Need a bit of help regarding live session work....


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Punk_Ninja
12-29-2010, 01:16 PM
["tl:dr" at the bottom. :)]

Okay, so, I've been approached by a band that have just started up to become their lead guitarist.
This sounds all well and good, as most people have to really search to get a band in recent times and they're never just approached based on their reputation (which makes me a bit proud of myself!), but, the band is sort of, nu-metal hardcore...or some other modern metal variant, I don't quite know, I think they're kinda like "Enter Shikari", anyway. This music really isn't what I'm into or would want to play in a permanent band. I also have my own band, my own ideas for a solo project, my personal studies of genres like Jazz and Classical to grow as a musician, so it's a lot to put on my plate as full time commitments.

But, this band say they have gigs lined up, they have a festival gig in the summer and may be put onto a label (an indie label from a band who are only really big in my town, but it still sounds impressive in a somewhat shallow way) and while I know the members of this band are not particularly great musicians and I know it isn't worth joining just because of some light prosperities. But I was thinking of suggesting to them that until they find a permanent lead guitarist I'd work with them as a session musician so they could still get gigs down and some exposure without having to wait for too long to find a permanent guitarist.

I guess my main questions would be:
How would I go about suggesting this?
Not many bands would like to hear "I won't be a permanent member, but I will make you pay for practices and stuff while you pay me a bit for any gig we play" (assuming a few will be free played gigs), though I am much more experienced than any of them (some of which being "musicians" for as little as a couple of months) so maybe they'd accept?

How much money would I ask for to play each gig?
I wasn't going to suggest I put a high rate on my work as a session player, but I do need a bit of cash, so I was thinking like, I'd get the same amount as the rest of the band for any paid gigs (providing it wasn't like 2.30 and a free drink or something :p: ) and maybe set a regular cost for any unpaid gigs, but I don't exactly know how much. I wouldn't want to be unreasonable, but I also wouldn't want to go without money. It's hard to make ends meet right now!


I'm just worried about how I go about this, as while it won't be a succesful band or anything, they may get a bit of a local following or something, but not much, it'd be my second outing as a live session musician, so it'd be something to stick in my "portfolio" or whatever, and as I am seeking a career in music it'd be nice to have a bit of a background as a session musician, it'd also maybe help my reputation, if these guys came to me based on reputation, they'd probably talk to other guys or something if I did a good job.

So any advice on the situation would be great, cheers.

["tl;dr" I've been approahced by a band to be their guitarist, I don't want to be their guitarist, but I could probably get a bit of live session work from it, how do I go about it? How much money should I request per gig? If you want any more details read the post. :)]

Jimmy Blue
12-29-2010, 01:28 PM
Just join as a normal member without telling them your intentions to quit. Because if it takes off and you decide you don't want to leave anymore, it would be AWKWARD. So just join as a normal member, and if you don't like it after a few months, quit without any hard feelings.

Punk_Ninja
12-29-2010, 01:31 PM
Problem is, I really can't afford to be a normal member. It would mean having to pay 9 a week or something to help them with practice costs (which I just can't afford, that's how bad my cash is right now), I'd probably end up having to loan the rhythm guitarist an amp as he doesn't have one, it'd end up horrible, I know this type of musician and I don't want to tangle with them, they're the "We play music to get girls and have an excuse to be dicks" type.
Also I'm creatively not ont he same page as them, I really don't want to be in that style of music.

But I'd be fine doing some session for for a bit of pay like.

And I don't think I have to worry about it taking off, their goals are pretty much "play gigs supporting a popular local band a lesser popular local band" as opposed to "real" musical goals.

Knucklehead Dyl
12-29-2010, 01:46 PM
Well just say it straight to their faces,
"I'll join you guys as a session guitarist until you find a full member to take my place"
Then work out costs and your done

asator
12-29-2010, 02:11 PM
Joining as a session member and not paying practise costs is bullshit. If you insist on being a seesion member, you still have to pay for that. It gets more expensive for all of them when they're doing the same thing as you if you don't pay. If you suggested that to my band I'd tell you where to go. If you want to be a session player you to do it right and not be a dick about it.

Also, poster above me your sig is ridiculous.

Punk_Ninja
12-29-2010, 02:11 PM
I guess that'd be an alright approach. Though I haven't seen this guys in person yet (well I have, like I know the drummer and I've met the other guys in the past) in regards to this it's been done by email.

I just think it'd read a bit harsh writing back "I'll join you but only as a session player til you find a permanent guitarist". They might see me as "business like" or something.

And I'm still nto sure on costs. Cos if I go to them and say "I'll join you as a session player" then when a gig comes up and I' like "yeah I'm going to need...umm...how much can you spare?" or something they'll probably take me for a ride, I know that the guitarist and bassist are dicks who would probably try to skimp out on me in terms of cash.

