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Spring news & comments from Musicians Contact The Source For Jobs Since 1969 Sterling Howard, Founder/Owner Musicians receiving this email: 47,116


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Spring greetings! Anyone who has read our newsletters in the past knows that we publish readers' comments about ways to improve the state of LIVE music. Bassist Bill Cinque has written an informative book on this subject. Read what he sent to us about the current gig situation:

These are challenging economic times for this country and the world. I’m not making light of that fact but when has a musician’s life not been economically challenged? I’ve been a working musician for 30 years. In 1986, I had steady gigs that paid $100-$125 per night. In 2009, the pay is roughly the same. I know I’m not the only musician facing that fact. Maybe the rest of the population can take a cue from us working class musicians. Our economy is always tough. Always. We spend much of our lives without job security. We rarely know what the next month will bring. We never get a cost of living raise. Yet, we soldier on, play music, make a few bucks and sell a few CDs because we love to play. I have yet to hear of a musicians bail out package. Oh, wait, yes I have. It’s called a girlfriend. In these times, we musicians must make a few decisions. I rarely advocate accepting less money than you are worth, but we need to accept what we can get. You might consider taking a $75 Wednesday night gig right now, even though you haven’t settled for that money in a long time. You might need to accept the road gig that you refused time and again because you wanted to spend more time at home. We all need to do what is necessary to stay afloat. It’s tough, but possible. After all, we’re used to things being tough. We’re musicians. Making these sacrifices could change the big picture. Some small clubs and restaurants are suffering from lack of business. They simply can’t afford to pay the musicians what they are worth. If we take a few of these gigs for less money, we’ll keep quality music in these places and have some income instead of none. If we don’t accept lower pay, the clubs will either take lesser quality bands or eliminate entertainment all together. This is a controversial topic. We, as blue collar musicians, have to adapt to this “Broke New World.” I certainly cannot afford to hold out for a better gig. I can no longer demand a certain pay scale. Many of us are in the same boat. I am practicing what I preach. I am now working a few nights a week at a reduced pay rate. I don’t like it but I understand it. These days jobs are not easy to find. The game has changed for the weekend warrior as well as the full time musician.

You can download 270 pages of practical music experience and knowledge by ordering Bill's Ebook titled The Amazing Adventures of a Marginally Successful Musician at the "musicians special" price of $6.00. $6! Go to


And here's what Jeff Lux ( sent us:

Not too long ago we were discussing some of the comments made in your newsletter with a group of road warriors who've played clubs and stadiums across the country and here are a few things that came up: On the dwindling gigs in small town America: The one thing most noticed in the last 10-15 years in the club scene is the more common prevalence of what are referred to as "bottom feeders". These are bands who compile a limited song list and call themselves a "band". They are the ones who undercut and book gigs for virtually nothing. All they want is to "play Star" on the weekends and pay for their drinks. Due to the economy of late the club owners bite more and more. These players have lowered the pay scale for everyone. You can also find them putting together 2 or 3 different configurations and giving them different names with the result being that any bar in town is actually having the same variation of guys playing all the time. This usually results in bars dropping their live music due to lack of interest from the public. Another topic that repeatedly came up was about players hired for studio work that forget they were brought in to play a certain piece of music and spend costly time playing whatever they decide is important. If someone thinks you're the right player to bring in for a part, then respect what they are asking of you and play it THEIR way. When it's YOUR dollar, then you can call the shots. If you're cooperative and reliable they will hire you again. Networking and reliability always helps move you ahead. And speaking of networking: GET OUT THERE! Go to jams, sit in with other players and most of all connect. If you're open to it you'll learn something from most every player you meet. It all adds to your own style and ability. Often, other players will lead you to gigs. Enjoy what you do. Remember that your audience shows up already assuming that you will be good.

One of the blues players sitting around our table had a great comment. He had a fill-in bass player who came in for the evening with a "I'm too cool for this gig" attitude towards the room. He pulled the guy aside after the first set and told him: "Be happy and play to the crowd. You're lucky to be able to do what you love. You could be gutting chickens in a factory, and remember that the guy who IS doing that for a living might be sitting in the audience".

Have something to say? Comments? Gripes? Please, send them to: so we can feature them in the next newsletter.


Everyone has at least one good story or joke from the following list. Shoot us an email on any of these topics so we can print it next time:

* Your Worst or Most Unusual Gig * The Best Gig Ever * Your Weirdest Audition * Your Closest Call To Fame * Bad/Best Musician Joke

My Closest Call to Fame (submitted by Ron Lukawitski)

It happened in 1969. I was in a band from Edmonton, Canada, called Troyka. We landed a record deal with Atlantic Records in New York. We were one of 4 bands on Atlantic's new Cotillion label. One of the bands was a new group from England called Led Zeppelin. Our band only lasted a year but in that short time we kicked off the album release with a gig at Fillmore East in New York where we received 3 or 4 standing ovations. Following that we opened up for The Byrds, Rare Earth, Canned Heat, Savoy Brown, Mountain and Blue Cheer. We always managed to get a standing ovation at every gig back then. Personal issues forced the band to break up. Does this qualify as a close call to fame?

My Most Unusual Gig (submitted by Ricky Rodd)

A couple bands ago I was playing in a terrible rock group that shall remain nameless. The singer always had a "hook up", always knew someone that could get us an amazing gig or some important person to listen to us. I was a little skeptical when he explained that the first gig he had booked was for a large auditorium that held 400 people. We practiced and practiced to get ready for the show. Finally, we arrived at the gig to find we were indeed playing in a large auditorium for 400. Our singer neglected to mention that the auditorium and audience both resided in the neighboring retirement home. That's correct, we were to play for 400 geriatrics. We got onstage after a lengthy introduction from the Master of Ceremonies which included each of us giving a short biography about ourselves to the near deaf crowd. "Turn your amp way down" my drummer said to me. So we started to play, and I actually saw a woman remove her hearing aid. I tell myself now it was too loud for her, but we probably just sucked. For our troubles we were paid $200 and about 10 lbs of spaghetti in meat sauce. Seriously.

My Worst Gig (submitted by Drew Daniels)

Without a doubt my worst gig was in Alaska in January as a pick-up guitarist. With 4% humidity, 80 below zero and 40 mph winds, the crowd in the club was amazingly good. The club was only 200 yards from McDonald's but our whole group linking arms could not cross the road to get there. The singer lost his voice so I ended up singing everything from a book. The drummer took drugs and went nuts and tried to bean the leader with a bass so the club owner maced him, then we all got fired. While packing, the drummer then knocked me unconscious. We had to pay to get our gear shipped home, and the cold had fractured all the speaker magnets. When I arrived in LA, covered with blood, my girlfrind left me and my mother said "See, music is ok as a hobby but you should have a real job". A "perfect storm" so to speak!

You know you're getting OLD when:

It's more important to find a place on stage for your fan than your amp. The waitress is your daughter. Most of your crowd just sways in their seats. Your gig stool has a back. All you want from groupies is a foot massage & back rub. You take the elevator because you can sing along with most of your set list. You check the TV schedule before booking a gig. You're related to at least one band member. You stop the set because your ibuprofen fell behind your amp. You actually attended a Beatles performance. You buy amps based on their weight instead of their tone. You remember 6 different club names for the same location. During breaks, you now go to the van to...lay down!

Please, I know you have a joke or story that can top these. Send your worst/best to: See you next time!

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