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Summer Newsletter from Musicians Contact The Source For Jobs Since 1969 818-888-7879 Sterling Howard, Founder/Owner

Need a great musician? Click "I have a job to offer" on our website to post a free ad and view detailed profiles of many serious players.

Need a gig? Check out "Job Samples" on our website. To list yourself as an available musician so working bands can contact you, click "I'm an individual seeking work”.

Late Summer Greetings!

Our newsletter is actually more of a forum where we report what YOU think about various musical topics. This newsletter now reaches 30,000 to 35,000 musicians and music industry pros.

Give us your input on how to increase live music, what’s right or wrong with live music today, is it getting better or worse, how can the pay scale be raised, etc. Give us your thoughts, solutions, gripes and comments so we can feature them in future newsletters.

After 8 years of having the same website design, we are making some changes very soon. If you currently use our site and can think of any changes you'd like to see, tell us NOW.

One feature we've recently added is the ability for complete acts seeking work to link with our site. If you have a completed band with a website, go to our homepage and click "Submit Link" and then select "Bands For Hire" for directions. It's a free method to promote your group.

Concerning comments on live music, here's a few quotes that came in recently:

Paul Whiteman said: What does age have to do with playing music? Wouldn’t everyone want a surgeon with 30 years experience instead of one with 10 years experience? Why not in our business?

Tony K. said: Stop free live music. Why not tell musicians about the Labor Board and tell their local state congressmen to stop free bands in clubs. A bill should be passed demanding that clubs pay at least minimum wage.

Singer Donna Cristy reports: One major casino in Las Vegas where I recently sang puts the band dressing room a half mile away and they give you one bottle of water for the week that you are supposed to refill at their water cooler. You are not allowed to drink this water or anything else onstage and you are not allowed to talk to anyone in the audience, either from the stage or when your set is over. You may not talk to any of your band mates onstage or announce their names!

Vocalist Michelle Crenshaw: Years ago a friend told me, “Whatever you do, never work for less money than your last gig”. It is hard to uphold this philosophy but it does seem to work. I finally made that decision stick because I realized I was being exploited by promoters and producers who were doing the hiring. We must believe that our gifts, talents, training and expertise are worth the wage we expect.

H.P. says: We need more venues for minors, where music is featured and dancing is encouraged. Whatever happened to the dances after football games? Booze was not required then and it is not required now for a venue to be successful.

Ron Rillera: As a working musician for over 20 years on the road, I have a complaint about hiring new personnel. Many musicians expect unrealistic pay. They’ve probably been watching too much TV or listening to all the hype about how much signed artists make. This gives them a very unreal perception of our business.

D. Ward: The quality of live music is going downhill fast. Gone are guitar solos, intricate piano lines and five part harmonies. We are downsizing to 2 or 3 pieces with loads of backing tracks. That’s not live music! That’s a karaoke band!

Alex Kendrick: When a club owner wants you to audition for free, ask him that when the next time comes that he needs a carpenter or plumber to fix something in his club, could he require that several of these skilled craftsmen come in and do some free work before he hires them?

Ken Harris states: Musicians need to increase their versatility. The more genres a musician can pull off, the more gigs there are. Promote your own gigs. If you don’t perform live, you won’t progress. A night on the bandstand is worth twenty in the rehearsal hall.

Have something to say? Send your comments to:


Commentary from Musicians Contact owner Sterling Howard:

The basic instrumentation of guitar, bass, drums and keys in most bands has been the same since the 1950's! If a group is playing copy music, I understand that the instruments may need to be the same in order to get the same sounds to satisfy the paying audience. But for an original act, here's an opportunity to be different! When's the last time you saw a group with 2 sax players playing off each other, or a group with 2 or 3 front singers trading vocals? How about a band giving new birth to instruments like accordion or vibes? Why can't there be a trumpet in an alternative rock band or a flute player in a blues band? Why couldn't a country group add a cellist? Why don't drummers customize their drum sets to sound one-of-a-kind, rather than sounding exactly like thousands of other snare and bass sounds? Does anyone agree that maybe one reason the public seems bored with live music today is that, even if the players are great, the primary instruments and sounds they produce haven't changed much for so long? Well? Give me some feedback!


Now for some fun, reach back into your memory and send us your fondest experience on any of the following categories. The best are printed in future newsletters.

1. Worst or Most Unusual Gig: (Submitted by Big Al Gruskoff)

Yeas ago, I played bass in the best top 40 band in Detroit, whose leader only booked weddings for good money. One night, the bride’s father, who was a portly man in a tuxedo, was running around franticly making sure everything was perfect. Then, in the middle of our first set, the stress was just too much and he passed out and died right on the dance floor. Needless to say, the bride was hysterical and in tears. We all looked at each other and said “What do we do now?” and continued playing until the end of the set. (the show must go on!).

2. Best Gig Ever: (Submitted by Terry Ilous of the band XYZ)

It was New Years Eve 1991 and my band opened for Ted Nugent. We had a great show, 20,000 people were there and it was sold out. We rocked! We had an encore but my guitarist was not ready to go back onstage because of a technical problem. The crowed was screaming for more, and my manager was screaming at us, so I went back onstage on my own without the band and sang without any instruments. Talk about a rush! The crowd loved it. Then my band came back on and we played another 20 minutes.

3. Weirdest Audition: (submitted by Gustavo)

It would have to be when my trio auditioned in a funeral parlour. We had to audition for the owner with a bunch of caskets lying around. Truly a live band in a real dead place.

4. Closest Call To Fame: (submitted by Michele Clayton)

I was one of the singers who put their bio in the big notebooks at Musicians Contact in the early 80's. The Charlie Daniels Band was looking for a back-up singer. I had never heard of them but someone said they were going to be on Saturday Night Live so I watched and since I didn’t see any back-up singers in the band I never auditioned! I didn’t realize how important it could be to start out as the “unseen singer” and “Devil Went Down to Georgia” became more than a little hit.

5. Bad/Best Musician Joke: (submitted by lots of folks)

How is a standup bass like elderly parents? Both are hard to get in and out of cars.

How to make a million dollars playing music? Start with two million.

What do you call a beautiful woman on a musicians' arm? A tattoo.

The difference between a conductor and a bag of manure? The bag.

What happens if you play blues or country backwards? Your wife returns, your dog comes back to life, and you get out of prison.

What is a musician called who only knows 3 chords? A music critic.

How do you keep your guitar from being stolen? Put it in a tuba case.

What's the difference between a drummer and a vacuum cleaner? You have to plug one in before it sucks.

Rare sight: A lead singer who carries equipment other than a microphone and change of clothes.

The difference between a bull and a lead singer fronting a brass band? The bull has the horns in front and the ass in the rear.

How many Grateful Deadheads does it take to change a lightbulb? 12,001. One to change it, 2.000 to record the event and take pictures, and 10,000 to follow it around until it burns out.

Ok, can you top any of these? Submit at:

Stay healthy until next newsletter!

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