How To Pay Your Band Properly, Demonstrated By Everything Not To Do

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I thought I would do something different this time and tell a story that happened to be to exemplify everything you should NOT do when paying your band. Yes this really happened. Enjoy!

I was hired by Mr. X to play a wedding gig. I was told I would be paid at the gig $120. “Great!” I thought to myself. “I can eat this weekend.” Ha, just kidding. We play the gig, everything goes great. He says “Hold on, I’m going to go get the money.” As I wait, I check my phone, play some games, watch the celebration, and finish my water. 10 minutes goes by, 20 minutes goes by, and finally 30 minutes goes by! Obviously I suspect something is wrong. He strolls back in to the reception hall as if he has been drinking a mai tai on some caribean island. “I guess they didn’t have enough, is it okay if I pay you sometime next week?” It’s Saturday. With an annoyed and hesitant face I respond with a dry, “Suuurrreee.” Guess I wasn’t going to eat this weekend after all. I pack up my stuff and leave in a hurry to be sure not to waste any more time.

So obviously I’m expecting a call the day after to let me know when he’d have my money. Nothing. On Monday, he has to call right? Nothing. Finally Tuesday I call him.

“Mr.X, hey, I’m calling about that money from the gig on Saturday?”
“Ohhh yea, sorry man, I forgot all about that. Can you swing by my place today around 2pm?”
“Well I actually have a lesson then.”
“Ohh okay, that’s really the only time I have.”
“Well how about 1:30 then?”
“Ummm sure okay I guess that work.”
“Okay, what’s your address?”
“It’s 365 x Street.”
“That’s pretty far from me, do you mind if we meet in the middle?”
“Sorry man, that won’t work.”
“Okay, I’ll be there at 1:30pm.”

Needless to say at this point, I’m extremely irritated and already plan to never work with this guy again. At this point the author usually says it gets better and oh yes, it does get better. I end up driving 40 minutes away to meet this guy at his apartment. No one home. Of course right? Of course he wouldn’t be home. I go across the street and wait in the parking lot of a strip mall while being super pissed off. Finally after killing an hour’s worth of time, missing my lesson, it is now 3:10ish, I get a phone call from him saying he just got home and needs to go the bank. By now this has got to be the worst gig payment story you’ve ever heard, besides simply not getting paid. He tells me to meet him at the Chase ATM in the parking lot, which was probably the most convenient thing that had happened thus far. 10 minutes later I see him riding his bike, of all things, to the ATM. As I watch him get the money out, I walk up to him, grab the money without a word. He had only given me $100.

Moral of the story, make sure you pay your band at least the day of the gig. I always like to pay the band members before the gig so they feel confident about getting their money. Anytime I’m not paid before a gig and do not know the band leader well, I’m always questioning the payment.

Pay properly, and in a timely manner and you will be treated as professional.

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Brenden Lowe

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