.