Punk_Ninja
12-29-2010, 02:15 PM
Joining as a session member and not paying practise costs is bullshit. If you insist on being a seesion member, you still have to pay for that. It gets more expensive for all of them when they're doing the same thing as you if you don't pay. If you suggested that to my band I'd tell you where to go. If you want to be a session player you to do it right and not be a dick about it.

Also, poster above me your sig is ridiculous.

Not really being a dick about it. Being realistic. I can't afford anything, at all, can't even afford to eat on many weeks.
And when hiring someone you don't tend to ask them for money back... I mean, they could take some money out of the money they'd pay me to cover some practice fees and stuff, but the whole paying me thing would be redundant if I paid it back to them wouldn't it?

asator
12-29-2010, 02:19 PM
Well then you're basically saying "I'll be in your band if you pay me, but I'm not doing it for free", which is still shitty if you ask me. That's my stance on it, I think it would be a really egotistical and insulting thing to do.

If you were an established session musician it would be different.

Punk_Ninja
12-29-2010, 02:24 PM
No I'm saying "I'll help you out til you find a guitarist, but I can't do gigs for free".

Which to me seems perfectly reasonable. I'm providing them a service, and won't be asking for a lot of money.

And an established session musician would be doing much bigger things than this and getting paid a hell of a lot more. I'm going to be asking for nothin over 50, but I just don't know where the line should settle. 10 per gig seems a bit little, but anything over 20 to me seems a lot, so not sure where I'm standing.

Also I'm not being egotistical...how is needing cash because I'm already doing a million things at once egotistical?
All I'll be saying is that to make it worth my time I'll need a bit of cash from the gigs.
If I was making stupid demands, that'd be egotistcal, being thrown a bit of cash when I play a gig for them isn't.

asator
12-29-2010, 02:29 PM
Look at it from their point of view.

I think if anything you should be a "temporary member" and take the same amount of money each of them do for gigs, but also pay the same amount towards practises. Everybody struggles with money, I doubt they're able to pay for you to practise then give you a set fee for each gig.

Punk_Ninja
12-29-2010, 02:34 PM
My only worry is that some of the gigs played will be unpaid.
And I could just say "no" but I feel real bad for the guy who's set this band up as he's been after this band for as long as I can remember (went to school with the guy), but at the same time it's hard to justify giving up my time which could be spent doing things much more beneficial to me with no added bonus for myself.

And I know me, if I go in as a member, temporary or otherwise, I'll end up feeling bad and being stuck with them cos they'll have stopped looking for another guitarist.

So if I go in with a clear "business plan" (for lack of a better term) I know that it'll be a clear, black and white, situation which will have no potential hiccups.

And I somehow don't think they'll struggle for practice money, they're all pretty loaded. Two of which being fairly young, living with rich parents, the other two having jobs, one of them being quite well paid (he bought himself a 2k drum kit after playing for only a few months).

Zycho
12-29-2010, 03:08 PM
If I asked someone to join a band and they said "Yea I'll join, but I won't pay for anything and you have to pay me." I'd tell them to **** off.

Either join the band or don't. Your plan will just make you come across as an egomaniacal prick. Also, I think your underestimating the value of actual gigging experience and playing with other people on regular basis. If you don't have any projects already in the works, it'd probably be worthwhile to at least try it out.

Punk_Ninja
12-29-2010, 03:14 PM
If I asked someone to join a band and they said "Yea I'll join, but I won't pay for anything and you have to pay me." I'd tell them to **** off.

Either join the band or don't. Your plan will just make you come across as an egomaniacal prick. Also, I think your underestimating the value of actual gigging experience and playing with other people on regular basis. If you don't have any projects already in the works, it'd probably be worthwhile to at least try it out.

Dude chill out.
You've pretty much said what Asator has been saying but you're coming off an insane douche.
I'm not going to say to them "I'm not paying for anything and you have to give me loads of money" or anything, jesus.

I'm not joining the band. The music isn't me at all, I can't see it going anywhere, etc etc, but I do want to help them out. I feel I'm repeating myself, cos I am. Read what I've said. And chill out.
I also don't quite think you understand the term "egomaniacal prick" or whatever.
I understand th evalue of gigging experience (of which I get plenty with my band) and playing with other people (which I get all over the place. I'm jamming with other musicians very regularly).
My problem is that I have too many projects in the works to justify doing this one for free.

Samzawadi
12-29-2010, 06:16 PM
If you were an established session musician it would be different.

How do you become an established session musician without working for money (i.e. being a session musician)?

