wallrock wrote:You're right, it is shockingly difficult to round people up for a show. I've got friends that will bitch about $5 covers at the Frequency or $7 covers at the High Noon but spend more than this every day for lunch. That is why the Frequency is great, since I can usually get people inside to the bar. After a beer and a few songs it's not too much to convince them to pay the cover and go on in.
When people show up at a bar and don't want to pay the cover in the band room, they'll usually change their mind after a few beers and a few friends heading in in front of them.
The Cactus Club in Milwaukee has survived like this for years, and is STILL surviving, even with Club Garibaldi's doing the EXACT SAME THING across the street with their band room.
My band played a show at the Hemlock Tavern in San Francisco in August, and the band room was separated from the rest of the bar, with money being taken at the door to the band room. Room sold out thanks to the local and we made out just fine.
The Frequency's setup is totally fine and has worked in other cities across the country for years, and anyone who disagrees is making a mountain out of an anthill.
As far as this whole "bands are underpaid" debate goes, it's hilarious watching zippy duck the "what would YOU do differently?" question time and again.
I do have this to contribute: i have friends in a fantastic band in Bloomington, IN who are currently on a larger indie label and are making enough money with their all-original band (through live performance, merch and album sales, and endorsements/sponsorships) that it's their only job. None of them have mortgages or anything to my knowledge, but they're definitely not starving, and they don't have to work day jobs. How did they do it? HUGE helpings of the following:
1) Hard work--and i'm talking hard touring for YEARS and rarely being home with their friends, while making about as much as most of us do on tour or at local shows. This means they were living in squalor in punk houses with 5 of their buddies for years (and most of 'em still do). You willing to do that to make a living at original music? I never was, to my occasional (but not often) regret. But even if i had, that wouldn't guarantee a thing without
2) Luck--and TONS of it. They just so happen to play a style of music that has a wide appeal, and somehow they managed to come up with a style that also is fairly unique and original while appealing to a wide base of people. It sort of blows my mind (i know MY band would NEVER have this appeal) that they happened to exist at a time where their style of music would have a wide enough appeal that their fan base would grow as it has over the years of touring they've done. That's a total crapshoot and a case of right time, right place. They're really fucking lucky on top of being really fucking good and willing to work their asses off. And they're not rich by any means.
Hell, when the Dismemberment Plan broke up the members of that band were making about $25K/yr each after nearly 10 years of constant touring. What are YOU making at your day job right now? You willing to take the pay cut to go out on tour half the year and put your personal life and relationships at risk for the HOPE that you'll get up to $25K/yr in 10 years?
That's the reality. You wanna make more with less work? Play "Smoke on the Water" at some cover bar in Waukesha. Otherwise shut the fuck up and remember that you're doing this because you love it.