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FDP Forum / Performer's Corner / gig ethics


New York City

Feb 21st, 2017 06:54 PM   Edit   Profile  

You play regularly in "Band A" that gets only occasional gigs that don't pay very well.
You get offered a one shot gig subbing that pays really well but the date conflicts with a date that "Band A" has about a month away.
Do you:
A) Bail on Band A, giving them notice, for the subbing gig.

B) Ask if Band A can move/postpone their gig and if they can't, suck it up and play with Band A

C) Forget the subbing gig since you are already committed to Band A on that date.

and yes, it's me I'm talking about.

Strato Dis aster
Contributing Member

USMC Retired in ENC

The Devil said, "But it's a dry heat"
Feb 21st, 2017 07:35 PM   Edit   Profile  


If Band A can't reschedule to accommodate you or find a fill in.

You should "Suck It Up Buttercup".

Just guessing that the gig in question was made well before the gig in question.

Contributing Member

Paris, France

It's just a guitar, not rocket science.
Feb 22nd, 2017 12:47 AM   Edit   Profile  

All the above happen regularly. In an ideal world we'd like everyone to go with option C but if it's working pros putting food on the table, A will happen. It may piss off Band A a little but when gig pay is being constantly eroded in many cities you can't keep a working joe from from a significantly better opportunity comes up. And month away significantly softens the blow. A week out would be poor form, but the above caveat applies too. People understand.


What It Was!

cross-dressing for Rodan
Feb 22nd, 2017 06:43 AM   Edit   Profile  

D) Help find a sub for Band A, and help get him up to speed.

Juice Nichols
Contributing Member

Panama City, FL

I'm just a dude, playing a dude...
Feb 22nd, 2017 09:10 AM   Edit   Profile  

Good timing as this has come up recently for me as well. I play a regular gig on the first Friday of every month. It doesn't pay crap, but I do it because I really like playing with these guys. However, I got offered a 6 date engagement with an orchestra that conflicts with this bar gig. $1000 vs $63 speaks pretty loud and I told them I wouldn't be able to make the April gig and offered to get a replacement. They understand the circumstances and have no problem with me missing this gig.


It's not just good..

...it's good enough.
Feb 22nd, 2017 09:21 AM   Edit   Profile  

While I agree with DrKev in principal, I don't like the idea of bailing on a committed gig.
And if Band A doesn't gig that often, asking the others to postpone (or give up) a gig that is booked doesn't seem like a good plan.

I do like Dolemite's suggested modification to Plan A, but only if Band A is cool with it.

Personally, I would've already told the person offering the sub gig that I had a gig and couldn't make it. BUT I'm not gigging to support myself and I'm good friends with the bands that I'm currently playing in.

So is the subbing gig a really cool opportunity, musically, or just a bigger paycheck?

Contributing Member

So. Cal. USA

Feb 22nd, 2017 09:30 AM   Edit   Profile  

First come first served for me. If I have a gig booked it's booked. My reputation of reliability is very important. I've always gone with the luck of the draw and been a "C" type of guy.

If I'm in a band I'm in it for better or.....

Juice Nichols
Contributing Member

Panama City, FL

I'm just a dude, playing a dude...
Feb 22nd, 2017 11:24 AM   Edit   Profile  

Well in my case I gave them 3 months notice that I wouldn't be available. As I mentioned previously, this bar gig happens on the same day of the month, every month. There have been other instances where another member couldn't make it and we either got a sub or play without them. No one in the group has an issue with it. We all sing and gig regularly with other groups and can front the band if need be.

On the other hand, I would never stiff them because I got another bar gig with someone else.

Contributing Member

So. Cal. USA

Feb 22nd, 2017 11:43 AM   Edit   Profile  

"On the other hand, I would never stiff them because I got another bar gig with someone else."

We have a winner! If something come up and you get along and can talk about it life is a lot easier.

Got stiffed by a bass player a few months ago. He was a fill in and just didn't show. An emergency call to a friend filled the void. Guess who will never be asked to fill that spot again?

Contributing Member


Feb 22nd, 2017 11:53 AM   Edit   Profile  

I've never played for food on the table, so I speak only as a weekend warrior. If bailing on gig A in anyway compromises my reputation for reliability, even if I give ample warning or help find a sit in, then I wouldn't do it. I always took pride in being multi-faceted as a musician. Not a virtuoso, but a guy who can step up a little, lay back a lot, sing lead, sing harmony, show up early, help load in and out and be counted on to be there. Creating uncertainty with bandmates generates that air of flakiness we're all seen at one time or another, justified or not. I'd rather not be under suspicion.


LA-la-land, CA

Insert clever comment here
Feb 22nd, 2017 02:11 PM   Edit   Profile  

I think littleuch hits on it: a lot depends on how it will be received, and whether it's gonna mess with your status in the "A" band, or your reputation outside of it.

It also depends what you're trying to get out of it. If "A" gig is pretty casual, and you're wanting to get more free-lance shows like "B", then you should take it. I started as a sub in shows, and ended up getting the first call on later ones. If you help somebody out, then they'll remember that.

But if it's just a 1-time deal just to try something different for a few bucks, and band "A" is counting on you, then band "A" might resent it. Really depends on your relationship with them. Is it enough $$ to risk that?

I'd approach band "A" with it, and keep an open mind. If everybody acts like an adult, then not much bad can happen in any case. I mean, it's only rock n roll, right? :)

Contributing Member

South Florida

Feb 22nd, 2017 05:26 PM   Edit   Profile  

Depends upon the goal.

If you are a casual player with a day job but enjoy gigging and loyalty is important then you stick with Band A.

If you are an artist and nothing matters but the art and have no plan in life except to play music as much as possible until you burn out at age 27 then you go ahead and step on your own mom to get the gig with Band B.

I know.

/s/ Pete Best

(This message was last edited by larryguitar19 at 07:27 PM, Feb 22nd, 2017)

Benson Fan

Los Angeles, CA USA

Feb 25th, 2017 05:01 PM   Edit   Profile  

If it were me, I'd ask Band "A" if the gig could be moved. If not, I would honor my commitment to Band "A". Yes, I guess you could line up a sub for them, but don't be surprised if he becomes the new permanent Band "A" guy. If that's a possibility, and/or it would bother you, then don't do it. That just happened to someone in my band! Poor guy got replaced because there was a chance he might not be able to make some gigs due to a family emergency, and he was well-liked, reliable, and competent. Nothing weirder than cover band politics and economics!


New York City

Mar 25th, 2017 05:22 PM   Edit   Profile  

Just to follow up. I went with option "B". I asked if the band could postpone their gig to another date. If they said they couldn't, I'd stand by the original schedule and just bite the bullet on the lost opportunity.

The band complied and got a new date that actually worked out better for them and paid more than the original date would have. So I got to play both gigs. Things don't always work out that well for me, but it's certainly great when they do.

Tony Wright
Contributing Member

Stillwater, OK

I never met a calorie I didn't like.
Mar 26th, 2017 05:11 PM   Edit   Profile  

...and sometimes, things work out for doing what is "right". I love it when a plan comes together.


It's not just good..

...it's good enough.
Mar 27th, 2017 06:50 AM   Edit   Profile  

What Tony said.
Glad to hear it all worked out - for all involved.

FDP Forum / Performer's Corner / gig ethics

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