David Gilmour was taken on as a paid employee by Pink Floyd when he joined the band, or at least was paid a regular salary. It's not unusual for bands to offer to pay musicians to join - loads of solo musicians do it for live gigs, Clapton's entire band now are just employees, what's the difference?

Whether they'll be prepared to pay you is another matter. If they were interested enough in you to track you down, they might be, but they might also conclude that they can't afford to spend money to get another member, when they can get one for free (if the band scene in your town is that bad, they will be able to find someone).

It's hardly egomanical to ask to be paid for what, to you, is sortof your job. You'll not expect to be treated like an actual member (so no money comes to you from CD sales, merchandising, gigs, band discounts with local dealers, etc), which could in theory be a loss to you. They can also just kick you out if they find someone who's interested in joining as a full member.

krypticguitar87
12-29-2010, 06:28 PM
Dude chill out.
You've pretty much said what Asator has been saying but you're coming off an insane douche.
I'm not going to say to them "I'm not paying for anything and you have to give me loads of money" or anything, jesus.

I'm not joining the band. The music isn't me at all, I can't see it going anywhere, etc etc, but I do want to help them out. I feel I'm repeating myself, cos I am. Read what I've said. And chill out.
I also don't quite think you understand the term "egomaniacal prick" or whatever.
I understand th evalue of gigging experience (of which I get plenty with my band) and playing with other people (which I get all over the place. I'm jamming with other musicians very regularly).
My problem is that I have too many projects in the works to justify doing this one for free.
I've got two answers to your problem:

you should tell them that your expences are tight and you can't really afford to pay to practice... look I know that in my band a couple of our members are unemployed, both of them were layed off recently, so right now none of us expect them to pay for anything til they get a job (I mean obviously having a place to stay and food on their table is a little more important than the rest of us saving a couple of bucks).

or

since you have all these other projects just tell them you can't do it... I mean if they just need someone to record a few tracks, that shouldn't be a problem, but if you don't have time then you don't have time. that simple. I mean if your already giging, and jamming and playing the music you want to play, then why play in a band thats playing music you don't want to play?

Cowless
12-29-2010, 06:42 PM
Just an aside; if you can't afford to eat, why do you have a computer? I don't get it.

Anyway, if you don't want to be in the band, don't be. Joining just to "help out" is only going to make you miserable. Even moreso if they don't want to pay! :haha:

Punk_Ninja
12-29-2010, 06:57 PM
Cowless, I don't live on my own or anything. But I'm living in a house with my unemployed mother, who doesn't do anything to bring any money in, she uses her government mooched money to pay rent and bills and stuff.
I use my 30 a week I get from being in sixth form college to live in any more lavish manners than the very basics (which is occasionally nothing at all as I've said) as well as funding my music stuff. Either way, this isn't the time to discuss my terrible standard of living.

And I'm not going to join for any more than a couple of months if I do.

Krypticguitar87, I've told 'em my cash problems, not sure on where the stance of any payment is mind. And the way I see it, is the more exposure I get the better. So even with my other stuff going on, it can't hurt to be seen by another crowd, despite the dislike of the music. This wouldn't be a branch to help myself grow as a musician, it'd be purely for the exposure.

Samzawadi, cheers for the support, I'm not sure on how the payment front's going. I've said if they need someone until they find someone I might be alright for 'em, gonna see about payment next I speak.

semus
12-29-2010, 07:26 PM
if its too much for you, leave it alone. i mean, i wouldnt know how much money to ask, and i'de suggest you just join as a full time member and quit when you feel like it, because its ok.
but if you can't handle it, not much you can do about it, just leave it alone.
more things to put in your resume will show up, later on when you can do it.

Cowless
12-29-2010, 07:35 PM
Cowless, I don't live on my own or anything. But I'm living in a house with my unemployed mother, who doesn't do anything to bring any money in, she uses her government mooched money to pay rent and bills and stuff.
I use my 30 a week I get from being in sixth form college to live in any more lavish manners than the very basics (which is occasionally nothing at all as I've said) as well as funding my music stuff. Either way, this isn't the time to discuss my terrible standard of living.

Ah, sorry to hear that.

I say, if you can get them to understand your cash flow issues, that you won't be around long, and maybe even get them to pay you, then go for it. As long as they don't suck, all publicity is good.

Ace-014
12-29-2010, 07:53 PM
We got some tards in here. There's a difference between "I won't pay" and "I can't pay" kids.

Go for it man, get the experience, some pay, network a bit, have some fun. I'm sure they won't mind too much, especially since, as you said, they're not exactly strapped for cash.

krypticguitar87
12-29-2010, 08:53 PM
Krypticguitar87, I've told 'em my cash problems, not sure on where the stance of any payment is mind. And the way I see it, is the more exposure I get the better. So even with my other stuff going on, it can't hurt to be seen by another crowd, despite the dislike of the music. This wouldn't be a branch to help myself grow as a musician, it'd be purely for the exposure.


