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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Musicians Play FREE!

Got a call today from a place where the Morbid Strangers had booked a show in March. The dude said he was just going to have to cancel us because he couldn't swing the amount of money he had originally agreed to pay us. I said, easy come, easy go. I think he was hoping I'd agree to NEGOTIATE with him but I just thanked him and hung up.

The deal with the Morbid Strangers is that we play to have a good time. Fortunately we all have REAL JOBS. I would hate to think I had to rely on playing music to make a living. It would be nearly impossible.

Many times people have approached me wanting us to play. They turn three shades of green however when I tell them the amount we charge. The amount is surely not unreasonable. In fact it is downright cheap. People do not seem to realize that although playing music is fun, it is also hard work. Since we play for cheap, we can't afford "roadies" to set up out gear. Lugging 100 pound speaker cabinets around is not fun. Also, the gear we have is not cheap. We all play either Fender or Gibson guitars, not cheap. Our amps are a mixture of Laney, Marshall, Gallien-Krueger, Peavey, and SWR, not cheap. It takes gas and oil and vehicle maintenance to transport all that gear, not cheap. And yes, we have to practice. This takes time and money also.

Besides that it for me is a matter of pride and self respect. If we're willing to play for free or a few peanuts here and there it says something about the band. If we're not willing to charge a reasonable amount, well, then I guess we must not think very much of our own band. You know the old saying, "You get what you pay for."

We've turned down a variety of "benefits" because the people are appalled that we won't do it for free. Seems that the only people that do not benefit at a benefit are those in the band. I've been offered all the beer I can drink to come play. What an insult. I don't even drink beer. Yes, indeed, everyone seems to have a cause, this cause, that cause, and the other cause. Their cause is most important. Won't you guys come and DONATE your time and money and play for FREE? Forget it.

I have a couple of Facebook friends who actually play music in an attempt to support themselves. I see them griping from time to time about this particular issue. Ladies and gentlemen, I feel your pain.


  1. While I understand your position....
    I would like to state that -
    ALL benefits DO NOT benefit everyone but the band. I recently participated in one that the only beneficiary was the food bank and a soldier.
    I feel, a band, group, person, etc should in some way give back to the community by doing a benefit or two, of their choosing, per year.

  2. Problem is, Lucinda, if you do one or two per year, then you end with with half a dozen more people wanting you to support THEIR cause. Like I said, there is always a cause, your cause, my cause, his cause, her cause, their cause......it never ends.

  3. And to be clear, the band does do benefits. We have done several, and we will likely do more in the future, but like I said, we cannot afford to make a steady diet of them.