I mean if its something you want to do man, then go for it... I would suggest making sure that they know that your other bands are priority.

but I have a question, are their fans really your demographic?:shrug:
from what I gater from your original post is that you are more into jazz and classical, and they are a hardcore band of sorts... I could be wrong so I'm just asking how would you classify your main band? cuz if it's jazz, then you may not find much cross over from the hardcore scene... and honestly whats the point of more exposure if 2% (or possibly less) of them are going to like you, and even less than that would become avid fans?

look Im not trying to talk you out of it, but the extra time your spending on their band could be used on your main project to further that progress. of course if you do play in a band with a similar audience, then go for it, but you could also try to see if they would let you open for them...

Zycho
12-30-2010, 04:18 AM
I'm not angry with you, and I did read your posts. So please, tone it down. Just because a post has some negative connotations is no reason to get all defensive. I was not insulting you.

If I was approached with what you are proposing, I would have a negative reaction. I think that it's important to consider that it may be insulting. Nobody wants a bad reputation.

Punk_Ninja
12-30-2010, 06:09 AM
Zycho, you said my plan makes me look a prick...I take that as insulting me.
I also think you're taking what I'm saying as much more extravagant than it is. I'm not saying to them "I need payment if I ever play with you". It's more "I'll need a cut of any payments and it'd be hard for me to play completely for free at any unpaid gigs" sort of thing. But as I've said before, I'm not sure what a fair price for an unpaid gig is.

Kryptic, while I am a big jazz fan, finding a jazz band is near impossible! My main band is modern rock/hard rock (though it is great to stick some jazzier chords in original work to add a bit of flavour :)) and I'm not really looking for any cross over onto my other band. Just getting my face out into the local music scene a bit more (I get about as much as I can, but I think I'm known more in other places than even my hometown!) and this band isn't hardcore...I don't think...it's one of those real shrill types of metal, but the drummer assures me their other stuff is more hard rock, either way, the venue they play at is the venue in the town which my main band won't be playing (it's a goth pub, always have metal or hardcore sorta stuff, the place my band are hitting up is more of a blues/rock venue, those are pretty much the only avenues for music in my town) so it could get me acknowledged in both of the town's main venues. Which could lead to more session (or band, if something I can justify staying with comes along) work.

Ace-014, cheers, I migt go for it, though I'm worried about one of their singers, I know he's a cocky douche...I guess if nothing else I can use it as as training excersise in handling an un-cooperative musician :p:

Cowless, I think they're cool that I can't put in for practice sessions, I told the drummer and he didn't seem pissed off or anything, didn't really touch on it, also, I'm worried that they may suck :p: They got quite a big hitter in my town to guest some vocals on their demo which is cool, but other than that they sound like the average sort of band that plays the local "metal" venue, which isn't really a great thing! :p:

Semus, it's not that I can't handle it, it's that it'd be unfair to suggest I could commit to a permanent position as it wouldn't be anywhere as high as most of my other stuff in my priorities. A mixture of me feeling bad for the drummer who's been wanting to get this off the ground for ages, and my desire to get a bit of cash (and I guess gig experience never hurt, though I can't imagine these experiences being the best! :p: ) is making me think a bit of temp-work for them might help both myself and them out.


Also, to add to the thread, it seems I'm quite the priority for them. I've told them I can do it temporarily til they find someone, but they keep at me saying things like "If you came in permenently you'd be important to the songwriting process" "If you're permanent we can do new songs (cos I was a bit askew about them tuning to drop C)" and all this stuff.
I'm feeling a bit bad but I've had to set 'em straight, there's no way I can do it permanently.

axemanchris
12-30-2010, 05:42 PM
I don't know why some people are having an issue with this. Bands hire people to fill in all the time. No, not middle-school or high-school bands, but working/touring bands.

You're not joining as a member (or in business, a band "member" is typically an "owner.") You're joining as an employee. As an employee, you are entitled to your agreed upon wage, and are neither liable for any debts, nor entitled to any profits, nor entitled to contributing to any business decisions. You show up. You do your job. You go home.

As long as everyone is good with that, why on earth should that be a problem? That's what most people do in their jobs, no?

As a working/touring band, if I lost a guitarist, and looked ahead to the future as involving either cancelling gigs until we could get another member, or hiring someone in the interim, why wouldn't they hire someone in the interim.

As long as the expectations and goals and intentions are communicated clearly, it seems only to be a win-win.

CT